A Facebook group is looking to change negative perceptions surrounding Black fathers, Black Enterprise reported.
The group—which was founded by Matt Prestbury—was designed as an avenue to connect and uplift Black dads, the news outlet writes. Prestbury—who has four children—was inspired to start the group, dubbed Black Fathers, after going through his own experiences with fatherhood. Nearly 10 years ago he was in the midst of a divorce and had no one to turn to or seek advice and support from other than his family. He wanted to create a group where Black fathers could openly express how they feel about the situations that they endure.
“I started the group because I wanted to have a connection with other fathers who were in the same boat,” Prestbury told Black Enterprise. “Black men from all walks of life who are fathers, husbands, married, divorced, raising children alone or fighting to be in their children’s lives.” Black Fathers doesn’t only serve as a forum for individuals to engage in conversation, it provides resources for men who are in the middle of legal battles to gain custody or visitation rights for their children.
Prestbury believes there needs to be a more positive representation of Black fathers in the media and hopes that he can change the narrative through his platform. “I looked in magazines and commercials and in the mainstream media and there were no black men who looked like me,” said Prestbury, according to the news outlet. “Even if I did find any, they were almost never shown in a positive light. I thought, ‘I can either sit and complain or I could do something to shift the perceptions about who we are and to understand our own values.”
Black Fathers, which was launched nine years ago, now has over 30,000 members.
There are several Black men who have been dedicated to changing the narrative about Black fatherhood. Last year, a short film titled Hair Love was created to inspire children to take pride in their natural hair and show that despite the stereotypes Black fathers are active in their children’s lives.