When we look at the state of black society today, there’s no denying the fact that we need help. At times, our community fails to realize that we have all the necessary tools to fix our problems.
Outside help isn’t needed, relying on a politician or an entertainer to provide us the resources we need will never work. Everyone in our community can actually effect change on an individual level.
Enter, Blackfathersnow, a podcast designed to show the world all of the dynamic personalities the black men in our community possess. These men have decided to be the change they want to see in the world.
So, when Melanated Fathers of America got the opportunity to interview the founder of Blackfathersnow.com Mike Dorsey we jumped at the chance!!! During our interview, we discussed dealing with addiction in his household as a child, his relationship with his father, why he created Blackfathersnow.com & much more!!!
Talk to us about where you were raised?
I was born and raised in Augusta, Georgia. For people who are not familiar with Augusta, two things stand out, the Master’s Golf Tournament and James Brown. So those are our biggest and most notorious exports. We are on the state line between Georgia and South Carolina, two hours East of Atlanta.
So, growing up in Augusta. Were you raised with both of your parents in the household?
Yes. I grew up with both parents in my household, but my situation was unique. I grew up in the house with both of them but there was a time when my parents separated and a lot of that stemmed from addiction on my father’s part. For the most part, we were a loving family.
My mother and father both went to college, so they were educated people. I was explaining to someone that three out of four of my grandparents went to college and for black people in the Forties and Fifties, that was huge. So, we have seen the effects of getting a higher education and how that can benefit you, but we also saw the effects of drug addiction right there in the household.
Dealing with drug addiction in your household had to be difficult for you. Talk to us about your relationship with your father through that process?
It’s interesting because when you grow up in a situation like that and your able see multiple facets of an individual allowing you to see things from different angles and perspectives.
As a kid, you go through the range of emotions while you’re trying to process everything. However, me and my father have a great relationship it just had to come full circle. It took me a while to get to a place in which I could love the person despite the disease they were afflicted with. A lot of times we get mad at the individual but if you take a step back and realize that addiction is a disease.
Would you get mad with your parent who develops cancer? Now, that doesn’t excuse them of any responsibility, but we can’t forget it’s a disease. If you could have an honest conversation with someone addicted to drugs and ask them if they want to stay that way, they would say no.
Okay, so that leads me to my next question. When you were young and learning how to be a man. Did your father’s addiction affect his ability to help you with that process?
When you take a step back and really understand that just because someone is suffering from addition does not make them a bad person. Once you realize how much the condition is impacting them then you can kind of step back and separate the two to an extent. Doing that gave me the opportunity to still learn from him.
He’s a great man, a smart man that’s very educated and brings a lot of stuff to the table. So, the addiction component made things complicated at times and because of that there were some things lacking but my mother did a great job of making sure that we had some great influences all around us. Whether it was pastors, leaders in the community, coaches, uncle’s, grandfathers etc. We had this village around us to help see us through this particular situation.
That’s a great point. Learning how to separate someone’s deficiencies from there qualities can definitely help your interactions with them. With everything your father went through, what did you learn from him?
For one, just the concept of sticking through things is something I learned from my father. Also, when it comes to math, problem-solving, fixing things, those are all qualities I got from him. I think that’s some of those innate abilities that he learned from his father.
My grandfather wasn’t a college-educated man, but he was a career military man, a country boy who knew how to fix everything. He was the type of man you could give a paperclip and some gum, and he’ll fix your car(laughs). I think that’s something that was passed down to my father because he was the same way.
You add that with the fact that he was an educated man and you have a really powerful person. At the end of the day, what he has been through can inspire people to do different things in their own life. So, I think some of those lessons spilled over into me as well.
Okay so let’s switch subjects here for a minute and talk about your family. Do you have kids??
Yes. I have two kids A 7-year-old and a 5-year-old.
Even though your children are still pretty young. What have been some of the most rewarding moments as well as some challenging moments you’ve had to deal with thus far?
Honestly, when I think about the biggest reward is being able to look at my wife and my children on a daily basis. That’s definitely the biggest reward for me. I don’t think people really take enough time to savor these moments.
When you actually sit down and look into the eyes of a little person that kind of has your eyes or they take their shoes off and they have your feet. Even noticing that some of their mannerisms are like yours or watching your little girl stand a certain way that’s identical to the way your wife stands, those are amazing moments.
When you step back and look at it, it’s just a blessing to realize that you had a hand in creating something so unique. The fact that there’s something about you that’s going into the world with this little person long after you’re gone is powerful. Even though my children are young you’re still dealing with people. So, you’re dealing with their personalities, attitudes as well as your own emotional development.
So, you’re dealing with so many things in regard to that. It’s fun but it’s also challenging as well. When your dealing with children who are so young their personalities are ever evolving so if I learn my 7 years old now, they’ll be a different person in 6 months (laughs).
That’s a good point. Taking a step back to observe how amazing our children are definitely brings a certain amount of appreciation. So, I was listening to your podcast, BlackfathersNOW and I was very intrigued by the fact that you have so many guests from different walks of life. In our community, it’s well-known that Athletics and Entertainment seem to be the most appealing career choices for our youth. So, to see that you’re interviewing people from all walks of life to give people that perspective is a great thing. Talk to us about your podcast Blackfathersnow and why you created it??
The podcast is called Blackfathersnow. I added now at the end because, at the end of the day, it’s about what you are doing right now. Somebody gave me a tip back in the day and they said: “When you focus on now, you can eventually spell now backward” which is won. So, the whole concept of black fathers now is getting tools you can take and apply now.
The tagline for Blackfathersnow is: Bringing the village to the brothers. We all know and understand the old African proverb that it takes a village to raise a child. However, the reality of it is the mass majority of us don’t live in villages. A lot of us don’t have that sense of community in our present ecosystem, so to speak.
We have technology though, and technology gives us the ability to import that village to the brothers. So, the podcast is giving you that village in the form of insight, inspiration, and wisdom. I use the journey and the story of other brothers to impact the lives of Black Fathers around the world. Hopefully, those who are listening can learn something from these stories and apply it to their lives now. You mentioned the variety of characters that come on as a guest on the show and the thing is, black men, as well as black people in general, are not necessarily monolithic.
That’s what makes this platform so important. The person that you’re listening to might not be somebody that you would connect with on the street because maybe they’re not in your circle or your network. So, that’s why it is so important to me that brothers and really everybody hear a variety of perspectives from a variety of different backgrounds. It’s important to understand that there is more than one way to do things.
The podcast gives you the opportunity to connect and hear a different way of doing things which may provide you the inspiration needed to follow your dreams. It may give you the courage to say: “You know what, maybe I’m not that far off because I’m listening to this brother who is executing something that’s really working for him, what’s stopping me from doing the same?” Also, if you hear a brother on my podcast and you like his story you can go on social media and shoot a DM and let him know you like his work. A lot of relationships have been developed that way.
What has been the response you’ve received regarding your podcast and the overall message of blackfathersNOW?
The response has been great and at times it has even been overwhelming. I like to call myself a connector and this has been a vehicle for me to connect the world to some folks I already knew and other folks that I came across and found their story to be interesting. I enjoy connecting the world to them but also utilizing this vehicle to sometimes go deeper and use different angles and apply those angles back to fatherhood.
I’ve actually had a couple Brothers on the show that aren’t father’s, but they had stories that could definitely impact fathers around the world. Everything comes back to the concept of, how does this impact you as a father? and most importantly, what can a father take in apply to his life right now?
Do you get any pushback at all for the name of your platform? Do you get anyone who says: What about White or Asian fathers, they need help too?
You know, the funny thing about that is I have listeners who aren’t black fathers. So, it’s people from all over the spectrum that actually listens to the podcast. In my opinion, if you put thought-provoking content out their people will find it and want to listen to it.
People who have a higher level of Consciousness can get beyond the name and just consume the content. One of the things that people fail to realize is with blackfathersNOW I’m speaking to black fathers and I’m speaking in a language that connects to my contemporaries because I am a black father. However, that does not mean that I’m saying other people shouldn’t listen.
If that was the case I would have made it a private group with a soul brother password(laughs) or something like that. So, when I say blackfathersNOW I am speaking to the brothers but if anyone else can generate wisdom or insight from what we talk about, by all means, listen in. But overall, I am talking to the brothers because we need it.
That’s definitely a great point. There’s nothing wrong with having a platform specifically for black men. In my opinion, it’s actually a necessity in today’s society. I also see that you also have blackfamilyapparel.com which has clothing inspired by your movement. Talk to us about your future plans for everything that you’re doing?
I want blackfathersNOW to be the number one podcast in the fatherhood space and the place where everyone goes for audio content as it pertains to black fatherhood, that’s the ultimate goal for the blackfathersNow podcast. I also hope to impact the lives of the brothers listening and get you to think about life in a different way.
Selfishly, I think about it like this too: I may be talking to the father of my daughter’s future husband, or the father of my son’s future wife. I’m just putting it out there because I don’t know who I’m talking too. At this point, I can care less about the numbers, the impact is more important to me. Hopefully, if I continue doing what I’m doing I will help us move the culture forward and help change the whole perception of black fatherhood in America. We need to believe more in ourselves and realize that we are already equipped with everything necessary to do what we’re supposed to do.
Melanated Fathers of America would like to thank you for sharing your story!!! We appreciate your input!!!
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