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.