By NICK CHILES
As the father of two daughters, I must say that I got chills down my spine as I viewed the video for Nas’ new song “Daughters.” It was like watching the fatherhood version of Friday the 13th, with the skilled rapper recounting all the terrifying temptations and obstacles young girls encounter as they pass through that ghastly gauntlet of emotion called adolescence. Instead of Jason, the video frightens us with a terrifying cast of good-looking teenage boys—one even has a tear-drop tattoo on his left cheek, signifying his bad-ass-ness.
Nas has always had a unique ability to use his lyrical skills to give voice to the difficulties that black males face in America, so it’s only fitting that as he ages he begins to direct his attention to fatherhood. It’s a brilliant piece of writing, as he addresses the kinds of questions that all parents torment themselves with when their kids screw up—Could I have done more? Did I fail to teach you the right lessons? If I had just spent more time with you, would you have made this mistake?
Though his daughter Destiny might not appreciate the depth of his candor, Nas even recounts the brilliant idea she had to post a picture of a box of condoms on Instagram. If you are the parent of an adolescent boy or girl and you don’t know what Instagram is, I suggest you up your social media game right away. While Instagram is ostensibly a site where people share their pictures, the tweens and teens have taken to using it as a way to have private conversations that their parents aren’t aware of because many parents are still thinking Facebook and Twitter is all they have to worry about. We had our own little jolt when we discovered our 12-year-old, who does not yet have a cellphone, was using her iPod touch to have Instagram conversations with her classmates—and the girl had the nerve to block us from access to her account! For the little girlie, this couldn’t have come at a worse time, as we were in the midst of trying to decide whether she was ready for a cellphone. Needless to say, some serious teary conversations were had.
But the point is that we always have to be on top of this stuff, always aware of the latest bit of technology that will allow our kids to be doing things they aren’t supposed to be doing. Parenting in this technological age is hard work.
And as Nas brilliantly chronicles in “Daughters,” those adolescent years are a nonstop reign of terror.
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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.