Stunning Photos Show What It Really Means to Be a Black Dad in 2017

Lucy Baber

Black men often get a bad rap, especially when it comes to parenting. In our society, black men are plagued by stereotypical assumptions, such as the idea that they abandon their kids or fuel negative behaviors through their absence, which can make present, engaged black fathers seem like the exception to the rule. Inspired by the Black Lives Matter movement and their efforts to fight police violence against black people, especially against men and fathers, Philadelphia-based photographer Lucy Baber is on a mission to combat negative stereotypes about black men and set the record straight about what it means to be a black dad.

  • She created "100 Black Dads," an incredible photo series that features dads interacting with their kids and explaining what fatherhood means to them.

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  • Baber's goal is to uplift the men themselves, to remind them that they’re not invisible and that their contributions are valued.

  • To do this, she gives each father a chance to tell his story and shares it alongside his photo.

    "I want to use photography to explore what it means to be black while raising children in today's culture," Baber said in a press release. "I'm trying really hard to use this time to listen. 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."

  • Jamiel

    "I worry about raising a son with autism. In a world that's so cold and fast-paced, will there be compassion and true love for my son after I'm gone?"

  • Dewain

    "I'm extremely proud to be a black father in today's society. For years the stigma around our culture has many times been negative, but I grew up with a great father who had a major impact on where I am today. He provided me with a template of what it means to be an engaged and invested father. And now I find myself surrounded by so many of my peers who are just amazing black fathers who love what they do. It sounds a little corny, but I love the fact that when I scroll down my Instagram and Facebook timelines, so many of the videos are of my fellow black fathers simply spending quality time with their kids. The best part about it is that the time spent is clearly not an obligation. They do it because they genuinely enjoy fatherhood the same way that I do."

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  • Riley

    "It is both wonderful and scary to be a black dad. I get to lead by example, but I also fear that society will dig its claws into the beauty and innocence of my children. As a civil rights attorney, the BLM movement has impacted me greatly by bringing a spotlight to issues I have been fighting against my entire life. As a black man, it's scary to know that I could do everything right and still be killed by the police."

  • Malcolm

    "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."

  • Rashod

    "Being a black man and a police officer, the Black Lives Matter movement has affected me on all levels personally and professionally. In short, I hate that the argument makes you pick a side between supporting police officers or black victims of police brutality. On the job, I know some awesome officers who want to do good in the areas they patrol. But on the other hand, growing up I often felt like I was targeted by police because of the color of my skin. My hope in raising a black child is that one day she might only be judged by her character and not by the color of her skin. My fear is that society will remain the same and won't change for the better."

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  • Naim

    "Being a quality, present, active father is priority over everything. It is important that my daughter sees me as a supportive loving black man, so she understands that this is the rule, NOT the exception .... I hope that people will begin to realize that the images and social portrayals of black men and black fathers do not wholly encompass what we actually are. That there are black fathers who are present and supportive and active. We are not just statistics, or 'angry animals' in need of incarceration or death. That our presence is needed and valuable to the growth and development of our kids, that we cannot and should not be so easily dismissed. I want to inspire black men to want to be present in the lives of their kids, to make being an ACTIVE dad cool. I mean, it is pretty cool ... it's challenging, but the rewards are invaluable."

  • Terral

    "My wife and I are proud to have daughters with such a rich heritage. I hope we can teach them to love themselves and to value others as well. Being black and Indian will likely be a subject we'll have to tackle at some point. I do have some fear about how that conversation will go someday. I love my girls just like any other father would and want the very best for them. We are all human and ultimately not all that different from each other."

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