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Daddy's Promise Highlights Importance of Father/Daughter Relationships


Lemuel Payne stood in Sale Hall and reflected on raising his daughter, Chrisette.

“She wasn’t a hard kid to raise,” Payne said as his daughter laughed and rolled her eyes. “She had her situations in school, like the school bullies. I took her in the bathroom and said ‘Put up your dukes!’”

“Oh, Dad,” said the doe-eyed daughter, better known as R&B songstress, Chrisette Michele, who goes by her first and middle names.

“But daughters, you always try to teach them honor and to respect themselves - to be sweet and to be a lady,” Payne said. “I’m proud of Chrissy.”

Their bond is the kind of father/daughter relationship that journalist Ed Gordon hopes to encourage through his national Daddy’s Promise campaign. Fathers are being asked to sign a pledge that makes a public acknowledgement of love and support for their daughters.

“What we want to do is raise the conversation about the nurturing of men in terms of their daughters and children,” Gordon said. “We often talk about being protectors and providers, but not nurturers. But men can be, and should be, that as well.”

Gordon is holding a series of town hall discussions across the country, featuring celebrities from various entertainment fields. On Oct. 6, he brought Chrisette Michele, rappers Chuck D and Big Boi, along with CNN pop critic Lola Ogunnaike to Sale Hall’s Chapel of the Inward Journey to discuss the topic.

While the audience that filled the chapel often strayed off topic, Gordon believed Morehouse was the perfect place to have a more wide-ranging conversation.

“When we come to college campuses, we want to…broaden the discussion to male /female relationships and interaction, which -- as I talk to some of the students -- they all admitted was a bit problematic at times, even here,” he said.

That is why Michele feels it is time to affirm relationships between males and females and especially fathers and daughters.

“It was really important for me to have my voice heard about fathers and what they meant to me because I have such a great father,” she said.

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