On Father’s Day 2018 Marvyn Harrison, a dad of two small children, sent a Whatsapp message to a group of friends expressing that he was thinking of them and that he appreciated the work they did as fathers. The response was immediate. An outpouring of appreciation, shared successes and shared failures as black fathers. The group became a community that advised one another on the pitfalls and joys of black fatherhood and masculinity in a society that often overlooked, stereotyped and negated their experiences.
Shortly after Harrison went about turning the informal Whatsapp group into a series of meetings that discussed a variety of topics from managing finances and healthy eating to problems your child may face at school.
As the story of Dope Black Dads spread on social media and in the press, guest speakers began to take part in the meetings and the membership base grew. What was once a whatsapp group of 23 fathers is now a series of communities, Dope Black Dads, Dope Black Mums, Dope Black Women, Dope Black Men and Dope Black Queers, all providing peer to peer learning through podcasts, meetings and events.
Dope Black now has over 250,000 members in the UK, US and South Africa.
The intersection of blackness is a unique experience with many challenges which are not known on mass or solvable with a universal ‘one size fits all’ approach.
The Dope Black CIC vision is to improve the outcomes of black people by improving the strength and durability in our homes and shared community spaces with the view to tackle political disenfranchisement, socio-economic underperformance, spiritual alignment, aggressive law and order practices and financial literacy.
We see the future as one where black people are better skilled, trained and informed on the major issues and play a key part in the solution.