Father’s Day is this upcoming weekend and this week on the Dear Culture podcast, we’re asking: Dear Culture, What does Black fatherhood look like to you?
Hosts Shana Pinnock, TheGrio‘s social media director, and Gerren Keith Gaynor, TheGrio‘s managing editor, were joined by two Black fathers who are sharing their journey of Black fatherhood and a few laughs along the way.
Roderick Bradford is an actor and father of four. He and his wife, Chanel, run the family’s YouTube channel, The Walker-Bradfords, which offers a behind-the-scenes glimpse at the family’s life and career in the entertainment industry. Bradford said his own father has been a massive influence on him and one of the biggest lessons he’s always looking to pass on to his children is the importance of hard work and valuing the things they earn.
“I want to instill the concept in them that you can’t just expect for something to happen and then it happens, or even if it does, don’t see any value in that because you didn’t work for that,” said Bradford. “Understand what it’s like to plant a seed, step aside, watch it grow, come back, and now you’ve got a forest.”
Bradford also said he’s raising his children to have confidence that they can be competitive and the best at whatever they want to do.
“Whatever they want to do, I want them to know they can be the best at it and don’t ever let anyone tell you can’t compete especially because of the color of your skin,” Bradford said.
Francis Garner father to three daughters—Jayde, Avery, and the family’s most recent addition, Kali—is known to the family’s social media followers as a fun-loving #GirlDad and entrepreneur. Garner said becoming a father in his early 20s gave him the opportunity to pass along the principles his father shared with him and helped him the magnitude of his responsibility.
“Especially having girls, I have to be the example of a man for them,” said Garner.
Parenthood at any age is a massive undertaking and Garner said he and his wife, Kerry, lean heavily upon their faith and belief as Christians to be a foundation for their family.
“For me everything begins and ends with the Most High,” said Garner. “Outside of the learned principles of parents and lived experiences, that’s where I get the bulk of my experience whether it be patience, anger, fruits of labor, wisdom—all of those things I try to enact as a father.”
In some of the most touching moments of the show, Pinnock and Gaynor shared stories about their own fathers, including what they learned from them and how their relationships have evolved over the years.
“When I reflect on those moments years later, I’m reminded how much my dad loved me and he was willing to do anything for me, and to have that kind of love is indescribable,” said Gaynor.
“My dad worked all the time—from 5 a.m. to 7 a.m., but even though I didn’t see him a lot I never felt like he wasn’t present,” said Pinnock. “Whenever he showed up to my school play or debates or storytelling competition, I was always so proud to point to him and say, ‘There’s my dad.’”