1. Dennis Williams, 42, with son Élan, 1.
“For the first time in my life, I have to think about someone else other than me. Selflessness and planning for a future for someone other than myself. That’s the best part of being a father.”
Darrell Anderson, 57, and daughter Chanel, 23.
“It’s hard to pick a moment thay I would say is my “proudest.” But I will say I remember celebrating her 16th birthday – it was the first moment that I realized she was maturing into a beautiful young lady. Since then, I’ve made it a point to savor each day and every moment with her.”
James Gibson, 50, and son JDupre, 33.
“The best part of being his father is watching him become someone that I am *really* proud of. My only issue is that we don’t see enough of each other – I love him so much I could spend every moment of every day in his presence.”
Russell Clemons, 59, with son Isaiah, 27, and daughter Jessica, 30.
“There’s never a moment that I’m not proud of my children. They’re smart, educated, congenial, and have become more than I could have ever imagined. I love them so much.”
Desmond Prass Sr., 64, and son Desmond Jr., 38.
“Seeing someone that looks like me and acts like me is great! But also to witness the changes he’s made in his life as he has evolved into a man – that is pretty special. We have a womderful relationship, and I love being a dad. It’s pretty rewarding.”
Herman Pardon, 38, and son Koi, 4.
“I love that I not only am able to teach my son new things, but he teaches me as well. We learn from each other. He’s an amazing, humble little human being.”
Tristan Verette, 32 and daughter Noah, 1.
“It’s exciting for me to playing a role in developing her and her amazing personality. Best part of my day is the moment that she greets me at the door – after a long, hard day at work- and says “daddy!” with a huge smile on her face. That’s always my proudest moment.”
Paris Morris, 26, and son Paris, 2.
“I feel like I can show him things that I learned when I was growing up, and more importantly, things that I didn’t know until I was an adult. How to be a good man, how to tap into your artistic side – so many things that I’m excited to show him.”
11. Jay Henry, 58, with daughters Antoinette (left), 27, and Celestine, 31.
“Best job I’ve ever had is being their father. I still remember when each of them were born. Watching a life that you created actually come into the world is the most exhilarating thing ever, and I will never forget that moment.”
10. Sam Nisbett, 53, and stepdaughter Naasia, 7.
“Even though she is not my biological daughter, we’re like BFFs. We have a lot of fun together. Karate classes, roller skating – she does a lot of things that I am proud of, and I love watching her grow up.”
9. David Stewart Sr., 43, with sons Tyriek (left), 15, and David Jr., 20.
“I didn’t have it easy growing up. So to watch them achieve things like graduating middle school and high school are probably my proudest moments. It’s not easy, but they make me proud of being their father.”
8. Michael Solomon Sr., 42, and son Michael Jr., 10.
“My son is a talented dancer with an energetic spirit. I’m proud of being his father and watching him grow.”
7. Mark Ruffin, 58 and son Melcolm, 23.
“Growing up, my son had one dream – to manage the Chicago Bulls. To watch him become an honor roll student, graduate college, and now work his way up in the NBA is an incredible feeling for me. I’m so proud of him and his ability to win and remain optimistic.”
6. Omari Edwards, 25, with son Milo, 1.
“I feel like I have a chance to make the world a better place through my son. Spending time with him, being active in his life and showing him how to be a caring, generous man are things I feel like I’m privileged to do.”
5. Albert Lovelace, 44 with son Alijah, 12 and daughter Ardelia, 17.
“I love watching my children pursue their passions. Ardelia is a skilled artist, and Alijah loves basketball. Watching them pursue what makes them happy is the most gratifying feeling I could ever ask for.”
4. Quoom Wilburn, 36, with sons Jaacob, 8 (left) and Ashriel, 15.
“Every little step in watching my kids grow is a milestone for me. The fact that I’ve influenced them to be percussionists and that they not only love it, but are *good* at it is so gratifying to me. I’ve played with a lot of people over the years, but the best help I’ve ever had is from my sons. They make me better.”
3. Devon Davis, 37, and son D’kari, 10.
“The most satisfying part of being D’kari’s father is watching him interact with other people. He’s kind, he carries himself well, and he has such a good heart. That’s what this world needs more of, and I’m proud to mold him into that.”
2. Teddy Turenne, 33 with son Tyson, 3.
“My son is a little comedian. Everything I do, he mimics it and makes fun. I love that I’m raising him to be carefree and good-natured.”
Photographer: Luis Antonio Thompson
- of 19
In times like these, acknowledging the beauty and the resilience of our community is more important than ever. We’ve witnessed continuous, traumatic acts of violence against black men, often times leaving us frustrated and dispirited.
Beyond this, the media’s portrayal of black families as a dysfunctional monolith is just as outrageous. But despite public opinion, the myth of the absentee black father is finally being debunked.
For this Father’s Day, I had the pleasure of spending time with eighteen dads along with their children. Their love and devotion was undeniable, and when it was time to start shooting, I simply asked, “What’s the best part of being a father?”
What resulted are the portraits above; a celebration of the seldom honored — fully present — fathers in our community.
Luis Antonio Thompson is a writer and photographer from New York City. Find him at @AntonioTheWiser.