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Happy Father’s Day! I really enjoy being a dad. Of all the hats I wear as an adult, being a father is one of the coolest ones.
Several of the people I interviewed for this column are fathers. Some are seasoned vets, some are all-star rookies; all of them got a twinkle in their eyes when I asked them: What’s good about fatherhood to you?!
Most of their answers are hilarious and provide an insight into the male psyche that we don’t often see—the vulnerability that comes along with being a dad. To their credit, all of them mentioned how much they enjoy parenting their young. That’s not something that you often hear about fathers, especially black fathers. Society, and social media, would have you think that black fathers aren’t involved directly in their children’s lives, especially in cases where they are no longer in a good relationship with the mother. I’ve seen more social media posts on Father’s Day about how awful some guys are. Rarely do I see shout outs, or salutations shared about dads the same way I see about moms.
Children have unlimited potential, in my opinion, and parents have a responsibility to help children see that potential within themselves. Fathers have the ability to do that, and tell corny jokes at the same time. That’s a unique skill, one that can only be developed with practice. And as my dad used to say, ‘practice makes perfect.’
Let’s see how some other dads practice fatherhood.
Rick Younger, you had children at a later age. What’s good about fatherhood to you?!
Hey, it’s a young man’s game. I’m 50 now with a 2-year-old. Mentally I’m in a better place to do it, but physically [laughs] I’m like, “Boy just come back. I don’t wanna chase you.” Who wants to do that at 50 years old? My mind is practical. [Laughs]
Any advice for young people sharing their whole lives on social media?!
Don’t talk about what you might do, talk when you’ve done something. Fat Doctor would say that all the time … For me, social media is something to give me an opportunity to be accessible to people who may have an interest in what I do. A brief look into my life that I choose to share with you. I have pictures of my kids, yes. But I’m showing you when they sat still long enough to have the picture taken. I’m not showing you when I feel like letting them run away. Or when I’m at the theater and I get a call from the babysitter and I got to go on FaceTime and say, “Hey man, you better listen. Just ’cause I’m not there doesn’t mean you don’t have to listen” [laughs]. I usually just follow the lead of my younger cast members. It’s like, “Oh y’all posted about that? OK, I’ll do the same thing.” [Laughs]
Houzmazoo (Alfonzo Duckett), you’re new father. What’s good about fatherhood to you?!
I love it! My son Kade just turned 5 months old. He’s rolling over and trying to sit up by himself. I just wanna give him the world. I can’t wait to bring him along with me, give him a camera and microphone, have him out here with Houzmazoo Network Junior, like Disney Junior and Nick Jr.!
Wes Felton, what’s good about fatherhood to you?!
I only still live in D.C. because my son is here. When my son graduates from high school, most likely I’m going to choose another location to live in. I’m figuring out where. I made an agreement to myself, and also to my son, that when he got to a certain age I was going to start gradually reinserting myself back into being a complete full time artist. I remind him every day, like, “Look bro, your days are numbered, so all of these answers to The Matrix that I’m giving you” … I’m a person who has a passion. I’m not a person who had a kid and said, “Oh, that’s the end of my life. I got to pick a box to be in, or I got to try to do it the way someone else did it.” I had to explain that to my son, like, “Bruh, I am not that person [laughs]; it is not going to happen.” But what I am going to do is try my hardest to be an example to you and teach you self pride, self motivation, and responsibility, things like that, and hopefully help him be able to apply it to what he does. He goes to DeMatha, it’s like The Hunger Games over there, there’s competition. And as a person who is in a very competitive field and professional in various mediums, I understand that and I want to teach him to be able to [understand] that it’s OK to walk away from things sometimes, when you feel like there’s something else that’s a priority. But it don’t mean you quit, if that’s still your thing. Because that will eat you up more than the idea of struggling at something; every day you wake up, you have an attempt to make that play that you draw out work. The reality of it is you have to go out and get it, depending upon your ability and how much time you can devote to it. So that’s what I mean when I tell my son things like, “Hey man, you only got a couple more years to deal with me. I gotta go get it.”
Joel Vincii, National Gallery of Art Gallery Aid, and artist, what’s good about fatherhood to you?! How do you use that stuff when it comes to chillin’ with your children and helping them learn how to tie their shoes?!
It’s a big responsibility, I’m aware that they’re watching. I mean they’re even, you know, starting to pick up like brushes and stuff like that. My seven year old is pretty good. I have two boys, 7 and 4, Nehemiah and Elijah. They’re my little men.
Happy Father’s Day, family! After you’ve given your dad his ugly ties, socks, and reissue of The Matrix movies, in 4K, be sure to ask him, “What’s good with you?” The answer might surprise you.
Follow Joel Vincii on Instagram @joelvincii