Just where are all the black fathers in Atlanta???
Well, most of them were at the Ryan Cameron’s 12th Annual “Father-Daughter Dance.” Or so it seemed.
Downtown Atlanta was aglow with pride as throngs of mostly African American men, resplendent in tuxedos, paraded into the Grand Atrium with their queens — their daughters — in what has become Fathers Day’s signature event in the city of Atlanta.
What began innocently as a father-daughter dance in his home 12 years ago has mushroomed into one of the year’s and one of the city’s most anticipated events.
“For the dads, it’s part of a ritual where Mother’s Day we spend millions and millions of dollars on cards, flowers, gifts, dinners and dad’s day is just a phone call like ‘Hey, Happy Father’s Day. ‘Preciate it! Now put mama on the phone,’” Cameron said at a previous incarnation of the gala. “So for that dad it’s like get him off the couch, get him out to do something and celebrate them as opposed to dropping a card and keeping it moving.”
In fact, it has become much more than that. Much, much more.
In stories and anecdotes Cameron has delivered the past few years, Cameron and company have been pleasantly surprised with how much the event has mushroomed from its humble infancy.
“We didn’t want people dancing over their dessert. We’re outgrowing places. It’s amazing,” Cameron told the AJC about having two floors at the Marriott Marquis last year. “Even with this economy, to have sold out a month in advance just shows what’s going on.”
And here’s another story about the impact his dances are having on fathers and their daughters:
“One woman that went on to become a volunteer for the organization, actually at [her father’s] homegoing service was buried in the same tuxedo he wore to the event, by his request,” Cameron told the Atlanta Black Star.
Or this one:
““I’ve had women come up to me crying because the last event they had with their dad was that dance.”
It is literally impossible to walk into the Ryan Cameron father-daughter gala and then leave without taking a piece of the atmosphere with you. Your heart swells and then melts as you drink in the sights of fathers doling over their daughters and performing the “Soul Train” dance
More powerful evidence of the impact of Cameron’s event? It was sponsored by the likes of Porsche, one of the world’s most iconic luxury vehicles. They don’t just attach their names to any event, but one that leaves a permanent, positive mark on many lives.
Take a look at what I’m referring to in photos below.