On Fatherhood

Interview Transcript:

My name is Antwon Lockhart, I’m from Louisiana, [and] I’m up here in Texas trying to make a new living, a new status for myself.

I’m a Sanitation [worker] – we clean up all the blue cans [recycling cans] around here. We clean up the city when nobody don’t wanna do it. (Laughs). It’s a hard job….due to the COVID now, you know what I’m saying, it’s really a hard job, you know. But like I say: somebody’s gotta do it, so they choose us, you know.

Like I say, I love my kids, you know what I’m saying? Like I say, my kids are my heart, so if I could choose to eat dinner with anybody it’d be my kids, you know what I’m saying. You know…my kids look up to me, and I look up to them, so. You know….I can’t leave out of the room without him [my son] calling my name: “Daddy, Daddy, Daddy”; I can’t go nowhere without him saying “Daddy”, you know.

So that’s why when a lot of people see me and my son together, most people just tell me…”Make sure you take care of your son. Make sure you take care of that baby,” you know. And I tell them all the time, you know…I will do that. I am gonna do that.

To me, it’s just like —


(Laughs.) See that right there? (Laughs.) I- I just- he makes me smile every time he calls my name, you know what I’m saying?

But like I said, the biggest step is just…being there. You know what I’m saying? It’s just being there. Most of us didn’t have no provider, you know, so for me raising him, I just look like – I am his provider. I feel like, you know, if I don’t do it, nobody else ain’t gonna do it, you know. So my biggest step is just being there for him – for his needs, for his wants, you know…my biggest step is just being there, you know. So that’s what I get out of that.

My daddy really wasn’t a part of my life, you know, so I would rather be a good father figure to him [my son], you know what I’m saying. That’s what I would really want to change if I could go back [to my own childhood] — for him [my daddy] to have been in my life teaching me what’s right and wrong. so I wouldn’t go through the process or the streets like I’ve been through, you know what I’m saying?

My life really…started when I was at the age of 15, you know. My grandma died when I was the age of 15. So my mama…made us stay with my auntie, and she left for two years, went to South Carolina. So…I had – it wasn’t nothing but just me and my sister at the age of 15, and that was one of the roughest times. 15, 16, 17, one of the three roughest years of my life…that was one of the roughest times. Because like I say, my grandma was my heart. So when she passed, and then my mama left, it was like I lost two things at one time, you know what I’m saying? So it was like…wow. And then I had no daddy around, so, you know, what am I supposed to do? You know.

I got two younger sisters under me, you know; we all trying to make it, so I was like, “Okay, you know, I gotta protect them,” you know what I’m saying? So I gotta do everything I gotta do to try to keep them happy or get whatever they need. So like I say, um…I let the streets get the best of me.

I went into the streets, messed up my whole career of being a basketball star, you know….started doing stuff that I wasn’t supposed to do, started hanging out with the wrong crowd. So…you know, I’m not ashamed to sit here and tell it right today, because that’s my past, you know? And I’m a better man today, so…you got to learn from your mistakes. And like I tell anybody, I done came a long, long way, you know? I mean – don’t get me wrong, you know, if it wasn’t for the streets, you know what I’m saying…the streets – the streets helped me out too, in different kinds of ways. You know what I’m saying?

And what I mean by that is…like I say, I was in the streets….I didn’t have nothing to eat. Sometimes I didn’t even have nowhere to go. You know what I’m saying? I slept in cars, I slept on benches – so now, when I come out here today and see these same people sleeping on benches and, you know, on the side of the road, you know, I stop and help them people. Because I look at myself being in that same predicament, you know what I’m saying? So I really stop and try to help those people, because…you know, I got it well today. I even got my kids, when they pass by, say “Daddy, are you gonna get him some food?” You know, because I wanna get them in. Because you never know, you know what I’m saying…if you don’t continue going down the right path, you never know where you’ll might end up at, you know what I’m saying?

So that’s why I say I’m blessed, you know.

Hey, Daddy, can I have water? Hey, Daddy! Water!

(Laughs.) Now, I don’t wanna hold all that, now.

Daddy, can I have some more water?

Right here, baby. Let me help you.

Transcript text edited slightly for clarity.

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