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These Celeb Dads Are Reminders Of The Importance Of Black Fatherhood

Black fatherhood matters.

Culture & Entertainment

In my book, I am the woman I am today because of the love poured into me by mother and my father. While Father's Day isn't the only time of year to celebrate the power and the presence of black fathers and father figures in our lives, it is a beautiful reminder to honor the men we hold near and dear to us. At xoNecole, we are all about giving credit where credit is due and in honor of today and every day, we wanted to showcase a roundup of black celebrity dads actively showcasing why representation of black fatherhood matters.


Both sons and daughters need their fathers, and these black celebrity dads serve as proof of that truth.

Usher and His Kids

Usher Raymond is a singer, actor, songwriter extraordanaire whose career spans across decades. Despite his distant relationship with his now-deceased father, Usher was intentional about playing an active role in the lives of his children. The R&B singer married his personal stylist of several years Tameka Foster-Raymond in 2007. After their union, he became a stepfather to her three sons from past relationships. Shortly thereafter, they had their child together, Usher "Cinco" Raymond V in November 2007. Regarding his decision to pass his multi-generational namesake down to his son, he explained:

"I never hated my father. I would have named my child Usher regardless. I never hated myself because I carried his name, because I made it mean what I wanted it to mean."

A little over a year later, he and Foster welcomed their second child together, another son named Nayvid Ely Raymond. Although he and Foster's marriage would eventually fizzle a short two years later, Usher was able to obtain primary custody of his sons.

In September 2020, Usher experienced fatherhood all over again with his newest addition, his daughter Sovereign Bo Raymond. She is the twice-divorced artist's first daughter and his first child with his new love, music exec Jenn Goicoechea. He shared the meaning behind her unique name in an interview with PEOPLE:

"Sovereign, man, is such a beautiful word and name to me, you know, a supreme ruler is obviously the defined name. She's definitely ruling the household, but Sovereign Bo — Bo is at the end of it, so [she's] my little 'reign-bo.'"

At 42, the "Bad Habits" singer recently revealed that he and his girlfriend are expecting their second child together and Usher's fourth overall.

Iman Shumpert and His Kids

Iman Shumpert's love for being a father probably rivals his love for the queen of his heart, his wife Teyana Taylor. The long-time couple welcomed their first child together famously in the bathroom of their home. Their eldest daughter, Iman Tayla Shumpert Jr. (nicknamed Junie), was born in December 2015.

In regards to getting some skin in the game about being a first-time father, in 2017, Iman tweeted, "This father stuff will turn you soft man, really soft." And nothing was the same. The girl-dad is now proud papa to not one but two daughters. After announcing that they were expecting their second child last June, Teyana gave birth via a home delivery in September 2020, Rue Rose Shumpert.

John Legend and His Kids

R&B crooner and The Voice judge John Legend is creating his own legacy as the proud father of two kids with wife and long-time love Chrissy Teigen. After being together for nearly a decade, the pair who met on the set of one of his music videos, had their first child, daughter Luna Simone Stephens in April 2016. The "All of Me" singer had this to say about holding Luna for the first time:

"It's beautiful, it's very emotional, and it brings you and your wife closer together. It's a very powerful feeling to see the product of your love right there in front of you."

As a couple, John and Chrissy have been super vocal about their pregnancy journey and even admitted to using IVF to conceive Luna, as well as their second child years later. Their son, Miles Theodore Stephens, was born in May 2018. John later touched on the transition of growing from a family of three to a family of four:

"It's a thing, you know. In some ways it's easier because we have perspective and we're not like, afraid. I wouldn't say we were afraid the first time, but we definitely didn't know what we were doing and leaned on our professional help a lot more. I think now we understand our style as parents and understand how to interact with each other and with the kids. The experience really helps you with the second kid."

In August 2020, the Stephens announced they were growing their family again with the reveal that Chrissy was pregnant with the couple's third child. However, a month later, the couple shared with the world that they suffered a miscarriage, a son whom they had been calling "Jack" since finding out about the pregnancy. Chrissy opened up about her experience in a personal essay.

Bow Wow and His Kids

For most of us, Bow Wow was an important fixture of our childhoods. The rapper and actor has been in the limelight since before he could drive. Bow Wow, who also goes by his real name Shad Moss, revealed back in 2011 that he had had a child with model Joie Chavis. He credits the birth of his daughter for saving his life. In a letter posted to his personal website, he also opened up about his battle with suicidal thoughts for years before the birth of his daughter, Shai Moss.

"For the past 3 years I [been] battling life. Even thought about taking my own. I felt like as a kid i did everything and saw everything too fast which spoiled my adult years. i felt as is I had no purpose to live (Thinking selfishly) until god gave me the illest gift of my life."

In 2018, he admitted in a conversation with The Grio that becoming a father himself helped him learn how to forgive his own father:

"I just wanted him to know I don't hate him. I outgrew that part. Once I had a kid and I've experienced some things with me and my daughter's mom and how we rock, I kinda understood why might have he ran out or why he wasn't around or why he left. There are reasons. My father was an alcoholic. Heavy. I didn't want to be around him when I was young and of course my career took me to other places."

In 2020, Bow Wow confirmed he became a father again, this time to a son with model Olivia Sky. Earlier this year, he finally told the world his son's name, Stone Moss.

Dwyane Wade and His Kids

Former NBA player Dwyane Wade is known for the accolades and legacy he created on the court over the span of his 16-year career. However, in his personal life, the icon has also made some incredible moves as well -- especially in regards to his family life. Although his first marriage to his high school girlfriend didn't work out, the pair's split resulted in him obtaining sole custody of the former couple's two kids, Zaya Wade (formerly Zion) and Zaire Blessing Dwyane Wade. He also raises his nephew.

Although he eventually became romantically involved with actress Gabrielle Union in 2008, the pair split in 2013. At some point during this break, Dwyane fathered a child with Aja Metoyer, a son named Xavier Zechariah Wade. Gabrielle and Dwyane later reconciled and would eventually marry in 2014. He later acknowledged having to admit that he had a child with someone else as one of the hardest things he ever had to tell Gabrielle.

"When you hold something in that you know is going to come out and you have this information and you know it's gonna f**k somebody's life up, that you care about, that you love, if it don't hurt you, then you're not human. Me and Gab just went through something that you never want to go through and we still came out of it."

In 2018, Dwyane welcomed his fourth child and his first child with Gabrielle, a daughter named Kaavia James Wade, via surrogate.

Though Zaya came out as transgender in 2020, Dwyane acknowledged in an interview with Michelle Obama that he and Gabrielle started having conversations about "possibilities" when she was three. Since being a support system for Zaya and her gender transition journey, Dwyane and Gabrielle have both become more impassioned about LGBTQ+ rights and activism. In a recent interview, he shared how raising Zaya has made him a better parent:

"I didn't know anything, really wasn't knowledgeable about the LGBTQ+ community. What it has done is it opened my eyes and my ears to something greater and bigger than I, and my daughter has allowed us gracefully to be her support system."

Bryson Tiller and His Kids

Throughout his career, Bryson Tiller has been able to maintain his self-imposed "shadowy" image as a public figure, preferring not to give video interviews to do just that. Despite not wanting to be too on the scene, the mega-successful trap-soul artist shares a lot about his daddy duties to his daughters on social media.

His oldest daughter, Harley Loraine, is from a previous relationship and was born in 2013. While his youngest daughter, Kelly Jade Tiller, was born in 2019 and his first child with current girlfriend, model Kendra Bailey.

Omarion and His Kids

Omarion is quite possibly the manifestation of unbothered energy, but his children know him affectionately as "Dad." The "Touch" singer, who recently made an appearance in the hit Fox reality TV competition The Masked Singer, has been pulling daddy duty as a father since 2014. And though his tumultous relationship with ex-girlfriend Apryl Jones has made headlines for a plethora of reasons, Omarion has always made it clear that he is all about the kids.

"When I became a father, I think that my understanding of what love was and my connection to that emotion shifted. I saw my children being born and recognizing what they call a miracle."

The former B2K lead singer's son Megaa Omari Grandberry was born in 2014 and his daughter A'mei Kazuko Grandberry was born in 2016.

Russell Wilson and His Kids

If there's one thing for certain and two things for sure, we love us some Ciara and Russell Wilson over here on xoNecole. Something about a man whose actions align with their words is awe-inspiring and aww-inducing. In regards to Russell, what won many of us over was how he regarded Ciara as a partner and her son from a previous relationship as the father he always deserved.

From the very beginning, the Seattle Seahawks quarterback embraced and continues to embrace Future Zahir as his own and it is truly blended family goals. The two made their family of three official in July 2016 when they married in England. And in April 2017, they welcomed their second child and Russell's first, a daughter named Sienna Princess Wilson. In a 2017 interview, he revealed:

"I think more than anything when you see family, have your own family and it continues to grow, you know it's a special thing. I don't just play for my family I've had before, but also my new family. Just playing for the little ones, playing for Ciara too and just playing for my teammates and trying to do everything I can to be the very best I can possibly be. I'm just truly grateful every day to get to come home and it puts a smile on my face every time."

On July 23, 2020, Russell and Ciara welcomed a son (and his mini-me), baby Win Wilson.

P. Diddy and His Kids

P. Diddy might be a bad boy for life, but the title has nothing on his status as a father of six. Also known as Sean Love Combs and Sean John Combs, Diddy is the man worth $740 million with a decades-spanning career that speaks for itself. He is also just as passionate about family life. He had his first child in 1993, a son, Justin Combs, with designer Misa Hylton-Brim.

During his relationship with the late Kim Porter, he adopted Kim's son, Quincy, from a previous relationship with singer Al B. Sure! Together, the on-and-off couple of 13 years had a son, Christian Combs in 1998, as well as twin girls, D'Lila Star Combs and Jessie James Combs in 2006. Months before the twins were born, Diddy welcomed another daughter with a different partner, Sarah Chapman, named Chance Combs. Kim passed away suddenly after complications with pneumonia in 2018.

The multi-hyphenate touched on her passing and his shift in fatherhood in a 2020 conversation with Naomi Campbell:

"Losing Kim [Porter] and now being a single father-of-six, my thinking had to change. I had to really get focused on their futures, 'cause I know how rough it is out there."

Steph Curry and His Kids

Look up the phrase "family man" in the dictionary and we're sure you'll see Stephen "Steph" Curry pop up with his characteristic pretty blues. The legendary athlete has always upheld his Christian faith and family as his foundations. He married his long-time love Ayesha Curry in 2011. On July 19, 2012, they welcomed their oldest daughter Riley Elizabeth Curry. On becoming a parent, Steph had this to say:

"You learn something from them every single day. They give you a reason to wake up in the morning, regardless of whether work is going well or not. Your biggest responsibility, obviously, is being a parent, and it's just so much fun every single day when they change so fast and you're trying to keep up. You get to share so many experiences with them and I'm enjoying every minute of it."

Three years later, they had their second child, another daughter, Ryan Carson Curry. Most recently, they had their third child together, a son named Canon W. Jack Curry on July 4, 2018. In regards to raising a son, he shared:

"Earlier this summer, a few weeks after the season ended, Ayesha and I were blessed with the birth of our third child, Canon ― our first son. And one of the things that has been most on my mind, since then, is the idea of what it means now to raise a boy in this world. I already know, just based on his gender alone, that Canon will probably have advantages in life that his sisters can only dream of. How do you make honest sense of that as a parent? What are the values, in this moment, to instill in a son? It's a lot to think about.
"But in the end ... I think the answer is pretty simple. I think you tell him the same thing that we told those girls last week at our camp: Be yourself. Be good, and try to be great ― but always be yourself. I think you teach him to always stay listening to women, to always stay believing in women, and — when it comes to anyone's expectations for women ― to always stay challenging the idea of what's right. And I think you let him know that, for his generation, to be a true supporter of women's equality ― it's not enough anymore to be learning about it. You have to be doing it."

Featured image by Kevin Mazur/Getty Images for The Recording Academy

ACLU By ACLUSponsored

Over the past four years, we grew accustomed to a regular barrage of blatant, segregationist-style racism from the White House. Donald Trump tweeted that “the Squad," four Democratic Congresswomen who are Black, Latinx, and South Asian, should “go back" to the “corrupt" countries they came from; that same year, he called Elizabeth Warren “Pocahontas," mocking her belief that she might be descended from Native American ancestors.

But as outrageous as the racist comments Trump regularly spewed were, the racially unjust governmental actions his administration took and, in the case of COVID-19, didn't take, impacted millions more — especially Black and Brown people.

To begin to heal and move toward real racial justice, we must address not only the harms of the past four years, but also the harms tracing back to this country's origins. Racism has played an active role in the creation of our systems of education, health care, ownership, and employment, and virtually every other facet of life since this nation's founding.

Our history has shown us that it's not enough to take racist policies off the books if we are going to achieve true justice. Those past policies have structured our society and created deeply-rooted patterns and practices that can only be disrupted and reformed with new policies of similar strength and efficacy. In short, a systemic problem requires a systemic solution. To combat systemic racism, we must pursue systemic equality.

What is Systemic Racism?

A system is a collection of elements that are organized for a common purpose. Racism in America is a system that combines economic, political, and social components. That system specifically disempowers and disenfranchises Black people, while maintaining and expanding implicit and explicit advantages for white people, leading to better opportunities in jobs, education, and housing, and discrimination in the criminal legal system. For example, the country's voting systems empower white voters at the expense of voters of color, resulting in an unequal system of governance in which those communities have little voice and representation, even in policies that directly impact them.

Systemic Equality is a Systemic Solution

In the years ahead, the ACLU will pursue administrative and legislative campaigns targeting the Biden-Harris administration and Congress. We will leverage legal advocacy to dismantle systemic barriers, and will work with our affiliates to change policies nearer to the communities most harmed by these legacies. The goal is to build a nation where every person can achieve their highest potential, unhampered by structural and institutional racism.

To begin, in 2021, we believe the Biden administration and Congress should take the following crucial steps to advance systemic equality:

Voting Rights

The administration must issue an executive order creating a Justice Department lead staff position on voting rights violations in every U.S. Attorney office. We are seeing a flood of unlawful restrictions on voting across the country, and at every level of state and local government. This nationwide problem requires nationwide investigatory and enforcement resources. Even if it requires new training and approval protocols, a new voting rights enforcement program with the participation of all 93 U.S. Attorney offices is the best way to help ensure nationwide enforcement of voting rights laws.

These assistant U.S. attorneys should begin by ensuring that every American in the custody of the Bureau of Prisons who is eligible to vote can vote, and monitor the Census and redistricting process to fight the dilution of voting power in communities of color.

We are also calling on Congress to pass the John Lewis Voting Rights Advancement Act to finally create a fair and equal national voting system, the cause for which John Lewis devoted his life.

Student Debt

Black borrowers pay more than other students for the same degrees, and graduate with an average of $7,400 more in debt than their white peers. In the years following graduation, the debt gap more than triples. Nearly half of Black borrowers will default within 12 years. In other words, for Black Americans, the American dream costs more. Last week, Majority Leader Chuck Schumer and Sen. Elizabeth Warren, along with House Reps. Ayanna Pressley, Maxine Waters, and others, called on President Biden to cancel up to $50,000 in federal student loan debt per borrower.

We couldn't agree more. By forgiving $50,000 of student debt, President Biden can unleash pent up economic potential in Black communities, while relieving them of a burden that forestalls so many hopes and dreams. Black women in particular will benefit from this executive action, as they are proportionately the most indebted group of all Americans.

Postal Banking

In both low and high income majority-Black communities, traditional bank branches are 50 percent more likely to close than in white communities. The result is that nearly 50 percent of Black Americans are unbanked or underbanked, and many pay more than $2,000 in fees associated with subprime financial institutions. Over their lifetime, those fees can add up to as much as two years of annual income for the average Black family.

The U.S. Postal Service can and should meet this crisis by providing competitive, low-cost financial services to help advance economic equality. We call on President Biden to appoint new members to the Postal Board of Governors so that the Post Office can do the work of providing essential services to every American.

Fair Housing

Across the country, millions of people are living in communities of concentrated poverty, including 26 percent of all Black children. The Biden administration should again implement the 2015 Affirmatively Furthering Fair Housing rule, which required localities that receive federal funds for housing to investigate and address barriers to fair housing and patterns or practices that promote bias. In 1980, the average Black person lived in a neighborhood that was 62 percent Black and 31 percent white. By 2010, the average Black person's neighborhood was 48 percent Black and 34 percent white. Reinstating the Obama-era Fair Housing Rule will combat this ongoing segregation and set us on a path to true integration.

Congress should also pass the American Housing and Economic Mobility Act, or a similar measure, to finally redress the legacy of redlining and break down the walls of segregation once and for all.

Broadband Access

To realize broadband's potential to benefit our democracy and connect us to one another, all people in the United States must have equal access and broadband must be made affordable for the most vulnerable. Yet today, 15 percent of American households with school-age children do not have subscriptions to any form of broadband, including one-quarter of Black households (an additional 23 percent of African Americans are “smartphone-only" internet users, meaning they lack traditional home broadband service but do own a smartphone, which is insufficient to attend class, do homework, or apply for a job). The Biden administration, Federal Communications Commission, and Congress must develop and implement plans to increase funding for broadband to expand universal access.

Enhanced, Refundable Child Tax Credits

The United States faces a crisis of child poverty. Seventeen percent of all American children are impoverished — a rate higher than not just peer nations like Canada and the U.K., but Mexico and Russia as well. Currently, more than 50 percent of Black and Latinx children in the U.S. do not qualify for the full benefit, compared to 23 percent of white children, and nearly one in five Black children do not receive any credit at all.

To combat this crisis, President Biden and Congress should enhance the child tax credit and make it fully refundable. If we enhance the child tax credit, we can cut child poverty by 40 percent and instantly lift over 50 percent of Black children out of poverty.

Reparations

We cannot repair harms that we have not fully diagnosed. We must commit to a thorough examination of the impact of the legacy of chattel slavery on racial inequality today. In 2021, Congress must pass H.R. 40, which would establish a commission to study reparations and make recommendations for Black Americans.

The Long View

For the past century, the ACLU has fought for racial justice in legislatures and in courts, including through several landmark Supreme Court cases. While the court has not always ruled in favor of racial justice, incremental wins throughout history have helped to chip away at different forms of racism such as school segregation ( Brown v. Board), racial bias in the criminal legal system (Powell v. Alabama, i.e. the Scottsboro Boys), and marriage inequality (Loving v. Virginia). While these landmark victories initiated necessary reforms, they were only a starting point.

Systemic racism continues to pervade the lives of Black people through voter suppression, lack of financial services, housing discrimination, and other areas. More than anything, doing this work has taught the ACLU that we must fight on every front in order to overcome our country's legacies of racism. That is what our Systemic Equality agenda is all about.

In the weeks ahead, we will both expand on our views of why these campaigns are crucial to systemic equality and signal the path this country must take. We will also dive into our work to build organizing, advocacy, and legal power in the South — a region with a unique history of racial oppression and violence alongside a rich history of antiracist organizing and advocacy. We are committed to four principles throughout this campaign: reconciliation, access, prosperity, and empowerment. We hope that our actions can meet our ambition to, as Dr. King said, lead this nation to live out the true meaning of its creed.

What you can do:
Take the pledge: Systemic Equality Agenda
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Featured image by Shutterstock

Growing up, Eunique Jones Gibson didn't have to look far for positive imagery that reflected who she was and where she came from. At a young age, Eunique's parents wasted no time instilling the importance of self-love and embracing the richness of Black culture. From her father's afrocentric, Cross Colours-based style to seeing herself through the lens of Lena James, Jada Pinkett's confident persona on A Different World, Eunique's surroundings began to paint a colorful portrait of the world's true representation could form. She points out, "That was my entryway into really embracing the culture and understanding the power of who we are and being critical of false narratives." It's no wonder that her work in representation through entertainment and media no less found her.

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