I had the pleasure of attending the 3rd Annual Black Fathers Rock Award Ceremony and wanted to give an overview. As stated before, Black Fathers Rock is an organization that seeks to change the narrative and dispel the notion that Black fathers are absent. The award ceremony recognizes those fathers who are doing outstanding work for their families as well as the community.
This event took place on Sunday, February 23, at the Fin & Fino Seafood Restaurant in Uptown Charlotte. The venue was quaint and peaceful, and the tone for the evening was upscale and professional. Saxophonist Perrell Brown kept the vibe relaxed and the hosts, Eric Marsh and Ohavia Phillips, kept the pace upbeat and concise. As for the awards given, there were eight honorees and they are as follows:
Activist of the Year Award
This award is for the father who has fought against injustice, been on the front line, become an advocate, and invoked positive changes for the community. The award went to Toussaint Romain, Esq.
Toussaint Romain, Esq. is a public defender, community advocate, and Civil Rights leader who’s best known for his activism during the protest of the Keith Lamont Scott shooting. In his speech, he advised that changing the narrative for Black fathers is imperative. Let the narrative not be that Black men don’t love their children, because that would be false.
Dapper Dad of the Year Award
This award is for the father whose been a great dad inside and outside the home and who has done it with swag. The award went to Antwaun Cook.
Antwaun Cook is an experienced sales representative within the healthcare field. He advised that when we are in our children’s lives, they are getting gifts. We, as men and fathers, are the gifts.
Entrepreneur of the Year Award
This award is for the father who has his own business that makes an impact in the Charlotte area. The award went to Bless Spencer.
Bless Spencer is the founder and owner of Club Performance Charlotte and an international basketball star. Spencer has a love for teaching the youth, and he tells them that failure is apart of life. To be successful, you have to accept failure.
People’s Choice Award
This award is for the father who was selected by the community for being such a great role model, leader, mentor, and dad. The award went to Rashamod Torrance.
Rashamod Torrance is the founder of Active Dad and an active father in the community. He advised that the new generation is doing a great job at changing the narrative of fatherless homes. We all have a responsibility to the youth, our children need fathers.
Surrogate Father of the Year Award
This award is for the father who may not be a biological father but acts as a father figure through mentorship. The award went to Dennis Reed Jr.
Dennis Reed Jr. is a singer/songwriter and creator of Inspire the Fire, Inc. He mentors young people and coaches them in artistic development, life skills, and community engagement. He advised that he started his program because he wanted to make a difference in the lives of the youth. He stated that the reward you receive in life comes from giving, go with God in everything that you do.
Senior Father of the Year Award
This award is for the father who is over the age of 55 and has acted as a great father, mentor, leader, and community activist. The award went to Willie Ratchford.
Willie Ratchford is the Executive Director of the Community Relations Committee for the City of Charlotte. Mr. Ratchford advised that Black fathers do rock, but they can’t rock without the help of a good woman. Being a father is not a job that we can do alone, we all need to come together. He also reminded us that Black men are the solution.
Comeback Father of the Year Award
This award is for the father who overcame a major setback and never let it deter him from his fatherhood duties. The award went to Charles Whitfield.
Charles Whitfield is the Co-founder of singer Jill Scott’s first label, Hidden Beach, and the brother of Charlotte Hornet’s COO Fred Whitfield. Mr. Whitfield told a heartfelt story of his tragic accident and his comeback from it. He told us to not take one day for granted, and he’s glad that he can continue to be a blessing for his daughter.
Father of the Year Award
This award is for the father who has been a great community activist, mentor, leader, and dad with good character and integrity. The award went to Dr. Stacy LeMay.
Dr. Stacy Lemay is a pastor at Champion Kingdom Center, along with his wife, Dr. Denae Lemay. He has over 25 years of ministry experience, and he has a strong passion for discipling men. He believes that saving the man is the solution to correcting all societal ills, and a great way to change the narrative in society is by the father loving the child’s mother.
What Ryan Jor El is doing with Black Fathers Rock is indescribable, and I can’t wait for the next event. For more information on how you can support, check out their official website. You can also stay connected with them on Facebook, Twitter, and Instagram.
Until Next Time…
Bryson, E. (2020, February 18). Charlotte Fathers Unite to Host 3rd Annual Black History Month Celebration. Retrieved February 24, 2020, from https://www.wccbcharlotte.com/2020/02/18/charlotte-fathers-unite-to-host-3rd-annual-black-history-month-celebration/