In My Father’s House Is Not About Placing Blame…

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Caption: Our family on the red carpet at the Chicago Premiere of In My Father’s House.

Let me start by saying “thank you” to everyone who has gone to see our film In My Father’s House. While Che and I have always considered ourselves to be “open books,” this documentary opens up our home and our family in a way that we’ve never experienced before. Our hope, is that people will be inspired to examine their own families and most of all to heal, forgive and move forward.

When you’re in the public eye, people tell you to “stay off social media” and to “not read the comments,” but I believe that social media is an incredible platform to share information, connect and inspire. You can imagine my confusion when we came across a tweet that said “Rhymefest ‘slut shames’ his single mother” with a tag to Amber Rose. It continued with “Rhymefest disses his single mother” and more, and more tweets oversimplified both the song “Lost and Found” and the film.

My mother-in-law is one of the strongest women I know, and she was the first person that Che went to, for permission to go on the journey to find his father in the first place. As a single mom, like most single moms, she did the best she could. I can’t tell you how many people have approached us after screenings to share that they were interested in connecting to their fathers, but their mothers forbade them and made them feel guilty for wanting to connect. I myself was raised by a single mother, and my mother taught me the value of hard work, was a beautiful example of resiliency and despite not having a partner to help raise me, she did the best she could.

Some people will post anything to get likes, follows and mentions. Because “content is king,” real journalism is often passed over for the tabloid style, sensationalized garbage that misrepresents and distorts. And don’t even get me started about “slut-shaming!” “Slut-shaming” should not even be in the same sentence as “single-mother,” as it was in the tweet we were mentioned in. Parenting is rough work, and it is not easy when there are two parents, let alone, single parents (either moms or dads). When it comes to parenting though, there are some things that happen that negatively impact our children… and that is a reality! Che mentions in the song, “Never had a father/ so I blamed my momma/ she had bad judgment, and horrible karma/ couldn’t even find a decent man for me to honor/ got my degree from the streets that was my alma mater…”

Che is not represented as the perfect father in our documentary, and he’s not without flaws. Che’s father was not the perfect father, and he’s not without flaws. Che’s mother had some challenges as a mother, and she’s not without flaws… but name one parent, or person that is not without flaws. We have to discuss these things – these choices that are made – that affect our children, so that we can break the cycles that negatively impact our families and our communities. Furthermore, “Lost and Found” is a great example of a piece of art that is therapeutic and cathartic. I wish we could get more honest portrayals of family life in hip hop.

Additionally, the notion that our film is about “blame,” is preposterous. If that is the conclusion that you’ve drawn, I’d ask that you watch the film again. When we’re talking about finding “blame.” it often means we are pointing the finger at someone else, and therein lies the problem. My husband wanted to be a better father, and realized that until he dealt with his internal feelings with his own father, he wouldn’t be able to have a proper relationship with his own children. It was his internal anger, hurt and frustration that forced him to go on the journey to find his father in the first place… at 35 years old. Focusing on “blame” doesn’t allow you to move forward, it forces you to live in the past. Our film is about attempting to get to the root cause – why do we make the decisions that we make, and why do we repeat the pathologies that continue to cause trauma? Our film is about unconditional love… loving our family members despite the challenges and difficulties they face (in the case of my father-in-law alcoholism).

If you have not done so, please check out In My Father’s House, now in select AMC Theaters across the country.

6 Comments

Filed under Health, Parenting

6 responses to “In My Father’s House Is Not About Placing Blame…

  1. Pingback: PICS of WEEK: Rhymefest finds his homeless father, makes documentary, sparks “slut shaming” debate | Blacks in Hollywood.com

  2. TO REACT is more than okay, but to be an editorial bully is not okay. While I respect your right to not agree with my reaction to “Lost and Found” the song, it’s important to set the record straight.

    First, I did not offer any thoughts on the movie as I have not seen it. As a member of the press – specifically the Black Press whose weekly audience is over 50 million – it is odd that no press release was sent to us about the movie. It’s disappointing that our Black Press Moms (and a few Dads) parenting bloggers were not invited to screen the movie. It’s a troubling trend when Black-owned media outlets like BlacksinHollywood and others have to read about Black news in mainstream media.

    Second, I take offense to your comment: “Some people will post anything to get likes, follows and mentions. Because “content is king,” real journalism is often passed over for the tabloid style, sensationalized garbage that misrepresents and distorts.” It actually applies more to your post than to mine as you left out a giant nugget that said how much of a fan I’ve always been of Rhymefest. It’s okay that he grow from is pain and seek a better life. It’s okay that he tell his truth and it’s okay for fans, moms, writers and others to react with disappointment and even disgust. His words in Lost in Found are mysognistic and yes, toe the line of slut shaming. Comparing his entire body of work to Lost and Found and its easy to come up empty. He’s better than that. We’ve come to expect more from him than that.

    As fans, we’ve rode hard for Rhymefest and weathered every one of his musical setbacks and the industry’s disses with him. Naturally, a new Rhymefest track is going to be our attention. It was like opening up a holiday gift and finding coal and with a lollipop on top.

    Finally, there is no oversimplification of his journey. It’s not a new topic. It’s not a new concept. But as Black fathers managed to takeover Facebook this Father’s Day with thousands of photos of them with their children, it’s also a hurtful topic that some may feel perpetuates a stereotype.

    To be fair, it’s easy to see Brian Tillman is a broken man who even with his flaws comes across as a man you want to cheer for. But, when dad’s stray moms stay. It was a bit surprising to hear lyrics like that directed at any woman, but the comments were towards his own mother just could not be ignored. I listened to the track nearly six times before I authored the article. Six. I tried hard to push down the fire that was building but the lyrics are just too upsetting to be ignored.

    While I’m certain it’s easier to villianize me rather than accept that this one track is not all that healing. It’s now like Kanye’s “One Day.” It’s not like Jay Z’s “Glory” in which they sought to uplift not teardown.

    I’ll never stop respecting, checking for and supporting Rhymefest, but even though I’m a mega fan, I’ll be okay if “Lost and Found” doesn’t get a lot of airplay.

    Blessings to your family,
    DC Livers
    Black media historian

    • As I mentioned in my article, both mothers and fathers make mistakes. I don’t think it is fair to give a critique about the film without seeing the film! I think that’s irresponsible. Even if you were not able to make it to a screening of the film, there were press screenings and there is a press copy that has been sent to both small and large media sites. There are literally thousands of media sites of which your site is one. We screened our film at Essence Fest and at ABFF to crowds of primarily black bloggers and media professionals.

      The majority of the song “Lost and Found” is about his father. I don’t think it’s misogynistic or wrong for him to say that he learned bad traits from his mother’s boyfriends, if that is his truth. While you may feel hurt or disgusted by the lyrics, based on your own individual experience, he has the right to express his hurt and pain. Ultimately, the song is about his need for his father, and I don’t think it’s a misogynistic idea for children to feel the need for a father, if they grow up in a single mother household. While you may not feel like the track heals you personally, there are countless men and women who can relate, and more specifically, the song helped to heal Che. Che equally critiques his mom, his dad and himself in the film, and the song “Lost and Found” is a shorted version of that critique. We are certainly grateful for your support and your advocacy, but we’ll just have to agree to disagree on this topic.

  3. Agree to disagree. It’s just wack to diss a mom.

  4. Tanisha

    I stumbled upon your blog when I was reading a random article about your husband (I am a devout hip hop fan and born and raised in Chicago). You are one of the dopest women I have ever encountered and I dont even know you. I have been stalking your blog all day…there are so many reasons you are an inspiring I cant count, I pray for your family to be complete with your rainbow baby (I am looking forward to that as well).

    • Dear Tanisha, thank you so much for leaving this beautiful comment, and thank you for hanging out on my blog. Writing was my first love, and it is always the place I return to process, plan and reflect. Thank you for being a fan of my husband’s work, and thank you for your prayers on that rainbow baby. He/she is coming some day, and when he/she does. it will be another reminder of God’s perfect grace. Talk soon?🙂

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