and I'm a co-parent.
So, growing up, I never heard the term "co-parent."
I heard a lot of other things, though,
for starters, "absentee father,"
"sperm donor" --
that's a good one --
and, my personal favorite, "baby daddy."
还有我自己最喜欢的—— “宝爸（baby daddy）”。
"Baby daddy," for those not in the know,
refers to an individual who helps to conceive a child
but does little else.
Baby daddy is also someone who is not married by law
to the mother of said child.
Growing up, I thought "co-parent" was reserved primarily for white families
成长过程中，我曾以为“共同抚养”一词 是针对在 Netflix 黄金档电视剧中
that starred in Netflix prime-time dramas.
It still kind of does.
But it wasn't used to explain the role of a parent. Right?
Either you had kids or you didn't,
and no one in my social circles or at our dinner table
was having complex conversations about the role fathers played
in that conversation, right?
A more balanced, open, loving approach to parenting
was not something we were discussing within our social circles.
A majority of the time,
the fathers I knew of growing up were barely present
or just completely nonexistent.
"Co-parent" wasn't a term I heard or saw
where I grew up, where I came from.
I come from the hood.
That hood would be Creston Avenue, 188th in the Bronx.
布朗克斯（纽约以高犯罪率著称的贫民区） 克雷斯顿大街 188 号。
And for -- one person, that's what's up.
For a lot of us in that hood,
there was only one person you could already turn to
for food, shelter, warmth, love, discipline:
My mother, who I playfully call "Linda T,"
我开玩笑地叫 我母亲“琳达· T（Linda T）”，
was my first example of real love
and what showing up as a healthy co-parent looked like.
She was a strong, determined single mother,
a woman who would have benefited greatly from having a secure and stable partner
So I vowed whenever I got married,
my boo and I would be together forever.
You know? (Laughs)
We'd share the same bed and home,
we'd sleep under the same covers, we'd argue at IKEA -- normal stuff.
My partner would feel seen and loved,
and our children would grow up in a two-parent household.
However, things rarely ever end up how we plan them.
Our daughter Lilah has never known a household with both of her parents
living together under one roof.
Her mother and I were never married.
We dated on and off for several months before we found out she was pregnant.
Up until then, my mother didn't even know she existed.
and, at times, I was suicidal.
I was asking myself, what was I doing? Where was I going wrong?
I never wanted the stigma or label
of what some identified as the stereotypical "black father."
So: absentee, confrontational, combative, not present.
It took a lot of work, time, energy and effort
for us to finally realize
that maybe co-parenting for us didn't need to mean a shared household
and wedding bells,
that maybe, just maybe,
the way we showed up as co-parents
lay not only in the layered nuances of our partnership
but the capacity within our hearts to tend to a human
that we helped create together.
It would involve love in a nurturing and safe environment
that would feed Lilah long after we both left this earth.
Fast-forward four years,
and Lilah is now in pre-K.
She loves gummies,
and she says things like, "My heart is filled with love."
She's the most loving, compassionate, empathetic human being I know,
and the reason I get to tell you all of this is because
she's back in the Bronx with her mother.
You see, this is co-parenting,
and in an ideal world,
my mother would have had a co-parent, too.
She would have had support,
someone to show up and give her a break, a time off.
In an ideal world, every parent is a co-parent.
In an ideal world, both parents share the weight of the work appropriately.
Lilah's mother and I have a schedule.
Some days, I leave work and pick Lilah up from school,
some days I don't.
Lilah's mother gets to go rock climbing
or study for the LSAT,
and I get to stand in a room full of bold, dynamic and powerful women
and talk about dad stuff.
It is work, it is beautifully hard work
dismantling the systems that would have us believe
a woman's primary role is in the kitchen, tending to all things domestic,
while the hapless dad fumbles all over himself
whenever he has to spend a weekend alone with the kids.
It is work that needs to happen right now.
You see, far too often,
what it seems like is when both parents are working,
one parent is typically tasked with organizing the household
and keeping the home running.
That person is typically a woman or someone who identifies as such.
Far too often, those who identify as mothers and as women
have to sacrifice their dreams in order to appease the standard.
They have to sacrifice their dreams
in order to ensure that motherhood takes precedence over all else.
And I'm not here to say that it doesn't, but what I am here to say is,
as equal partners and co-parents, it is our duty to ensure
that our co-parenting partners don't have to put their passions,
their pursuits and their dreams
to the back burner
just because we're too self-absorbed to show up as allies.
Co-parenting makes the space possible for everybody.
As a co-parent,
the time I've gotten to share and spend with Lilah
is time I appreciate,
the time that has allowed me to be fully present for my child,
removing the notion that the emotional labor required to raise a child
is a woman's work.
As a co-parent, Lilah and I have built snowmen,
we've played with acorns,
we've rapped to the soundtrack of "Moana," I know you have, too.
She's sat with me while I've led workshops at Columbia University,
when I talk about the intersections of poetry, hip-hop and theater.
谈论诗歌、 说唱和戏剧的交集时， 她就坐在我身旁。
We get to talk about her emotions and her feelings
because we have exclusive time together,
and that time is planned time,
it's organized around not just my schedule but her mother's.
Both of us, as co-parents, have unique parenting styles.
And we may argue at times,
but what we can always agree on is how to raise a human --
I will never fully understand or comprehend
what it means to hold a child in my body for 10 months.
I will never be able to understand
the trials and tribulations of breastfeeding,
the work that it takes,
the emotional, physical, psychological and emotional toll
that carrying a human can have on the female body.
What co-parenting does is say,
we can create balance,
a more balanced home and work life for everyone involved.
Co-parenting says that while parenting may involve sacrifices, yes,
the weight of that sacrifice is not solely resting on one parent alone.
No matter your relational dynamic,
no matter how you identify as a human being --
he, she, they, ze --
co-parenting says we can create space and equity,
better communication, empathy, I hear you, I see you,
how can I show up for you in ways that benefits our family?
I want more fathers to embrace co-parenting as a model
for a better tomorrow, a better today for ourselves,
for our co-parenting partners, for our families, for our community.
I want more fathers talking about fatherhood openly,
candidly, honestly, lovingly.
I want more people to recognize that black fathers in particular
are more than the court system, more than child support
and more than what the media might portray us to be.
Our role as fathers, our role as parents,
our value as parents
is not dependent on the zeroes at the ends of our checks
but the capacity within our hearts to show up for our families,
for the people we love, for our little ones.
Being a father is not only a responsibility, it's an opportunity.
This is for Dwain, this is for Kareem "Buc" Drayton, this is for Biggs,
这段演讲要献给达文（Dawin）， 卡里姆·德雷顿（Kareem“ Buc” Drayton）
this is for Boola, this is for Tyron,
this is for all the black fathers who are showing up on a day-to-day basis.
This is for Charles Lorenzo Daniels, my father, who didn't have the language
同样也要献给查尔斯·勒伦佐·丹尼尔斯 （Charles Lerenzo Daniels），
or the tools to show up in the ways that he wanted to.
Hi Bria, hi West.
(In Yoruba) Amen.