In a time when Fatherhood is a hot button issue in the African American community actor/rapper Tray Chaney releases a music video for his new song titled Fatherhood that hits the mark. Many will recognize Chaney from his role as Poot Carr on HBO's hit show The Wire.
The video which was produced by Don Cox and directed by yours truly has created buzz all over the web. In the 24 hours since it's release, the "Fatherhood" video has been well received gaining thousands of views and popping up on some of the web's most prominent web addresses. Here is a sample of what people are saying:
Kudos to Chaney for putting his lyrical talents and fame to good use. Let's hope today's Black fathers are listening.
Chaney's "Fatherhood," with it's delicious neo-soul guitar lick set to a military-styled beat, is a celebration of fathers getting it right and a clarion call to dads falling down on the job. The clear-eyed, to-the-point takeaway: Square your shoulders, step up and be a father to your child.
The video which includes Chaney's own father and son lends voice to the critical issue of Fatherhood in communities across the country. During the infectious hook Chaney repeats, "I'd rather die than be labeled as the guy who wasn't around." If more men took this approach the outlook for the black community would be vastly different. Instead we often see reports of young men dying for anything else but that including colors, neighborhoods or even Air Jordans.
According to the National Fatherhood Initiative, father absence in our communities affects a number of issues such as poverty, crime, incarceration rates and teen pregnancy.
"I went into this project with the hopes of addressing the challenges of fathers. It's important to remember our responsibilities towards our children and ourselves," says Chaney.
Those same responsibilities have been raised by others recently but not in this format. By using hip-hop Chaney is creating a vehicle to get this message straight to the young black men who need it the most. For this I applaud his efforts.
However, even with web buzz and a noble cause the question remains will radio show support? The cruel reality of current day radio is that they don't play songs that promote the positive. Sex, guns and drugs is the formula to gain regular airplay and this song contains none of the above. Five years ago that would have meant relative obscurity for any artist who released a song similar to this, but in the age of social media Chaney just may stand a chance.
With every Facebook share and Twitter Retweet this song and this video may get one person closer to the man who really needs to see it. That leaves the ball in your court.
The Fatherhood single is currently available for download on iTunes.com.