From the G-Man by Gary G. Toms
From the G-Man by Gary G. TomsThe Metamorphosis
I'm going to start my column by issuing an apology to all of the fathers out there. I wrote a column dedicated to mothers and the great things that they do, which was published to coincide with Mother's Day. In that piece, I repeatedly stated, in a humorous fashion, that I would do an article dedicated to all fathers. I intended to have it in last week, Father's Day weekend, but I wrote the Mike Tyson piece instead. It was not intentional on my part, and I'm taking the time to mention this because a few fathers stopped me on the street and asked why I did not give them equal time. Since I pride myself on being a man of my word, I took their comments to heart. I am a firm believer that if you say you're going to do something, then do it! I'm man enough to admit that I screwed up, so to all the fathers that were expecting the column I say... I'm sorry. I will now attempt to make it up to you in the next few paragraphs. Enjoy.
Fathers play a major role in the development a child. Like the mother, they can have a significant impact in determining whether or not a child will grow up with the tools necessary to become a productive or successful person. I feel confident in saying that if many of the men in prison had grown up with a positive male influence in their lives, or a male figure that repeatedly told them that they loved them, the prison population would have decreased dramatically over the last 20 years. For many of these men, the streets became the only father they have ever known. Nowadays, the baseball mitt that so many young boys dreamed of getting on Christmas morning has been replaced by the 9 millimeter. Yes, fathers, and father figures, are more important than ever, especially in communities of color.
In two weeks, my best friend's son, Joseph (Joey) Bonilla, Jr. will be graduating from high school. His father and I have been DJ's since the release of "Saturday Night Fever", and we have managed to keep "The Bass Kings" (DJ Bass King and DJ Scorpio) on the music map, while other DJ's we grew up with have given up on the music and their dreams. It was only yesterday that I was bouncing Joey on my knee, throwing baseballs at him, and showing him how to throw a traditional Gung Fu punch. As his graduation approaches, my heart will fill with joy, and I will probably get emotional because I was there to witness his incredible transformation. I'm not even the boy's father, so I can only imagine how my partner, DJ Bass King, must feel.
I have witnessed an incredible transformation in my partner as well. He has never been more focused on anything than when his son was born. Suddenly, becoming the best man he could be was the top priority. Obtaining success was no longer a personal quest. He now wanted financial success because it would allow him to put Joey in a major college and provide certain necessities for his son without having to worry. I'm sure most good, loving, dedicated and compassionate fathers strive to achieve this goal as well. Oh, how I value my relationship with these two men. They have made me truly understand the bond that is...father and son. This is the other reason why I will be crying on graduation day.
Another dear friend of mine, "Chyna" (who used to DJ in the reggae room of the popular nightclub "The Shadow") has changed as well. He was the type of man that all the women wanted. To me, he looks just like the Knicks' Allan Houston, and maybe that had something to do with his popularity. Well, that and his smooth lines. Sorry to let the cat out of the bag Chyna. In any case, he was "a catch", and he knew it. Then, little Samantha was born. She is almost two years old now, and she is the proverbial light of his life. He talked about her at great length when we recently met, and I have never enjoyed his company more. He beamed every time he said her name. He laughed when recalling how she "went potty." He displayed great pride when describing how she stands in front of the mirror trying to figure out what she will wear on any given day. The man is flat out happy, and he is cherishing his role as a father. The change is nothing short of remarkable.
Spending time with these two outstanding symbols of fatherhood forced me to draw a few conclusions. One, I may not have children, but I have tried to be a father figure to the children of an ex-girlfriend or two. That makes me smile. Two, I look forward to the day when I am a father because people keep telling me that I would be great at it, and I believe that I would. Three, a child has a tremendous advantage if both the mother and the father are functioning as a single unit in raising them. In the situations I described, both the mother and father are dedicated to each other and to their children.
So many men are dedicated to their children and families. You all are amazing in my view. So many men are raising children that are not biologically theirs. You all are to be cherished. So many men are father figures, and they are waging an unyielding battle to keep fatherless kids from self-destructing and becoming social outcasts. You all are to be praised. Each of you has accepted your roles willingly and responsibly, and you are proving that men can, and often will, take an active role in helping to raise children. From the depths of my heart, I salute every one of you.
Finally, I look back on my relationship with my father. He was not perfect, and he was not there. Still, he gave me two great things. He gave me life and the gift of music, and I must respect and acknowledge theses facts no matter how difficult our relationship may have been over the years. Some of you may have had a turbulent relationship with dad over the years as well. If you remember that he gave you life, and that he is not going to be here forever, you can start to bridge the gaps that have been placed between you. If he has passed on, then find a way to honor his memory by finding something good in him or about him. Once you accomplish this, you will truly experience a metamorphosis.
My dad will be a tough act to follow. How do you top having a number one record on the Billboard charts for over 12 weeks? How do you top being on "Soul Train" or "American Bandstand" and talking to Don Cornelius or Dick Clark? How do you top being one of the most influential figures of the Disco era? The answer is....you don't. All I can do is keep being honest and true to my beliefs (in other words, just be "The G-man"), live a productive and meaningful life, and hope to pass those traits on to a son or daughter some day. I may never be filthy rich or successful, but it doesn't matter because some day I will be.... a father.
See you next week!