The 2021 ESSENCE Festival of Culture will definitely be one to remember. As the world is still adjusting to a new way of life, this year’s festival is going virtual for two weekends in a row – allowing for a similar experience minus the human interaction. During week 1 of the Festival’s Wealth & Power experience, Jameel Spencer, Dr. Jafar Godfrey and Nate Burleson got together as panelists for a candid conversation on fatherhood, and all that the role encompasses, specifically during this global pandemic.
Only a few days removed from Father’s Day, #BlackDadsMatter: Navigating Fatherhood In The New Normal focused on the importance of leading your family with love, compromise and understanding. Consisting of men with firsthand experience, this panel broke many of the negative stereotypes associated with fatherhood in the African-American community. One fact that goes unnoticed is how far the influence of the Black male role model should reach. Beyond the household, it is also pivotal to teach, and be a positive example for not only their children, but every child they may encounter, especially within their respective neighborhoods.
Sports analyst and NFL veteran Nate Burleson shared his experiences parenting both as a father and a husband. Too often when a child is involved, men may lose sight of continuing to cultivate their relationship with their wife. “You need to make sure your wife’s needs are met physically, intimately; continue to take them out on dates,” Nate stated. “You can’t invest in your child without first investing in your partner.”
Naturally, parents want to provide a higher quality of life than what was afforded to previous generations. Dr. Jafar Godfrey, CEO of Tag Movement Consulting explained why this might become problematic if not properly regulated. It’s not in the child’s best interest to judge and chastise them for their privilege if it was the goal as a parent to do so. “We have to stop being jealous of our kids,” said Godfrey. “Breaking those generational curses and not passing them on to future generations should be the chief aim for any successful father.”
During the pandemic, many families were forced to spend more time with each other than usual. Spencer, Nate and Jafar each highlighted the lack of time that they unconsciously spend with their children on a daily basis prior to the 2020 quarantine period. Spencer specifically noted how important it is for parents to create a safe space for their children that’s rooted in honesty and open communication. “It’s different because, I came from a ‘do as I say not as I do,’ [era]. I literally used to say to my kids, ‘I’m not you’re friend,’ he said. “Now, I realize the value in being their friend because I see how the people they choose to be their friends affect their lives and I definitely want to impact their lives more.”
Check out the full conversation in the video above. For more of everything you missed during week 1 of the 2021 ESSENCE Festival of Culture Wealth & Power experience, visit the official website HERE.