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Dear Fathers Controls the Narrative of Black Fatherhood by Providing Resources and Conversation

Best friends Jesse Alex and Lamar Johnson Jr. never knew that when they met over 20 years ago in their hometown of St. Louis, MO that they would embark on a journey that would be a part of changing the narrative for an entire community. Over the years, they began having many conversations about life, and who they were as Black men. They both realized that neither one of them grew up with a father in the home and this led them to have a lot of questions about the real impact of the absent father in a child’s life. After talking more about the topic and who they wanted to be as Black men, they started to research the Black fatherhood space. They noticed a few good brands, but they aimed to dive a little bit deeper into the stories of Black fathers and provide resources for Black men. Since September of 2019, their lives were forever changed with the launch of Dear Fathers.

Dear Fathers is a premiere media platform dedicated to telling stories of Black fatherhood from every angle. Creating a platform so powerful that not only has the chance to impact the community in which it’s aimed, but the founders have admitted that by listening and learning they have also been impacted by this journey. “This platform has helped me in a ton of ways, first and foremost, with the way that I look at and view my dad. I always had mixed emotions about him not being around my household growing up, since I’ve been an adult. I’ve learned that he and my mother both were doing their best, doing what they knew how which led me to dive deeper and ask them questions about their relationships with their dads. That put a lot of things into perspective for me,” Lamar says.

Dear Fathers isn’t only a platform that speaks on fatherhood, they provide many resources for Black men in general. Whether you are a man without children or even a Black woman, this platform has something for everyone. “Black men who aren’t fathers can learn a lot from our platform since we promote and show the positivity of Black men in general, not just fathers. On our platform, you’ll see what positive Black husbands look like and you can also see what Black men healing and uplifting one another looks like as well," Lamar shares. Black women, who are the foundation of the Black community, have the opportunity to learn from the platform by utilizing some of the resources provided by the platform to assist them with raising up young Black men of their own. The overall goal is to promote healthy conversations in every type of household in the Black community. “Since starting the platform, we’ve heard tons of people who are not fathers reach out and tell us that our content and platform have helped them reconnect with their fathers, which is amazing,” Jesse says.

Dear Fathers has created many resources but one of the current resources that the platform prides itself on is STR8 Mental, the virtual mental health space for Black men, which is held once a month on Zoom. STR8 Mental is led by two Black male therapists who create a space where men join to unpack, fellowship and heal together. Another resource is Books x Bourbon, the Black man’s book club. This is also done virtually on the second Wednesday of each month. Check out their website under the “Resources” tab to tap into all resources provided here at Dear Fathers.

Whether you are a Black father, Black brother, or Black son, Dear Fathers is a platform that continues to pride itself on the growth and healing of every Black man. Despite what may be shown on mainstream media, it is the responsibility of platforms like ours and Dear Fathers to take control of the narrative and share those positive stories.

What’s next for Dear Fathers you ask? One of the main things they are currently working to execute is the Fearless Fathers non-profit organization. With this they will be focusing on different initiatives such as providing therapy sessions for Black men, helping to feed fatherless families, and bailing incarcerated fathers out of jail every year. Also, they will be releasing new merchandise soon so be on the lookout for that.

Jesse feels that the most rewarding part of his journey is “seeing the “fatherhood + culture” term come to life has been amazing. We set out to be a platform for the culture to celebrate, so seeing people like Tina Knowles-Lawson, Kel Mitchell, Cedric The Entertainer, Brad Beal, Pusha T, Susan Kelechi Watson, and many more tap into what we’re doing has been pretty cool to watch unfold.” Lamars says the most rewarding part of the Dear Fathers journey for him has to be him being able to take in everything that these men share and apply some of the things to his life. “As a dad growing without any real dad experience I had no clue what it really took to be a dad besides what I have seen on tv. Now seeing all of these amazing black fathers come together and share their journeys I feel like I have all of the tools plus more to be the best dad for my kids,” he continues.

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