Fatherhood: My Story

Sunday, June 19, 2011

Before President Barack Obama was penning essays and delivering social sermons on fatherhood, there was Ed O.G. & Da Bullldogs. It was the early '90s and the hip-hop quartet from Boston had a hit single on their hands, “Be a Father to Your Child.”

For absentee dads everywhere, it was a call to action, even if it was tantamount to herding cats. For men already doing the right thing, it was affirmation. For me, it was merely a song with a positive message and a dope horn riff. I was 19 years old at the time. Becoming a father to a child was not part of the picture. I was planning to become a producer to some rappers as I fixed my gaze on Atlanta to pursue my own music ambitions. Things changed when I was 21.  Continue

Oprah and Obama: The Politics of Friendships and Endorsements

Wednesday, April 13, 2011

"Obaaaaammmmma!"
That was Oprah in 2007. She was effusive and unrestrained in her excitement as the man soon to be president sauntered onto her soundstage. He spoke. She listened. He enthralled. She endorsed. They seemed like best friends. Even better, play cousins.


Their mutual admiration was palpable and sometimes even difficult to watch. During his appearances, she did everything but pass the plate. She even took time from her busy schedule of taking magazine cover shots of herself to join him and Michelle on the campaign trail.


Fast-forward four years, and Winfrey has allegedly cooled her private jets a bit. Although her reps have denied it, rumor has it she will not publicly endorse Obama for the 2012 election. At this point, her plans are unclear at best.


Here is something else we know:  
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Mister Cee and the Myth of the Down-Low Bogeyman

Thursday, April 7, 2011

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Note: Things have changed. I'm no longer writing at AOL-Huff Po Black Voices. Long story. I'll tell it one day, maybe. Let me just say that I used to be a big Arianna Huffington fan. Today, not so much. But I wish everyone over there the best. On to the next one as it's said. My contract was voided on Tuesday and on Thursday my first post on Washington Post's www.TheRoot.com was published. Turning lemons into lemonade. The show continues. Enjoy.

Years ago, a rumor circulated that the recipes of a popular restaurant chain contained a secret birth control agent that sterilized black men. The KKK was alleged to have masterminded the operation. They named the restaurant Church's, after the most revered institution in the black community, and they specialized in fried chicken. If true, it was brilliant and racist at the same time.

Even as speculation about the nefarious plot caught fire like a burning cross, black men continued to eat the diabolically delicious chicken. Yet the African-American birthrate stayed right on schedule. So much for any truth to the sperm-killing three-piece dinners. While we're at it, let's go ahead and also debunk any lingering conspiracy theories about syphilis-injected buttery biscuits.

The point? Sometimes misinformation will auto-correct in the public mind, as with the myth of the racist chicken proprietors. But sometimes it won't. Our fascination with the down-low brother is a prime example. To dismiss him as an urban legend would be to refute the facts of his existence, but it's certainly reasonable and, frankly, responsible to relegate him to an urban exaggeration.

Parenting Battle Royale

Friday, March 25, 2011

I've been a husband for six years. I've been a father for 18. Do the math. That's negative 12. Who needs an abacus? I belong to a generation of parents who, in financial speak, are upside down. If our children were mortgages, we would be one nation underwater. Wait a minute, we are. Shucks.
From foreplay to foreclosure, we keep getting screwed. Blame it on the burst of the housing bubble or blame it on the burst of the condom bubble. Either way, things don't always unfold the way we hoped.

Ideally, love and marriage should come before baby and carriage just as incontrovertible evidence should have come before "Bombs Over Baghdad". Then again, Bush and Dick always had a mind of their own anyway.

Even though I'm no longer an unwed single parent, I'm not married to my son's biological mother. And now that "blackman" (as my wife and I affectionately call him) is weeks away from high school graduation, I have some words of wisdom to share with other parents who aren't married to the mother or father of their child(ren).

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Time to Lose Weight Babe

Thursday, March 17, 2011

Relationships often play out with two sets of rules: his and hers. Nowhere do double standards flourish more than when it comes to issues of weight. Men want their girlfriends and wives to stay in shape. While it may or may not always work out that way, we certainly find ways to make our feelings known: "Babe, you sure you want to eat that deep-fried doughnut?" After all, there is only so much cushion for the pushin' a man needs.

But turn the tables, and you find that most men roll differently. And when I say "roll," I mean actually rolling up on the drive-thru and, two heartbeats away from cardiac arrest, we'll bark out our order: "I'd like my double standard with cheese please."

Indulge me as I speak from my own personal experience because, you know, that's something I never do.

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The Fab Five: Money, Power, Respect

Monday, March 14, 2011

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Watching Miami Heat games this season, viewers catch glimpses of NBA journeyman Juwan Howard. He sits toward the forgotten end of the bench. His goatee he's had since birth is still impeccable, flecks of gray and all. He watches helplessly as the Two and a Half Men of South Beach (Dwyane, Lebron and Chris) continue to fall short of expectations. Juwan knows a little bit of about that himself.

When a Friend Gets Divorced: A Male Perspective.

Wednesday, March 9, 2011

Earlier this week, when I decided to entertain the topic of how married men process the fact a close friend is getting divorced, I thought of several films I've seen over the years featuring orphans. Stay with me.

Have you ever watched an orphan movie? And I don't mean the time you acted as a benevolent soul and took home that straight-to-video joint starring Vivica Fox and Eddie Winslow from 'Family Matters.' You remember. The one that no one else was willing to take a chance on and upon wasting one hour and 42 minutes of your weekend, you didn't know whether to pat yourself on the back for blindly supporting black cinema or smack yourself in the face.

Granted, it was charitable of you and your family to take home an unwanted movie, but that's a different type of orphan movie, one abandoned by the studio system and the public. I'm referring to real orphan movies with the cliche villainous nuns, bloody British accents, the whole nine. But it's another cliche also found in all orphan movies that's applicable to the subject of men, friends and divorce. Continue Reading

Kanye, Twitter, Groupies & Abortion

Saturday, March 5, 2011

Jesus walks. Kanye talks. Everyone has a thing. A cross to bear, some tweets to share. Something. One must know his or her role and play it like they are "taking their talents to South Beach". Love it, hate it or misunderstand it, that's how 'Ye brings the heat. This week was no different, as the rapper/producer took to Twitter to unleash his latest grievance. Continue Reading

"She Was Only 17": Men & Underage Girls

Twelve months ago, it happened again. Regrettably, the story is a familiar one. An older man, balding and wealthy, began lavishing a younger woman with cash and gifts. As sure as she was stunning, he was horny. And there he salivated, only an arm length's away from a Pez dispenser of magic blue pills.

That said, this arrangement - excuse me, "non-arrangement" - was merely a platonic friendship, according to the man that no one believes. Justice system, meet Silvio Berlusconi, Italy's Prime Minister. The two of you will be getting to know each other over the next few months.


The young woman in question,   Continue Reading

Women Choosing Their Husband's Friends

I've always been partly amused, partly aghast by a man who allows his significant other to dictate which of his friends are socially suitable to hang out with. It's becoming more and more common. What is happening to men? Granted, we've come a long way since the days when male chauvinism was the rule and women were expected to be docile housewives.


Women wear pants now - both literally and metaphorically - as they should. But does this mean that men should be sporting form-fitting pencil skirts? I'm not saying that men have to wear THE pants in a relationship, but I do feel strongly that they should wear A PAIR of pants in the relationship - again, both literally and metaphorically.  Continue Reading