Fatherhood: Talib Kweli Says He Regrets Missing His Daughters Birth In New Book On Dads
When my son was two years old and my wife was pregnant with my daughter, I got a memorable lesson in prioritizing. I was doing a show in Baltimore with Mos Def, promoting the Black Star album, and I had been debating with myself whether I should go to the show, because of how far along my wife was with the pregnancy. I decided to do the show, and right as I was going onstage, she was going into labor. So I did my part, left the show a little early, hopped in a Baltimore cab and said, “Take me to Brooklyn.” The cabdriver looked at me like I was crazy, because Brooklyn was nearly two hundred miles away, but he took me. Unfortunately, I missed the birth. That hurt me. It was a lesson in prioritizing for me, because, in the grand scheme of things, that show was nowhere near as important as the birth of my daughter. To this day, I wish that I had made a different decision. I wrote a song with Mos Def called “Joy” that was a tribute to my daughter for missing that moment.
I am thankful to my father, Perry Greene, for showing me how to convey the message of love to my kids. When my parents were together, and even after they split up, when I was just entering my teenage years, my pops was always very good at saying, “Son, I love you.” Of course, I didn’t recognize the power of those words coming from my father until I grew much older, but I did recognize at a young age that a lot of the other kids whose parents weren’t around or who just simply didn’t get that from their fathers would pay attention or notice when my father was affectionate with me. My father showing me that love affected me in such a positive way. He was focused on independence and strength and knowledge. He would tell me that he loved me and respected me. That was really big for me growing up. My father treated me like a person and not like a second class citizen or someone who was beneath him. He treated me like I mattered… I knew without a doubt that my parents loved and respected me, so I felt no need to rebel against them. That is the relationship I want to have with my children. I want them to know that no matter what mistakes they make, no matter if they choose to become a rapper, ballplayer, singer, doctor, lawyer, scientist, teacher or whatever their hearts desire, I want them to know that their daddy will always love them, respect them and have their back.
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