5 Black Fathers Share Inherited Life Lessons to Inspire Their Children

5 Black Fathers Share Inherited Life Lessons to Inspire Their Children

Fatherhood has the power to move us in many ways. Black fatherhood, specifically, is integral to the infrastructure of our community. In a world that seeks to denigrate Black men, they shine their light brightly as a reminder that they are present, involved and ready to uplift the future of our world. Generationally, even with all of their complexities, Black fathers have been sources of love, stability, strength and fortitude.

Outside of the celebrity father figures we look up to on our favorite sitcoms or in pop culture, the real superheroes are the everyday dads who show up for their community and families in the best way they know how. Whether they were given the blueprint to succeed in fatherhood or had to figure it out on their own, these fathers prove just how capable and exceptional they can be.

In the spirit of continuing to uplift Black men in all of their identities and efforts, five Black fathers—Tony Taylor, Anthony Jules, Michael Johnson, Cory Mickens and Don Felton— take time to reflect on the advice given to them by father figures in their own lives. Additionally, they share their hopes for what their children will internalize through their example.

They were asked two specific questions and provided a wealth of wisdom that can fuel many generations to come.

What is the greatest life lesson that your father or a father figure shared with you?

Tony Taylor: My father taught me a lot of skills, like working with my hands, and that I can do anything that I put my mind to, along with the value of respect. Additionally, he taught me kindness, confidence and most of all, resilience. When I looked at my dad, I would always see self-confidence, which he instilled in me. The greatest piece of advice that I carry from him is to be my own thinker, to be a leader and to create my own path.

Anthony Jules: I think the best advice I’ve gotten from my elders has been, “When the storms of life ultimately come, keep God at the center.” This piece of advice has a way of grounding and calming me in moments of stress and duress.

Michael Johnson: The greatest piece of advice my pops gave to me as a man is that I should always seek growth in knowledge: Be bold and if you don’t know, then don’t be afraid to ask questions. He taught me to always understand that knowledge is the key to success, and if anyone shall ask anything of you, keep your mouth closed until you have the correct answer.

Cory Mickens: My father has always taught me to love and communicate with my family. When I was in high school, he gave me the poem Don’t Quit and I placed it on my wall. I played sports at the time and tried to play football. He said to me, “Just like you do with sports, you don’t quit on your family. Never quit.”

Don Felton: I spent a lot of my summers down in Norfolk, Virginia, hanging out with my grandfather and my uncles so my insight about life came from them.

What lessons do you hope to pass down to and instill in your own children?

Taylor: I would like my daughter to always understand that although the sun may not always be shining, tomorrow will be a better day. Life is all about having resilience, so you must have faith in yourself and know that God is always with you no matter what you do.

Jules: First, find your happiness. Whatever it may be or wherever it may lie, pursue it. Second, help people whenever you can. That brings a great reward in life for others, as well as for yourself. Third, have fun. Life should be enjoyed, not just endured.

Johnson: The greatest advice I have always shared with my child is to always know and believe in who you are. Never think to be or change into someone that you’re not. Stay true to who you are, God loves you no matter what. In Jesus’ name, Amen.

Mickens: As a father of five, they’ve taught me more than I’ve taught them. They’ve taught me how to love, how to be respectful and how to listen to different opinions. I think I’ve passed those things down to them. Also, I want them to love God and have a personal relationship with the Lord, and treat others how they want to be treated. It’s very important to be a good person and have good character. Lastly, to be strong, find peace and never ever quit. Don’t quit.

Felton: The family gene that I believe has been passed down to my daughter is the significance of helping others in life. Also, you gotta make time to do wholesome and simple things, things that don’t even cost money. Just spending time is important. She’s 25 now and eventually, she’s going to leave the nest and start a family of her own. But I am always going to cherish the memories that I have.

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Jeffery M. Jordan’s HEIR App Is a Game Changer for the Sports Landscape

Jeffery M. Jordan’s HEIR App Is a Game Changer for the Sports Landscape

The HEIR App is seeking to transform the way athletes and fans interact with each other. Co-founded by Jeffery M. Jordan—son of basketball great Michael Jordan—Jeron Smith and Daniel George, HEIR is the first product launched by Heir Inc., “a next-generation holding company that connects brands at the intersection of sports, tech, and entertainment.”

A player-focused app, the digital platform allows community members to gain exclusive access to athletes and one-of-a-kind experiences.

EBONY spoke with Briana Richardson, HEIR’s Head of Product about the launch of the app, the needs of Gen Z sports fans, and the team’s vision to connect athletes with their fans

EBONY: What led the team at HEIR Inc. to launch this app?

Briana Richardson: Our founders, Jeffrey, Jaron, and Daniel all know each other from Nike. It all started with the idea that athletes today have to bring their communities together on channels that they don’t own. They have social media platforms, which are already regulated by the League, but they don’t really have the opportunity to own the stories themselves. So when the company was founded, it was really centered on whether players should have more control over their narratives. This was actually before NIL became what it is today. The team saw an opportunity based on previous experiences that athletes don’t get the flexibility and the control that they should have for how much value they bring to their sports. So there was a high emphasis on evolution from the athlete’s perspective. We wanted to make it easier for these athletes to bring their own communities together through a channel where they have maximum control. Now their content reaches them, and they’re able to monetize it, however, they see fit.

Can you speak to how Gen Z fans are underserved in the sports world and how HEIR serves this demographic?

HEIR is at the epicenter of Gen Z sports culture. We found that Gen Z consumers are so different from other consumers, and that’s not just for sports, but for everything in every industry. They want to have an experience that’s very different from what consumers had before. In sports, we feel like there are some definitive points that we’ve heard from our consumers that we really leaned into when we were building the app. So the first thing we learned is that with Gen Z-ers, you have eight seconds or less, short attention span You really can’t have these long-drawn-out videos. That’s why TikTok, Snapchat, and Instagram Reels are so popular.

We focus on just highlights and being able to catch the biggest moments of the night before, We also focus on the player first versus the team or the league. A lot of Gen Z consumers, or Gen Z in general, look to identify more on a personal level. So the way we deliver our entire experience is through the lens of the player. Whether that’s looking at content or stats, we view it through the lens of the player first.

Would you say that sports fans today want to be more interactive with athletes than previous generations?

Yes, personal connection is big for them. If you think about sports and the way it’s consumed right now, you and I could jump on any of these apps, and it would be a solo experience. We could both be on ESPN right now and know that both of us are on ESPN doing the same thing. The difference with HEIR is that it centers on the fact that Gen Z loves community. They want to find homes virtually or find other people that are similar to them, the same way of describing athletes. So we very much focus on having that experience on our app as well.

NBA stars Anthony Edwards and Lonzo Ball are featured athletes on the app. How did they become a part of HEIR?

Jeffery, Jaron and Daniel have known Anthony and Lonzo for many years. They fell in love with that ownership piece. If you think about it, a lot of athletes may have their own signature line of clothing or other endorsements. But we think today’s athlete wants more freedom to express themselves and the freedom to control how they can express themselves. When you look at their social media, it’s more like fulfilling obligations that they may have with other partnerships. But we position it to them as an avenue for them to be themselves. A human first and an athlete second. Anthony and Lonzo were drawn to those ideas.

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The Seven Best Easter Eggs From Pharrell Williams’ Debut Louis Vuitton Show

The Seven Best Easter Eggs From Pharrell Williams’ Debut Louis Vuitton Show

Pharrell Williams’ creative director debut Tuesday in Paris for Louis Vuitton menswear was a celebration of legacy, joy, and his Virginian roots. Ushering in the new era of menswear for the historic French fashion house, Williams shut down the Pont Neuf bridge for famous friends Beyoncé, JAY-Z, Rihanna, A$AP Rocky, Megan Thee Stallion, and Louis Vuitton brand ambassador Zendaya who arrived with former stylist Law Roach. The show began at sunset and featured a full orchestra and gospel choir dressed in white. Over 70 looks were displayed, modeled by a wide sweep of creatives, including UK rapper Dave, and longtime collaborators Pusha T and No Malice of Clipse.

The extravagantly orchestrated runway show showcased distinct aesthetics that paid homage to Williams’ home state, his own fashion legacy and influences that helped inspire this season’s show. In a statement about the representation of the appointment, Williams added that this was about fulfilling his personal destiny while acknowledging the opportunity it has afforded him as a chance to celebrate his cultural legacy and home state of Virginia.

“A lot of people lost their lives and suffered through the experiences to get us to these positions. It’s not lost on me that I’m afforded this opportunity to tell these stories.” Those stories woven throughout the garments showcased during Tuesday’s show, also represent the 20-plus years of public influence within his own story.

It’s a task for someone with a storied history of dismantling the boundaries between hip-hop and couture, as Pharrell affirmed in the transition from iconic producer to legendary multi-hyphenate creative. It may not have been the show that officially showcases Pharrell as a respected designer and leaves much to be anticipated for what is to come next. But for hardcore Pharrell supporters and Neptunes nerds, it was a full-circle debut for a man whose pivot is centered around legacy — one that even Williams himself had to acknowledge.

Here are seven easter egg moments from Pharrell Williams’ Louis Vuitton Menswear Debut.

Homage to Virginia’s State Motto

pharrell in nice jacket

The collection’s staple theme, VA TO PARIS, can be traced back to Williams’ colorfully bedazzled motorcycle jacket from this year’s Something In The Water festival. As Pharrell stated in a recent interview, “LV is for Louis Vuitton, but it’s also ‘lover’,” referring to the famous Virginia state motto. Several pieces in the show were embellished with the phrase “Virginia is for lovers” — from the custom LV shirts worn by the staff and design team to specific statement pieces such as the blue crocodile leather baseball jacket and floor-length overcoats worn by the Clipse.

Even the bridge-side location of the show represented the metaphorical link between Virginia and Paris.

Princess Anne High School Varsity Jacket and Marching Band

Pharrell used the collection and connection to Virginia to pay homage to his iconic Princess Anne Varsity Jacket that he often wore during the early 2000s. The letterman jacket was from Pharrell’s years at Princess Anne High School, where he was also in the marching band. During an unearthed video clip from a 2003 episode of the MTV show When I Was 17,When I Was 17, Pharrell spoke about the influence that the marching band had on him musically. The influence is shown clearly as the models and the collective finale were choreographed as a united strut.

The memorable varsity jacket was auctioned off late last year during Williams’ Joopiter auction of celebrated items, but for many, brings up extreme nostalgia, as an item often seen during N.E.R.D.’s Fly or Die era.

In his notes, Pharrell states, “The memory of Princess Anne High School is epitomised in savoi-faire takes on the varsity jacket.”

2000s BBC / BAPE Homage


Many called out the pixel camo concept as repetitive, but longtime fans see updated versions of Billionaire Boys Club and Bathing Ape works by Pharrell and Nigo. Pharrell even created a finsta-styled BTS page entitled Skateboard as a reference to his nickname Skateboard P where fans could have an inside look into the making of the collection. Nigo, whose signature BAPE pattern was often paired with Pharrell’s affinity for cargo, army fatigue pants and beanies, are highlighted in pixel-replicated garments.

New Clipse Record


Titled “Chains ‘n Whips,” Pharrell stated that the song was recorded in Paris in his space at the Louis Vuitton office. As Pusha T and No Malice walked the runway sporting Dapper Dan-inspired trench coats, Beyoncé, Jay-Z, and more could be spotted nodding along to the presumed Jim Jones diss.

Footage of the song has since gone viral, including a clip released Wednesday morning, via P, of the superproducer, No Malice and Pusha rapping along to the song in the Louis Vuitton offices prior to the show. It didn’t take long for Pusha fans and hip-hop enthusiasts to call out the subliminal bars aimed at Jones following his claims that Pusha shouldn’t be considered one of the greatest rappers of all time.

Since the show, Jim has responded. Taking to Instagram to post a video of him laughing with the caption, “Let me know if they serious cause my name is #Capo,” and another video with the caption, “Lol that verse did not make the list champ, it was cute.”

Honoring Marc Jacobs and Karl Lagerfeld


With accents of pearls adorned on tweed jackets and the overt return of the Damier checkerboard aesthetic, much of P’s collection can be viewed as homages to his couture relationship with the late Chanel creative director Karl Lagerfeld and former Louis Vuitton creative director Marc Jacobs.

There’s a well-documented history between Lagerfeld and Williams which began in 2011. During this time, Williams served as a Chanel ambassador. Appearing in promotional short films, composing original music for runway shows and even launching a Chanel x Human Race sneaker collaboration for adidas.

However, it was Marc Jacobs who truly began Skateboard P’s ascent from streetwear to couture when he invited him and Nigo to partner on a range of sunglasses for Louis Vuitton called Millionaire Sunglasses. Many called out the checkerboard garments in Williams’ SS24 collection as a call back to Jacobs’ Louis Vuitton Paris Fashion Week show in 2012 which featured an overwhelming collection of bold colorways via the classic checkerboard print. In a recent video released today, Pharrell revealed the name of his custom $1 million dollar Speedy bag featured during the show as “Millionaire” in reference to his designed LV sunglasses from the Marc Jacobs LV era.

Following Pharrell’s LV debut, Jacobs took to Instagram posting a photo of the two, simply stating, “believer since 2002.”

The Use of His Uncle’s Choir — Voices of Fire

Like the overplay of Damoflauge, some elements of the show felt redundant and overproduced. Voices of Fire, led by Williams’ uncle Bishop Ezekiel Williams, sang “Joy (Unspeakable),” a piece composed by Williams for the show. This isn’t the first time Williams has worked with the choir. In 2020, Pharrell joined his uncle and other spiritual leaders in his hometown of Hampton Roads in Virginia Beach in search of talented singers to join a world-class choir.

In recent years, Pharrell’s spiritual evolution has led him to become more grounded and seemingly too humble. Much of the evolution he credits to wisdom through his friendship with Nigo and his family’s relationship with faith. To many, myself included, the choir element within the performance has been overdone within the fashion world, especially when designers such as Kirby Jean-Raymond have masterfully used choirs as motifs in shows. However, for Pharrell, the use of his uncle’s choir was an extension of his tribute to Virginia and his family roots. Pharrell’s mother is a devout Baptist, while his father’s side attended COGIC in Virginia Beach.

The Neptunes References

The neptunes throwing up sign

Though the night was centered around P’s influence and years of studying within the world of fashion, his musical imprint with Neptunes’ co-creator Chad Hugo lay in plain sight. Embellished on a few of the garments is the phrase “The Louis Vuitton Lovers Presents.” While the phrase does reference the Virginia state motto, it also references The Neptunes Present…Clones, Chad and Pharrell’s compilation album that turns 20 this year.

Following the finale with Pharrell and the Louis Vuitton design team, guests ventured onto the yellow checkerboard runway to The Neptunes’ remix of Daft Punk’s “Harder, Better, Faster, Stonger.” During the Louis Vuitton live stream, lyrics “Daft Punk, Neptunes” could be heard blaring over the crowd as a shot of the flashing Effiel Tower ended the show. While guests were treated to a special JAY-Z set that featured iconic Neptunes-produced songs like “Frontin” and “I Just Wanna Love U (Give It 2 Me).”


‘Spider-Man: Across the Spider-Verse’ Has Multiple Versions

‘Spider-Man: Across the Spider-Verse’ Has Multiple Versions

There’s an easter egg in the long-awaited animation epic Spider-Man: Across the Spider-Verse. After a Twitter user shared differences in a scene between character Miguel O’Hara and his virtual assistant Lyla, Spider-Verse associate editor confirmed multiple versions of the film, which is still in theaters.


A Reddit list also shows key changes between the film versions, with scenes featuring protagonist Miles Morales, supporting character Gwen Stacy/Spider-Woman, supervillain The Spot, and more.

Prior to the revelation, the Spider-Verse swung into more success. According to Deadline, the film has earned a total of $506.3 million at the global box office since its June 2 theatrical release, five times its $100 production budget. Domestically, the film has garnered $290.4 million while its international release has grossed $215.9 to date.

The Spider-Verse fame is partially due to marketing, as its Metro Boomin executive-produced 13-song soundtrack – with features from Nas, Offset, A$AP Rocky, Coi Leray, Swae Lee, Lil Uzi Vert, Future and more – led to children and adults raving over the Sony Pictures and Marvel Entertainment franchise. With its strong opening, the new Spider-Verse, titled Spider-Man: Beyond the Spider-Verse is expected to release in March 2024.

For more music from the Spider-Verse franchise, concerts for Into the Spider-Verse will be held in various cities throughout the country starting in August.

For those unfamiliar with the new Spider-Verse, here’s an official description via Sony Pictures:

Miles Morales returns for the next chapter of the Oscar-winning Spider-Verse saga, an epic adventure that will transport Brooklyn’s full-time, friendly neighborhood Spider-Man across the Multiverse to join forces with Gwen Stacy and a new team of Spider-People to face off with a villain more powerful than anything they have ever encountered.

Directed by Joaquim Dos Santos, Justin K. Thompson and Kemp Powers, Across the Spider-Verse stars Shameik Moore (Miles Morales), Hailee Steinfield (Gwen Stacy / Spider-Woman), Brian Tyree Henry (Jefferson “Jeff” Morales), Luna Lauren Vélez (Rio Morales), Issa Rae (Jess Drew / Spider-Woman), Daniel Kaluuya (Hobie Brown / Spider-Punk) and more.

‘Black Mirror’ S6, Episode 1 & 2 Recap: The Never Ending Loop of Content Creation

‘Black Mirror’ S6, Episode 1 & 2 Recap: The Never Ending Loop of Content Creation

When executive producer Charlie Brooker’s Black Mirror premiered in 2011 on the British network Channel 4, it drew clear ancestral lines to other serial shows about freaky alternate worlds, but with a twist. Twilight Zone and The Outer Limits are precursors, sure, but their conceit seemed further away from our ADHD norms. And the creators faced new challenges as caesuras between versions of the show in 2011, 2016 (when bought the rights), and 2023 saw the birth of otherworldly tech like social media and artificial intelligence, two modes that could either broaden human consciousness or swiftly destroy it. By extension, Brooker, who is 52, seems at once captivated by technology and appropriately frightened as well. The show has suffered somewhat from the breakneck development of the actual black mirrors of its name: screens.

Think of this: when it premiered in 2011, “The Entire History of You,” an episode about microchips in human brains recording a person’s every memory seemed just far-flung enough to offer a scare but, more importantly, spark discussions about fidelity and privacy in a marriage. About three weeks ago, Apple guru Tim Cook introduced the “Vision Pro” a clunky visor that could record your entire day’s worth of visual information and order you a coffee at that. Black Mirror has become a shorthand for every speedy, ominous gadget and bot that could ruin humanity as we grow more dependent on the kind of convenience that only asks us to pay with our souls. (Boston Dynamics is Black Mirror. Facebook data-mining is Black Mirror. ChatGPT is Black Mirror. And so on.)

“Joan Is Awful” and the social media currency of shame


The first episode of season 6, which premiered on Netflix earlier this month, trades on a few concepts that run rampant in the zeitgeist, namely multiverse theory and the constant voyeurism of “content.” Annie Murphy stars in “Joan Is Awful,” the kind of throwback to Twilight Zone mechanics that makes a TV nerd like me salivate. “What’s In The Box” is a 1964 episode of Twilight Zone that features an older married couple dragging through domestic doldrums with little love for each other and less regard for needs beyond hot dinner and a place to sleep. The main character, Joe, a dumpy cab driver who’s cheating on his wife, sees a version of his affair on a newly repaired television set. The predictive play from hell shows the fatal end to their miserable nuptials, driving Joe to the brink where he commits the unspeakable acts he’s just watched.

If that sounds familiar, it’s because “Joan Is Awful” follows a similar format, with Annie Murphy (formerly of Schitt’s Creek), playing a media executive tasked with downsizing at her company, and more mundanely, surviving the banality of her relationship at home. Murphy’s Joan plops down on her couch to watch Streamberry, a cheeky play on Netflix’s own ubiquitous red-branded insignia, and you can’t help but feel the modern day chill of ugly consumption. As Joan sees her workday unfold just as it did in her “real life,” as viewers we may delight briefly in the stunt of this plot line but it’s too familiar to disrupt what we know. I watch hundreds of YouTube videos, TikTok rants, Twitter fights, and the common function of cameras recording our every move feels inescapable, but also acceptably numb.. Joan’s shame at being exposed as a cheater to her boyfriend is played for laughs but, this year alone, I’ve watched a Mormon swinger scandal unfold on TikTok, and an influencer rebrand herself after fidelity upended her cooking channel. Shame is social media currency and we consume it as such. How are we to believe Joan’s (and then Salma Hayek’s) shame when every hour of every day, we get free access to millions of anonymous people’s most embarrassing days? What Brooker and his cohort get right here is clear though: we are now the object of consumption and the addiction fueling it, a never ending loop of content creation and dull but usual embarrassment.

“Loch Henry” and the fetishization of true crime

In its second episode, “Loch Henry,” the consumption chain stretches overseas and across racial lines. A young couple visits rural Scotland to record their first documentary for film school. What starts out as an awkward clash between cultures, and Myha’la Herrod’s brash Americanness as “Pia” clashing with a mousy Samuel Blenkin as “Davis,” turns into a murder mystery. Brooker’s writing lacks the snap of early episodes as he pantomimes skittish beliefs about “woke-ism” through local-speak in a pub, but the action picks up later as the couple decides to pursue a better story than the climate crisis bore-fest Davis had dreamt up. Although the acts predictably weave in repressed Puritanism and small-town apprehension, it’s the final riff of scenes that murkily points to a new obsession among creators. Can we describe the evils of consumption while ultimately being prey to its whims?

The true crime genre has fertilized podcasts and Netflix’s massive platform and super-powered the passive ingestion of gruesome and cruelty. Earlier this year, Netflix and HBO released separate documentaries on the Murdaugh Murders, proving that no town or fortune was too small to obsess over if the crime was abhorrent enough for a 10-episode miniseries. I watched them both. Again, I trafficked in shame, but privately and typically so. “Loch Henry” nudges us toward the recognition of this unease while swooping the camera in on Davis as he holds his BAFTA and weeps in a luxury hotel room over his dead girlfriend and mother. Although he’s nabbed the biggest prize, he’s laid himself bloodied at the altar of content. The irony of Netflix producing a tale like this asks and answers their quintessential question: Are you still watching?



Drake Calls Bun B’s Trill Burgers The “Best” He’s Ever Had

Drake Calls Bun B’s Trill Burgers The “Best” He’s Ever Had

Source: Marco Torres / @MarcoFromHouston

As Hip-Hoppers continue to await for the moment they’re able to take a bite out of the best burger in America, Bun B’s Trill Burger, Drake vacated his throne to the North and flew South (on a dragon probably) just to feast on the most hyped Hip-Hop hamburger in history.

According to TMZ, Drake headed down to Houston to check out Bun B’s first official brick-and-mortar Trill Burgers establishment on Juneteenth, and after being greeted by the Hip-Hop legend personally, Drizzy sank his teeth into what he said was “the best burger I ever had.” Damnit! We want one… or two. Depends on how monstrous of a munchie session we get.

TMZ reports:

Drake and Bun have been tight ever since the Toronto rapper broke into the game, and says he opts to refer to Bun as a “mentor” rather than an “OG.”

As fate would have it, Drake’s other H-Town mentor, Rap-A-Lot Records CEO J Prince, was also in the building and they dapped it up like always.

Y’all know if Drake in Houston, J Prince isn’t going to be too far behind. Just sayin.’


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Drake is the latest rapper in a growing line of MC’s who’ve had the pleasure of getting a bite out of the now legendary beef burger as others like Tyler, the Creator, Fat Joe and Jadakiss promptly gave Bun B his flowers after experiencing what he’d been perfecting in the kitchen all these years.

Can Bun B send a few our way though? Hook us up, Triple-OG!

Check out videos of their reactions below and let us know if you’ve had the pleasure of eating a Trill Burger in the comments section below.