The Philly soulster's creating a life for himself and his family that reflects what they truly value: Each other.
Poyser can be seen every night on The Tonight Show with Jimmy Fallon playing in The Roots, and he credits his old friend for the connection. “He may have been fresh out of high school and was working as a producer with Jazzy Jeff’s A Touch of Jazz. He was working on the Jazzyfatnastees album with The Roots and connected me to them. And I’ve been working with them ever since.”
When what little down-time he has comes around, Fatin chooses to spend it playing with his kids, and thankfully, Clark Park is a hop, skip and jump from the Dantzler house. On a bright, warm day last month, Fatin was there with his youngest four. As he pushed Ain on the swing, he noticed the other two Black fathers cavorting with their kids as well. “That doesn’t seem out of place at all,” he shrugged. “There are always Black men out here with their children, despite the negative stereotypes put on them ... us.”
As Nina keeps an eye on Deen, Aquil has now shown up in the park, and he’s only there to spend time with his dad, with whom he’s obviously skin-tight. At 15, he has more interest in riding rollercoasters and tweeting on his phone than climbing monkey bars or sliding down the slide. But this is a young man who’s always ready for the gems his father may drop on him.
Remember them riding around on that donut down in Virginia? While they were running around trying to get it replaced, Aquil saw how his father was going all out to get it fixed, well aware that he was doing it for him. “My father is my mentor,” he told PW that fateful day as Fatin was on the phone talking loudly with Pep Boys. “He always knows the right thing to do, and he always tries to include me. I really look up to him. I want to be like him.”
Back at Clark Park, the proud papa looks up and smiles as his son approaches. Any casual observer can see that this man-child has been raised well. He is polite, respectful and smart, respects his folks and others and is seemingly being taught how to do well in his rapidly-approaching adult life. For any active, well-meaning parent, this isn’t an easy road to navigate. For fathers, it’s an especially crucial task, fortified by their knowledge that the sons they raise will one day follow in their footsteps. Maybe even fill them.
“Aquil looks at me as a role model and someone to emulate, and I think I present a good example for him by being there,” says Fatin. “I don’t present myself as the perfect person, but he knows that I provide for the family. I’m the man of the house, and he knows that one day that will be his role. So, I want him to see in me how to do that, just like my father did for me.”
Kindred the Family Soul will be among the acts performing at the West Oak Lane Festival, Sat., June 21 at the Keswick Theatre. keswicktheatre.com