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Rappers showing off softer side: Fatherhood on 'Arsenio,' reality TV

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This entry was originally published by the National African American Entertainment Examiner.

Hip hop culture is influential in fashion, fragrances, music and even dining. With the recent presence of more African American fathers in the industry, such as Rev Run of Run DMC, T.I., Jim Jones and The Game, could this be the new generation of Bill Cosbys?

Fans of "T.I. & Tiny: The Family Hustle" watched the reality show quickly transform from documenting T.I.'s release from prison in 2011 to the rapper going on camping trips and competing in a soap box derby with his six children.

On Mon., Dec. 2, rapper Jim Jones' guilty conscience kicked in on an episode of "Chrissy and Mr. Jones." He decided to go camping in his backyard with his son, Joseph Guillermo Jones III (aka Pudy), in their backyard. This was after his fiancee Chrissy Lampkin tricked Jim into a hiking trip with Pudy.

And WGN talk show host Arsenio Hall is featuring hip-hop artists and producers' lighter side on "The Arsenio Hall Show."

On Monday night, Sean "Diddy" Combs talked about how much he loved his family. He mentioned breaking down when his own father passed away when Diddy was 3 years old, but he makes sure to be there for his own children.

"It's so important to me, with my six kids, to make sure that they know that I'm there for them," Diddy said on the show.

When asked if he feels guilty for working so much and Arsenio admitting his own daddy guilt, Diddy responded with, "When they want me to be there for something, I just...nothing else matters. I make sure that I'm there."

And before these episodes, Reverend Run of Run DMC completed six seasons of "Run's House" with viewers getting to know his children: Vanessa Simmons, Russell Simmons Jr., Angela Simmons, Daniel "Diggy" Simmons and Russell Simmons Jr.

Rev Run and his wife, Justine Simmons, also adopted a daughter named Miley Simmons.

In a recent study by CDC, the number of unmarried births declined 2 percent to 1,607,773 in 2011, and the birth rate dropped 3 percent to 46 per 1,000 unmarried women ages 15 to 44. And although the amount of single parents may be lower, the bulk of single-parent homes are in the African American community.

According to, 74 percent of African American children in Illinois are being raised in single parent homes.

However, not all single mothers are living alone. There is also a group of women who are living with their boyfriends or fiances but just haven't married them.

On Tues., Dec. 3, Jayceon "The Game" Terrell Taylor showed off a tattoo of his three-year-old daughter Cali on "The Arsenio Hall Show."

And much like the reality show, "Marrying the Game" (originally focused on The Game's wedding engagement to his fiancee Tiffney Cambridge) Cali stole the show when Arsenio asked her to make an appearance on the couch.

Cali signed an autograph for Arsenio, told both The Game and Arsenio she loved them, and happily hugged them both.

The Game admitted before Cali came out that he couldn't talk about his daughter for more than 30 seconds without tearing up.

"When I look into her eyes, that's all I need to do to get me going," said The Game. "I'm so intrigued by this little girl. I study her and she's like, 'Daddy, what are you looking at?' and I'm just like, 'You.' She means so much to me. That's my cutoff time because if I talk about her for more than 30 seconds, I cry."

Arsenio then joked about how he cried while talking about his son during an interview with Oprah Winfrey on OWN.

Fatherhood gushing isn't just linked to entertainment and music, of course. President Barack Obama has also been very vocal about his adoration for his daughters, Sasha and Malia.

"Don't let me start off an interview with tears," he said, in a July 2012 interview with Essence magazine, after staring at photos of the girls at ages 7 and 10.

Whether it's crying, camping, racing, hugging or rapping, seeing more male father figures showcasing love for their children is a relief compared to reality television's world of fighting and gossiping. The change in direction is a much-needed transformation.

Do you feel that the entertainment industry can change young men's and young women's views on fatherhood?

Recommend Reading:

For black men, early household linked to blood pressure

'Is Marriage for White People? How the African American Marriage Decline Affects Everyone' by Ralph Richard Banks

Book Review: 'It Takes Balls: Dating Single Moms and Other Confessions'

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