parents Tag

Daddy Thoughts 21- Father’s Day Rap

Starting this one off with a new one- Skyzoo from brooklyn.

There are sooo many hip hop artists that mention their children but these are a few I actually remember.  I feel like, just with any music the song has to be dope. And second, it helps to have a positive message whether that is from a person to an absentee parent or a from a new parent to a baby or child. They all important. What about you? Which hip hop song about fatherhood comes to mind for you?

Classic from Bambu-Oakland/LA

Bru Lei from Sacramento!

Rico Pabon of “Prophets of Rage” -Oakland

Xzibit- LA


Classic from ED OG – Boston

The last joint I wrote about was called “Other Plans”

Ayentee – A year of songs

What up hip hop fans. My homie Ayentee (MC/Producer/Dad) has been making hip hop for over 20 years. He has released several albums and collaborative projects. This year he started a new endeavor to release a song every week I believe. And so far it is has been amazing to hear both content, rhyme, and beat wise! If you’re over 30 you’ll really feel this one. Listen and share!

Buy his first 12 songs, the LP is called “The Fall”

2nd annual Social Justice Book Fair – Oakland

Folks, for the 2nd year in a row I have been able to help produce this amazing book fair with Social Justice minded kids bk creators, authors of color, queer and local authors. We started off in the mighty Chapter 510 space last year and have moved to Destiny Arts, still in Oakland. If you are around, we have many great book makers confirmed and the Grammy nominated group ALPHABET ROCKERS will be in the house performing alongside the kids and doing interactive tings. I will be there as well selling my book, reading, and signing books for families.

Saturday Dec 8th, 10am-2pm
Destiny Arts in Oakland
Social Justice and Diverse Books
Alphabet Rockers and various performers for kids
 Event link

Book Zone @ Life is Living 10!

Hey folks, I’m sure you know that I’m a father, husband, artist, and children’s book creator. 

I would like to invite your family to join me and hundreds of other parents @ Life Is Living, October 14th, 2017It’s the 10th year anniversary. Likely to be the best event in all of Oakland that day. Can you join us? If so, RSVP HERE and tag other parents who might be interested.
// My family has attended Life Is Living for the last 10 years.
We attend because it is a place to see friends, meet fellow creatives, and to manifest community building. It’s been a great space to meet new people, to catch up with folks, and introduce my son to so much–skating, visual arts, poetry, healthy food, an event with a vibe filled with love. This is our second year as more than just attendee’s. Last year we organized a book zone. That was fun, so we’re doing it again. This time, with multiple story times throughout the day!
We’ve organized a host of local authors to lead story time through out the day. This years focus is on stories about children of color and some stories about queer kids too.
Hear the stories with your kids, meet the authors, collect a book, get author signatures, and connect with literacy some advocates like the Oakland Public Library.
We hope to gathering over 100 Parents throughout the day at the Book Zone, which is part of a much larger KIDS ZONE run by artist Emily Butterfly. 
There will be many activities for children such as face painting, silk screening, mural painting, and there is a Labyrinth and obstacle course!
OCTOBER 14TH 10:30am-5:30PM, Defremery (Bobby Hutton) Park 1651 Adeline St, Oakland, Ca 94607

Daddy thoughts 10- He’s in love!

My son is in love for the first time. Not with a girl or a
boy, though he has mentioned a young lady that he admires greatly. He smiles
when he mentions her, but I can’t divulge more because he would be mad if I
did. What I mean is that we share our first love together. He loves it and so
do I. I’m talking about hip-hop. 
As I sit playing the instrumental to this classic, I can’t help but feel
nostalgic and somewhat emotional. He actually likes it.
How do I know he’s in love? (I’ve written about him rocking
out before, because he was about that “Twisted Sister” life for real) I know
because he has an uncanny ear for memorizing songs, lyrics, and melodies
quickly. When I play records, and I play them a lot I know he’s listening
closely because he’ll ask to hear this or that again. I took certain records
like “The Message”, “The Biz Mark”, and “Sucker Mc’s” down from the higher
shelf so he could play them and look at the covers. And he did! He picked out
LL’s “I Can’t Live w/out My Radio” and put it on. He took out “King of Rock
and put that on. The other day, I put on a record…I can’t even remember which
one. But I felt so much pride seeing him just nod his head to the beat. I mean,
he’s playing with his lego’s and setting up an imaginative battle scene from the
“D-Day Invasion” (yes , he’s that specific about them) and I put it on and he
just starts nodding his head. I look at him and smile, he smiles back, and goes
back to what he was doing.

I don’t want to overwhelm him, but I have so freaking much I want to show him and tell him. This music and this culture the sounds,
attitudes, codes, rules, herstory, past, present, future. agggh! There’s so
much. I mean, I’m giving him little pieces right now of “Ladies First” and
Kriss Kross”, but I cannot wait to play him “Nautilus” or “ You Must learn
when he’s ready to really hear it, you know what I mean? Right now, its all the
catchy choruses which is fine, because I used to buy an LP and listen to the
single over and over.  He loves the
songs he hears on commercials, video games, and at Warriors games so I have to
tell him who this or that person is, while at the same time playing old funk ,
jazz, or boogaloo records too. There is so much knowledge, wisdom, and beauty
in the music and culture that got me through tough times, decisions, cross
roads, failure, happiness, and triumph. I know there are plumbers, nail
technicians, and veterinarians somewhere that are passing down knowledge and
love to their little ones. What do you absolutely love that you hope your child
appreciates when s/he is grown? Holler in the comments.

Daddy Thoughts 9-Continued

Disclaimer, this is a two-part blog post, to fully get this
part, you should read the first one.
Now, this is a continuation of what I was saying previously
about responsibility and the chore chart I made with my partner through
research and asking other parents for advice. My son was dodging any
responsibility for anything. He would say, “Why do I have to do this”. “I
didn’t know”. “It’s not fair”. You name it. But now I feel that because I have
made stricter rules and made them clear, he knows what I expect of him. (He
does well with rules/boundaries/plans).
Fast-forward to today’s call. He got in trouble because la
maestra called me to tell me he was not listening to her requests. In the
scheme of things this is not a huge deal, but I made a point to bring it up to
him in conversation because I don’t want to let it slide. So, I should preface
this by saying that my son is learning about what it means to take
responsibility for what you say or do. Meaning, do not place blame on someone
or something because you messed up, or you made a mistake. In addition to
teaching him to handle his responsibilities, I’m trying to teach him to think
about his actions and what he can do to shape his life. Back to this
conversation. The first thing he says when I question him about why I got a
call is “these other kids weren’t paying attention during my presentation”.
“And?” I asked. “And, I decided to read during their presentations”. So we
started to talk about revenge and how the world is in a fucked up place because
people keep seeking revenge, or better yet; people keep trying to communicate
how bad they feel by making others feel worse. We agreed that this was true,
and he named some aspects of WW2 that would not have happened if the adults
simply apologized.
The next question I asked was how he could have used his
voice to tell the kids how he felt. We agreed that he had the ability to excuse
himself and command the floor by asking for every ones attention. I told him
that in addition he could ask his teacher for assistance by making it known
that others were not paying attention, thereby expressing himself and
communicating his needs.  I think
this part of the conversation was great because for once he didn’t resort to
the “it’s not fair” argument and simply said he would try next time. Then we
started to talk about his responsibility in listening. He told me he wasn’t
trying to disrespect his maestra; that he had been the one feeling disrespected.
But when I explained how hard it is to be a teacher and get the attention of 20-25
students he empathized and understood how his actions (ignoring her requests to
stop reading) made her feel, and why she called me.

After this, we talked about what he could do on his own
behalf and what consequence there would be for his actions. I didn’t suggest a
consequence, but rather asked him what he thought was fair. In the end he knew
what I was thinking, and we both agreed that no TV or computer was to be
watched the next time it was my weekend. Ok, so this right here. Right here,
this shit! This was #$%^&* amazing! Not only did we come to an
understanding together, but also while dealing out a consequence I praised him
for his honesty and maturity for taking responsibility for his actions. And
that felt great. No fighting, no argument, no crying. We got up, I made dinner
with my partner Joy, and he sorted his Pokémon cards. Nice.

Daddy Thoughts 9-Accept responsibility part one

This post will be broken up into two parts because it is very long.
Today I get a call from one of his maestra’s telling me my
boy is reading a lot in class. At first, I think “Oh wow, that’s a good thing”.
But it turns out the teacher asked him to put his book away and pay attention
to other class activities. I am super excited that he is reading without anyone
telling him to. I’m glad that he finds happiness in it on his own. It should be
some form of entertainment, learning, and escape all at the same time. But, the
problem is listening.
This past year it was tough because I felt like a broken
record. I was repeating myself and asking him to do the same things day in and
day out. Brush your teeth, hurry up, finish eating, take a shower, wash your
dish, etc. It got to the point where it was starting to annoy me, so I know he
was annoyed. I thought about how to handle this because he had no problems
remembering to turn on my computer and watch a cartoon or a documentary about
World War 2. So, I made a list-something I love to do-of all of the things I
wanted him to do. The things he would be responsible for. And I made a list of
all of the privileges he gets with help from him of course.
Now I know some parents will disagree with the method, but
it has worked for me. I’m strict. My dad was strict, now I’m strict. My mom was
strict about some things, but generally she was more lenient that my dad was.
Now, I feel like that pattern is happening again with my son. But, I feel much
more comfortable expressing emotion and feeling. I tell him I love him all of
the time. I try to tell him how I feel, etc. And I ask that he do the same.
Now, back to the list of things. I decided I wanted to
change it to a chart. So, I looked up responsibility charts online and found a
lot of different examples for chores and many other things. I’m still trying to
figure out allowance and jobs that I will pay him for, but what was nagging,
arguments, frustration, whining, and yelling has turned into a more positive pattern.
My partner helped me organize the chart. When he handles his morning activities
(brushing teeth, making his bed, etc) he gets a point. When he cleans his
room  (sweeps, dusts, cleans up,
organizes) he gets two points. And there are more responsibilities. But
basically I award him for handling these things I’ve laid out with time to
watch cartoons, play video games, or choose a dessert. I’ve also asked him to
list other privileges he wants like sleep over’s, going out to the movies, or
buying legos. These other things require “saving”.

This has worked out great because now, I just say go look at
your list of things to do and handle it (based partially on other parents
recommendations too) and he does it. If he doesn’t then he doesn’t get to do
the stuff he wants to on my weekend. He forgot to do his chores once. I didn’t
remind him. And when the time came to chill out on the weekend, there was no TV,
no computer, and no privileges. He was pissed! But he learned a lesson that
day, and hasn’t missed his chores since. I try not to punish him, but rather
award him for the stuff he is able to handle. It has improved our relationship
greatly because in 2013, my fiancée, myself, and him all moved into a house
together. And he acted out because. Well, because kids don’t always know how to
say how they’re feeling. To be continued……