'Real World' star Karamo Brown defying the odds as single gay father
Karamo Brown is 32-year-old gay man who is defying the odds as a single father.
Brown is best known for his role on MTV’s The Real World: Philadelphia, which originally aired 2004-2005. These days he keeps busy working as a TV host and model, while raising his two sons Jason and Chris in Los Angeles.
Surprise! You have a son
After filming The Real World, Brown was contacted by an ex-friend from high school who had surprising news for him — he had a 9-year-old son named Jason.
“My best friend at the time, she and I, being young kids had a relationship and she got pregnant, but I wasn’t aware of it,” Brown said. “Years later after being on The Real World I was coming home one day and there was a stack of papers on the doorstep for back child support, and I was like, ‘wow, there’s a kid out there in the world that has my name.’”
Brown, who was living in Los Angeles as the time, put a halt to his career ambitions, moved back to his home state of Texas, and began the process of adopting his son Jason.
Brown remained in Texas building his new relation with Jason, and also bonded with Jason’s younger brother, Chris. Chris and Brown had an immediate bond and eventually the former Real World star not only gained full custody of his son Jason, but also Jason’s younger brother Chris.
Brown says that the mother of his children is not a horrible person. On the contrary, he says she simplified the process of him getting custody of Jason and Chris.
“My sons’ mother is an amazing woman. When I said I wanted custody, she said, ‘I want my children to have a better life… I want them to have the best life that they can possibly have, and I know they will have that with you.’ So she supported me going to the courts and getting custody of my oldest son, and then getting custody of my second son.”
Dealing with the ups and downs of being a gay father
Brown says that his biggest obstacle in being a father is balancing his personal time and family time.
“I’m single, I’m openly gay and I’m young,” he said. “So I still have all of these dreams and things that I want to do for me. I’m trying to figure how do to put time aside for myself so that I feel fulfilled, but also at the same rate balance time with my sons and make sure that they have everything they need.”
Brown’s sons Jason, 16, and Chris, 13, speak to their mother on a regular basis, although she lives in Texas, but Brown says he often feels as though he plays the role of both mom and dad.
“For the most part I play mom and dad. I cook every single night. Dinner is on the table every single night at 7:30 on the dot. I wash clothes and when one of my sons has a cut they come to me and I have to nurture them and make sure they know that they are loved and the cut will heal.”
Brown says his sons are popular and loved in their school.
Jason is an advocate for the gay community although he identifies as a straight and has a girlfriend, and when he sees someone being put down for their sexuality he constantly stands up. “I sit back and I’m amazed that somebody this young can be such a leader,” Brown says of his older son.
Although Jason and Chris have thus far had positive experiences in school, they have had their fair share of obstacles.
“The biggest challenge is how ugly the world can be. Even though we’re in a different time students can make rude comments, as well as teachers,” Brown admitted. “There have been teachers who have said, ‘oh so if we talk to your wife, she’ll understand;’ and they know there’s no wife at home. It’s difficult getting past peoples ignorance and educating them so that they understand and know not to make those comments anymore.”
What does Father’s Day means to Karamo?
“Father’s day for me means love and devotion. Literally, every thought I have within the day is about how what I am doing will affect my children. I have never been as devoted to anything as I am to them,” Brown said “My father loved me and was devoted to me until he knew I was gay and then our relationship went south. So I always make sure that I let my sons know that I will love them not matter what they do or who they become for the rest of their lives.”
“There are so many guys that I went to college with that decided to take a different path when they found out that they had a child. Fatherhood is an honor and men should be strong enough to step up to the plate,” Brown adds. “Our family, though it may be different from the outside looking in, we are no different. My household is ran the same way it was with my parents, who were a mother and father with their kids. Love is love and people need to just accept that.”
Follow Karamo on Twitter @KaramoBrown.
Follow Chris Witherspoon on Twitter for more Entertainment news at @WitherspoonC