The absence of a male figure in the life of a growing child can cause severe socio-psychological deficiencies in a growing child. Little girls and boys need a father, uncle, grandfather, Godfather, or an older brother who would stand strong with them.
In a powerful photoshoot, eleven men; who consist of grandfathers and uncles, pose with a 10 year old girl for her birthday photo shoot. The significance of this photo; is not only for aesthetic purposes, but to emphasize the need for the active presence of the father figure in the life of a child.
Ashton Leigh, the single mother of the ten year old, took to Facebook to announce the photoshoot. The post has been shared several times and has gotten the attention of many, including us at MBBA.
A few weeks ago this profound, powerful and absolutely amazing thing happened. Eleven men came out on a Saturday afternoon to show up for my baby. Some of them left work early, some canceled standing arrangements, some even drove in from out of town, but they all showed up for her! In less than pleasurable weather might I add.
Sarai thought she was just having a photoshoot for her upcoming 10th birthday, but little did she know, much more was in store for her.
My daughter is truly a joy. She’s kindhearted, caring, and funny as ever. She is my greatest gift. It was paramount for me to make sure that she had a visual reminder of the love and support she has in her life regardless of who chooses to participate or not. To remind her that God puts people in your life to stand in the gaps. And the photos you see here was the result of that. And honestly, it came together better than I could have imagined it.
Sarai’s Grandfathers, Uncles And God dad
When Sarai came out in her pretty dress and saw her grandfathers, uncles, God dad, and whole support system, she came to tears. Then I cried. And she cried some more and we cried together. Anyone that knows us knows what this meant.
Sarai was in awe the whole time and at one point told me that she “couldn’t believe” that everyone was here for her. In that moment I reminded her of who she is and the and the joy that she brings to people in her life. I reminded her that she deserves this and so much more.
At the end of the shoot we all stood in a circle, Sarai stood in the center. Each man went around and affirmed her. They told her how much they loved her; what they liked about her, what they saw in her, what they thought of her and how they were there for her. There were more tears lol. This was by far one of the best moments of my life but more importantly I believe that moments like this; when a young girl is affirmed like this, it changes the trajectory of her life and reminds her of her worth and how loved and valued she is. Something she carries with her for a lifetime.
I want to thank all of the men that love on my baby and helped to make this vision a reality. Thank you Dad Donny Rayford, Howard Blalark, Alan Crawford Sr., AD Crawford, Derek Shy, Jeff Bailey, Jeron Ellis, Jonathan Mark, Naeem Boraby and Sammy Adebiyi. I also want to thank Wesley Thomas, Jerron Ross and LeSean Shaw who wanted to be there. Thank you to Micheal Wood and Alex Armand for the beautiful photos.
In conclusion, the most important aspect of this photo shoot is enforced in the post made by Ashton, Sarai’s mother. “when a young girl is affirmed like this, it changes the trajectory of her life and reminds her of her worth and how loved and valued she is. Something she carries with her for a lifetime”