Name: Nigel Key | City: Los Angeles, LA | IG: @nikey_o2g
What does being a father mean to you?
As the late great Frederick Douglass once said, “It is easier to build strong children than to repair broken men.”
We must dedicate our lives and create a purpose build around fatherhood because raising our family and guiding our youth will make a massive difference in the future. Not just our family, but the world will be influenced by one household at a time, depending on proper fatherhood.
Furthermore, a father must be there every day, not just on the weekends. Children change and grow daily. They need the presence of the father to embrace every emotion and obstacle the child may face. The ultimate goal is to train the child and introduce them to life skills that will help them find their purpose in life. Raise them to be great fathers as well and keep the legacy of being a great parent alive to influence the world.
Describe your experience with your father growing up and how that impacted you today.
In addition, at times many fathers face a very difficult task that makes it close to impossible to physically be with their child daily. The life for some fathers, especially black fathers, can be challenging due to racial setbacks, incarceration, death, improper relationship with the mother, financial, and many other issues. Me personally my father supported me and is still in my corner today as well as my mother, whom I love dearly. Ironically, my father and I never had a chance to live in the same house together but I never doubted his love because I understand the way of life. In addition, my ambition and motivation to be with my children every day still turned out great and I am reaching my goals daily and my father is still in my corner, so the legacy will continue despite the disadvantages.
What things did you take from your experience growing up into your own fatherhood journey?
The culture in Compton as a child was very influential, looking back to my first days as a young pup being exposed to murders in elementary, shootouts in broad day at Thomas Jefferson, police raids, 1992 riots and so much more. The pressure of adapting to street life is heavy. During these times we need the fathers to be there to catch us before we go under. My childhood was beautiful with no care in the world we didn’t let obstacles of the environment nor financial hardships to effect our childhood. We were creative, talented and we enjoyed ourselves. As I transitioned to the projects in Lomita my childhood continued from childhood to adolescence. I remember those times where I have headed the wrong direction and I’m still paying for some of the choices I made today. This is why I know exactly what a child needs growing up especially a young man. The pressure of the streets is serious on the west coast. LA county, the inner-city, Compton, Watts, South Central, and the list go on. The moral of the story is we need fathers around that are active and understand how to raise a child because you can have a father with you every day but if they are leading you to the streets the chances of transitioning may be slim to none. But the way are we built, we can survive anything.
Have you had any obstacles on your fatherhood journey?
Fatherhood was my discipline. It made me a man. The journey stripped me of my ego and made me recreate myself. I felt embarrassed, lost, and anxious. My calling to be a father and my ambition to take care of my responsibilities heavily outweighed my fears. I was relentless and determined to be a great father regardless of distractions I had to sacrifice. I chose to change my entire life. Dedicated my every move for my children because like Benard Baruch said, “those who mind don’t matter, and those who matter don’t mind.” Another obstacle is finances and time. If you spend every day working to provide for your family but you are never there to spend quality time with your children you end up missing episodes and special moments that are important. When your child needs you spiritually or emotionally and you are out trading time for money, you end up being present physically but absent mentally. Once I realized the pattern of my missing family time I made it my duty to switch my entire career just so I can be there for my children.
What advice would you give others new on their fatherhood journey?
My advice to new and future fathers is “respect thy queen” which is the slogan of our clothing line “Solid BlaQ” (www.solidblaq.com @solidblaq). Depending on the woman you chose to bare your child will determine what type of experience you will occur. So have fun in your single life but protect yourself, learn who you are as a man, find your life purpose, and do your research on your mate. Because once a child is born there is no turning back. No retreat no surrender, step up, and handle your business 4 Life. Remember as long as you have faith and a growth mindset you can make it through any obstacles, so never give up.
If you could write a quick letter to your father, starting with “Dear Father,” what would you say?
“Dear Father,” I just wanted to let you know that, with a growth mindset, perseverance, faith, and ambition there is nothing we can not overcome, fight on.
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