“This event is to acknowledge that Black fathers can and should be celebrated and that the efforts they put in with their families, businesses and more, don’t go unnoticed,” said Jesse Alex, co-founder of the premier media platform, Dear Fathers

Dear Fathers is an organization founded by Jesse and Lamar Johnson Jr., both St. Louis natives, with a mission to tell stories of Black fathers from all angles while also empowering its community with tangible resources that inspire, heal, and strengthen the Black man.

During Father’s Day weekend, this Saturday, the organization will be celebrating the importance of fatherhood with a debut event on the rooftop of ANEW, a distinct event space in the heart of St. Louis’ Grand Center. 

“The event will be more like a happy hour in a rooftop setting in honor of Black fathers with great music, vibes, cocktails, and more,” said Alex. “Each featured guest will be awarded a certificate on behalf of Dear Fathers.”

The event will spotlight Black fathers in the St. Louis area, including guest speakers who will talk about the importance of fatherhood, their thoughts on legacy, mental health and more. Some featured speakers include Mike Brown Sr., Father of Mike Brown/Chosen for Change; Young Dip, 314 Foundation; Cbabi Bayoc, Creative Artist; Stringz EMB, Music Artist; and many more. The event will be hosted by Niddy Gritty of 100.3 The Beat with emcee DSmoove and sounds by @thefamousnephew

“This year’s panelists and collection of fathers bring diverse experiences of what it means to be an active father in their families and an impactful community member in St. Louis,” said Brad Ewards, community organizer, Dear Fathers. “We want to celebrate and acknowledge their work in hopes of inspiring other fathers to do the same.”

The event encourages networking with community leaders, business owners, partners, vendors and more. 

“While our spotlight guests come from an array of industries, such as entertainment, mental health, and technology, many community and business professionals will be in attendance,” said Edwards. “We encourage everyone attending to make connections so that we can collectively better serve our families and community.” 

Tickets are available for purchase on Eventbrite.

A percentage of proceeds will be used to provide free mental health sessions for Black men in the St. Louis community through the organization’s Fearless Father’s nonprofit initiative which stems from its STR8 Mental platform. Every $100 will help one Black man with a free mental health session. If you’re unable to attend but would like to support this initiative, here’s the link to donate

Dear Fathers continues to provide support to Black men and fathers using information and prompts from their podcast, social media platforms and other community initiatives. This year, the organization will be expanding its Dear Fathers Night concept from the National Basketball Association to Major League Baseball, with an official partnership with the St. Louis Cardinals. Join the Dear Fathers community online and on Instagram (@dear.fathers) for more details on speakers, partners and more. 

Tiffany Byndom