So after an eventful day that involved a flat tire, a dirty macking tow driver, a joyride with a Jamaican delivery driver, an Uber kidnapping attempt, a curve and a bottle of wine (my life is a Seinfeld episode)…I eventually saw Fences. I had heard such great reviews I broke my usual only go to the movie theatre for blockbusters rule and checked it out. What really made me intrigued was I seen a clip going around of James Earl Jones and Denzel’s play performances in a who did it better, and while the question was dumb what scene itself spoke to me. The son, Cory, asked his father “why don’t you like me?” You would think at this point there would be a denial, an apology, and a hug while sitcom music played. Instead, the father, Troy, responds with a passionate rant about providing, responsibility, respect and to answer his question liking his ass wasn’t part of the deal. (Sidenote: watching the clips, Mufasa is taken dead seriously while Denzel’s damn near has a laugh track…wonder why that is). But that scene right there, was my father. He provided, he disciplined, he handled business. I turned out pretty dope so props to him. I could call him today if I needed anything. Call him to talk just to chat, talk about the game, not necessarily. It’s a reality we are both aware of, promise to work to be better at, over the years we’ve had more father/son outings but it always returns back to normal after a while. Now, I love my father, he loves me…but we aren’t friends. I struggle with that sometimes.
In some regard I sound…ungrateful, I didn’t want for much, material wise. Most of my friends don’t even know theirs. And frankly, he’s the only parent I have left. My sisters adore him, so my indifference goes off as smoothly as telling J Cole fans he’s been making the same album for 5 years. Even in Fences, Troy is a drunk and an adulterer and it’s easy to follow along as Cory becomes too through with him. In my life, my father isn’t perfect but he took care of his children. Now I’m grown and I don’t necessarily need anything from him…so what do we do here? Cory eventually found himself, as a grown man, defiant of his father; I guess I fear appearing the same. I also feel like the buck should stop somewhere, that passing down generations of tough love and indifference can’t be healthy. That maybe it gets better with time, my father and grandfather weren’t close, that went down to me and I guess it’s on me to end the cycle so to speak.
We aren’t our parents, working the same old job for 30 years to pay off our mortgage before we can retire in an empty nest. Millennials wonder why not do something different? As society shifts views on masculinity, sexuality, mental health, the I’m the parent tough love, do what I say because you’re in my house, try Jesus but you best not try me mentality…who knows if it’ll work on (whatever we gonna call these little niglets generation). “I’m not one of ya lil friends” should be in the NMAAHC if it isn’t already. I was raised with tough love, I got beatings, told to man up, lectured on respectability politics, had a list of chores every weekend and left home at 18. I’m certain this next generation will be raised different. Because society is different.
At the end of Fences, Cory/Troy never mended (ba-dum-tss) their relationship and the moral of the story was, he wasn’t perfect but he was yours. I feel like that’s where I’m at right now. That I can chalk it up to it being a different era. Of course, we’re both still here so it’s not too late to change the dynamic, maybe I’ll ask him if he’s seen it. He’d probably be team Troy. Parents, man.