Dear Daddy: New Documentary Tells the Story Of Fatherlessness Among Daughters

It’s no secret that I stan for black fathers. My bias for the good ones runs deep: My dad is an incredible man who loves me with abandon, and my husband, Nick, absolutely adores his daughters. I’m surrounded by beautiful black men who take care of their children in every way mentally, emotionally, financially, physically and right here on this blog, I’ve made a point of highlighting fathers like author Derrick Barnes, writer Jamal Frederick and bloggers Eric Payne of Makes Me Wanna Holler and Lamar Tyler of Black And Married With Kids because I truly believe that we need to see them and follow them and study them and thank them for getting it right.

But there are plenty of black fathers, too, who are doing it all wrong who leave their babies to fend for themselves while they long and ache for relationship with and stability from the man who helped create them. And those children are hurting. This was glaringly evident on Father’s Day, when, despite our best intentions to shout out the black dads getting it right, a bunch of daughters spoke up and out about the fathers who’ve gotten it wrong by holding out on child support, shirking their responsibilities as parents or disappearing altogether. Those who were raised without fathers or who are raising babies without their partners’ help wanted someone to speak up for them. To acknowledge the pain and devastation that comes when children grow up without a stable, loving father in the home.

While I can understand that fatherlessness is wreaking havoc on the African American community and I’m affected by the devastation in a myriad of obvious ways, I can’t speak personally to the issue because it is not my personal experience. But this clip, from documentarian Janks Morton’s upcoming film, Dear Daddy, really shines a light on the personal agony children of fatherlessness carry as they navigate their life journey without the person who should be the most important man in their lives. This clip is chilling in its effect frightening in its clarity. Heartbreaking.

Dear Daddy is a feature-length documentary about the life long effects of fatherlessness on women. The film follows the dramatic journeys of eight young women from the tough city streets of Washington, D.C., as they struggle to overcome poverty, poor educational systems, no healthcare, and the most difficult life circumstance they have been dealt the absence of their fathers.¨¨ Each of the girls are asked to write letters to their fathers, read them on camera, and talk about the emotions behind the words. Janks then puts on an investigative hat locating, securing meetings with and filming sessions with the young women’s fathers, in which they’re asked to watch and respond to Janks’ interview with their daughters. The goal is to have the fathers reconcile with their girls.

Please watch the clip and, below, see how you can help Janks bring this child’s story and those of so many more daughters like her to the screen.



Janks Morton and his production team, IYAGO Entertainment Group, are working hard to finish the film and raise enough money to market, and promote the film and screen it in Washington, D.C., Chicago, Philadelphia, Baltimore, Atlanta and New York. To cover theater rental, print, broadcast and online media, outreach media, travel, and other contingency expenses, the team estimates a cost of $2,000 per city. Janks and IYAGO need your contributions so that these cities and others can host individual premieres and community-based discussions each designed to kickstart a national campaign to have absentee fathers reconcile with their daughters. Here’s how you can get involved:

Photo credit: Photomassacre for Flickr’s Creative Commons

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Denene Millner

Mom. NY Times bestselling author. Pop culture ninja. Unapologetic lover of shoes, bacon and babies. Nice with the verbs. Founder of the top black parenting website, MyBrownBaby.


  1. WOW! That’s all I can say. I am sitting at my desk crying. This documentary is moving. Thanks for sharing it, I hadn’t heard about it.

  2. Wow very deep and emotional. As I sit here crying I can relate. How sad and very moving thank you for always bringing the important information to us and putting it out there in a way that only you can.

  3. Pass the tissue. I have “daddy” issues. Maybe not this severe, but enough to relate. Definitely a problem that needs to be addressed. Thanks for sharing.

  4. Here I am a 35 year old educated woman, and I have not been able to shake the feeling of being unloved and unwanted by my father.

    • I’m 28, my father’s second of 11 kids and his first daughter and I can’t get over it. My father lived 2 blocks away from me until I turned 18 and joined the Navy and I never saw him. He was there for his other children, but never me. My mother passed 3 years ago and with him being my only survivng “parent” I hoped it would bring us closer. He even went as far as promising to spend Christmas with me and my husband (he lives in Chicago, I’m in Maryland), but that was yet another broken promise. It hurts so much he’s not willing to make an effort to be in my life.

  5. Thanks so much for sharing! I can relate…totally relate! I think we all wonder “why wasn’t I enough…to make you do right?” “Why wasn’t I enough for you to be interested in me?” Looking forward to the full documentary!

  6. Wow. I’m a father wanting to be in my daughters life and just knowing that her mother puts BS in her head now kills me. Especially knowing that my daughter could grow up being falsefeed negative info about me and possibily grow up feeling the same way this young lady does. Great clip, I think that he should also put out a film about Men trying to be in there childrens lives, but are pushed away from their “baby’s momma”.

    Hey Janks, if you decide to make a film like that, email me. I’m willing to be the face on the cover.

    And to you young ladies that can relate, trust that your Father has been there w/ you before you were created. Father God that is…keep Faith and Stay strong.

    God Bless

  7. i grew up without my biological father…the thought was hard not knowing why…. i was actually on day 3 of dear daddy….to know that I’m not alone says a lot…now I’m trying to reunite and forget about the past even though I’m going on 24

  8. Very powerful video. I am truely blessed. My father has always been in my life and still is. I used to wonder if its better to be fatherless when my father would get on my nerves but I know thats not true. I also know my father loves me to no end. That is a very secure feeling.
    The pain in that young girl can be felt through the screen, it brought me to tears. I feel so deeply for her…
    Shame on her father for not being there for her. I dont care how “horrible” the mother is…children know when daddy is trying to be there and when daddy is not. Go to the court and battle it out for your child…fight for your child. Just like she is fighthing for that child support check, men fight to see your babies. It’s worth it.
    I have no children for this very reason. I want a man that wants to be around. Men should also look to have children with women that will put that child first and let them see thier fathers if it doesnt work out.
    Shame on mothers that dont allow fathers to see thier children.
    It is sick!

  9. Before my husband was my husband, he had other girlfriends, of course. Well, apparently a one night stand w/a girl left her pregnant. She told no one because he was dating her sister. She left the city of Saginaw, and ran off to Holland, MI to give birth. Once again, never revealing to him that she was carrying his baby.
    She lied to the courts, she lied to everyone and never told anybody that he was the father of a beautiful little girl that looked just like him. He had no children at this time, and he had no idea that she existed.
    The mother then gave this baby up for adoption where she was cared for by a single woman. From birth on up, she only knew this lady as her mother, although, from what I have thus far gathered, she did know that she was adopted and lived as part of a “group” of kids who were also given up.
    It is my belief that she took on the name of the group home as her last name. She kept her middle name as the birth name that her mother gave her.
    She has no father. The year she was born was 1993. I began my relationship w/my now husband – her father – only months before she was born. Had either of us known, I could have very well raised this baby as one of my own, because I am sure that he would have not wanted his baby adopted. I don’t know, but all of this happened for a reason.
    Fast forward until now, after putting the pieces together, and finding this info, I reached out to her. She has not responded, and I have a gut feeling that she never will. I have told her some of the story, but not like I have said it here. My fear is that we will never know her. My husband now has three other daughters that all look like each other.
    Two with me, and one w/the girl’s sister. Like I said, they all look alike. We all know about her, and hoping and praying that she comes around. My husband says leave her be, if she doesn’t want to know us, leave her alone. He is respecting her privacy. Although, he did say, “I do not have anything to give her. I have no money. What could I offer her?” I quietly reminded him, that he has love and that is all any little girl could ever want. The love of her father. That little girl is now 19 years old, and will be 20 this May 2013.
    I am a daddy’s girl. I know what it’s like to have my father in my life. I know better than most because he spoiled me with love. Our bond is unbreakable. I want all little girls to know this love. I am unselfish.
    People call me stupid for wanting my husband to be a father to not just her, but the other one who was not raised with my own. But, I believe that all girls need to know a father’s love.
    I will not stop pushing his girls to get closer to him. When I am gone, he will have the love of his children to keep him happy. It’s not the same love as he and I share, but love is love, and we all need to feel it.

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