Archive for the ‘daughters’ Category

*A special thanks goes to Errol Anthony Wilkes for his contritution to the book “Daddy, Am I Pretty?”  The following is taken from the publication that went on sale Father’s Day of 2010.

Dear Priscia Liliane,

This year will mark the 10th anniversary of your Mom’s passing. Dec 11, 1999 started out the typical for us during the theatre season. I was supposed to have two shows and you had your dance recital to do that afternoon. Little did we know that our life as we know it would change, forever.

That day when I saw the remnants of the car that was once driven by the woman I pledged to love and protect, I prayed to wake up from the obvious nightmare. Alas, it was not a dream. Was it some cruel joke that God was playing? Why dear God did this happen a couple weeks before Christmas? And, on the day I was to buy the Christmas tree! Well, the deed was done. I remember Tony Baker and Mr. Astley telling me that the last thing I should ask myself was “why me”. Of course, that did not stop me from making that query. I was understandably pissed at God. We had just bought that house less than 6 months and we had just begun to see the proverbial light at the end of the tunnel. Now instead of planning for Christmas, I was planning a funeral. Ironically, I have gained more faith because you must use your trials and tribulations as opportunities to achieve successes.

The worst day was when all our guests finally left and we walked into that empty house. I looked at you, barely 12 years old and life had to suck for you at that time knowing that Mom was gone and never to return.  I made a pact with myself that day. I decided to live life to the fullest and to make sure that you grew up to be a great citizen.

I know some of the things I forced on you were not your cup of tea but I felt that in order for you to succeed, I had to remain vigilant. That’s why I insisted that you read Manchild In The Promised Land, Huck Finn and all those other great works of literature. That’s why I insisted that you listen to Coltrane, Bach and Vivaldi. That’s why I took you to all those Plays and Museums! That’s why I didn’t let “headaches” keep you from attending school. That’s why I taught you how to cook our native dishes and sang those folk songs you now have your friends call for me to sing to them over the telephone.

I felt that right or wrong as a Black person and a West Indian in this my adopted land, it is highly imperative that one has to be much better than others competing for the same job. I tried to instill in you that great study habits and hard work pays off.

It took me a year after Marie’s passing before I started to try to date. I kept my relationships away from you because as predicted most of them did not last long. Your aunt Maxine stated that I was too busy looking for another Marie. Well, there may be truth to that because your mother was a very beautiful and special lady. She was very passionate about her opinions and that lead to some of our most heated discussions that usually left me sleeping on that lumpy and unappetizing couch!

Sometimes I am haunted by the memories of that very last argument we had because she died before we made up. The lesson here is that we should always mend our fences and disagreements prior to going to sleep.

I remember that Sunday in August 2005 after you were installed at Dillard University, I cried on the way back to Houston. I was darn near Baton Rouge before I stopped crying. That was only because I could not see out of my extremely swollen eye lids.

Then came Katrina and you moved even further away to FAMU. The good thing is that you occasionally get to see your Mom’s family in Valdosta. Yes Prisca, that is a good thing. Family is family and I want you to learn their culture as well. It is what you are.

I want you to continue working hard. I know I preach a lot about grades and you get a bit testy whenever I do, but you know what? Tough. That is who your Dad is and I don’t suppose I am about to change now. I did not get where I am today by half stepping and as long as I am alive, I will not allow you to be mediocre at anything in this life. This is why you get frustrated when you call me for advice and I don’t tell you what you want to hear. My love for you just will not allow me to lie to you.

I know I normally write my letters to you with my trusted fountain pen but I am trying to evolve into the 21st century. Since it took me so long to write this one, look for my subsequent letters in your mail box.

You have grown into a strikingly beautiful young lady and as I have said to you many times before. The right guy will come along. After all, Mom and I found each other. Do not make any compromises with your life that will come back to haunt you. Everything and every choice you make in life has consequences. You have to learn that patience in the case of love is a good thing. There are some good guys out there and one day one will be yours. Right now your job is to finish your college studies and be a well-rounded individual. Real men dig smart women, trust me on that one.

I close now with this last bit of advice. It is my high school motto LABOR OMNIA VINCIT. It’s Latin and means “work overcome all difficulties”.

With All My Love,


A copy of the book “Daddy, Am I Pretty?” can be obtained at .


by Sabin Duncan

There is a scene in the movie The Best Man, where Terrance Howard’s character attempts to assuage his friend’s fears by assuring that “karma don’t come back like that.”  As a father of two beautiful girls, I am certain that I am not alone in hoping that karma indeed does not come back like that.

At the moment we first find out we’re having a daughter, every father flashes back to all the things that he has done to and with someone else’s daughter.  It is at that moment, despite religious standing or affiliation, every father-to-be communicates with God.  A communication, a prayer, or more than likely a plea, that begins with these two words: “Lord, please”.

From that initial moment of humility and probably for the duration of our days, we are never the same.  We attempt to stand rigid, but when those pretty eyes sparkle and coo “please daddy”, we melt faster than ice cubes in a heated oven.  When baby girl cries, our chest expands, our bravado multiplies and our ego rages – because whoever did this to our baby girl, they are about to be victimized by our ferocity.  Yet somehow, the money you had begun saving for a huge high-definition television, becomes easily spent when lil’ mama needs a pretty dress and sandals.  Indeed, we are never as tough as we were before daughters.

Yet I’m here to say that unlike the rest of you, I can tell my daughters, “no!”  In fact, I supplement my “no” with a crazed hysterical look that shouts, “what the heck were you thinking?”  But my girls work with charm – hey, what can I say?  They get it from their dad.  They climb into my lap and use their little fingers to outline my eyebrows or mustache.  Then they tuck their little chins to their chest and look up from under those long eyelashes.  They shrug their little shoulders and affectionately murmur: “daddy….”  The rest of the statement doesn’t matter, because this daddy springs into action. “What!! You can’t find your Princess Tiana Barbie? Well, go get your jacket.  Daddy will get you a new one.”  Later, as we proceed to the cash register of Toys’ R Us, I stoop down and plead with my little ladies, “don’t tell your mama, ok?”

This post is originally featured in Daddy, Am I Pretty? by Damon E. Duncan.  Order Your Copy today!

Last week a beautiful little girl named Shaniya Davis died a grisly death.  Her body was found on November 16, 2009 in a forested area off of Highway 87 in Sanford, North Carolina.  The medical examiner concluded that the cause of death was asphyxiation and the autopsy revealed that the little five year old girl was raped.

Reports state that Mario McNeill has remained in isolation since he surrendered to authorities on November 13, 2009, after being seen carrying Shaniya Davis in his arms in a hotel. Police say they do not believe that Shaniya Davis was killed inside the hotel.

In addition to Mario McNeil, Shaniya Davis’ mother, Antoinette Nicole Davis, faces charges of filing a police report, human trafficking, and child abuse involving prostitution. More details regarding Antoinette Davis’ role in Shaniya’s death have not yet been made public. It is possible that she may also face additional charges as the investigation goes forward. Antoinette Davis was arrested on November 14, 2009, the day following the arrest of Mario McNeill. Antoinette Davis reported Shaniya missing during the early morning hours of November 10, 2 009.

I find these recent events as repulsive as anything that I have ever been privy to in my 41 years of human existence.  When I see images of the bubbly Shaniya Davis I can’t help but to be reminded of my granddaughter.  The thought of prostituting a 5 year old evokes a quiet rage that can only be contained by venting through a pen.

In addition to the recent horrific events involving Shaniya, I also had the opportunity to view a film entitled “Precious”, the story of a mentally, physically and sexually abused young black girl who manages to maintain enough sanity to realize she deserved something better in life that what she currently had.

The commonality between the movie and the current event is the fact that no father was in place providing the covering that a little girl needs.  I am a firm believer that little girls are God’s greatest gift to humanity.

I must apologize for my inability to bring comfort to my readers as it pertains to these atrocities.  My creative masterworks of adjectives simply cannot assemble a sequence of words to take the pain out of this recent event.

It is times like these when we must remember Romans 8:28, “And we know that all things work together for the good of those who are called according to His purpose.”

Shaniya,after a life of complete terror, you can now rest in peace because you are with Daddy now.

Until next time,

A few days ago I wrote a blog entitled Where did we go wrong? The intent was to cast light on the profound issue of brothers exploiting the sisters. This particular feature is directed to the sisters who may fit the description of exploiting themselves. If I step on any toes, excuse me in advance. If you’re not guilty of the following, simply forward the link to someone you know. In 1997 the famous rap duo from Atlanta known as OutKast penned a joint entitled Jazzy Belle.

According to Wiki, Jazzy Belle is the third and last single by Hip Hop group OutKast to be released from their album ATLiens. It was released as a remix single and it peaked at #52 on the Billboard Hot 100. The song is the only single from the album ATLiens to be produced by Organized Noize, the other two singles being produced by OutKast themselves.

jazzy belle

The premise of the track suggested that women are drawn like magnets to money and fame. It also suggests that they are willing to do much of anything simply to be in the presence of what they perceive to be success. I have a problem with this because although many of my sisters would not advocate this with their lips – if the truth be told, many of them are demonstrating this with their actions. Some sisters go through life buying into Outkasts’ philosophy that It’s Real Jazzy-Belle. There is nothing real about subjecting yourself to disrespect and humiliation. There is nothing real about being a groupie, or a sack-chaser (I just told my age with that one).

The bible suggests that the characters in the life of Jezebel were all affected in one way or another by her evil deeds. To obtain detailed account, check out 1st and 2nd Kings (it’s in the Old Testament). According to the bible (and big-mamma), being referred to as a Jezebel was never compliment.

Those who follow my blogs know that I hold black folks, particularly my sisters, in high esteem. However, recent events and observations have caused me to write to what I consider to be an issue of enormous proportion. While I don’t have a simple solution for this rapidly escalating travesty – I do NOT want Outkasts’ misogynistic lyrics to be the final word.

A question to the upstanding, educated, spirit-filled sisters; have you taken the time to uplift another sister who has yet to come into the realization that she is a queen?  If not, I am equally disappointed that you have arrived at a level of maturity, awareness and esteem without bringing along a sister in need of the same.

As I close, I once heard a man say “You can lose money chasing women but you can’t lose women chasing money.” I believe that if we are participating in this game, as a people we’re all lost.

D’s 2cents,

2 cents

Copyright © 2009

The FathersFootprints’ journey has me afforded the opportunity to meet some really dynamic people.  While working on my first book, Daddy Am I Pretty? I met a woman by the name of Phyjuar (pronounced Pen-wah) Thomas, who is a gifted actor, comedian, music producer, music historian, radio personality and acting coach.  Although Phynjuar is an extraordinary woman, the focus of today’s blog feature is to celebrate the life of her famous daughter, Michelle Thomas.Michelle Thomas

Born in Boston, Massachusetts, Thomas grew up in Montclair, New Jersey and was an alumna of West Essex High School. She was the daughter of Phynjuar Thomas, a stage actress and Dennis Thomas a member of a music group Kool & the Gang.]In the mid-1980s, Thomas was crowned Miss Talented Teen New Jersey in Hal Jackson’s Talented Teen Competition. The following year, she competed in the international pageant and won the title of International Queen.

Michelle made her acting debut in 1988 as Justine Phillips, the girlfriend of Theo Huxtable on The Cosby Show. She later appeared on a various television programs during the late 1980s and 1990s including A Man Called Hawk and Thea. In 1991, Thomas had a small role in comedy Hangin’ with the Homeboys. Thomas also appeared in music videos for Mint Condition and Dru Hill.  In 1993, she won the role of Myra Monkhouse on the long-running sitcom Family Matters. After the series ended in 1998, Thomas portrayed Callie Rogers Stark, an aspiring singer on the CBS soap opera The Young and the Restless. She left the series in October 1998. Wiki

Michelle was best known for her role as Myra Monkhouse, the girlfriend of Steve Urkel, on the black sitcom Family Matters from 1993 to 1998.  Thomas was diagnosed with an incurable form of stomach cancer; intra-abdominal desmoplastic small round cell tumor, a rare soft tissue sarcoma.  On December 22, 1998, Michelle passed away in New York City at Manhattan’s Memorial at the age of 30.

I personally recall hearing of the news and feeling deeply saddened about the loss of such a beautiful, talented sister.  Those of you who remember her character Myra, know that she was a refreshing addition to the Family Matters’ line-up.

My heart and prayers go out to Phynuar and anyone who has had to bury their own child, especially at the height of that child’s success.  I cannot fathom attending a funeral for which Dominique is being eulogized.  My eyes are welling up at the mere thought.

I regret I never had the opportunity to meet Michelle personally.  However, after the numerous conversations with Phynjuar, I feel as if I’ve known her for a lifetime.  On September 23, Michelle’s birthday, we officially celebrate her life.   

“Dream about us together again! All I want is together again! I know we’ll be together again ’cause Everywhere I go Every smile I seeI know you are there Smilin’ back at me Dancin’ in moonlight I know you are free Cuz’ I can see your star Shinin’ down on me! HAPPY BIRTHDAY BABY, WE’RE DANCING!” ~ Phynjuar

Until next time,

Damon signature



Copyright © 2009

sister and white manOur faithful readers know that they can count on substantive content with the FathersFootprints’ blog.  We hope to continue to meet that expectation with today’s column.

In a world mired with reality TV, sports scandals and raunchy music, it is refreshing to meet people who share our values of providing uplifting and informative written content.  Today’s FathersFootprints’ guest is author/entrepreneur – Cicely J.

Cicely is best known for her politically incorrect approach and her controversial subject matters. But at the same time she wants her audience and her peers to know that she is not another “tell-all author.” With the market flooded with celebrity scandal and gossip blogs, Cicely decided to bring something different, fresh, and new to the market. She does not write about fantasy or romance. She brings you the good, the bad, the ugly and the truth. It may make you mad, it may make you repent, but at the end of the day what she writes will certainly make you think. 

We recently caught up with the talented sister and had just a few questions to help our readers get to know her on a deeper level.


Name: Cicely Johnson

Vital Stats: 30-ish, single, 1 child

Hometown: Vacaville, CA

Profession: Author, publisher, entrepreneur

Quote: If you give your woman some groceries she will make you a meal; if you give her a house she will make it a home; if you give her hell she will give it right back…


1. You made the comment “I am not a tell-all author.”  Can you tell us what that means?Cecily J

People look at me and the fact that I use to model and have been around the industry for a while and (they) automatically assume that I am another tell-all author. I haven’t had any affairs with famous ball players or rappers. I am just a writer.  I studied English Literature in college and have been writing since I was a little girl.  I don’t want to be jumbled in the pile with all the gossip writers. That market is fully saturated. (Cicely pictured rt)


2. You currently reside on the West Coast and will soon be relocating to Atlanta to launch your publishing company.  Why not launch it in L.A.?

Actually I live in Northern California. I am in a small town called Vacaville (near Sacramento) and exposure is minimal. If I was still focusing on modeling or movies, LA would be a good place for me to be; but I am a writer and I want to be in the center of where it is all happening. I have better access to the literary market on the East Coast if I relocate. An opportunity presented itself so I am gonna roll with it. Plus it is my dream to work with Tyler Perry so I need to be as close to his studio as possible when I get that phone call you know, LOL. 


3. Your new book “Black Men vs. White Men – The Black Woman’s Choice” is sure to be controversial.  Without giving away too much of the book; what can we look forward to in this work?

Well it is not a bash all black men book. It really is a wake-up call. People seem to think that just because Obama made it to office that our work is done. Our work has just begun and as the original leader of the family, black men need to stand up and play his role. I have a lot of single friends who are college educated, beautiful, home owners, etc. but can’t find a decent man. I tell them to stop sitting around waiting on Mr. Right and stop focusing on just black men. Love comes in so many different colors and I encourage women to date abroad.


4. We don’t know much about the history of your personal relationship with dating. What is impetus behind such a book?

Cicely 3The fact of the matter is we outnumber you guys. There are good men out there but not enough to choose from. A lot of successful black men choose Caucasian or Latina woman over us. Then we have the ones who are on the “DL”. As single black women what are we expected to do. I hear the frustration, I see the tears, and I have experienced the loneliness myself.


5. As you know we are near completion of our first book entitled Daddy, Am I Pretty? in which you will be featured.  How has your relationship with your father or (lack thereof) helped to make you the woman you are today?

My father and I had an awesome relationship. He was my Daddy. He passed away 6 months ago and I was there with him until he took his last breath. My dad always put us first. He bought me flowers, he combed my hair when I was a little girl, he opened the doors for me and he loved and respected my mother. I guess that is why I am so hard on men; because I had such a great example of how a man is supposed to be. They don’t make ‘em like my daddy anymore.

 black men vs. white men book

6. There are currently 1,200 people on your pre-order waiting list for the release of your book.  When will it be available and how can mere mortals obtain a copy?

I have been going back and forth with the publishing company to secure a definite date. One of the other authors has a book releasing around the same time and we all try to support each other. The last date agreed upon was September 26 but I really don’t want to rush the release. This is my first project and I want to do it big. I am leaning towards an October release. But pre-orders will be available next week and they can go to my site:

I am a networker and I am on just about every site you can think of. If people have questions about the book or questions about publishing (we are looking for writers now) they can find me on myspace, twitter, and facebook.

Well brothers, there you have it.  As I sign off I end this blog with a question a young man had of his mother.  He asked ‘How can I find the right woman for me?’ His mother answered, ‘Don’t worry about finding the right woman- concentrate on becoming the right man.’  Let’s tighten up brothers.

Until next time,

 Damon signature



If you’d like to opine on this issue of Black Men vs. White Men by all means be my guest.  Simply click the comment link in the lower right hand corner of this feature.

Copyright © 2009

chenoa maxChenoa Maxwell, actress and photographer, exemplifies a ‘Renaissance’ woman. She is best known for her starring role in the 1997 romantic comedy entitled Hav Plenty and as the recurring character Lena Turner on the hit UPN sitcom Girlfriends. Ms. Maxwell has also appeared in the WB sitcom, For Your Love. Additionally, she was the leading lady in R&B singer Joe’s video, What if a Woman. In addition to the film Hav Plenty, she starred in Cold Feet (1999) and G (2002) starring opposite Blair Underwood.

Chenoa is an extremely hard working and dedicated woman.  We managed to catch up with her to do this interview – as a prelude to featuring her story in our forthcoming book, Daddy Am I Pretty?

FF: You’re an actress and photographer.  It appears that photography is becoming the dominant art of the two.

Chenoa: Appearances are tricky.   I believe that art is simply an expression of truth.  Today, right now, my truth is all about capturing the realities of others rather than portraying them.  Since I’m still very much in the adolescence of my journey, I’m curious to see which art form truly dominates and becomes my legacy. 🙂

FF: What caused this shift?      

Chenoa: In the nutshell, extreme disappointment and loss of purpose.

FF: How did your interest in photography begin?   

Chenoa: Images were always something that had this hypnotic effect on me.  Basically, I was that annoying friend who always documented every occasion to annoyance.  However, it was my trip to Uganda that truly shifted my life again from plateau to passion.

FF: Tell us about the “8 Seconds Uganda Project” and how it changed your life?                                                                                                                                                            

Chenoa: Nothing could have prepared me for the amount of devastation I saw while I traveled through Uganda.  The level of pain, stench and poverty the country endures is indescribable.  Yet these people house a spirit so beautiful, so courageous, it doesn’t depress, it inspires.  Death happens for many reasons there.  Above all I couldn’t get over the hundreds of children who died every 8 seconds from lack of clean water.  That is how my project started.  The first trip to Uganda changed my life!

Chenoa Maxwell film trilogy

The Chenoa Maxwell film trilogy

FF: Without divulging too much prior to the release of the book, what is significant about your relationship with your father?   

Chenoa: Although he is my father, I call him dad.  He is consistent and thankfully still alive.  Although he rarely communicates his love  to me verbally; it is undeniable, true, and unconditional.

FF: What comes to mind when you hear the phrase, Daddy Am I Pretty?   

Chenoa: My dad would always say, “pretty ain’t sh*t!  Millions of girls are pretty.  What counts is the other stuff.  What else you got that’s interesting?  What you got that’s gonna last?  Stand out?   When you figure that out…come talk to me.”

FF: What advice do you have for aspiring photographers?  chenoa 40

Chenoa: Hmmm…That  the best part about any art form is discovery.  After that, I’d say, be sure to specialize in one area of photography and be GREAT at it!  Develop your own style/voice.  Build a great team.  Be patient and allow time for yourself grow. Constantly evolve yourself. Study light. Lastly, remember that nothing is more dangerous to an artist than complacency!

FF: What can we expect from you in the near future?  

Chenoa: Wow! I have a million exciting things brewing at the moment.  A few of the projects I am in the middle of developing include an intimate project on “The Truth Behind Commitment” and a crazy web series entitled, “The Adventures of Mad Max.” For the rest of the goods…check me out from time to time on  The noteworthy sections tell all.   🙂

We are very excited to feature Chenoa Maxwell on this blog and in the forthcoming book.  If you have comments or direct questions for Chenoa simply click on the comment link below to express yourself.

Until next time,

Damon signature




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