In June of 2008, famed journalist Ed Gordon launched Daddy's Promise, a campaign dedicated to strengthening the relationships between fathers and daughters. The host of TV One's "Our World with Black Enterprise," and a proud father of one daughter, Taylor, Gordon has embarked on the Daddy's Promise church & college tour, which started right here in Detroit in September at Second Ebenezer Church. The campaign is in association with the organization 100 Black Men of America, Inc., and during the tour, Gordon will use discussions and presentations to help revitalize family ties in the black community, providing instruction and inspiration for men to be strong fathers and solid leaders in the home. Gordon took some time out to talk with DetroitGospel.com about the purpose, plans, and outlook of his latest ambition.
Conway: What is Daddy's Promise all about?
Ed: Daddy's Promise is a national father-daughter initiative that launched on Father's Day this year in cooperation with 100 Black Men. It started from an article that I wrote for Essence Magazine about my relationship with my daughter. We've created a website, www.DaddysPromise.com, where you can read our mission statement, the pledge, and view pictures of men and their daughters from across the country. We've held national town hall meetings, and we're starting a church-college tour.
Conway: What are your goals for this initiative?
Ed: The first goal is to raise awareness. We always hear about absentee fathers and we hear about the misogynistic lyrics in music, but there are so many men that are doing the right thing that aren't getting credit. We also want to give a nudge to men that are not doing the right thing. We're trying to move forward and say that the real definition of a man is to take care of your children. We want to start a dialogue also. Not only is the father-daughter relationship vital, but it's something that should be celebrated. As the initiative grows, we'll grow with it. When we first began, we just wanted to do a website; I didn't think about a tour, but I want to give a platform to men who are doing the right thing and make men accountable.
Conway: How have people and organizations responded to Daddy's Promise?
Ed: It's been tremendous! Everyone that we've talked to has jumped on board: Proctor & Gamble, Bounty paper towels, the NAACP and the Urban League, Ford Motor Company, and others. More importantly, the people who have found out about this are excited and joining.
Conway: You mentioned that you initially had intentions to just do a website, but now it's grown into a tour. Do you think that there's another level for Daddy's Promise?
Ed: I suspect there will be, but what that next level is, I don't know. We've watched Daddy's Promise grow and create itself.
Conway: Who do have joining you during the tour?
Ed: During town hall meetings, we bring different celebrities, especially on college campuses, where we talk about relationships as well as parenting because although many of those young people are not parents, talking about it beforehand can get them ahead of the curve. When I'm at Second Ebenezer, I'll speak during the morning service, and then afterwards we'll present the head chef from Lola's Restaurant, which is in Downtown Detroit. One of the things that we suggested is that fathers spend at least one day a month in the kitchen with their daughters. As you know, when you're in the kitchen with someone, no matter who it is, you always start to talk. Whether it's about politics or sports or family, you start to talk about things, which has always been our history as black people in this country. So we'll present a cooking station with the head chef from Lola's Restaurant with his daughter, to talk about things that you can whip up in the kitchen, even if you can't cook. We also take portraits of fathers and their daughters for the website and we'll sell a beautiful portrait, which is our logo, designed by renowned artist John Holyfield.
Conway: At the end of the day, what will be your indication that Daddy's Promise has been successful?
Ed: I just hope we continue to grow and raise the issue. I don't have a particular result, but I want a continuing effort and dialogue in the home and the community. It's greater than just the father-daughter bond, but that one bond makes the entire family stronger. If the father is in the daughter's life, then she knows what to expect from a man. If there's a son in the home, then he sees how to treat a young lady. The mother sees all of this and feels like a burden has been lifted because she doesn't have to do everything. We need to raise the bar for our expectations of men. We need to continue to raise this dialogue until the issue of absentee fathers is eradicated.