SPECIAL: A Father’s Day tribute to 7 beautiful black men

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For Jeremiah Barnes, a dedicated father

Happy Father’s Day to the man that made me a mother! I am beyond grateful to have him as a coparent, even though he often gets on my last nerve.

See, Jeremiah and I ended our relationship years ago, but he promised me when I first got pregnant that if I kept our child, I would never have to worry about anything. I can honestly say he’s held true to that.

Two years ago, I took a leap of faith and decided I’d quit my full-time job to pursue my doctorate. Jeremiah agreed to cover our child’s daycare expenses, so I could focus on being a mom and student. Now, childcare expenses could easily be someone’s mortgage, so that sacrifice is not one I take lightly. But more than that, Jeremiah has impacted all of our lives in a major way.

When I lack, he is right over my shoulder. He takes Mason three nights a week so that I can study and work, a luxury that a lot of single mothers do not have.

Although he didn’t always have the best example himself, he turned all the chips that were down, up and has beasted fatherhood. Five years after Mason’s birth, Jeremiah has never missed an appointment, a tuition payment or a beat.

Mason and I love and admire the father he is and are blessed to have him in our lives.

For Del Burnett, a supportive father

Not only is my husband an attentive, dedicated and supportive father to four children, he juggles his demanding job as a project manager and makes it all look easy. His job sometimes requires him to travel for weeks on the road, and he still comes home, handles 4 a.m. feedings and changes poop diapers, so this mommy can have a break. He coaches my 16-year-old bonus kid in track, dribbles the basketball with his 14-year-old and wrestles with his 10-year-old.

He manages all of it then teaches our 6-month-old baby, Malachi, how to eat solid foods.

Del is more than just a father, he’s a true dad in every sense of the word.

For Donzell Floyd, a steadfast father

Husbands like mine don’t get a lot of glory. He’s not famous, quite the opposite. He doesn’t even have an Instagram account, but I can’t imagine parenting our son without him. He’s the steady, dependable anchor that always seems to keep us from drifting.

He works tirelessly as a full-time associate producer and part-time investor, so he can’t always physically be here. But even if he has to travel three days out of the week, he still comes home and handles the night shift with our 5-month-old son for two of those days.

A partner in every sense of the word, he’s right there in the trenches with me, anticipating our son’s needs, brushing his hair and kissing his cheeks.My husband is a loving partner, caring son and dependable father.

He makes all of our lives better.

For Corey Hawkins, a loving father

I’ll never forget when Corey looked down at me on a hospital operating table and proclaimed we had a daughter. It was March 21, and I had been in labor for 31 hours, most of which was unmedicated. I stopped progressing around 8 cm.

But despite the challenge, Corey was all in. He was in the birth tub with me, right there in the shower and on the yoga ball as I struggled to find a comfortable position. That’s the thing about Corey. He is always there for me.

Since then, I’ve seen him love our daughter in a way that’s truly indescribable. Not only do I love watching him sing and dance with her, wipe her tears when she cries or read her a book, the way he loves me shows just how much he loves her.

Whether it’s waking up in the middle of the night with me to pump, forcing me to take a nap when I look crazy or being the one to keep up with my breast feeding supplies and stretch mark cream, he’s an all-star. I’m so glad to have such an amazing partner in parenthood.

Kalil loves him. I love him. We are blessed.

For Kevin Rutland, a dedicated father

I never dreamed the witty 19-year-old kid I met my freshman year of college would turn into the steadfast man, dedicated partner and fully committed father I call my husband today.

After 11 years together, just when I think I have him completely figured out, he surprises me, making me fall for him over and over.

Whether it’s waking me to the sweet aroma of a home-cooked breakfast or sleeping on the couch to sleep train our daughter because I struggle with letting her cry it out, he looks for ways to strengthen our relationship in ordinary yet invaluable ways.

For Wes Steele, a hard-working father

Our king has sacrificed so much for us, there are not enough words to express his selflessness. He is the sole provider for our family, and not only does he work a demanding job that requires some travel, he takes on domestic responsibilities as well.

Coming to that place has been a journey for him. He believed in the woman doing the majority of the cooking, cleaning and laundry while the man does handy things around the house (gutters, lawn work, trash, etc). We have had many arguments about our roles over the years.

I give God the credit for changing his heart and allowing him to be open to change.

I’m in pharmacy school, and my schedule is very demanding. I have class from 8 a.m. to 5 p.m. I study until 11 p.m. and have pharmacy rotations. I barely have any free time.

This man — my man — gets the kids ready for school each morning, does both girls’ hair, picks them up from school most days and cooks dinner. He has surfed the web for countless recipes, purchased measuring utensils and transformed himself into the best cook in the house. And those contributions are only a fraction of everything he does.

He has spent countless hours watching YouTube videos to create the perfect ponytail, with much success. He even tried to learn how to braid. That wasn’t exactly a win, but the thought was appreciated.

He has redefined what it means to be a father, daddy and husband, and I am beyond blessed to have his support and strength behind me everyday.

For Paul Washington, a patient father

Paul is often the parent I wish I could be. He’s calm, even tempered, patient and goes with the flow. When the kids are sick he’s the one sneaking them into our bed at night.

 Paul Washington poses for a picture with twins Asher and Elijah (left to right) in Kansas City, Mo. (Family photo)

He gives out Band-Aids when there’s no blood. He doesn’t mind an out of place sticker or mismatched clothes. Where I’m rigid and conventional, he is always willing to think outside of the box. He is the perfect complement to my rule following ways.

Paul is the captain of our family. And with him at the helm, I have no doubts that we are sailing toward excellence. I am proud to share the responsibility of parenting with him and hold him down.

More importantly, the kids are proud to call him daddy.


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