Notes from a Father: Honoring the legacy of “Uncle Phil”

uncle phil

By: George Kilpatrick Jr.

James Avery’s portrayal of “Uncle Phil” was representative of strong black fatherhood in mainstream media. On “The Fresh Prince of Bel-Air” he portrayed a man who he had an unwavering commitment to moral values, while raising his children and nephew in a very busy household. How many of us have taken in family because it wasn’t safe, or to provide new opportunities for relatives, or have escaped to Grandma’s house ourselves? Let us recommit to the values expressed on that show and honor an amazing expression of black fatherhood. “Uncle Phil” showed us that men can step into a child’s life and make a positive impact regardless of their title/relation to that child. In the midst of the celebration of a new year let us remember that fatherhood is paramount to the success of our children and honor one of TV’s greatest dads. We honor him as a hard working Black man who broke his back to provide for his family. I know the “Banks” family and “Huxtables” in my own life, they are real and the struggles expressed on the respective sitcoms are those of middle class families. We honor the efforts of the show, and the actors in their positive portrayal of the Black community and Black family. Thank you James Avery for showing us what black fatherhood really looks like. From one black father to another, I honor you and your commitment to representing how we need to raise and love our children.

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