For Father’s Day weekend, The Secret Society of Twisted Storytellers in Detroit presented “Fathers & Figures” on June 17–an evening of storytelling in honor of dads, presented by fathers and sons. The show is part of an ongoing series funded by Knight Foundation, which takes place monthly at the Charles H. Wright Museum of African American History.
This set of “true stories told live,” under the direction of organizer Satori Shakoor, was particularly poignant, given the absence of recognition for father-son relationships. One aspect of toxic masculinity dictates that males do not openly acknowledge feelings of kinship or love for one another; simply to hear five men talking candidly about their relationships with their fathers and/or sons was something of an outstanding event. Additionally, the evening’s tales helped to explode a damaging stereotype about men of color: that they are not good fathers, or not present for their children. Though the stories of the evening touched on moments of struggle and strife–because Secret Society presents life issues, and life can be tough–they also highlighted the power of the bonds between father and son, and the emotional aspiration of every man to make his father proud.