TRIBUTE TO WIDOWS AND DADDY’S GIRLS Among the loyal readership of this column are a band of unsung heroines. The first group are known simply as ‘Daddy’s Girls’. These are women who are ‘all grown up and have their heads on straight’ as we used to say back in the day. The second group are ‘Widows’. These are women who have been married to great husbands and lost them to the grave--but still keep their honorable memories alive. These women give Feminists, Talk Show Hosts, and Magazine Writers/Editors nightmares, simply because they don’t believe the ‘hype’ that all men are all bad. They were raised, impacted, and taught about real life on the knee of their fathers. They entered the bonds of marriage with a man who loved them, cherished them, and worked both for/with them so they could be all they could be without fear of, nor apprehension of the days ahead. These women of quality still exist brothers--especially single brothers. You will be blessed if you happen across a woman who had a good man in their lives, whether a father or a late spouse. But, I digress. A tidbit from history: Would you like to know WHO started the annual institution known as ‘Father’s Day’? You can thank a ‘Daddy’s Girl’ for this innovation. This seldom-mentioned story took place earlier in the Twentieth Century. A young woman, raised by her father after her mother died, spent some of her youth in church. She noticed that, while there were all kinds of honors and tributes paid to mothers, little was done to honor fathers. In her local church, she started the tradition of honoring fathers. It spread throughout the church world, and eventually caught the attention of the White House. Eventually, Father’s Day became a national holiday. Yes brothers, I know that men have become the ‘villains’ of much of the current entertainment offerings and television shows. You can’t turn the dial or pick up a movie ticket unless someone is taking a ‘shot’ at manhood and fathers. However, these women are NOT taking those ‘shots’ to heart, and are doing their best to put the truth out there in the mainstream. This column is going to introduce you to only two of them--but there are MORE out there. A PROUD ‘DADDY’S GIRL’ Dana Ross is the president of Pure Quality Film Works. She is a filmmaker, a former legal secretary, and should soon be the mother of TWINS. She is also, unashamedly, a ‘Daddy’s Girl’. Her current project: “Black Fatherhood: Reconnecting With Our Legacy--Volume One” has been shown in select markets. Since it is an independent project, Ms. Ross has been ‘barnstorming the country’ letting various people view her work. Here is where it gets interesting. In some of the radio interviews she has done, Ross has met a LOT of hostility from --of all people--other black women--who have tried to ‘dis’ her because of her support for fatherhood and manhood in the Black community. Since she was raised by her father, much like our heroine who ‘birthed’ Father’s Day, Ross is fiercely loyal to fathers--especially her own. She also understands the hostility from some of the sisterhood. However, she does NOT subscribe to it. In her view, until the FULL view of our history is shown and examined by our people--and others--a true picture of Black Fathers will be forever lost to the mists of time. Few Black women today have tried to understand their fathers, the era many of them grew up in, or some of the struggles that they had to face to keep a roof over a family’s head, and bread on the table at a time when America wasn’t too thrilled with Black men. And, if the truth be told, brothers, they AIN’T exactly wild about us TODAY! But, again I digress! If you want to know where her project is being shown, or when it will be available for individual purchase, feel free to check out her website at www.purequality.com. Rest assured that this WON’T be her last project MEANWHILE--IN ANOTHER PART OF PHILLY: Ross lives in Philadelphia, a city that has also given rise to another great woman by the name of Diane Sears, CEO of BSI International, and publisher of the IN SEARCH OF FATHERHOOD magazine. Sears is a widow and also a legal secretary. She publishes the magazine in tribute to her late husband’s ideals, and dreams. The first issue rolled off the ‘small presses’ in 1999, and has been gaining ground with Black men from all walks of life--and from Black women who have been given an entirely different view of Black men than found in the mainstream press. The beautiful part of the magazine is that some of the columns are written by brothers who happen to be behind bars. In some of the sample copies I have read, the writing work is top-rate and getting better all the time. It was interesting to find that Ross and Sears are good friends. It was also interesting to find that Sears, while a widow after a 20-plus year marriage, unashamedly believes that Black women must be trained in the home to recognize ‘a good man’ when he does come along--AND be willing to work WITH him once the “I Do’s” have been said. In Sears’ view, some women have placed too much emphasis on ‘finding/being found’ by a ‘Mr. Right’ rather than getting ready themselves BEFORE ‘Mr. Right’ finds them. Taking this to the next level, Sears believes that while husbands and wives need to have teamwork to have a happy home, the training in being a good wife/good husband comes from ‘being’ right in the first place--meaning NOT bed hopping or tear dropping, but being prepared to work as a team…NOT as adversaries. She also strongly believes that the “I Do’s” mark the beginning of a whole new time of training, from husbands to wives (and vice versa). Sears’ website can be seen at www.bsi-international.com to read some of the contents of past magazines, as well as a little background on the publication. The hopes are that the magazine can go to monthly status in the not-too-distant future, with more of those on the outside sharing their blessings with gift subscriptions to those who may be on the ‘inside’--men and women. SO, WHAT’S MY POINT? Ross and Sears are only too happy to share their experiences with women who want to be ‘schooled’ in another realm of thought concerning Black men. In fact, Sears will be writing her own syndicated column on issues that impact women called MOVING FORWARD. Expect this new venture to take to the Internet also in the near future. Brothers, there are women of quality out there who are more than willing to stand up for the brotherhood, just as much as there are men of character willing to stand up for the sisterhood. WE don’t get to see them because many in the ‘feminized mainstream press’ want to keep the ‘coals’ hot with the rhetoric of ‘there are NO good men out there’. The next time you hear a woman utter that line, you might want to direct them to Dana Ross and Diane Sears. They would only be TOO willing to answer those who are quick to fire shots at the brotherhood, without taking stock of themselves, their fathers, or other quality men in their lives. Because--in spite of what the media may say--there ARE quality men in our communities. WE can’t help it if many ‘don’t want to see’ our numbers, nor our achievements. MIKE RAMEY is the author of THE MANHOOD LINE. A monthly, syndicated column written from a biblical, business, and common sense perspective. Emails welcome to [email protected]. ©2002 Mike Ramey/Barnstorm Communications International (9).