In a world where providing for yourself is a feat in and of itself, fatherhood seems near impossible. Yet somehow, dads find a way to make it all work. Through sacrificing their time and energy, they help foster fruitful communities by instilling core values into their children, which, in turn, pass those values to their children. This year, to celebrate Father’s Day, we want to magnify the exemplary parenting of four amazing fathers in our community.
In honor of Father’s Day, we held three dad-centric panels at three of our New York City locations. There, Hot 97’s Shani Kulture and Kells Barnett of #TAKECAREOFHARLEM spoke to their personal experiences with fatherhood and gave some insight into the challenges that may come with it. Taking everything they’ve learned thus far, they made sure to offer words of advice and encouragement to the attentive fathers in the audience, too. After the panel, guests were treated to complimentary meals courtesy of local, Black-owned catering service, Star Island Grill, helmed by chef – and father – Ryhan.”
For the first installment of our Father’s Day Content Series, we sat down with Rafael Medina, an emergency room manager at Columbia Presbyterian Hospital. Given the nature of his job, Medina had an especially hard time during the pandemic, which limited his ability to interact with his three-year-old son. That adversity has only strengthened their bond. Medina now relishes the opportunity to take his son to the park, or teach him about his Puerto Rican heritage. We caught up with Medina to learn more about his experience as a father.
For the second installment of our Father’s Day Content Series, we took to Atlanta to catch up with radio personality DJ Alpo. You may know him from spinning hit records on Hot 1079 Atlanta and Sirius XM’s Shade 45, but when DJ Aplo’s not working, he’s spending quality time with his six children. We sat down with Alpo to hear what he had to say about fatherhood, balancing work and home-life, and more.
After a successful trip to Atlanta, we returned to New York to catch up with Shani Kulture. Kulture is most recognized from his charismatic work on Hot 97, where he serves as a host on Ebro in the Morning. But, when he’s not at the station, he spends his time mentoring his three sons. We met with Shani to discuss the importance of leading by example, and to learn about his anti-bullying No Disrespect Campaign.
“Being for your family is the most important thing, at the end of the day that’s the only thing that matters,” says Ian Pershad, or as he’s better known, DJ E-Stylez. Becoming a father at 18-years-old, E-Stylez had to learn how to be a father quickly. The experience changed his life; he began to take his life more seriously and focus more on his goals. We took a trip to his home in the Bronx to learn more about his experience with fatherhood, how he balances his work and home life, and more.
In addition to our Father’s Day Video Content Series, we also spoke with distinguished members in our industry about their experiences with fatherhood.
First, we caught up with John Miller, the Senior Vice President of Wholesale at PUMA and father of two. Miller explained that becoming a father changed his life in many ways. The experience gave him a new-found purpose in life – he began to focus on goals that were no longer solely career oriented, but rather family driven. Miller’s parenting style is influenced by that of his parents, who supported their son both financially and emotionally during his youth.
To Miller, a good father is one that “loves unconditionally, accepts that they will make mistakes, gives and takes love, and embraces the fun of fatherhood.”
We also had the chance to speak with Ken Johnson, Marketplace Director at Jordan Brand, about his experience being the patriarch of his family. While not a father in the traditional sense, Johnson looks after his 19 nieces and nephews and 6 godchildren. Selflessly, Johnson strives to be a resource for his family, providing the children with things that they cannot afford. When asked about the struggles that come with balancing work and home life, Johnson explains that his calling in life is not his vocation – rather, he strives to be present for his nieces, nephews, and godchildren as much as possible, as that is what’s most important.
In addition to being the month in which Father’s Day is honored, June is also the month in which the country’s largest Puerto Rican celebration takes place – New York City’s annual Puerto Rican Day Parade. However, due to the lasting effects of the pandemic, this year’s celebrations were relegated to a new, virtual form. That said, we were compelled to give our community a safe alternative to gather together, be active, and commemorate the day.
We joined forces with Los Comedores Sociales, a New York-based community organization that aims to provide food security to Puerto Rican families, to host an honorary 5K run through the streets of Spanish Harlem. There, a community historian guided the runners through “EL Barrio,” making occasional stops at historic murals throughout the community. Along the way, Attendees learned about the history and significance of each mural.