• Ryan Jor El

Stories that need to be told: Black Fathers Rock! 2019


Written By Mary Lucas

There have been negative connotations associated with “Black Fatherhood” for way too long. Ryan Jor El and Black Fathers Rock!are trying to change this narrative.  Black Fathers Rock! is a non-profit organization that is looking to change the narrative and dispel the notion that black fathers are absent. The Black Fathers ROCK! is a celebration that looks to fathers in our community that are present in their children’s lives and their communities.

As Black Fathers Rock! Website says:

“Black Fathers Exist.

Black Fathers Deserve to Be Celebrated.

Black Fathers’ Stories Need to Be Told.”

The Awards:

Activist of the Year – James E. Ford

Entrepreneur of the Year – Chef Rico

Dapper Dad of the Year –  Yandrick Paraison

Surrogate Father of the Year – Barry White, Jr.

Senior Father of the Year – Dr. Clifford A. Jones, Sr.

Father of the Year – Roman Harper

Winning the Dapper Dad Of The Year award means a lot to Yandrick Paraison. Yandrick stated, ”It’s an honor and a privilege to be recognized as a dapper dad of the year, in particular, the dad part. Being recognized for being present in our children’s lives and me being present in mine is something I don’t take lightly.”

I asked Yandrick's opinion on why it is so important for black men to present, not only in their community but with their families and his response was, “This is a great question. Especially in today’s society, it is very important, and it is crucial that we dispel these myths and perceptions of black men. There are towns cities and neighborhoods where people don’t have any interaction with black people at all, and the only image or portrayal of them is what they see o the media and more times than none it’s not positive. We have to do what we can to dispel that myth.”

This award means a lot to Rico. Rico stated, It means that I’m being acknowledged for doing good work in the community and also being a great father to my children and leading by example. It feels good to be recognized for something that we do day to day. There are a lot of bad stigmas out there so when we are recognized  for the good we do it’s always a relief.”

Rico’s influences come from New Orleans & Miami. He loves Cajun cuisine & seafood. Chef Rico’s favorite dish to cook is Garlic Rosemary Lamb chops & Lobster Mac & Cheese. He would eat the meal for the rest of his life if he had to. Ryan saw the need in our community because of the way the media portrays black men.  He decided to step up and create Black Fathers Rock!

Ryan grew up without a father and now being a father of two; it’s super important to him to be there for his children; no matter what. Ryan doesn’t t believe in making excuses, he believes in solutions, and he wants to focus on the positive that Black Fathers Rock! is doing now in the community. Black fathers outperform their counterparts in certain areas and a lot of times that is not talked about in the media. Ryan wanted to make sure he created a platform that showed people what Black Fathers Rock! is doing.

Ryan knows that there are people that are absentee fathers or that are locked up but instead of focusing on the negative he wanted to focus on the positive. He wanted to showcase black fathers being active and present in their lives,

Ryan states, “I’m a father who happens to be black. It’s not an exclusive kind of thing, It’s just a matter of that’s who I am and so for me creating a platform to showcase what we are is something I’ve excited and grateful for.”

Jor El sees Black Fathers Rock going global in the next 5 to 10 years. He plans to reach out and have ambassador programs throughout the nation this year. Ryan & his team believe that this is something that God has given them for a global mission and that He will align the right people for them to be able to expand. The event it’s self was of deep importance, not only to the winners but to those who wish to dispel and dismantle the myth of the absent black father.

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