Black Fatherhood : Trials, Tribulations ,Testimony & Triumph By Khalid Akil White

It was June 2006. I was twenty-five years old, going on twenty-six that fall. I’d recently moved back home to the Bay Area from being out of state for college. I had earned my bachelor’s and master’s degrees at Morehouse College and Harvard University School of Education, respectively. Plus, I’d just landed one of those “good jobs” paying over $25 an hour, full time, with benefits and overtime available. You couldn’t tell me I wasn’t the man.

In my mind, I was blessed. I was young, worry-free, handsome, educated and I thought I was smooth. To top it off, I was about to make some “real money” now. I was getting ready to execute my five-year plan. The plan included financial freedom, traveling, beautiful women, and a rapid ascent up the socioeconomic ladder.

You see, I was positioning myself to embark upon the lifestyle of a true player, inclusive of all the trappings that lifestyle offers. A player’s life is celebrated in hip-hop culture, the culture of my peers and I. Naturally I couldn’t wait to begin my own celebration.

Many of my homies, some homegirls and my hip-hop idols touted that player lifestyle. And I felt like my time had arrived to enter into that echelon: the coveted player’s circle. I had every intention of becoming Player of the Year in 2006.

I was on top of the world. Money wasn’t going to be an issue. I was about to start getting paid. I was actively dating. I definitely wasn’t trying to be attached to any one woman. I had a decent little ride, my own spot. Life was good…and it was improving daily.

Some of my friends already had kids of their own. And, although I love kids, having a child of my own was definitely not in my immediate-future plan. Whenever the question was posed to me, “Do you have any kids?” my answer was an emphatic Hell nah.” Having kids would definitely derail my player aspirations. In fact, kids would derail just about every plan I’d conjured up for myself over the next five years.

A few months passed and in late August 2006, I received a phone call that stopped me dead in my tracks. The call was from a young lady I had been seeing. Yes, we were seeing each other. But I let it be known that I wasn’t interested in anything long term. I didn’t see myself settling down or being attached to any woman at that point in my life.

During that phone call, she went on to articulate that she was pregnant…with my child.

Wait. What?

 

 

Dr. Khalid Akil White is an Ethnic Studies Professor and the Umoja Academic Success Program Coordinator at San Jose City College. He is also a Lecturer, in African American Studies, at San Jose State University. Khalid Akil is also an entrepreneur, author, filmmaker, and mentor.

Khalid began teaching in the California Community College system in 2005, in the Ethnic Studies and Social Science disciplines. His appointment at San Jose State University began in 2014.  Prior to working in higher education, he worked with incarcerated youth and young adults in the Juvenile Justice field.

Khalid’s research and practical efforts in higher education have focused on effective student success strategies for African American male students in the California Community College system, as well as in the K-12 primary education system. His Doctoral research focused on the educational experiences and perceptions of Black male students in the Striving Black Brothers Coalition (SBBC), at Chabot College. In 2015, Khalid co-authored the Guidebook, Teaching Men of Color in the Community College, with the Directors of San Diego State University’s Minority Male Community College Collaborative (M2C3).

Khalid recently authored the book, Black Fatherhood: Trials & Tribulations, Testimony & Triumph. The book contains 14 unique, first-person narratives of Black fathers and families navigating contemporary relationship and parenting scenarios, in the San Francisco Bay Area. The book dispels mainstream mass media’s depiction of Black men as “Deadbeat Dads”.  https://www.createspace.com/6526424 . He also wrote and Produced the award-winning, independent documentary, Black Fatherhood: Trials & Tribulations, Testimony & Triumph.    

Khalid is also the owner of BLKMPWR (Black Empower), LLC. The independent, multi-media company endeavors to create “Meaningful, message-bearing merchandise and Conscious, counter-narrative content”.  www.blkmpwr.com

Khalid received his Bachelor’s degree in Sociology from Morehouse College (2002). He earned a Master’s degree in Adolescent Education from Harvard University’s Graduate School of Education (2004). Khalid completed his Doctorate degree in Education Leadership at UC Davis  (2014).
He lives with his wife and daughter in the San Francisco Bay Area.

Dr. Khalid Akil White is an Ethnic Studies Professor and the Umoja Academic Success Program Coordinator at San Jose City College. He is also a Lecturer, in African American Studies, at San Jose State University. Khalid Akil is also an entrepreneur, author, filmmaker, and mentor.

Khalid began teaching in the California Community College system in 2005, in the Ethnic Studies and Social Science disciplines. His appointment at San Jose State University began in 2014.  Prior to working in higher education, he worked with incarcerated youth and young adults in the Juvenile Justice field.

Khalid’s research and practical efforts in higher education have focused on effective student success strategies for African American male students in the California Community College system, as well as in the K-12 primary education system. His Doctoral research focused on the educational experiences and perceptions of Black male students in the Striving Black Brothers Coalition (SBBC), at Chabot College. In 2015, Khalid co-authored the Guidebook, Teaching Men of Color in the Community College, with the Directors of San Diego State University’s Minority Male Community College Collaborative (M2C3).

Khalid recently authored the book, Black Fatherhood: Trials & Tribulations, Testimony & Triumph. The book contains 14 unique, first-person narratives of Black fathers and families navigating contemporary relationship and parenting scenarios, in the San Francisco Bay Area. The book dispels mainstream mass media’s depiction of Black men as “Deadbeat Dads”.  https://www.createspace.com/6526424 . He also wrote and Produced the award-winning, independent documentary, Black Fatherhood: Trials & Tribulations, Testimony & Triumph.    

Khalid is also the owner of BLKMPWR (Black Empower), LLC. The independent, multi-media company endeavors to create “Meaningful, message-bearing merchandise and Conscious, counter-narrative content”.  www.blkmpwr.com

Khalid received his Bachelor’s degree in Sociology from Morehouse College (2002). He earned a Master’s degree in Adolescent Education from Harvard University’s Graduate School of Education (2004). Khalid completed his Doctorate degree in Education Leadership at UC Davis  (2014).
He lives with his wife and daughter in the San Francisco Bay Area.

 

Get To Know The Author :

  • What were some of the common misconceptions you sought to dispel in writing Black Fatherhood the book and making the film?

 

I wanted to avoid the stereotype of the “Deadbeat Dad” or absentee Black father and show images of Black fathers and families that were fully developed, had ups and downs and were facing challenges that a lot of Black families face today, across America.

 

  • What inspired me to create book & film?

I was inspired by a couple of different things in creating these works. Firstly, I was inspired by fathers that I knew in my circle. I knew that they had some unique perspectives and experiences that often go overlooked. Secondly, on a sour note, I was inspired to do something like this after seeing how Michael Brown’s father and step-father were demonized in the Ferguson, MO murder. The news portrayed these men as the reasons why Michael Brown was murdered by the police officer in Ferguson. The media scapegoated these men as the reason for the uprising in Ferguson, MO. That really upset me.

 

  • What audiences are you looking to reach?

First, and foremost, I am looking to reach the African American community. Secondly, I am looking to reach college campuses because that generation of student learners has the capability to create change and influence change. So, I’d like to positively influence their perspectives on Black fathers, families, and communities.

 

  • Did creating these projects influence my own fatherhood?

Yes, very much so. I still have to show up and walk the walk in my own fatherhood. Plus, the men and women in Black Fatherhood inspire me to keep going and remain on this forward path.

 

  • How did you select the particular individuals featured?

Each of the individuals featured in the works I know to varying degrees. More than a personal relationship, I knew that they each had some interesting perspectives and experiences that would make for a compelling story. So, I wanted to provide an outlet for them to tell their story aloud.

 

  • What advice would you give to those co-parenting?

You have to keep your emotions and feelings in check if you are co-parenting. I co-parent today. And it took me a while to learn to be able to separate my personal feelings from the nitty gritty of being a co-parent. If the relationship is over and done with, both co-parents still have to provide a life for the child. It’s best to try to do that in a peaceful and respectful way, especially in front of the child because those images remain with the child forever. It’s much easier said than done, however.

 

  • What would you say to Dads that aren’t involved in their kids’ lives?

That is a difficult question because I can’t speak from personal experience on this particular subject. But, as long as you are alive, and your child is living, there is a chance for reconciliation and reconnection. Don’t let your pride, anger, resentment, etc. keep you from trying to reconnect. As the father in the situation, you are in a position of leadership in the relationship with your child. Take the initiative if you want to begin a relationship.

 

  • What’s next for you in terms of books or films?

I want and plan to continue creating more “conscious, counter-narrative content” that continues to uplift the community and portray Black people in ways that mainstream media won’t. We know the stereotypes exist. We are very familiar with those.
But, I choose to portray different, empowering images to counter the stereotypes that exist.

Find The Author & The Book:

https://www.createspace.com/6526424
(Black Fatherhood link to purchase online)

(Black Fatherhood trailer link)

Social Media Links:
@blkmpwr Facebook fan page
@KhalidWhite Facebook personal page
@blkmpwr Twitter business page
@brother_white Twitter personal page
@blkmpwr Instagram
Khalid White, Ed.D LinkedIn

Tamika

Author of 13 novels as seen in Vibe Vixen, Essence, Uptown, and on BET and Centric .