This week on the blog we are honoring real-life dads who have imparted wisdom, protected us from the monsters, and given lots of hugs through the years. Today we are celebrating Rickey Smiley. Rickey is an entertainment mogul and father of five. Rickey Smiley enters our home once a week via Rickey Smiley For Real, his popular reality show on TV One, but his parenting advice helps me daily through his wit and the way he manages to spend individual time with each of his kids and adjust his parenting style to meet their physical and emotional needs.
Reasons To Love Him
He has a heart the size of Texas. I mentioned that Rickey is the father of five. His oldest son Brandon is almost a spitting image of the elder Smiley’s tall frame. The other four include two girls and two boys – all teenagers. He gives all he has to those children from hugs and laughs to well-known instances of tough love. Of the five children, some are biological and some are adopted; the bottom line is that all of them have occupied a place in his heart.
He is funny. Really funny. Rickey loves making people laugh. He knows that life can put many struggles on all and he enjoys that fact the he can help us all smile through any of the difficulties. His career in standup comedy began in 1989 and he is perhaps most known for his characters Bernice Jenkins, Lil Daryl, Buford, and Joe Willie. On the radio, he can bring listeners to tears of joy with his prank phone calls and perspective on life. And most importantly to me, he does it all without being vulgar or profane.
He is a coparenting superhero. Rickey is a single father. He is in constant communication with the kids’ other parents and he owes a lot of the stability he is able to give all five to Ms. Pat. More than a nanny, Ms. Pat helps Rickey maintain the family’s homestead in Birmingham while Rickey commutes to Atlanta for his nationally-syndicated morning radio show and travels on tour as a comedian and actor.
His outreach in the community in unmatched. Rickey is a member of Omega Psi Phi Fraternity, Inc. Rooted in public service and flanked by manhood, scholarship, perserverance and uplift, its members are known for giving back to the community in which they live. Rickey is no different, through the Rickey Smiley Foundation, he impacts children, teens and senior citizens through mentoring, summer camps, and acts of kindness that foster family, community, and social responsibility. Fellow comedians and prominent entertainment moguls Tom Joyner and Steve Harvey are also members of the fraternity and all three gentlemen join the ranks of Benjamin Mays, Langston Hughes, and Rev. Jesse Jackson.
His hustle game is hard. This man has too many jobs to count. To even say he is a radio personality and comedian is just not enough. He’s been in movies, he’s hosted awards shows, he’s been on Def Comedy Jam, Dish Nation, and he still tours as a comedian.
He is soooooooo…. southern. A native of Birmingham, the 47-year-old alumnus of Alabama State University loves his southern heritage. If he’s not wearing Omega paraphernalia, he’s sporting the latest in HBCU gear or repping the Alabama Crimson Tide. He uses his insight and gentlemanly way to give us insight into the southern college. There’s no denying where he is from.
As you can see Rickey is a great influence as a father and as a businessman. My greatest memory of him encouraging my spirit was after a very challenging morning this past spring where children were tired, I was frustrated and we just weren’t seeing eye-to-eye on a lot of things.
I turned on the radio as I was drinking my morning coffee and these words set the tone for my day. “Concentrate on the people who love you. Be grounded spiritually. Avoid workers of inequity. Continue to do good.”
And that my friends, is the word according to Rickey Smiley. Happy Father’s Day!