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Father’s Day is always a reminder to me that my dad is no longer here and how much I miss his presence in my life. I often wish he was here for me to laugh with and, more importantly, had the chance to let him know how much he still means to me.

This contemplation led me to realize, sadly, how much we don’t publicly appreciate our fathers. On Mother’s Day, the world almost comes to a halt and while mothers are very deserving of all the shine they receive, so are our fathers, especially our black men who are fathers.

Black men often make the front page of the news for so many negative things, and I am using this opportunity and space to change that narrative and celebrate some excellent fathers in Detroit.

These men are entrepreneurs, mentors, artists, and educators, but most importantly they are down to earth, dope dads.

Bryan Barnhill

Ford Mobility Group

Best Dad Advice: Enjoy the moments. Fatherhood is an everlasting endeavor, but parenting children only lasts a short while. I found myself obsessing over their developmental milestones so much that it caused me to approach my early interactions with my children as a project of sorts. Skip that man. You only have little babies for so long. Prioritize enjoying each stage rather than trying to rush them through in an attempt to cultivate a superhero.

Proudest Dad Moment: My department store navigation abilities are sorely lacking. So much so that I took a wrong turn down the toy aisle while school clothes shopping for my 4 year old son (he was 3 at the time). Any parent knows that the toy aisle is a death trap. So I rushed through as fast as I could without making a scene. Much to my chagrin, my son still mustered up the audacity to ask me for a toy. “Daddy, can I have that Pachycephalosaurus ? “Now ordinarily I’m not inclined to buy my children things all willy nilly just because they ask for them — I think that would breed an unhealthy sense of entitlement and establish false expectations for life as an adult. But when he came at me with that Wikipedia vocabulary and the nearby adults started looking at us like, “Who is that young sage over there?”, I went on ahead bought him that dinosaur. He earned it.

Dad Type (Obama, Dre Johnson,”Blackish,” Jay-Z): I aspire to be the Obama dad type and probably succeed at it from time to time. But, in reality, I’m probably more like Jay-Z; fumbling my way through trying to look cool, and bringing my kids to fancy stuff they have no business being at.


Jerome E. Record Jr.

Community Liaison for Detroit City Council member Janee Ayers: “As a Community Liaison my duties require me to serve the good people of Detroit by attending community meetings and organize city-wide events where our office can engage with the community.”

Best Dad Advice: “If you do it Right the first time, you won’t have to do it over again!!!”

Proudest Dad Moment: My proudest Dad moments come often, I am most proud when my children are happy and enjoying the memories we create together as a Family!!

Dad Type: (Obama, Dre Johnson (Blackish) or Jay-Z): Personally my name should be one of those types and it will be one day, lol  Honestly I am my own man but I recognize some of my personal/parenting traits in all three gentlemen.   If I have to pick I will say Jay-Z.

Shannon Rochon

Detroit City Council Chief of Staff/ Community Organizer – Business: Nohcor Management Solutions: “As Chief of Staff I manage the Councilmember staff. Also, I have my own management company. That manages HR needs, political campaigns, properties, and events.”

Best Dad Advice: “Be the man your son admires and daughters want to marry.”

Proudest Dad Moment: “As a licensed minister the day I was honored to baptize my own children at church.”

Dad Type (Obama, Dre Johnson,”Blackish,” Jay-Z): “I would say my dad type would be Obama because of our involvement serving our local communities. From canvassing door to door with the kids on Get out to Vote campaigns, to starting a community choir that focuses on community development through singing, to being involved as a family in our community garden.”


Tony Saunders

Partner, St. Regis Holdings Detroit: “Working to renovate and revamp the historic St. Regis Detroit by Spring 2019.”

Best Dad Advice: Kiss your children until they tell you to stop.

Proudest Dad Moment: Every time I hear them apologize for saying the word “can’t”.

Dad Type: (Obama, Dre Johnson (Blackish) or Jay-Z): They all are too cool for me. I’ll take a little of all three.


Gilbert Ward

Co-owner of Culture Creative Content, Video Production Agency

Gilroy Productions, Entertainment Agency: “Creative Entrepreneur driving the culture, music, and business of companies.”

Best Dad Advice: Leaving my job this year to pursue full-time entrepreneurship was a personal challenge, but I believe in freedom and generational wealth. I want my son to live a life of freedom, so I have to lead by example. Being responsible to a little human equates to them looking up to you as a role model. I aim to instill everything I know into my child and raise him to be a great human being.

Proudest Dad Moment: Gray came up with a nickname for me around the age of 1. “DADO” It showed me he has his own personality and a special place in his heart for me as his dad.

Dad Type: (Obama, Dre Johnson (Blackish) or Jay-Z): Dre from Blakish. He’s a cool, hip dad, but still ensures he gives off dad gems in a non-traditional way. He’s cultured, authentic and he doesn’t let being a dad stop him from being himself. You don’t have to lose yourself to be a dad, but be the best version of yourself because you’re #1 role model for them.


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