Fashion

Meet the model helping change negative perceptions of young black fathers one Instagram post at a time

DADDY'S GIRL: Model Benny Harlem with daughter Jaxyn

DADDY’S GIRL: Model Benny Harlem with daughter Jaxyn

EVEN WITH stellar examples of doting daddies, such as President Obama and NBA MVP Steph Curry, black fathers often get a bad rap.

But model Benny Harlem is helping rewrite negative media stories about the role of black men in their child’s life – with the help of daughter Jaxyn – one Instagram post at a time.

Hailing from Los Angeles, the chocolate-skinned model and his daughter – who both have regal waist-length natural hair – became a viral sensation after photos of the two donning African outfits hit the Internet.

The two share kisses on the public platform and have an undeniable bond.

“I grew up around all women,” Benny told XoNecole. “I was the first man of my family, and my family took that very seriously. My family comes from women that don’t have men. Women who have been left or abandoned.”

The young model, who describes his father leaving when he was young as the “first heartbreak of my life”, says he never wants his daughter to feel that pain.

“I turned that heartbreak into drive. And I teach my daughter to do the same”.

However, his teachings for his daughter don’t merely stop at heartbreak. He instills culture and the importance of representation into Jaxyn with things such as her most recent out-of-school homework: a report on Josephine Baker.

“I put my child on a pedestal. What my daughter knows is that if she loves herself first, love will align in her friendships, relationships, and all aspects of her life,” he said.

“She’s a beautiful girl who’s gonna be a pretty woman, but I teach her to love herself first. She doesn’t need to seek that in a man or from watching TV or her friends.”

On how he maintains Jaxyn’s beautiful waist-length hair, he told the publication: “I look at our hair like a plant. Most plants need natural ingredients to grow and stay alive, and honestly, our souls and our bodies need the same thing.”

In my family, we make our own shampoo, just as we take the time to make our own meals. It’s just a discipline.”

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