Khalid White Talks Fatherhood, His BLKMPWR Movement, and More.

“Legacy defined by me is the ways in which people, loved ones, those who knew you, and those that may not have ever known you, speak about you or reference you once you are no longer present” – Khalid White

Tell us more about who you are and what you do?

In terms of what I do professionally, I am an educator, author, filmmaker, and a businessman in the San Francisco Bay Area. I’ve been in business for nearly 10 years. And I’ve been teaching African American Studies for 15 years. Away from my 9-5, I am a husband and father of two daughters. As cliche as it may sound, my family is a motivator for all the things that I do. There are primarily all boys in my family. I only have brothers and all my first cousins that I grew up with are boys. So naturally, I just assumed I would have sons to carry on my name and legacy. All that good stuff. But I was tremendously blessed to have daughters. God is the best planner. And knew that I had some maturing, developing, and some blind spots that needed to be addressed. So my two daughters and my wife have offered me a lens that I never saw through previously. And I never knew I needed that kind of personal development. But it’s been way more rewarding, than all the challenges combined.

What inspired you to start BLKMPWR (Black Empower) brand?

The Blkmpwr (Black Empower) brand and business got started out of what I saw as a necessity. And it was also born out of tragedy. In 2014, I watched the scene unfold and play out on TV, with the death of Michael Brown in Ferguson, MO. The way that the people of Ferguson, Michael Brown himself, his dad, and stepdad were villainized by mainstream media made me sick to my stomach. Here we have an unarmed teen, days away from heading to college, who turns out had his hands up and was shot in the back by a white police officer. And the media painted the picture that somehow Michael Brown deserved this. And that the officer was justified in shooting him. I was incensed.
So I decided to try and create my own media company that would educate, empower, and provide cultural equity in telling Black stories and counter-narrative stories that mainstream media wouldn’t show. So, the first story that Blkmpwr told were the stories of Black fathers and families. That story ended up being my first book and documentary project, Black Fatherhood: Trials & Tribulations.
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Tell us more about the book and your goals for it?

Initially, my goals for the Black Fatherhood: Trials & Tribulations book were providing balance, reality, and to critique and chip away at the “Deadbeat Dad” narrative that is saddled on Black men. Sure, there is absenteeism and fathers are missing within our community. However, I know far too many Black men who are present, active fathers and father figures. So, I wanted to share those kinds of stories. For example, single black dads, dads raising bi-racial kids, dads raising non-biological children, grandfathers, dads who didn’t grow up with their own dad, fathers involved in the family court and child support system… the scenarios that today’s Black dads find themselves in.  Highlighting those dads and providing their voices is essential to re-writing the Black father narrative. And WE have to rewrite it for US.  Plus, I wanted to shed more light on the CDC report that Black dads are the most active and involved dads. That report got swept under the rug.
The book has been very well received. Has opened eyes. And won awards and recognition. The success of the book gave the confidence to keep going and to keep building Blkmpwr as a story-telling and truth-telling entity. The community reception and response has been gratifying. Humbling. I get so much positive feedback and thank yous from men and women. It really is touching. I’m grateful for that. I’m grateful that the 14 men and women in the book allowed me and trusted me to share their stories.

Tell us more about the film and your goals for it?

My goals for the Black Fatherhood: Trials & Tribulations documentary were to encapsulate the Black father stories and share them on screen to the world.
Not everyone reads. So, film is the natural medium to get the word out. Especially in today’s media-driven world. So, now the book and film help to solidify Blkmpwr as a multi-media company. We produce independent, culturally-relevant content in the medium of books and film.
The Black Fatherhood: Trials & Tribulations documentary has gone on to win several awards. Has had some international screening success and has taken on a life of its own, separate from the book. We’ve been fortunate to have shown the film to all kinds of audiences across the US and at least 4 international countries. And with the explosion of Zoom, I’ve been doing much more online screenings with Q&A.

Are the book and film both directly tied to each in terms of content and messaging?

An interesting fact is that only a few of the people featured in the book are featured in the documentary. And not everyone in the documentary is featured in the book. So, although both book and documentary have the same title and same theme, they aren’t exactly the same thing and don’t exactly share all the same stories. And that was done intentionally to not bore the audiences that would engage in both book and film. The book features 14 people. Only 6 are in the documentary. The documentary has about 5 or 6 people that aren’t featured in the book.

Speak to the importance of educating our community/culture outside of the classroom?

Educating people outside of the classroom setting is critical. In fact, educating Black people (kids, teens, adults) outside of the traditional classroom setting is a must for our mental and emotional wellness. Most traditional classroom settings and environments won’t affirm Black people, our culture, our history. So we can’t rely on schools to do that and to provide us with the tools we need for self actualization. This isn’t to knock school at all. I’m a school teacher. But if you knew the history and the racial equity gaps that exist in schools. If you knew the racial experiences our kids have in schools, as early as Pre-K and K, you’d take educating and affirming them outside of the classroom much more seriously.

Who is Khalid as a Father?

Khalid as a  father is, hopefully, a person that my daughters can know has their back no matter the situation. As a father, I strive to be responsible for my kids and their wellbeing physically, emotionally, relationally, spiritually, all the ways I can. It’s tough. I am still learning while trying to balance dad life with work life with life as a Black man in America. It’s not an easy task. To be honest, I am still in development. Still under construction as a dad and as a man. It’s an ever-evolving process. But I love my girls. And as their father I want that to be conveyed to them first and foremost.
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What’s one thing you’ve learned about yourself since building this community?

One thing I’ve learned since building my community is that I am not alone. I’ve been affirmed by so many other fathers and father figures on this journey of Black Fatherhood: Trials & Tribulations. I’ve been supported and encouraged by so many men and women on this journey. And I’ve learned that I need support. I need help. Not just telling me what I want to hear. But showing me what I need to know. And that’s in parenthood, in relationships, and in life. I’ve been encouraged to find that there are others out there like me who can admit, “Hey I don’t know” or “Can you show me how?’ That came with growth, maturity, and with learning how to deal with taking L’s. We all need wise counsel. I’ve received it from many respected people in building this community around fatherhood.

What’s one thing you’ve learned about yourself since becoming a father?

A thing or two that I’ve learned about myself in fatherhood is that I knew so little. Knew so little and, honestly, cared so little about the experiences of girls and young women. What they go through. Prior to having my daughters, I’m not sure that I considered that at all. That was a huge blindspot in my life’s windshield.  Having daughters exposed me to more of that. It opened me up to that. It also opened me up to just how much influence girls and women have had in my life. From my own mother, wife, grandmothers, aunts, stepmom, teachers, etc.   Another funny thing I’ve learned, and been teased for, is how much I am like my own dad these days. I can appreciate that now. It’s funny how the apple doesn’t fall far from the tree. I can see some of the things he did as a parent for me in the ways in which I parent my girls today. My dad was my influence.

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Define “Legacy” to you? 

Legacy defined by me is the ways in which people, loved ones, those who knew you, and those that may not have ever known you, speak about you or reference you once you are no longer present. Legacy can also be the foundations that you put in place that will exist and replicate over time. My Dad set a legacy for me. Not necessarily something I can hold or touch. But a foundation of values, principles, expectations, etc. for me that I now pass on to my kids. That’s a legacy to me.

How can people learn more about you, your brands, follow you, etc?

To learn more about me and to connect with me, find me on social media (IG, Twitter, FB): @Blkmpwr 
You can visit my website:
And I am also active on LinkedIn under my full government name : Khalid Akil White


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