Blackfilm.com reported that the winner of the 2015 screenplay American Black Film Festival (ABFF), ‘Deadbeat Dad Rehab,’ has been greenlit for production, and will be aired on TVOne in July. The ensemble cast features names that black households recognize such as Malik Yoba (New York Undercover), Robert Ri’chard (My Cousin Skeeter…unfortunately, it won’t be cousin Skeeter), Wesley Jonathan (The guy with the ponytail who has been playing teenagers since City Guys), Robert Riley (Hit the Floor aka the space filler between the premier and rerun of Love and Hip Hop every Monday), and Rick Gonzalez (Old School…#RIP Blue).
The movie-to-be is about four men who are apparently not the greatest dads in the world who undergo unconventional, yet pertinent methods on how to be better fathers. I assume Yoba is the therapist, pulling from his experience being married to therapist
Janet Dr. Jackson-because I’m nasty-in ‘Why Did I Get Married.’ The screenplay was chosen by the ABFF the writing creatively looks at absentee fatherhood by focusing on the “why” instead of the being absentee. It was well written, too.
I understand the process and the mindset of a writer. Essentially, one is drawing from their own experiences that are usually rooted in some kind of darkness. I’m happy for, proud of, and will watch the film in hopes that it sheds light on an epidemic running rampant in black communities…but fuck outta here with that bullshit.
Can we-as a black community-STOP this?! Nobody else does this much tearing down of their own people. Yes, many of us don’t have fathers in our lives; but come on! Are there white, Hispanic, Hasidic Jewish forms of entertainment who are producing so much content about absentee fatherhood? No. But black people do; and statistically black fathers are more involved in their children’s lives than any other race in America. Let’s cut the shit. There are plenty of shitty mothers of all races out there. Do we talk about that so much? Nope. Then again, I also realize that statistics mean nothing to the individual.
For the most part, this medium of entertainment doesn’t bring families together; it isolates. We shine the proverbial spotlight on the faux-pas in our communities when anyone who reads a book knows that in the game of power, you never show your weakness. But we do…because it makes the have-not’s feel better about themselves.
I’m a single father with a daughter who’s mother is dead and the father to my nephew–his father is a deadbeat. Both children are happy as fuck and barely think about what’s missing in their lives. I have plenty of friends and their children don’t know who their paternal grandfather is for whatever reason; but that drives them to be the best parent they can be and some of them have fucked up relationships with the women they conceived with. I just want us to shine more of a light on these people.
My beef isn’t with this particular film, the writer, ABFF, TVOne, or anyone involved with this film…It’s with us. Props to whoever started the #FatherhoodChallenge that has been all over my Facebook feed since yesterday. I love seeing that.
*steps off soapbox*