It’s all Good, Dads

FOR Father’s Day the Nestlé infant nutrition brands NESTUM and KLIM partnered with the Black Kings Rising Collective, a group of volunteer creators spanning content production and marketing to tell stories around issues facing men, while amplifying conversations against toxic masculinity. The intention was to share positive images of men in the Jamaican context who are leading in their different industries while sharing stories of resilience, purpose, and allyship for women empowerment.

Currently, Nestlé’s infant cereal brand NESTUM has a campaign called It’s All Good, Mum, targeting mothers as the main shoppers of baby food in the household. However, the team at Nestlé admittedly acknowledged that there are dads who play an integral role in their children’s lives but are rarely highlighted or given any form of recognition.

According to Carol Dixon, Nestlé infant nutrition business manager, “As a society we place a big focus on moms and all they do for their children but rarely highlight the great dads who go above and beyond for their children. So taking all of this into consideration, we decided to give dads the recognition they truly deserve through the It’s All Good, Dads campaign.

It’s All Good, Dads is an opportunity to showcase fathers speaking on how they’ve claimed fatherhood in a society that doesn’t recognise the impact of great dads all the time. This campaign highlights how these dads adjusted and are managing challenges such as mental health, education, conflict resolution, family, career, especially during this past pandemic year.

Jervaine Simpson, 30, CEO at Dream Destinations Limited

Son: Jahari, 2

Jervaine and Jahari

To me, being a father means a leader, a provider, a protector and showing unconditional love to my son. My son means the world to me, and this also means making sacrifices to ensure that he lives a happy and fulfilling life. Being a father to me, especially in our Jamaican culture is important as we need more fathers to be around to properly guide our children.

I believe in our society, fathers are negatively highlighted due to our culture’s reputation of fathers not being present in the lives of their children. We are normally compared to mothers who are, for the most part, involved in their children’s lives.

Father’s Day for example has become more significant over the past few years.

Phillip Bulli, 49, Photographer at Wholesale Photo

Children: Aashara, 2, Kemalle, 20, Candise, 28

Phillip Bulli and Aashari

In a nutshell, it’s a very overwhelming and fulfilling feeling for me to be a dad, and I wouldn’t trade it for the world. I enjoy being with my kids. I sacrifice a lot and put them first. I try to be a friend and not just a father. I have always tried to let them know that whatever the situation they are in, they should come to me. I cannot see my life without my kids in it, I cannot be too far from them either. I have had opportunities to leave the island for work, but because of what they mean to me, I have given up those opportunities to ensure I am present not just financially but physically and emotionally as well.

I honestly believe that fathers are viewed in a negative light because of the numerous cases of absent fathers that is amplified across the nation, one bad apple spoils the bunch. We find situations where people will refer to children as “wutliss like your father” or even the concept of being wutliss is directly linked to being a dad. I feel like this is the reason why good dads aren’t highlighted. We always hear of single mothers having to father their children because the dad is absent. But, to be honest, I think good dads deserve their props, especially in a society where we are expected to fail. A father is just as important as a mother, and both play an integral role in their children’s lives.

Steffan-Chad Haughton, 33, Digital Services & Marketing Manager

Children: Xia, one and Imani, six

Steffan-Chad Xiah and Imani

Fatherhood for me is about, at a very basic level, being present, ensuring that my kids know that I am there for them and there will never be a time when they will call on daddy for something and he will never be able to assist in some way, shape, or form. I may not be there physically, but either I have taught them the right thing to do or I was there to show them the way or talk them through it, whether they were nervous, happy, sad about something. A lot of persons get caught up in providing physical things for their kids when kids really want time and attention. It values more to them than a lot of the materials things they sometimes ask for. They want to know you value them and your time with them. Sometimes it’s the most random things, like colouring with them, watching them play a game, or even taking a walk with them for five minutes, that holds so much value in their eyes.

We are very much aware that there is a perception about fathers not providing or being there for their children and trying to change that is something that I think the relatively younger dads are trying to do now. A lot of the friends or close people I have around me are good fathers to their kids. They always try to be present and make sure that they provide. Changing that narrative is very important to us because there are situations where, in the generations before, our fathers weren’t there or didn’t set the example we would have wanted to see. I think that we are slowly changing that perception as fathers in this new age.

Noel Nomdarkham, 31, Electrician at The University of the West Indies, Mona, Maintenance Department

Son: Noel, three

Noel and bbay Noel (Photos: Claud-Michael "Jik-Reuben" Pring)

Fatherhood for me is a wonderful thing when you really think about it. When you become a father, it is a next step in the male fraternity, if you know what I mean, because before you turn into a father you would just be freelancing and living life, but that moment when your partner says she is pregnant, you are thinking of change.

The main reason why dads are negatively highlighted is because of the past behaviours of some fathers, which is still being recognised today. Even though in recent times the fathers have been stepping up, we have to continue in this good manner as it will eventually motivate other dads to play their role and show up for their children.

Dhane Brown, 32, Co-Owner of Kinteet Collective Creative Agency & Entertainment

Son: Xander-Emmanuel, seven months old

Dhane Brown, 32, Co-Owner of Kinteet Collective Creative Agency & Entertainment SON: XANDER-EMMANUEL, SEVEN MONTHS OLD

Being a dad is twofold. One, is family. It means I have the chance to share this world with someone else and I get the chance to watch someone grow, learn, explore, and understand this world. It also means legacy, not in the sense of me trying to live vicariously through him but in the sense of me being able to guide someone to go out into the world to create impact that I didn’t think would be possible. To have generations of impact continue, I think that is beautiful and that is a great hope that I have for my son. It is humbling that I am chosen to help him live that out.

When I was at the hospital getting my son’s vaccines, I saw many fathers there with their newborns. I know we live in a world where many fathers are looked down upon for not doing what they should, but I choose to dwell on the positive. Big up all the fathers who are actually present.

Shaunjaye Mitchell, 35, Head of Digital Marketing/Social Media and Police Inspector at the Jamaica Constabulary Force

Children: Malachi, three and Nathaniel, five

Shaunjaye, Malachi and Nathaniel

Of all the things that I am and do, being a father is the most important thing to me. It’s the one thing that will remain a constant in my life. My boys are my world.

I think dads, for the most part, aren’t appreciated and that’s evident based on how people lump us in this broad category of being ‘wutliss’. Oftentimes fathers are not viewed as a positive influence and as such are not celebrated with the same fervour as our women. You can see this based on the difference in premium placed on Mother’s Day and Father’s Day. It’s like night and day. This goes back to the larger societal stigma attached to men... it’s like there is an accepted expectation that we’ll fail or be terrible fathers or just plain wutliss.

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