A Look At What It Means To Be A Black Dad

Photo: Via @lucybaber.
A few years ago, a photo of two Black gay men doing their daughters' hair went viral. Among the usual homophobia were positive comments from people who were thankful that a photo like this — of Black men who not only loved each other, but also took care of their children — existed on the internet.
It broke through stereotypes of Black masculinity and fatherhood, and for that reason, this image was special.
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Now, following the Black Lives Matter movement, a photographer has taken it upon herself to continue disrupting stereotypical ideas of what it looks like to be a Black father.
Lucy Baber started the 100 Black Dads project in February to "explore what it means to be black while raising children in today’s culture," according to her website.
Baber is a white woman, and well aware that her privilege could shape this project. So she's doing her best to keep herself out of it.
"I’m trying really hard to use this time to listen," she writes on her website. "I want to make sure to keep myself out of the way and just let each dad’s unique story unfold in front of my camera organically.
Each dad fills out a questionnaire about his experience, which Baber posts alongside the photos to her Facebook and Instagram accounts.
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So far, she has photographed 17 dads. Read on to see their stories.
4 of 17
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5 of 17
"My fear in this day and age, is that people are trying to rewrite history by undermining what Black folks went through (and still go through today). That said, I also fear that some of the blatant hatred from years ago is coming back to our society. For this reason, I need my children to understand who they are and that they have to advocate for themselves."
8 of 17

"Being a father is the most important thing I will ever do and I wholeheartedly embrace everything this means. My two daughters, ages 15 and 16, are everything I could wish for – kind, smart and pretty well-adjusted. This is a combination of who they are naturally and the love and support poured into them by my wife and I, family and friends, coaches, and their schools. Parenting is a work in progress – art and grind. What is successful one day fails the next. What is best for one kid may be the opposite of what the other needs. And, just when I it seems that I’ve figure something out, things switch up again. Every stage of their development presents a new set of tests. My attempts at meeting these challenges are seldom perfect but I try my best because in the end I simply want them to become the best possible versions of themselves. In our home we talk a lot about politics, race, gender, as well as regular teenage stuff like music, school work, and friends. One of the most challenging things of late has been to explain why this country is spiraling, specifically leading up to and since the November election. I try to provide some historical context and reassure them that we will get through these dark times as well, although I know this not true for everyone. I try to impress upon them that we have an obligation to always stand with, and for, marginalized people and the issues we care about. Even at their young ages, they are have a strong social consciousness and are active in this emerging social movement. This makes me proud and gives me hope for the future." #100blackdads #blacklivesmatter #100blackdadsphotoproject #artasactivism #photographersforsocialjustice #philadelphiafamilyphotographer #phillydads #lucybaberphotography #blackfatherhood #blackhistorymonth

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"In our home we talk a lot about politics, race, gender, as well as regular teenage stuff like music, school work, and friends. One of the most challenging things of late has been to explain why this country is spiraling, specifically leading up to and since the November election. I try to provide some historical context and reassure them that we will get through these dark times as well, although I know this not true for everyone."
9 of 17

"In this society, I could lose my life at the hands of a paid government official, on camera, with my daughter by my side, and still be blamed for it or have it justified...even when the story comes to light and it shows an accidental killing. Black Lives Matter, in my opinion, is an outcry to this society to inform it of our collective humanity. All black lives must matter. The impact that BLM has had on me has been huge. I can now stand firm in the very thing that I tried to highlight much of my life...and that is the injustice that black people face on a daily basis. BLM is fighting for equal justice under the law. In addition to that, I can talk more about the unwanted looks I get from white Americans when they believe I don't belong in a certain space. I can talk about not getting a job because my name sounds black. I can speak on the overall collective struggle of being black in America and have more and more of my non-POC (People of Color) friends listen without invalidating my experience and chalking it up to paranoia. My anger, our collective anger, is a little more valid than it was in the past. My fear is that my daughter might have to struggle to make it to adulthood with a father. The overall fear is that I won't get to raise her to adulthood because my life could "justifiably" be cut short." #100blackdads #blacklivesmatter #100blackdadsphotoproject #artasactivism #photographersforsocialjustice #philadelphiafamilyphotographer #phillydads #lucybaberphotography #blackfatherhood #blackmensmile #blackexcellence #fatherhood #blacklivesmatterphilly #showingupforracialjustice #phillysurj #aliyahisis

A post shared by Lucy (@lucybaber) on

"In this society, I could lose my life at the hands of a paid government official, on camera, with my daughter by my side, and still be blamed for it or have it justified...even when the story comes to light and it shows an accidental killing....My fear is that my daughter might have to struggle to make it to adulthood with a father. The overall fear is that I won't get to raise her to adulthood because my life could 'justifiably' be cut short."
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13 of 17
17 of 17
"We must teach our kids their worth, knowing that society will constantly show them images degrading what it means to have their skin color. Knowing that there are laws in place to keep them at the bottom of society, we must teach them what they deserve. We must teach them their history, the parts of history that have been expunged from school history books. We must show them examples of how black people have ALWAYS been an educated, innovative, and strong people that have made so many contributions to this society."
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