Daughters of Men: Portraits of African-American Women and Their Fathers
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Paperback: 192 pages
Book Review by Kam Williams
There's an old saying, ’Behind every successful man is a woman.’ But nobody ever asks who's behind every successful woman? According to Daughters of Men, the answer might lie in a good father.
For what the 44 contributors to this touching collection of intimate memoirs had in common was the sage counsel and unwavering support of a strong dad. Thus, it only makes sense that each of the heartfelt entries in this beautifully-photographed keepsake would invariably reflect the perspective of a daughter grateful for the father figure who helped forge her character during her formative years.
Credit the ostensibly very-well connected Rachel Vassel for talking an enviable assemblage of rich, powerful and famous sisters into participating in the project. Many are household names, such as Beyonc’ and Solange Knowles, actresses Sanaa Lathan, Meagan Good, Nicole Ari Parker-Kodjoe and Aisha Tyler, entertainment magnates Cathy Hughes, Tracey Edmonds and Sheila Johnson, national TV news correspondents Deborah Roberts and Rene Syler and Gospel great Yolanda Adams. Others, like Amsterdam News publisher Elinor Tatum and Harlem's Studio Museum curator Thelma Golden, have made equally-impressive marks in their own right by rising to the top of their respective industries.
And exactly how were these accomplished women inspired by their dads? Typical in tone are the warm reflections of Ms. Golden, who fondly reminisces that ’I was always interested in the arts, and my father was the first one to take me to see the Dance Theater of Harlem and Alvin Ailey.’ Adding that, ’What he did for me, which was such a gift, was encourage my own ambitions by supporting them.’
Thelma and her dad, Arthur, are artistically posed standing back-to-back in their accompanying portrait, while most of the other father-daughter pairs are shown simply hugging each other contentedly in pictures which say a thousand words. In the cases where a dad was unfortunately deceased, the subject was shot next to a photo of her dearly departed.
An illustrated album of testimonials which add up to proof positive that the sky's the limit for any African-American girl able to rely on the undying love of a father.