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Lucy Baber- 100 Black Dads Project
100 Black Dads Project
Lucy Baber

100 Black Dads came about through my involvement in learning about the Black Lives Matter movement, and the desire to contribute to this movement through art. In 2016, I teamed up with two other talented photographers to explore what it means to be Black while raising children in today’s culture.
We hope to use this as an opportunity to listen and learn from each of the volunteers. Each father shares what it means for them to be a Black father raising children in today’s culture.
The photographers behind this project are trying to use this time to listen. We want to make sure to keep ourselves out of the way and just let each dad’s unique story unfold in front of the camera organically. Once the project is complete, we hope that it will find a broader audience for exposure about this important perspective. 
-Lucy Baber

**In lieu of print sales for this exhibition, the artist has asked the community for contributions to be made to the local Philadelphia group WaterArms over FireArms. Donation link can be found here:

 This exhibition is part of InVision, which is a month-long celebration each November showcasing all things photography as well as photo-based arts, with presentations from renowned artists, workshops, demonstrations, exhibitions, photo walks and panel discussions. Over the course of the month, InVision offers professional development, networking and hands-on workshops not only for photographers, but also for image-based artists, creative entrepreneurs, makers and DIYers. You can find out more about InVision programming here.
“Living by example is huge to me. I’m not one for a lot of political debates. I do intend to live out to the best of my ability.
As a Black male that did not have a good example from my own father, I feel God has given me an opportunity to teach my legacy through my children and be an example. Making the most of every opportunity. Pouring out to my children in coaching, being involved in their lives when I can. In my patients and letting them know someone is there to listen and care. Being there in every possible way for my wife.
I get held up in what stereotypes there are that black men don’t make it or that we are not good with our finances, or I haven’t been privileged to receive what other cultures may have. But I do believe God has blessed me with every good work. Blessed me with the ability to make it through school, to be married, to have children regardless what role models I may have lacked. I choose to believe that wholeheartedly.”

“The Black Lives Mater (BLM) movement has brought worldwide awareness to a seemingly disregard for the Black life. The movement has brought about a galvanizing force to challenge the systemic programs that have resulted in specific targeting of Black males. In my eyes BLM is the voice for the voiceless, and the sentiment is that injustices will not go unnoticed and those that have unfortunately lost their lives would not have done so in vain.
My hope is that my children will be free to grow and make the same mistakes as equally as other children, with the consequences being equal and not life threatening.”
“Being a Black dad means I survived being a black boy. To get to this point there were many years and instances where I didn’t know if I would live. And when I wasn’t questioning my mortality, I was in need of tremendous personal growth in order to feel like I could be a viable husband and father. And this is despite having a good, present father and healthy family structure. Because I was prayed for, a lot, I made it to this point where God has entrusted me to raise 2 boys. I didn’t start my family until well into my 30s, and as I am just a month shy of my 40th birthday, day-in and day-out, being a husband and a father is my greatest gift. Being a Black dad is full of short years and long nights, so I try to be present as much as possible and give my best to my family as often as I can. Some days I fall short and others I ain’t even right at all, but I keep working, I keep praying, and keep trying.”​​​​​​​
“I’m extremely proud to be a Black father in today’s society. For years the stigma around our culture has many times been negative, but I grew up with a great father who had a major impact on where I am today. He provided me with a template of what it means to be an engaged and invested father. And now I find myself surrounded by so many of my peers who are just amazing Black fathers who love what they do. It sounds a little corny, but I love the fact that when I scroll down my Instagram and Facebook timelines, so many of the videos are of my fellow Black fathers simply spending quality time with their kids. The best part about it is that the time spent is clearly not an obligation. They do it because they genuinely enjoy fatherhood the same way that I do.
The Black Lives Matter movement is something that has been brewing for decades. I believe that highlighting the existence of racial inequality, and the fact that it still exists, is a much needed conversation. It’s clearly uncomfortable for a lot of people to accept, and it’s so much easier to ignore it, but I never considered ignoring a problem to be a viable solution. I’ve had numerous interactions with police where I was disrespected and even once called a nigger by a female police officer who ran a stop light and almost hit me. I wasn’t disrespectful. I cooperated. I was wearing a suit in the middle of the workday in downtown Philadelphia. None of that mattered because in her mind, I was a young Black male, so showing me respect was not something she had to do.
I hope that the increased attention and conversation that is currently taking place will have a positive effect moving forward into the future. It seems that race relations have regressed in the past decade or so, and if that trend continues it can definitely lead to some turbulent times.
I think it’s important to emphasize the amount of effort put forth and pride that Black men take in being fathers to counter the long held belief that we are absent by default. That is far from the truth. We are just as committed and vested in the experience that is fatherhood. We are blessed to have many more opportunities than those that came before us, and look forward to setting up our children to be even better off than us.”
“I am fighting against history, statistics, stereotypes and media portrayals, and I must raise my son to live in an unequal and unfair society; a society which is predicated on the power and views of people who historically don’t look like us.
I fear that people who don’t look like my child may pre-judge him and his intentions before ever getting to know him. I also fear that, as the result of potential discrimination he may face, he may think of himself as unequal to other kids his age.”
“To me being a Black dad in today’s society is being someone that my kids can look up to, even as they are adults. Things have changed from when my kids were younger but the message has always been the same; be proud of who you are and work your hardest to keep your head on straight.
As far as Black Lives Matter, I think it’s great what they are doing. It reminds me of the Black Panther movement, trying to make sure that we as a group are taken care of, because we have to take care of each other. It feels like society as a whole is not wanting to help us in the least.”
“I worry about raising a son with autism. In a world that’s so cold and fast paced, will there be compassion and true love for my son after I’m gone?”
“It hurt to see my wife in so much pain and distress after the miscarriage. Feeling helpless on so many levels. Wanting to fix it for her, knowing I can’t. It hurts.”​​​​​​​

“Being a black dad in today’s society means facing the challenges that all fathers face while also battling against the issues specific to black dads. These issues include but are not limited to: teaching my children to see their own beauty in a society that teaches them they are not beautiful, combating the false stereotypes that surround black dads, teaching my black son who is white passing, how to navigate white spaces that don’t see his blackness, worrying that we will be treated less than human when encountered by police, living in the reality that a traffic stop could mean my children grow up fatherless, working my ass off to be a phenomenal dad just to be seen as an ordinary one by society. And understanding in a society that believes differently, that I am an amazing black dad and I am not an anomaly. I am not special in this regard. I am part of the majority of great black dads.
The BLM movement has impacted me by making me more vigilant in understanding my rights.  It has taught me to be sure to record every police encounter I have, and it has inspired me to do my own research and form my own opinions and conclusions on policing, sentencing, and political candidates.
My hopes for raising my children in this day and age are that they will be seen and embraced as whole people by all of society. I hope they will be afforded every liberty, allowance, opportunity and right that their rich, white, male counterparts are.”
“Raising my children in today’s society won’t be drastically different from when I was coming up. I always tell them the truth about this society, and what they can expect from it. My son, at age 7, knows a lot more about his surroundings than I did at his age. The ‘Black Lives Matter’ movement has brought more awareness to our troubles with social injustice and systematic racism; even though these have been obvious issues for centuries.”​​​​​​​
“To be a Black dad means providing love and strength for my children. I want them to love themselves and those around them. I want them to be strong individuals that understand who they are and where they come from.
My fear in this day and age, is that people are trying to rewrite history by undermining what Black folks went through (and still go through today). That said, I also fear that some of the blatant hatred from years ago is coming back to our society. For this reason, I need my children to understand who they are and that they have to advocate for themselves.
I think this country and the world we live in seems to have a bad representation of the Black family. There are plenty of Black families with fathers that are fully involved in their children’s life. I want to portray the visible Black father that cares about being with his children more than anything in this world”
“Being a quality, present, active father is priority over everything. It is important that my daughter sees me as a supportive loving Black man, so she understands that this is the rule NOT the exception. …I hope that people will begin to realize that the images and social portrayals of Black men and Black fathers do not wholly encompass what we actually are. That there are Black fathers who are present and supportive and active. We are not just statistics, or ‘angry animals’ in need of incarceration or death. That our presence is needed and valuable to the growth and development of our kids, that we can not and should not be so easily dismissed. I want to inspire Black men to want to be present in the lives of their kids, to make being an ACTIVE dad cool. I mean it is pretty cool…it’s challenging, but the rewards are invaluable.”
“I know all too well what NOT having a father, particularly in the Black community, will do to boys. So, it is vital for me to remain in his life. I’ve been impacted by the Black Lives Matter movement in such a positive way, like being more informed about my rights, police incidents, and also how to protect myself from being preyed on by a racist country. My hopes are really high for my son. I can tell by his excitement and smile, that having me in his life will cause great things to happen for him…and me.”
“Being a Black man and a police officer, the Black Lives Matter movement has affected me on all levels personally and professionally. In short, I hate that the argument makes you pick a side between supporting police officers or Black victims of police brutality. On the job, I know some awesome officers who want to do good in the areas they patrol. But on the other hand, growing up I often felt like I was targeted by police because of the color of my skin. My hope in raising a Black child is that one day she might only be judged by her character and not by the color of her skin. My fear is that society will remain the same and won’t change for the better.”
“I believe my role as a Black father is to repair the damage to my community by the supposed ‘War on Drugs.’ This damage includes the destruction of the Black family unit due to mandatory minimums. First and foremost, my job is to let my daughter know that she is beautiful just the way she is, and to lead by example for my son.
Second, I would like to think that my job is to protect them from both physical, spiritual and mental harm. I believe the #Blacklivesmatter movement has done an excellent job of waking up America to a problem that never left. Further, the movement has help to create allies who want to help. Today, I feel like I must continue the tradition of ‘the talk’ that my mother had to have with me. I worry that my children’s lives could be taken away, while a state or non-state actor may get away scott-free.”
“It is both wonderful and scary to be a Black dad. I get to lead by example, but I also fear that society will dig its claws into the beauty and innocence of my children. As a civil rights attorney, the BLM movement has impacted me greatly by bringing a spotlight to issues I have been fighting against my entire life. As a Black man, it’s scary to know that I could do everything right and still be killed by the police.”​​​​​​​
“I strongly pray that more Black fathers will be more responsible in their children’s lives. It is important for a Dad to be in his child’s life, to discipline, teach and guide them. Our young need to know that it’s wrong to take a life that is not yours or anybody else’s to take.”​​​​​​​

“It’s a beautiful thing, a powerful thing. To watch my children grow is amazing. The Black Lives Matter movement has impacted me by making me more aware and appreciative of the moments we have together.”

“My wife and I are proud to have daughters with such a rich heritage. I hope we can teach them to love themselves and to value others as well. Being Black and Indian will likely be a subject we’ll have to tackle at some point. I do have some fear about how that conversation will go some day. I love my girls just like any other father would and want the very best for them. We are all human and ultimately not all that different from each other.”​​​​​​​
“Unfortunately, being an active Black dad today is a revolutionary act. There has been such a strong systematic attack on us that society struggles to challenge the narrative of the “absent father” stereotype. I’ve never accepted the narrative that Black lives don’t matter. I have Black babies to raise and we are less interested in convincing white folks of our humanity than we are focused on building Black capacity. We command respect. 
“My greatest fear is that our children might adhere to any prefabricated narratives of Black existence that puts limits on them, especially those narratives that destroy us.”
Videos coming soon!
About the Artist
Lucy Baber is a Philadelphia area newborn and family lifestyle photographer.She is inspired by the countless men of color in our greater Philadelphia community who show up for their families with love, tenderness, and dignity every day. You can follow her on instagram @Lucybaber

Contributing Photographer- SABRINA GUYTON (Philadelphia area Lifestyle Milestones Photographer.Follow her work @sgwphoto)
Contributing Photographer- ORE ADESINA (Oklahoma City based lifestyle and documentary portrait photographer. Follow her work @oreadesina)
You can follow the 100 Black Dads Project on Instagram @100blackdadsproject and at​​​​​​​
Lucy Baber- 100 Black Dads Project

Lucy Baber- 100 Black Dads Project


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