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Fonzworth Bentley, Louis Upkins Stress the Importance of Fathering Godly Children of Color

Maina Mwaura | Contributor | Wednesday, July 1, 2020
dad reading book with young son and daughter

Fonzworth Bentley, Louis Upkins Stress the Importance of Fathering Godly Children of Color

It’s Saturday morning and I can hear Derek Watkins', also known as Fonzworth Bentley, and Louis Upkins’ morning routines in the background.

Upkins is an established business consultant and coach to influential leaders and Watkins is best known for being the host of MTV's reality TV show “From G's to Gents” and for working as Sean Combs’s personal assistant.

Just as in their morning routines, while the two African American men are much different, they have in common their strong relationships with Jesus and their desire to raise their children to have faith in Christ as well. For this reason, while the two men live in different parts of the country, they hold each other accountable to be the best fathers that they can be.

It doesn't take long into the conversation before the two men start talking about what they love about their role as a father and their desire to raise Godly children of color.

"I love being a dad and the role that it provides me to be there for my kids, to give them the love and wisdom that they need," Watkins shared.

Somewhat fatigued with the level of racial injustices they are currently seeing in our country, both men also admitted that being a father to children of color can, at times, be stressful.

Sharing with his kids that “they are created in the image of God” is an important reminder, Upkins asserted, adding that while God made them Black, it is their image in Christ that counts the most.

Watkins, who is known for being in the spotlight in his younger years, is quick to join in, admitting that he loves the job of being father because it allows him to show his kids how to be like Jesus, our ultimate Father. During our interview, you can hear Watkins in the background cooking bacon and his kids running around, but he doesn't seem to skip a beat in letting it be known that He wants his kids to see Jesus in him.

"When they see me, I want it to be a constant reminder of God," Watkins shared.

For many fathers of color, the past few months have been an interesting terrain to navigate as race issues have again come to the forefront of public consciousness.

Watkins and Upkins aren't immune to the difficult realities many people walkthrough. Watkins grew up in the Atlanta area around civil rights icons like Rep. John Lewis and Ambassador Andrew Young, so he is very familiar with the historical context and racial problems of our day. "I didn't grow up with a less than mindset and I don't want my kids to grow up in that kind of world either," Watkins shared.

For Upkins, he would admit that watching the racial news of our day has led him to be fatigued. "I'm fatigued with the injustices that are happening in our community today," he said.

Although both men believe that there is much work to be done, they have hope that they will see things change for their kids.

"For the first time in my life, I think that if a racial injustice was happening to my son and there were five people who witnessed it, one of them would say something to bring justice to his defense,” Watkins voiced hopefully.

Photo courtesy: ©GettyImages/Monkey Business Images; This is a stock image.