THERE IS A CREEPING SENSE of bitterness in our society – an ugly cynicism that says that fathers are no longer necessary. I’d seen hints of this viewpoint over the years, and I couldn’t blame those who espoused it. It sometimes came from women who’d been abandoned by men whom they were better off without.…

Read More

IT WAS EARLY Saturday morning when I burrowed beneath the covers, my lips turned up in a self-satisfied smile. This would be the weekend that my dream of sleeping in would be realized. As I settled in for a long winter’s nap, familiar sounds filled my home. My wife, LaVeta, the early riser, was downstairs,…

Read More

I TOOK MY family to see “Selma,” the Golden Globe-nominated film that portrays the bloody battle for the passage of the Voting Rights Act of 1965. I took them, not because of the film’s historical lessons or cinematic splendor. I did so because my children must see their story on screens large enough to hold…

Read More

FATHERHOOD was tough for me in 2014, because there were moments in which it was impossible to laugh. There was the moment when I had to explain to my 10-year-old son that I couldn’t buy him an Airsoft pistol, because someone could mistake it for a real gun and tragedy might ensue. I had no idea at the time that…

Read More

THE LAST FEW WEEKS have been trying times for me as a father. The debate on police brutality has taken the national stage, pitting one side against another in an ideological battle over life, death and the use of force in our communities. We’ve seen unarmed men choked to death. We’ve seen police officers gunned…

Read More

In the wake of Ferguson, I worry about my son. Those words, from a Philadelphia Daily News column I wrote, led to a call from a producer at ABC’s Nightline. Within 24 hours, my son and I were in our house with anchor Byron Pitts and a film crew talking about race, class, police, and…

Read More

THE IMAGE was horrific. An unarmed father of six, choked from behind by a police officer on a Staten Island street corner. As his life slipped away, Eric Garner repeatedly gasped the words that would come to define the encounter: “I can’t breathe.” Though Garner repeated that fateful phrase 11 times, Officer Daniel Pantaleo, the…

Read More

EVE IS TURNING 13. That’s scary. Not zombie-movie, brain-eating scary, but scary just the same. Why would I be afraid, you ask? Perhaps those of you without daughters are unaware of this, but there’s nothing in the world more dangerous than a teenage girl. Let’s set aside the fact that when they reach teen status, their…

Read More

THERE WAS a time when I believed I would always be hip; that I would never lose track of what was in. I was the guy who knew every new song, dance and phrase that defined the essence of cool. While other people memorized rap tunes, I wrote my own. When others watched hip-hop dancers,…

Read More

IN 1991, a large black man was beaten by four white police officers. The videotaped attack appeared to be a clear case of police brutality. The black community was outraged, national publicity ensued, and the officers involved were criminally charged. That was the case of Rodney King, whose videotaped police beating was remarkably similar to the case…

Read More