The Black Female Fatherhood Scholars (BFFs) Network: The Story Behind the Vision
By: Brianna P. Lemmons, Ph.D., MSW, Founder to the BFFs Network
This blog post offers a glimpse into the story behind the vision of the BFFs Network. The network is built on three pillars: 1) sisterhood, 2) scholarship, and 3) solidarity. Read further to learn more about each of these pillars and the story that inspires them!
One major impetus for launching this network is my experiences as an undergraduate student at Spelman College. It was at Spelman that I discovered my truth as a Black woman. As a result, my life was forever changed. The strength and fortitude that my fellow Spelmanites symbolized was contagious; so intense that it seemed tangible. This is the place where the spirit, culture, and practice of sisterhood became a way of life. Sisterhood was (and still is) uniquely interwoven into the tapestry of the Spelman experience and continues to impact generations of Spelman women.
My commitment to scholarship, specifically the study of Black people, was first born out of a course that I took at Spelman College with Dr. Angela Farris Watkins (the niece of Dr. Martin Luther King, Jr.) called "Psychology of the African American Experience." In this course, she encouraged each of us to unapologetically and unabashedly conduct research that is for and about Black people. In addition, my experiences at Howard University contributed largely to my passion for celebrating Black scholarship. Walking the grounds of such an historic campus, that has seen the likes of Thurgood Marshall, E. Franklin Frazier, Zora Neale Hurston, and Frances Cress Welsing, became a source of pride and honor. It is at Howard that my love of, not just any scholarship, but black scholarship, was birthed.
My dedication to standing in solidarity with black fathers, and therefore black families, was born out my relationship with my own father. Growing up, I watched my father resiliently function in dual roles in his effort to parent--both as a resident father and a non-resident father all at once. He particularly struggled to father my non-resident siblings. While he desired to be a present father, his co-parent defied his efforts to do so; it was truly maternal gate-keeping at it's best. In reflection on these experiences, I set out to change the narrative. Today, I remain committed to uplifting men like my father through scholarship and service to my community.
With these principles in mind, I started the BFFs Network on May 5, 2020. Through the network, I seek to hold space for Black women to uplift one another and the black community through scholarship on black fathers and black families. I look forward to all that is to come!
In Sisterhood, Scholarship, and Solidarity,
Brianna P. Lemmons, Ph.D., MSW