You may have seen this photo of a black dad styling his daughter’s hair with a toddler strapped to his chest. It’s gone viral in the past week as an example of good, and all too rare, forms of black fatherhood. Yahoo! Shine got in touch with the man at the center of the photo, Doyin Richards, 39, and got the back story.
Richards originally posted the photo on his website back in October with the title, “I Have a Dream: That People Will View a Picture Like This and Not Think It’s a Big Deal.” He’d taken it after his wife challenged him to do their 6-year-old daughter’s hair without leaving their infant on her own. Richards not only did it, but took a picture as proof. He later reposted the photo last month and the photo was eventually picked up by the fatherhood blog The Good Men Project. Yahoo! Shine explains what happened next:
In a matter of hours, the photo went viral, quickly amassing nearly 5,000 shares, 3,000 comments, and 190,000 likes, along with a slew of mean-spirited remarks, such as “He probably rented those kids. They don’t even look like him,” and “I would bet anything that you’re a deadbeat.”
Believe it or not, Richards actually faced a fair amount of criticism over the photo with detractors calling him a deadbeat who was using children to get attention.
Although to Richards, the photo is simply an accurate reflection of his daily life, he understands the scrutiny — to a degree. “The picture stirs emotion for a few reasons,” Richards tells Yahoo Shine. “The media doesn’t portray fathers as caregivers. We’re seen as bumbling fools trying to figure out parenthood, or macho men pushing their kids into the NFL. The other issue is that there’s a stereotype that black fathers are deadbeats.”