Teach Me How To Love


Photo Credit: E News

I saw the movie Fences when it was released on Christmas day and I thought it was a great film overall. I was expecting to see more of a movie format rather than a full out play, so it took a while to get used to the theatrical dialogue.  The film is based off of the play “Fences” by August Wilson.  

The movie included several heavy, emotional dialogues between characters. One of the scenes from the film that really resonated with me is the scene when Denzel Washington’s character Troy is talking to his son Corey about not liking him. In the scene Corey asked his dad, “Why don’t you like me?”  Troy responds by naming all of the things that he does for Corey like providing him with food, a place to live, and clothes to wear. This scene made me think about how many African American men don’t know how to show affection to their sons.

Troy’s character reminded me of my own dad in a way. My dad was not nearly as hard on me as Troy was to Corey but like Troy he didn’t know how to show affection towards my siblings and I.  He showed us love by providing us with material things. He always gave us money for our birthdays, every Christmas he still buys us gifts, and he even paid for all of us to attend college.  I only remember my dad verbally telling me he loved me once and that was when I was in college.  He’s also never told me that I looked pretty or that I was beautiful. Although I know my dad loves me it would have been nice to hear those type of affirmations growing up.  I think that would have helped me avoid some of the negative experiences I faced in relationships with men when I was younger.

In Fences Troy showed hard love towards his son which ultimately made Corey resent him. My dad showed similar tough love to my brothers but more so to my younger brother. As an adult I can see how that type of love has negatively affected their relationship over the years.  I don’t place any fault on my dad because he’s never been taught how to love. His father got killed in a bar fight when he was a young man in the military; my dad was a baby at the time so he didn’t get an opportunity to know his dad. My dad’s mom was very negative and critical of him growing up so he internalized her criticism and basically became a product of his environment.

Check out the scene from the play  when Troy is talking to his son Corey.

At a recent red carpet interview Denzel Washington was asked about how Fences speaks to African American men. Denzel replied by saying the following:

“Pain is passed down from father to son and son to son. A lot of pain in Troy’s life is a result of the damage from his father that he then visits on his son. We have to as black men be mindful of that, sometimes it’s unfair and sometimes we take it out on those we love. I’m guilty of that frustration that we all have but we have a responsibility and a duty to be fathers, not to just make babies but to  be real fathers. You can’t expect any good to come to you if you don’t visit any good on your son on you daughter so be a man.”  ~~Denzel Washington~~

I couldn’t agree with this statement more Denzel!

What did you guys think about the movie Fences? How important is it for father’s to show affection towards their children?

Check out Denzel’s interview response below:


Leave a Reply

Your email address will not be published. Required fields are marked *