Black Fathers Rock! ceremony honors local dads and disproves stereotypes

Six Charlotte dads will be crowned in categories such as Father of the Year, Entrepreneur of the Year and Surrogate Father of the Year.

For a second consecutive year, a local nonprofit is honoring Black men to combat the negative portrayals of fatherhood.

Black Fathers Rock! will recognize the achievements of six fathers at its annual ceremony on Jan. 19 at Central Piedmont Community College’s Pease Auditorium.

Studies have debunked the narrative that Black fathers are likely to be absent in the lives of their children, yet the stigma still exists.

“Growing up without a father posed many challenges, but it let me know that I never wanted my children to be in that predicament,” said Black Fathers Rock creator Ryan Jor El. “Black Fathers Rock spawned from the need to change the narrative of what it means to be a Black father in today’s society while dispelling the notion that all of us are absent.”

Yandrick Paraison recalled his kids’ reactions to news of his Dapper Dad of the Year award.

Yandrick Paraison is Black Fathers Rock’s 2019 Dapper Dad of the Year recipient. Photo courtesy of Yandrick Paraison
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“They chuckled a bit at the fact that I was selected as the Dapper Dad,” said the father of four who is being honored for his sense of style. “That twist definitely brought some entertainment and laughs.”

Entrepreneur of the Year belongs to Justin Radcliff, better known as Chef Rico. The private chef has quickly made a name for himself in the past year, working with a number of celebrities including Carolina Panthers quarterback Cam Newton. Over the holidays, Chef Rico partnered with Newton to deliver upscale meals to people in need.

“I’m 31 and I went my whole life without my father. For me, going through that was worth it because it showed me what not to do,” said the father of three.

Here is the full list of the 2019 honorees:

  • Father of the Year – Roman Harper, former Carolina Panthers safety
  • Dapper Dad of the Year – Yandrick Paraison, entrepreneur
  • Activist of the Year – James Ford, education advocate
  • Entrepreneur of the Year – Justin Radcliff aka Chef Rico, private chef
  • Surrogate Father of the Year – Barry White, Jr., Charlotte-Mecklenburg Schools “handshake teacher”
  • Senior Father of the Year – Rev. Clifford Jones Sr., pastor of Friendship Missionary Baptist Church

Event details

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Saturday, Jan. 19
6 p.m.
CPCC, Pease Auditorium, 1201 Elizabeth Ave.
Tickets: $40 for adults, $20 for children ages 5 to 12. To purchase, visit

Kallan Louis is a writer and consultant for He does a lot, but never feels like he’s doing enough. His life can be described as a Venn Diagram: News media, Black culture and sports. He’s always on TV, but rarely seen

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