Thanks to the Center For Disease control we have statistical evidence that levels all the redirect that the Sean Hannitys and Rush Limbaughs of the world have tried to spew about the lack of black fatherhood. Their scathing comments follow the same hate parade. Even Geraldo Rivero, who has already done ages worth of media damage to the image of the black family altogether, said that Lebron James should have worn a “Be a better father” t-shirt when the “I Can’t Breathe” trend took hold of the NBA. To the contrary, the CDC cited, 67% of Black dads who don’t live with their kids see them at least once a month, compared to 59% of white dads and just 32% of Hispanic dads. And I grew up in West Baltimore, where supposedly all of these overly generalized concepts meet to create the fiasco ran daily on Fox News. Till this day I can run you down a mile long list of black fathers who took their children just as seriously as cops take being marksmen when targeting black flesh. Sadly they never make the news. Where I’m from the Will Smith “Pursuit of Happiness” type of sacrifice happens just as much as Stephen Curry severs ankle ligaments on the basketball court. That being said, what he does at press conferences holds more weight than just toting around a toddler with buckets of personality.
Everyday I’m seen with my daughter I know I’m kicking an oppressive stereotype in its balls, but again, what Stephen Curry is doing, we haven’t developed the ebonics for. Some call it “Light Privilege”, others call it a publicity stunt. I call it poetry. This year Curry solidified his place among the mythical creatures of the NBA such as “Pistol Pete” Pistol Pete Maravich, Reggie Miller, Ray Allen, “Del Curry”, and White Jesus himself Larry Bird. As of March, Curry made a compelling 845 three pointers equaling to 1,935 points worth of beyond the ark glory in his career. To watch him play, is to witness a skill so patented into his DNA code, that only the whispers of mice eating left over popcorn at the stadium are heard when the ball leaves his hands. His court vision is bionic, defense ferocious, and has what we say in Baltimore City, the ball on a string. Curry’s a sensation on the court, but as a family man and father, he’s setting an example few young black boys see on TV.
Riley Curry is her name, and by no imaginary standards is she anything short of gorgeous. As Adam Clayton Powell once said “We got everything from chalk to charcoal, Black is beautiful baby”. But, it isn’t simply her sun dipped hair or smile littered with pea-sized teeth. Her exploits on national television press conferences with her father are a double entendre of an inconvenient truth and seldom obtained freedom. All of the violence and chaos that circulates the news every morning rides the same story line. Black kid gets shot by cops for being “defiant”, maybe he should have had a father. Black kid shoots a fellow teenager. Where were his parents? Black kid gets accepted into all Ivy league schools, not a word about his lineage, DNA, run ins with the law, or Facebook posts quoting trap music. In the stage-play that has occurred during Golden State’s current playoff run, “Steph” is modeling responsible black fatherhood, on purpose. As a black father myself, I long for the days when our children are able to run wildly through the supermarket, knock lucky charms off the shelves, and throw fits of rage that frighten senior citizens in the baked goods aisle. Riley Curry yells at the microphone during her dads Q&A and even shushes him at times. Steph is never ashamed but sheds proud smiles while trying to answer the same mundane questions that ball players have been getting asked since Wilt Chamberlain.
I thought all of America enjoyed it. It was the type of comedy by osmosis that we needed during a time where black men and women are being shot for “not being raised correctly”. Riley interjects, we laugh and feel warm and gooey inside. But, CBS thought otherwise I guess. They decided to ask in a recent headline “Are kids being at press conferences a distraction?”. And, in my opinion yes they are. They’re the perfect distraction from the business as usual display. Black athlete’s children crowding podiums are the most glorious distraction corporate media has ever allowed for the black community. Little brown faces sit on the laps of America’s gladiators and inspire a radical idea. The thought that maybe a young man who currently lives in the grips of his own cycle of fatherlessness would begin to admire his favorite NBA star not only for his American Sniperesque jump shot, but for his candid fatherhood, and vulnerability is golden.
Whether Curry’s daughter has anything to do with beating the army that is Lebron James in the finals is not up for me to decide. Just know that in a sport dominated by the same people who without a basketball in their hand would be deemed criminals will entertain the entire world this month. Most of those gentlemen if not all are fathers. Many have the same wishes for purpose and prosperity for their children. Yet all of them have a unique opportunity to euro-step over generalizations, crossover stereotypes, and let the spiteful chatter fade away into the darkness. So until the daily news changes I say bring your whole family to the podium. Have a cookout there. Every moment of it is backbreaking for those who still harbor hate, and just maybe motivation for a marginalized father to pick up the phone after years of misunderstanding and play his part.