5 Minute Interview: Giacomo Knox
Alvin: Who are you, what do you do, and what do you enjoy most about it?
Giacomo: My name is Giacomo (jah-ko-mo) Knox, and I am the Creator and Co-Executive Producer of A Week With My Father www.aweekwithmyfather.com. The show is a Reality TV series that reunites fathers and sons for one week, and follows their reunion. Each show the men will enjoy targeted activities of their choosing, and hopefully will establish a new relationship between them. I created the show as a way to celebrate fatherhood, and to reunite fathers and sons in the Reality Television genre.
I think what I enjoy the most about my job is the freedom I have to work with my own hands. I don’t punch anyone else’s clock, nor meet anyone else’s deadlines, except those set by myself and my partner Julie House at Western Boy, LLC.
I also enjoy the opportunity to do something different with Reality TV. Most Reality TV shows find a way to bring out the worst in the participants. Our show promises never to exploit the fathers or sons involved, in order to feed into the bloodlust of the audience. If you’re looking for “Flavor of Love” or “Jersey Shore”, you’ve come to the wrong show…
Alvin: In your opinion what does it mean to be a father today?
Giacomo: This is a tough question for me to answer, since modern society seems fit to dictate what a father is today. While I’m not opposed to “Mr. Mom” or even helping out with the kids, I consider these things a way of strengthening the relationship with the mother. Let’s be very honest, men are not physically or emotionally equipped to care for children on a full time basis.
No matter what a father looks like or acts like “today”, one thing is for certain: dads need to be PRESENT with a capital “P”. Even if you remain married to your child’s mother, working 18 hours per day and coming home to a glass of bourbon and passing out on the sofa doesn’t cut it! Dads need to get involved and be “Co-Executive Producer” of the family. Above all things, dad needs to provide and not make excuses for lack. Sometimes providing means cutting back or doing without.
Alvin: How do you see life after reuniting with your father after 33 years?
Giacomo: Wow! This is always my favorite question, and the hardest to answer, ironically. There was so much animosity between my mother’s family and my dad’s family, I spent my formative years in a bit of a “manhoodless” blank. My mother was very close to her girlfriends and her sisters, not to mention my sister Angie, so I had no frame of reference for men. Except the men my mother dated, and many if not all of them were poor examples.
My life with my dad nowadays is steadily evolving. I call him dad, and it takes him a few seconds to remember that he deserves the title. We will never have the traditional adult son/aging father relationship, but we can become something new. I’m encouraged about our future, and I look forward to spending more time with him.
Alvin: In your opinion what does it mean to be a man today?
Giacomo: I have to break down this opinion to one word: Courageous. Not the knuckeheaded testosterone-fueled jerk kind of courageous, but solid decision making, stick-to-itiveness, and being courageous enough to admit when he’s wrong. While men should show that sensitive side from time to time, wisdom dictates that it can’t happen all the time, and probably not a good idea in front of the wife and kids.
Courage is sorely lacking in our culture. We are convenience-addled, refuse to research, and frankly don’t get enough exercise of any kind. Courage as I read recently on a twitter post, is “going out after Moby Dick in a rowboat, with a knife and fork and tartar sauce!”
Alvin: Tell a story, name something that you have done or experienced that became your largest step to manhood?
Giacomo: Another of my favorite questions! Of all the things I’ve had to do to attain my own sense of manhood, becoming a United States Marine has to be the pinnacle. There wasn’t any room for my “mamma’s boy” nonsense on Parris Island. I was required to pull my own weight and sometimes the weight of other recruits, and later, other Marines.
This was especially true during Operation Desert Storm, when I was stationed in Saudi Arabia and Kuwait. While there, I was faced with that split-second decision that’s changed many of the lives of American servicemen in combat — whether or not to kill. I’m proud to say that I made the correct decision, and saved the lives of two innocent people in the process…a father and son!
Alvin: What personal advice do you have for fathers and men navigating their way through fatherhood and manhood?
Giacomo: First off, if you can, STAY. Work things out. An absent father or part-time dad is how most of us black people got here, and it’s made a colossal mess of things. If you can’t stay, or you’re made to leave, be as present as possible. Put your needs behind a good relationship with your ex-, and then being a good provider – financially and emotionally – to your children. This is going to require a great deal of sacrifice on your part. You are not going to be able to wish-away your responsibilities, and plenty of men with garnisheed wages and jail time can attest to that!
When dealing with children, BE THE MAN. Teach them to “suck it up” and get on with life!
I remember volunteering at a battered women’s and children’s shelter here in Los Angeles. One of the boys hit another boy in the face with a baseball. He cried and cried as if the world was coming to an end! One of my church sisters picked him up and tried to cuddle the tears away, but I sensed something different. I took the boy from my friend, looked him over, and found not a scratch on him. He simply wanted mommy (or in this case, my church sister) to do what she’s always been doing, hug his tears away. Anyway, I looked that boy square in the eyes, demanded that he look at me and calmly said, “You’re not hurt. Stop crying. You’re fine. Go back and play.” His tears stopped IMMEDIATELY, and he went to rejoin his friends.0