Patrick Hampton / February 3, 2020

Kobe Contradictions: Why #GirlDad Isn’t Reality in Black America

Many woke black people seek to live vicariously through the lives of the rich and famous.

The world is numb, saddened, and in mourning for the tragic loss of basketball superstar Kobe Bryant and his daughter Gianna, as well as the other passengers and pilot who also perished in the helicopter crash in Calabasas, California. In memoriam, the Twitter-verse is filled with heartfelt tribute for the basketball legend and his 13-year-old child, with posts shared under the now-viral hashtag #GirlDad. Among those sharing photos and telling stories are black socialites and #PretendParents — my term for parents who only exist to brag on children they didn’t raise. These groups band together to celebrate fatherhood in light of this devastating incident. But is a horrible event like this what it really takes for us to praise the value of having a father in the home?

First, let’s define what a #GirlDad is. In summary, a #GirlDad is a father who is actively raising his daughter into womanhood. But how many #GirlDads are there today?

I’m not here to question Kobe’s parenting abilities. It’s clear that he was as present as any celebrity athlete can be for his family. Instead, I call into question the false pride among the African-American community, which has clearly shown that fatherhood is no longer a priority. Statistics suggest that greater than 70% of black people are born to single-parent (mother) households.

It’s as if many woke black people seek to live vicariously through the lives of the rich and famous, but they never work to acquire and redeem any virtues of their own. They tune into Hollywood’s depiction of wealthy, powerful, and successful black families and are satisfied with just watching. The black family has been in television for generations, so how did we end up with fatherless homes at all? I estimate that to these woke black people, seeing their own in television, in headlines, is good enough.

This type of laziness is hard to tackle. For little effort is given because the notion of collectivism prevails. “One black person succeeds, so we all are succeeding,” some people believe. One strong tidal wave lifts all boats.

Sadly, this approach to living keeps black families lacking and unable to realize success for themselves. While Kobe may have had a wonderful relationship with his daughter, this hardly means that all black families are healthy and whole, and no amount of retweets and hashtags will make it so.

  • #GirlDad doesn’t address an alarming abortion rate among blacks.

  • #GirlDad doesn’t speak to the staggering crime rates for black men compared to other races.

  • #GirlDad does little to resolve the educational challenges present in today’s public schools.

  • #GirlDad says nothing about a culture of hateful mothers who pin their daughters against their dads.

  • #GirlDad hardly challenges the judicial biases against men who truly want to be good fathers.

With black families among those pressed up against these obstacles, the last thing we need is another useless #hashtag movement. Generations of television and film depicting a wholesome, successful black family didn’t do it, and neither will this. It’s time we turn away from the computer screen and face the mirror. Looking at ourselves, we must ask if we truly value family.

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