'It was the ultimate selfie': Father speaks out about why a photo of him taking care of his daughters became an internet sensation
- A photo that Los Angeles, California blogger Doyin Richards posted of himself cradling one daughter in an Ergo while doing the other’s hair recently went viral
- The post sparked vicious comments about his race and that of his children, who are half black, a quarter white and a quarter Japanese.
Father-of-two Doyin Richards has opened up about why he believes a picture of him taking care of his daughters became an overnight internet sensation.
When the Los Angeles, California resident shared a photo of himself cradling his baby three-month-old girl Reeko in an Ergo while brushing the hair of his other daughter Emmyko, three, he was shocked to discover that it sparked nasty comments about his race.
'I took the ultimate selfie,' he said of the internet's impassioned reaction in a Today show appearance. ‘There’s race, there’s fatherhood… there’s all types of things that go into it.’
Explaining how the multi-tasking situation came about, he told the hosts that he was on paternity leave when his wife, who was getting ready for work, didn’t have time to do their daughter’s hair.
'I said, listen, I've got this. So I put the little one in the Ergo and then I had (my older daughter) come over and I was combing her hair.' he recounted.
'And I thought there's no way my wife is going to believe me… so I took the ultimate selfie.'
Little did he know the passionate response he would inspire by posting the photo on his Facebook and Twitter pages.
Within hours, the photo had thousands of views, ‘likes’, shares and comments - some of them from awe-struck fellow parents, and others overwhelmingly negative.
Some commenters took issue with the color of his skin, making cruel assumptions about his lifestyle.
'I would bet anything that you're a deadbeat,' one nasty commenter wrote on his blog Daddy Doin’ Work, while another said: ‘Cute picture. Now why don’t you hand the children back to their mom so you can go back to selling drugs or your bootleg rap CDs?’
But many reacted in the same way as Today hosts Al Roker and Carson Daly: complete and utter admiration.
Indeed, Mr Roker greeted the doting dad as ‘my hero’ when he came on, and Mr Daly said jokingly: ‘Thanks for setting the bar so high. Now when we can’t do something, our wives will just say, “Well, Doyin does it!”’
When he originally posted the photo, some commented on the fact that his children, who are three months old and three years old in the photo, don’t share his exact same skin color.
'He probably rented those kids. They don't even look like him,' one commenter said about his daughters, whose mother Mariko is half-white and half-Japanese.
Surprisingly, Mr Richards notes that many of the people posting racist comments were actually black men like himself, who had negative things to say about his mixed-race wife and daughters.
To these people, Mr Richards hit back in a response called ‘I Have a Dream’ on his blog. ‘You’re a damn embarrassment to Dr King and his legacy.’
The father-of-two added: ‘If the first thing you want to do is to criticize the skin color of my kids for not being as dark as mine, you have some serious issues.’
Despite the negative reactions, Mr Richards told Katie Couric that he hopes his picture can generate a conversation about parenthood and a father’s role in their child’s life.
Hitting back: ‘Grow up and stop being so f****** ignorant,’ he wrote to his critics, many of whom are black men like himself. ‘You’re a damn embarrassment to Dr King and his legacy’
Taking a stand: The devoted father-of-two added: ‘If the first thing you want to do is to criticize the skin color of my kids for not being as dark as mine, you have some serious issues’
We really need to change the narrative on what fatherhood is all about, get more changing tables in men’s bathrooms, do all these things to help celebrate the great dads of the world,’ he said on her talk show, Katie.
'Enough of the negativity. We need to get the great dads of the world, and let them know that there's more out there. I'm just one of many.'
His powerful ‘I Have a Dream Post’ garnered more than 230 comments on his blog, with many of his followers showing their support for him.
'What enrages me about this situation is that it only became a negative situation because you're a non-white dad raising mixed race kids,' wrote one mother-of-seven from Mississippi.
Good parent: ‘We really need to change the narrative on what fatherhood is all about, get more changing tables in men’s bathrooms, do all these things to help celebrate the great dads of the world,’ he said
Backlash: One of his supporters commented: ‘I can’t believe anyone would look at a picture like this and find a way to take issue with something. Spending time actually raising your kids is a gift’.
The photo you posted melted my heart. It drew negative attention because you’re not supposed to be a positive influence in their lives,’ she wrote.
'You're supposed to be a dead beat… because that's what the societal mold would dictate, and they don't know how to process the fact that you don't fit into it.'
One fellow doting dad said that he could relate to his dedication to parenting. ‘Many fathers relinquish parenting duties to the mother, and take a back seat,’ he wrote. ‘This was never what I had in mind for my own child.’
Another commented: ‘I can’t believe anyone would look at a picture like this and find a way to take issue with something. Spending time actually raising your kids is a gift for both you and them.’