These Dads Show What It's Really Like to Be "Black While Raising Children"
There's a stigma to being a black father — namely, the all-too-common stereotype that they abandon their children.
It's not fair, and obviously it's not true.
Philadelphia-based photographer Lucy Baber has begun a photo series, titled "100 Black Dads," in order to share truthful stories of black men who show up daily for their families in purposeful, loving ways.
"I want to use photography to explore what it means to be black while raising children in today's culture," she told POPSUGAR of her latest project, which was spurred by the Black Lives Matter movement and highlights hard-working, nurturing black dads.
So far, Lucy has completed 20 portrait sessions, and a resounding theme has presented itself:
"As a black dad, and as a black man in general, I felt the need to help the narrative that we are active, we are involved."
"They want a better, more fair, more peaceful life for their children," she told us. "Many of them were also raised by very involved fathers, and they want to continue that legacy by staying invested in their own children's lives. Others did not have their dads around growing up, and they want to stop that cycle for their own children. These dads are coming from a wide range of backgrounds — many are very successful in their careers while others are just trying to keep food on the table for their kids. They are doctors, lawyers, athletes, entrepreneurs, police officers, counselors, teachers, actors, advocates, stay-at-home dads, married dads, and single dads . . . . And yet no matter how successful they have been in their personal and professional lives, so many of them still fear getting pulled over by the cops."
One such dad is Kalif Troy, who was photographed with his 5-year-old daughter Aliyah.
"As a black dad, and as a black man in general, I felt the need to help the narrative that we are active, we are involved," he said. "And it's not just about being present, but it's about giving kids exactly what they need."
For Lucy, she was tired of the juxtaposition of reading comments "that we live in a post-racial society" up against those in which black community members — namely black men — are unfairly "pegged as 'violent and criminal' and 'uninvolved' in their children's lives."
"Many white people continue to repeat the 'black-on-black crime' narrative to support these stereotypes, but they fail to acknowledge just how much black men continue to be unfairly targeted by the criminal justice system, which creates a cycle of poverty and desperation," she said. "That's just not right, and I think it's time for us to change that."
In addition to sharing 100 of their stories, Lucy aims to showcase that black dads have the same unifying goal as all other parents: "They are just trying to raise their families in peace just like anyone else."