New York, N.Y. - This the second part of the NY Fatherhood Examiner's conversation with rapper Dres of Evitan and formerly of Blacksheep
New York Fatherhood Examiner: Having researched thoroughly we understand that you are the product of both the African-American and Puerto Rican cultures. How did your childhood bring to bear on how you relate to your children now? How is your parenting effected by both cultures?
Dres: “I think my upbringing had a lot to do with [how I raise my children]. The Puerto Rican side of my family was very, very close. I was pulled out [of that dynamic] as my parents divorced when I was really young. We actually left the state for a while. I grew up and went to high school in North Carolina. It was kind of hard being away from half of my family for four or five years. They were very close and that is something that is imbedded in me as well. The family unit is that is priority – family first.
“The Black side of my family definitely had a little more dysfunction. I think us as children of slaves causes us to have to find our way through as a family unit sometimes, due to no fault of our own. I think we’ve kind of been a broken down unit for so long that it takes a Black family a little more honest, earnest effort to supersede some of the things that have been implemented [and placed] in our way. Even some of our programming, so to speak, needs to be readjusted. It wasn’t so much of a family unit and even to this day that side of my family still has issues with us getting together and being together.
“Just to say this, as you get older, you start defining for yourself what makes you who you are and pull on the things that do give you strength that you have learned coming up. Those get put in the forefront of your life. That would be true of myself as well. As I have gotten older, I have learned things that really matter and should be presented for myself and what I implement to my children.”
New York Fatherhood Examiner: Did you have a relationship with your father? What was your relationship like with your father, realizing it has a lot to do with how we eventually parent?
Dres: “I would agree. I was very close with my father at a very young age; however, my father was…was a heroin dealer – a pretty big heroin dealer in the ‘70s. As a result, I think, my mother was kind of afraid of that lifestyle. As a result she pulled my sister and I away and we, kind of, literally vanished. There was no communication with that side of my family for about five or six years.
“It was a matter of me, once I became 18 years old and finished high school, I came back to New York on my own. It was up to me to seek out my father and re-establish that relationship, which I did – gratefully so. I think my father is a great man, regardless of some of the mistakes he made in his walk as a man and as a parent. He had so much to introduce to me and show me. It was unfortunate that things turned out the way that they did. He lost out on a lot of my upbringing that I know was important to him. Regardless of his career choice, he was a solid figure. I do not think he got the total opportunity to display that [side of himself]. At the same time I feel mother did what she thought was best in her children’s interests. So, I could never look at her and fault her for that period of time that my biological father was not there.
“As well, I was introduced to a great man – that was my step-father. I have got to give him a thorough big ups, respect and kudos. This is a man that was not my biological father but raised me as though I was his own. I learned what that is about. I learned that there are step fathers out there that are commendable, stand-up men, especially when they do it correctly. My step-father definitely did. He as well implemented a walk in me. That helped me a lot as I became an older man.”
More to come...