Published: Wednesday | September 17, 2014
Medical doctor/recording artiste Dr Garth 'Shaka Pow' McDonald recently launched his Best Baby Father initiative at Gentry Mingle 'N' Mellow in Half-Way Tree. The event was well attended by members of the music industry, and according to Dr McDonald, his peers recognise the importance of the initiative.
The Best Baby Father campaign is aimed at resocialising fathers in Jamaica on the importance of playing their role in the development of their children. Dr McDonald believes Jamaica's current situation, as it relates to crime and violence, can be curtailed with proper parenting, and hopes his initiative will motivate fathers to teach boys how to become men.
"It's time to ease some of the burden from the shoulders or our women. We cannot expect the youth to become proper men in society if they are not mentored by model fathers. Not that we are leaving out the daughters, but we want to highlight the sons, because while the mothers are oftentimes present in the household, the men tend to be missing," he said.
In 2011, Dr Ralph Thompson, veteran educator and education advocate, also shared the opinion that improper behavioural patterns in children in some instances stemmed from the absence of a nuclear family. Dr Thompson told fellow panellists: "For the children, the lack of a father figure can be disturbing in their socialisation. The problem is neither uptown nor downtown. It is right across the board. There are just too many mothers out there playing the single-parent role," he said.
About 45 per cent of all Jamaican households are headed by a female, this according to 2002 data from the Planning Institute of Jamaica.
The artiste also released a music video and song for his Best Baby Father campaign. The song is also called Best Baby Father and sees the deejay paying homage to Shabba Ranks, who also released a single in the '90s with the same title.
Dr McDonald's version was produced by platinum-selling record producer Jah Snowcone, who has worked with the likes of Sean Paul, Bounty Killer, Beenie Man, among others.
"The turnout (for the launch) was tremendous and we are getting a lot of media support. Certain companies in Corporate Jamaica have stepped forward, a couple of the service clubs have come forward, and with the launch of the accompanying music video, we will be stepping up promotions," he told The Gleaner.
The Best Baby Father music video was scripted by Smoking Aces productions, and Dr McDonald says he opted to tell a story with the footage to allow people to feel the importance of the message.
"Most of my last, maybe 10, videos were performance videos; therefore, I wanted to get back to the storylines, because it tends to be more far-reaching and people will appreciate the concept more. I want to say thanks to the media, my colleagues in the medical community and my sponsors," he said.
The video can be viewed on local and international television stations as well as YouTube.