Your Professional Moniker, and Name/Ages of your kids?
39, Actor (Showtime’s Ray Donovan), and Father of Djanai (18), Djeada"Bug" (9), Djordan "Champ" (8), and Djulian (6 months)
At just 39 years of age you have been married for nearly twenty years – meeting your wife Linda at UMass, how has loving her informed who you are as a man, a husband, and a father?
Yes. We have been together... for a while and it’s amazing and hard work. When you have love there’s nothing you can’t do or overcome. That’s me as a man learning everyday how I can be a better husband and father. I learn every day that our communication and outlooks on life have to be on point. It’s difficult sometimes, but we find that balance. And as a father, I try my hardest to give my kids an amazing life; a lot of what I didn’t have growing up. One thing as a dad I want my kids to have are manners, respect, and class. I’m strict, but I’m fair. I want my kids to know they are loved, but also respected because my wife and I want to be able to have honest conversations with our kids no matter how awkward, any day and time. And that, as the head of the household, is something I feel is important for everyone.
Your Instagram (@iampoochall) gives a wonderful shout-out to your mom, Cindy. Did she fill both roles, as mother and father in your upbringing? If yes, how did that inform your thoughts, and expectations of fatherhood before you actually became a dad?
I give my mom a huge shout out... 'cause she is missed and I think about her often. She was my mom and played the mom role. My dad also was a major part in my life and was very hands on. He gave me a lot of my knowledge and weaponry as far as becoming a man. My mom was the softer side. She allowed me to be more in touch with the feminine side of life. It helps that I also listened and was able be open to learn, 'cause it helps me understand my daughters more. My parents both shared in my becoming a dad.
What is your most treasured time spent, or activity with your children – the 'just us time' that lives in your heart and mind?
Aw man, the creative side of the kids is when they are home just chillin' or when they are doing school projects and they get creative. Then there’s basketball practice, special needs clinic, dance and conservatory. Each one of my kids possess talents that I’m so proud of and I get so happy to help them get better. And, as long as they’re having fun, then so am I.
What music do you and your kids jam to in the car?
I listen to sports radio a lot. But, when we do, we listen to whatever is appropriate and fun. Bug is the singer and Djordan loves Drake.
What's the most important lesson you have taught your sons? Is this the same lesson for your daughters? If not, what is the most important lesson you hope to teach her?
One of the biggest lessons I teach my kids are manners, respect and class as well as being independent and cleaning up after themselves. I teach them these skills both 'cause it helps build character and it’s very important to be a good listener. And, this applies to all my kids. For all of them, I try to teach and drill the importance of self-awareness and being mindful of all things. Especially if something may not be on the up and up.
What has been one of the hardest things about fatherhood? (or one of the hardest moments you've experienced as a father)
I think my hardest moment was when the doctors told me about my oldest Djanai who was diagnosed with hypoplasia of the corpus callosum... in which she has cerebral palsy. That was devastating on the family, but it made us stronger and we learned from our daughter. Although she can’t walk or talk and is in a wheelchair, she is the happiest creature on the planet.
Kids can be really funny. Is there anything your child does or says that makes you laugh out loud?
Hell yea... my kids are little comedians. Djordan does this eye brow thing and Bug is funny without even trying. Djanai cracks up at Sesame Street and Djulian loves to be tickled. His laugh makes me laugh.
The biggest misconception about Black fathers is...?
Is that we aren’t good fathers...
What advice can you offer to young men who don't have their father in their lives?
Find a positive role model that gives incentives, who teaches, who listens and respects you. Make it a point to make sure you work to be the best you no matter who’s there or not there.
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