Jay-Z anthem to fatherhood is music to the ears of black leaders and family advocates

Shawn "Jay Z" Carter attends a press event to announce his Carnegie Hall performances to benefit the United Way and the Shawn Carter Scholarship Foundation, in New York, Thursday, Dec. 8, 2011. (AP Photo/Charles Sykes)

Blue Ivy Carter is one rich baby. With her father Shawn (Jay-Z) Carter worth $450 million and her mother, Beyonce, the highest paid female performer, Blue will be able to have anything money can buy.

But she is also rich in love, as Jay-Z exults in his song “Glory.”

The best part? A lot of other babies are going to benefit. Because Jay-Z’s ecstatic reaction to being a dad will be the strongest boost yet to a growing movement in the black community encouraging responsible fatherhood.

“When pop died, I didn’t cry; didn’t know him that well,” Jay-Z once rapped.

“This sounds cold,” he explains in his riveting memoir “Decoded.” “But the truth is that my father left my family for good when I was young.”

Nine years old, to be exact.

“Three months after we had our first conversation in 20 years, he died. … I realized that yeah, of course every father that bounced had a reason. I didn’t excuse him for leaving his kids, but I started to understand.”

And — as he’s rapped — to forgive. And to move on to be a great father himself. And in doing so, encourage other men to do the same.

The black sociologist Dr. Edward Franklin Frazier said way back in the 1930s that the cruel tearing apart of slave families would haunt us for generations, and it has.

Seventy-two percent of African-American children are raised by a single parent — usually the mother, according to the Organization for Economic Cooperation and Development. Turning this situation around has been about as easy as steering a cruise ship through a U-turn in a storm.

Leaders of the black families movement were cheered by Jay-Z’s anthem to fatherhood.

“Jay-Z is opening his heart and exposing the raw emotion behind his growing up fatherless, and his conviction to never let his daughter suffer the same fate,” wrote mother Denene Millner on her popular site mybrownbaby.blogspot.com.

Millner’s husband Nick Chiles is writing the book “Fatherhood” with President Obama’s Fatherhood Initiative rep Etan Thomas, the Atlanta Hawks center.

“This is a condition that our community specifically suffers greatly from, and the idea that this rapper would pen a song expressing his joy of being a daddy and his vow to do right by (Blue Ivy) sends a pretty powerful message to those who need it most,” she said.

Jay-Z isn’t the first artist to talk about African-American dads stepping up. “The Wire” star Tray Chaney just released a song called “Fatherhood” on iTunes, in which he raps, “See where I’m from, the fathers hardly be around. Mothers working two jobs just so she can feed the kids. I swear I’d rather die than be labelled as the guy who couldn’t hold his own looking out for his fam…”

Chaney’s music video director Lamar Tyler, who has his own website BlackandMarriedwithKids.com, shows father after father with their kids in a montage that’ll make you cry. But it will also give you hope that more men will realize that, as President Obama said, “what makes you a man is not the ability to have a child, but the courage to raise one.”

Jay-Z’s joy could encourage a whole generation.


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