Jarius and Terrell often get labeled as 'two-dad family' and they want to break stereotypes associated with Black fathers and Black gay Dads.
Editor's note: This article was originally published on February 28, 2022.
After styling Bantu knots for Aria, Jarius turns to his daughter, "Baby, do you like your hair?" and she replies "Yes!" Jarius lifts his daughter in elation. That's just another day for him, Dad to Aria and Ashton along with his partner, Terrell. Jarius and Terrell are a Black gay married couple who are here to break stereotypes and be the best possible Dads out there. Their family is based in Atlanta and the duo is full-time content creators, with parenting at the core of the content. Jarius styling his daughter's hair and the family performing dance trends are some of the more popular videos of the family reported by Good Morning America.
Jarius and Terrell want to break stereotypes associated with Black fathers and Black gay Dads. "With fatherhood in general and Black fatherhood, I know that historically, [the stereotype is dads] aren't involved. We can be active in our kids' lives and give them everything that they dream of, or at least try to," said Terrell. He adds that the goal is to shatter those stereotypes. "A lot of the time, we get labeled as "The gay dads" or the "two-dad family" and we're so much more than that. We're Black dads, We're Black gay dads."
Terrell and Jarius were working full-time corporate jobs at 22 and were eager to start their family having just bought their own home. They looked at adoption and surrogacy before settling on the latter given the limited options available to a gay couple. After their surrogate suffered a miscarriage, they were heartbroken and then they found what seemed like a perfect surrogate. But, she had a hard time getting pregnant so they moved on to another surrogate but as fate would have it, both of them got pregnant. "Everything was like times two. And I was like, 'I'm so terrified ... I want to be a dad, but like, I can't do two at once,'" said Jarius, reported Good Morning America. Meanwhile, Terrell was super excited at the prospect of having two children. "I always wanted twins and this was the next closest thing," said Terrell.
The video shows Jarius styling Aria's hair in Bantu knots, a traditional African hairstyle. "With our kids, we always want them to understand their roots, their culture, everything about them," said Terrell. Jarius says styling Aria's hair also helps them connect. "We get to bond. We get to have those transparent conversations and I just think that in the long run, it's really gonna come back: 'It was always so amazing that every day my Dad woke up and before I went to school, he was always there for me,'" said Jarius.
One of the common comments and criticism the couple face is always centered on Aria needing a mother. A lot of the comments we get read: "Oh, she needs a mother, she needs a mother figure," said Terrell. Jarius doesn't want her daughter growing up thinking she missed out on something. "I don't want her to ever feel like she missed out on anything," said Terrell. "The amount of love, adoration and respect that we have for mothers out there is paramount. But then, there are also so many Dads as well that are there, and active that are present. They don't always get to shine or get the recognition they deserve," he added. With time and practice, Jarius has gotten really good at doing Aria's hair. "Her hair is such a beautiful texture. I wanted to make sure that throughout her entire life, her hair was always honored. It's her crown, right?" he said.