Dwyane Wade and more support the 'This Is Fatherhood' challenge, aimed at inspiring young fathers

The challenge is a contest that focuses on young fathers who may need extra encouragement and guidance to become better parents. Partners in the initiative hope to promote and nurture fatherhood among these men in creative ways.

Luther Vandross was outed as gay after his death.

When one thinks of Grammy Award-winning rappers, responsible fatherhood may not be the first thing that comes to mind.

So it might come as a surprise that the respected hip-hop artist Lecrae has joined a group of government employees and activists in an effort to promote fatherhood through music and social media. He has attracted partners such as NBA champion Dwyane Wade to help encourage young men to express what fatherhood means to them in the “This Is Fatherhood” challenge, which launched on May 1.

The challenge is a contest focusing on young fathers who may need extra encouragement and guidance to become better parents. Partners in the initiative hope to promote and nurture fatherhood among these men in this creative way. To sign up for the challenge, contestants can submit videos, songs and essays about fatherhood on www.thisisfatherhood.com from now until June 10 for a chance to win a cash prize.

Winners will also receive a trip to Washington, D.C. for a special ceremony on Father’s Day, June 16.

The minds behind “This Is Fatherhood”

Spearheaded by award-winning filmmaker Art Hooker, and Joshua DuBois, the former director of President Obama’s Office of Faith-based and Neighborhood Partnerships, the This Is Fatherhood challenge is being produced with a nod from the Obama administration, according to Lecrae.

Lecrae, whose 2009 Man Up Campaign included an album and movie dedicated to fatherhood, has a long history of encouraging responsible parenting.

“Fatherhood is a unique opportunity and privilege for a man to change the world through his investment in a child,” Lecrae told theGrio. “It is our chance to leave a legacy and an impact that will change lives.”

The rapper, who has earned critical acclaim in both the hip-hop and gospel worlds, has agreed to provide mentorship and studio time to the winner.

“I am proud to join Lecrae and Dwyane Wade to support the This Is Fatherhood challenge,” DuBois told theGrio. “Our culture is in need of strong fathers now more than ever, and I’m excited that people around the country will be submitting songs, photos, videos and essays describing what fatherhood means to them. Through this challenge, dads will be inspired to increase their commitment to family, and young people everywhere will grow in their awareness of the need for strong fathers.”

Wade throws his support behind the challenge

Even though he is in the middle of the playoffs, Dwyane Wade has also agreed to help promote the challenge, as it is in clear alignment with his commitment to positive fatherhood. Also inspired by President Obama’s Fatherhood and Mentoring Initiative, the NBA All-Star’s book A Father First details the role of his father in his life and his own role as a father. Clearly, fatherhood is critical to Wade.

“When I was first [approached to become] involved with the initiative, I was humbled,” Wade said of the This Is Fatherhood challenge. “More than that, I was moved by the fact that one of the reasons President Obama was so passionate about this issue is that he grew up without his dad. He, too, has recognized that being a father is his most important role.”

While the White House is not formally part of the This Is Fatherhood challenge, it was inspired in part by President Obama’s many calls for responsible fatherhood.