Nothing warms my heart more than seeing a beautiful Black family. And after spending hours on Instagram and YouTube checking out Beleaf in Fatherhood, I have all the feels. Glen Henry, also known as Beleaf, is a California-based husband and father of four documenting his adventures in parenting on social media for hundreds of thousands of loyal followers.
The parenting influencer community is full of moms (and dads) who have a judgemental “do it this way” tone that can make you feel like a total failure if you let them. But Beleaf in Fatherhood is a beautiful blend of nurturing, discipline and a whole lot of laughter. I dare you to try to get through the video of him singing to his children in an adorable bedtime ritual without smiling. The best thing about Beleaf is that he keeps it real. Rather than preaching to other parents or shaming them for making different choices, Beleaf’s message is one of encouragement and support of other parents going through the collective struggle of trying to raise black children in a world that isn’t always welcoming. In a video he posted on Instagram about alternatives to spanking, Beleaf says, “I’m not the example of a good father, just proof that you can do better than me.”
Spend just a few minutes on their YouTube channel (if you can), and you’ll feel the love he has for his wife, Yvette, and their four children. You’ll see their patient, yet firm approach to discipline and how they teach their children to work together to solve problems, like the 300-piece puzzle the little Henrys had to complete as a punishment.
You will definitely be entertained watching the Henry family in action, but Beleaf says that wasn’t the reason he started sharing his videos online. Instead, he says he wanted to connect with other parents who were having similar experiences. “I was a new parent so I didn’t know what was normal or abnormal. I would capture video and then post it to see if I was the only parent dealing with the things I was going through, and people started responding to it. They would encourage me and affirm me as a father,” he said in an interview with People.
Beleaf knows that his platform comes with a lot of responsibility and admits that while people are learning from him, he continues to learn more about being a good husband and father every day. “My children helped me become a man. They are the reasons why I put my fears aside and dove into fatherhood. I know they’re looking up to me,” he said.