How 10,000 Black Fathers On Facebook Are Shutting Down the Deadbeat Dad Myth

But one dad changed that for 10,000 men.

“I’m very much an introvert, but I knew that I wanted to build a brotherhood in a sense – and I didn’t see anything else like that out there.”

12 years ago, Matt Prestbury became a single dad working as a kindergarten teacher with two toddler sons. The Baltimore native soon realized that while there are plenty of online communities to support Black moms, there wasn’t a space for Black fathers to come together as they faced parenting challenges. So, in 2008, the self-proclaimed introvert created a Facebook page for dads.The group, simply titled Black Fathers, quickly grew in number as dads posted adorable pictures of their candid moments with their kids, local events in their communities, and uplifting material that shows the positive side of fatherhood. According to Matt, the page would be a powerful support system for dads and shatter the stereotype that Black fathers are deadbeats:

I wanted to create a virtual space where fathers could come together and be a resource for each other — and help break lot of stereotypes to change the narrative of what it means to be a black father in America. There used to be the perception that fathers, and in particular black fathers, all abandon their children. But I wanted to have stories represented like mine, where the fathers are actively involved in their kids’ lives.”

Now, the group boasts over 10,000 members and has official events like daddy-daughter dates and workshops. Members also help each other via in-depth discussions and give referrals to dads in need of a professional to help them with custody issues. Matt Prestbury, who has since remarried and added two more children to his family, admits that even with the success of his page, dads still often play the background to moms when it comes to advertising and parenting information:

“Everything you see and read about parenting seems to be directed towards moms…What about us? I keep saying, ‘We’re here, too.’ It’s unfair to negate the role that fathers play. We have lots of stay-at-home dads and working fathers who play a very active role in their kids’ lives.”

Matt Prestbury seems to be right. We can simply watch our Facebook and Twitter timelines during Mother’s Day and Father’s Day to see the difference. Mom gets lots of love, gifts, and pictures. But, when Father’s Day rolls around, Dads don’t get as much love. Instead of celebrating the good dads in the world, the focus is usually on the ain’t sh-t baby daddies who don’t do anything for their kids or the dad who wasn’t on his job in the past. But, there are so many excellent dads in the world, both famous and non-famous, who step up to the plate and make fatherhood seem cool. And, making men want to be great dads is exactly what Matt wants.

“[My ultimate goal] is to make it so that you feel like if you’re not involved in your children’s lives, you’re a fool.”

Based on the pictures on Black Fathers page, it looks like he’s on his way to achieving that goal. The group hosted a daddy-daughter tea party date in Baltimore last year and the pictures are too cute!

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