Boris Kodjoe and Lance Gross Share Their Best Advice For Black Dads, Open Up About Fatherhood

Boris Kodjoe and Lance Gross have quite a bit in common—they’re both actors with successful side projects, married with children, and they both love to give us fun glimpses of their family life on Instagram.

At the 2019 Essence Festival Power Stage on Saturday, Gross and Kodjoe joined Relationships and Wellness Director Charli Penn for a conversation about fatherhood.

Onstage, Kodjoe—who has a 14-year-old daughter named Sophie and a 12-year-old son named Nicolas with his wife of 14 years, actress Nicole Ari Parker—spoke about why his adolescent kids don’t have social media pages.

“There’s so much distraction,” he told the audience. “There’s so many impressions that kids are being subjected to every single day that forces them to compare themselves to a million other people, which we didn’t have to worry about growing up.”

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Gross, on the other hand, spoke about prioritizing his family. In fact, he’s turned down important career opportunities, he revealed to prove his point.

“When I was having my daughter, I got offered a role that shot in Atlanta and we’re from Los Angeles,” the Star actor said. “The only thing I wanted during negotiations was to be able to fly home in case my wife went into labor. That was the only thing I needed them to guarantee, and they couldn’t.”

“I passed [the role] up and I was able to be there for her birth. Looking back, if I was in Atlanta, I probably would have missed it,” Gross said.

When asked what advice they have for new dads, the two actors shared wise words.

“Just show up,” Kodje advised. “A lot of fathers are scared to come up short. Often times fathers are hesitant to be there for their kids because they think they can’t be three 100%. But every time you show up, that is 100%. Kids don’t need a lot, they just need you.”

Gross said the answer is simple: “Don’t miss a moment.”


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