During the celebration of Black History Month, the foundation for Black Fathers Rock recognizes the importance of highlighting amazing Black fathers who reside in the Charlotte community. The Black Fathers Rock event took place on Friday, February 23rd, at the Pease Auditorium located on the main campus of CPCC. The idea of the event originated based on the stereotypical idea that black fathers are not present in their children’s lives. Ryan Jor El, the creator of Black Fathers Rock, wanted to create a platform that diminished that stereotype against the black community and provide resources for fathers who are in need of guidance.
Ryan is a graduate of UNC Charlotte and a profound member of Kappa Alpha Psi Fraternity, Inc. He is well known throughout the city of Charlotte based on his 15-year career as a professional wardrobe consultant, where he has styled some of city’s most prominent executives and entrepreneurs. In addition to Ryan’s professional career, he is also a mentor, a morning news contributor on WCCB News Rising, and the author of a book called “Fashion & Fatherhood – A Contemporary Guide To Pursuing Your Passion While Juggling Fatherhood And The Faith It Takes Finding The Balance In Between.”
The 90-minute ceremony included the presentation of six honorees and two entertainment performances. The presenters included business executive Ron Tate, Jr., national recording artist Sunshine Anderson, and community activist Toussaint Romain. The six honorees who were recognized and commended this year were based on the following categories:
- Father of the Year: Fred Shropshire, WCNC News Anchor
- Dapper Dad of the Year: Attorney Eric A. Montgomery
- Activist of the Year: Braxton Winston, Charlotte City Council Member
- Entrepreneur of the Year: John “Sport E. Odie” Adams, WPEG/Power 98 Radio Personality
- Senior Father of the Year (over age 55): Community Leader Eugene Price, Kappa Alpha Psi Fraternity, Inc.
- Surrogate Father of the Year: The Boys to Men Foundation, who is also the nonprofit partner of Black Fathers Rock honors men who may not be a biological father, but mentors children, such as a stepfather, adoptive father, coach, or mentor.
In closing of the ceremony, Ryan wanted everyone to understand and take with them four phrases that exemplified why celebrating black fathers is necessary and important, not only to the black community but to the society in general.
- Black Fathers Exist
- Black Fathers deserve to be celebrated
- Black Fathers’ stories need to be told
- Black Fathers Rock!