Actor, Jason Weaver is best known for starring in “Smart Guy,” “Drumline,” “The Jacksons: An American Dream,” for being the singing voice of Simba for the 1994 film “The Lion King” and so much more. I had the pleasure of reaching out to him recently to gather his thoughts on fatherhood and what it meant for him to be a great father to his son, Jaylen.
Here’s what he shared with me.
“As I’m sitting here and reflecting back on my childhood, and my dad’s involvement in my upbringing. My mind instantly reverts back to all of the good, but brief moments I was able to spend with him. Although my dad wasn’t able to really be around that much when I was growing up, I can’t ever recall feeling like I had “missed” anything as it relates to us not being able to spend a great deal of time together while he was still alive. Admittedly, growing up in a single parent family household in the neighboring outskirts of Chicago and being raised by my mother wasn’t actually a bad experience for me at all.”
“I felt like my mother to the best of her ability tried to bestow the love, support, guidance, and wisdom that EVERY child (especially Black children) need in order to properly develop throughout the course of their childhood. My father provided the same love and support as well, but unfortunately, it had to be from a distance. That said, it doesn’t mean that he and I didn’t desperately long for a close and equally fulfilling relationship with each other as well. It’s just simply that the circumstances of life just never allowed us both the opportunity to form that kind of relationship/bond that he and I both wanted to have at that time in our lives.”
“I’m glad that I was blessed with a mother who was willing and able to step in and play that significant role in my life that my father (although wanting to be there), just wasn’t able to do for reasons I’ll respectfully decline to expound further into. I want to make this clear as well…I’m not saying my dad was a deadbeat or anything like that because he WASNT. My father LOVED me and I STILL LOVE him. Life just happened and my mother ultimately just had to do what was best for her and me. My upbringing at home with my mother didn’t seem that out of the ordinary though. Most of the young men that grew up on my block were raised in single parent family homes by their mothers, so I really didn’t feel like my upbringing was any different from anyone else’s. As far as I knew, most Black households were headed up by single mothers. And most single mothers at the time when I was growing up would just raise their kids to the best of their ability, no matter whether the father was there or not. Honestly, that’s all I ever knew growing up. All I knew growing up was Black women stepping up and raising their children while a significant percentage of Black fathers unfortunately like mine were absent in the household due to whatever circumstances were the cause of that.”
“Most Black families during the 80’s with the exception of mine were fractured due to the fact that a lot of the fathers were either, incarcerated, battling addictions, dead or just simply uninterested in having any kind of relationship/interaction with their children. Now, don’t get me wrong…I’m sure there were PLENTY of Black fathers raising and loving their kids during that time as well, but it was somewhat of a rare thing to see if we’re being totally honest here. Truthfully and respectfully speaking, my Uncle June was one of the only examples of Black men that I knew and was truly present in my life to where I was able to see that important role played out in the home. Unfortunately, that’s how it was for a lot of us growing up. That’s just how things were back then, and I’m sure a lot of Black men and women that grew up during that era can relate to what I’m sharing.”
“That’s why it was SO IMPORTANT for me as a father to be there for MY SON Jaylen when he was born. I knew from the very moment his mother told me she was pregnant that Life was not a game from that point on. I wanted things to be different for me and my son’s relationship. I wanted to share with him everything that my father wasn’t able to share with me or do for me when I was growing up. I’ve always been committed to my role as a father and I’m committed to making sure that my son KNOWS that NO MATTER WHAT, I’m ALWAYS going to be there for him. Just like how my dad wanted to be there for me. Hopefully, he REALLY knows that because my son means EVERYTHING to me. There’s no greater gift that God can bestow upon a man than being a father to a brilliant child. No movie, no TV show, no award can compare to the JOY that I feel when I’m around my son Jaylen. He’s God’s greatest gift to me. Truthfully speaking, I even fell back a little as it relates to my career because I wanted my son to see me present in his life and not just be some guy that shoots money to his mom whenever they need it while I’m moving around Hollywood.”
“I wanted him to see that I take my responsibility as a father way more seriously than just being a provider. Don’t get me wrong, I believe that being a provider is one of the most important things for a man to be when it comes to his family, but I also feel like the time spent with that child or children is just as equally important as the money that’s used to put food on the table. That said, and in closing…I just want to wish ALL of the fathers out there that REALLY hold it down for their kids a HAPPY FATHER’S DAY. Enjoy your day, gentlemen! Take a minute as well to just simply thank God for this day! Thank God for your children and your families! Thank Him for giving you the strength and wisdom that you need to be the TRUE LEADER and HEAD of YOUR households. Ask Him for that continued strength, guidance and wisdom so that you can continue to be the positive living example that you need to be for your children. Lastly, I just want to tell my son Jaylen… “I love you with all of my heart, Champ!!!” I also want to acknowledge, pay my respects and express my unwavering/unconditional love for my father Robert L. Weaver…“I love you and miss you so much, Dad”. “Continue to rest well.”
His reflection on his life as a child and now as a father were truly meaningful, and hopefully fathers all over the world can relate to what was expounded on during his reflection.
Happy Father’s Day Jason Weaver!
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