He is with me: Sterling K. Brown talks emotional ties to late dad, Black fatherhood in Oprah special

Oprah Winfrey is celebrating Father’s Day early by shedding light on Black fatherhood. 

The media mogul, along with co-host and actorSterling K. Brown, put a spotlight on dads across the nation during Tuesday’s special, “Honoring Our Kings: OWN Celebrates Black Fatherhood.” 

Famous fathers like Dwyane Wade, John Legend, Deon Cole and D.L. Hughley joined everyday fathers to talk about the the “pressures” and “joy” they experience raising their children. Winfrey said she first got the idea for the event after talking with Bishop T.D. Jakes about the media’s negative portrayal of Black men and fathers.  

In a September 2020 report by the National Research Group, two in three Black Americans said they don’t see themselves or their culture represented in movies or television, and 83% percent of Black Americans (and 66% the total surveyed) believe that the media perpetuates negative stereotypes of Black people.

“I have always known that those images and destructive myths have chipped, chipped, chipped, chipped away at our culture and our families in ways we don’t even imagine,” Winfrey said.

Sterling K. Brown talks to Oprah about how his father's death is reflected in how he raises his own sons in Father's Day special. (Photo: Courtesy of OWN/Photographer: Huy Doan)

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Brown opened up about his father dying when he was 10 years old. The “This is Us” actor said the time he spent with his dad is reflected in how Brown raises his own sons – Andrew, 9, and Amare, 5 – whom he shares with wife and actress Ryan Michelle Bathe.

“More importantly than just (his) loss was the love I received for that 10 years, the way in which he filled me up. And I in turn get a chance to share that love with these two boys,” Brown said. “I know he is looking down, Oprah, he is with me always smiling.”  

Former professional basketball player Wade talked to Winfrey and Brown during the specialabout how going to therapy after retiring from the NBA helped him become a better father to his four children: Zaire, 19,  Xavier, 7,  Zaya, 14, and Kaavia, 2.

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“All my kids need something different from me so I have to work on me first if I’m going to be able to give everything to everyone,” Wade said. “All I’m doing is sharing my experiences as a Black father in the world.”  

Winfrey talked about the special in an interview aired Tuesday on Entertainment Tonight: “I am the product of a Black father. Had my father not stepped in and taken responsibility for me, I certainly would not be sitting here.”

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