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Father Essentials: Dr. Ibram X. Kendi

Written by Erin Feher

While it’s still June, we’re once again flipping the script on our Mother Essentials column, to hand things over to the dads. And we are beyond honored to have today’s Father Essentials subject take the time to share his must-haves with us. Dr. Ibram X. Kendi is a household name by now and arguably one of the busiest people on the planet at the moment. He is one of America’s foremost historians and leading anti-racist voices and is currently taking up 2 of the top 5 spots on the New York Times bestseller list (How To Be An Antiracist and Stamped From The Beginning). And with the publication of Antiracist Baby, illustrated by Ashley Lukashevsky, he is now a best-selling kids’ book author, too! The bold and thoughtful children’s book serves up nine easy steps for building a more equitable world, and it sold-out almost instantly, leading publisher Kokila Books to announce a larger format picture book version on the way, as well (July 14th). Kendi was born in 1982 to parents who came of age during the Black power movement in New York City, and were themselves student activists and Christians inspired by Black liberation theology. The Boston-based father of one (4-year-old daughter Imani) is now a faculty professor of history and the Founding Director of the Boston University Center for Antiracist Research, and is a contributor at The Atlantic and dozens of other publications. Below, he shares his current essentials.

Hair Love. “This is a book Imani and I read. I love it and she loves it. She sees herself in it and I see myself in it.” Hair Love, by Matthew A. Cherry, $13.79, Bookshop

Dumbbells. “I can’t go to the gym anymore so I’ve opted into buying dumbbells to workout at home.” Fitness Gear 25 lb Cast Hex Dumbbell, $28.99, Dick’s Sporting Goods.

Hard-Working Workout Gloves.“In order for me to lift heavy weights, I need my workout gloves with wrist wraps.” Wrap Lifting Gloves, $25, Gymshark.

All-Over Castor Oil. “For years, I couldn’t find an oil that would keep my hair and skin moisturized. I recently found the Haitian Black castor oil. I’ve been using it ever since.” Haitian Black Castor Oil, $18, Keyol Essence.

Knicks Gear. “I’ve always been a huge fan, so of course I own and wear a lot of their apparel.” Knicks Gear, $20-$82, New York Knicks Store

Antiracist Baby. “An early Father’s Day gift was when my daughter said on CBS This Morning that her favorite part of Antiracist Baby was ‘Me.’ She saw herself on the cover. We want our children to see themselves in the world. We want our children to be themselves in the world. I’m determined to ensure Imani and all children can see themselves and be themselves in the world. We are raising our children and we are raising the type of society we want for our children. We are parents of children and parents of society for our children.” Antiracist Baby, by Ibram X. Kendi, $8.27, Bookshop

Water Bottle. “I am trying to make sure I drink a certain amount of water each day. So, I can’t do without a water bottle.” S’ip by S’well Black Licorice Water Bottle, $19.99, S’well.

Tea. All. Day. “I’m a tea drinker, consuming about four to five cups of tea a day. It helps me stay alert during long days since I don’t like coffee.” Mango Magic Black Tea, $4.50, Ahmaud Tea.

Avocados. “Up until about five years ago, I didn’t eat avocados. The way they looked caused me to assume they tasted nasty. I now eat one everyday.”

African Print Pocket Square. “Typically when I wear a blazer, I have an African print pocket square. I probably have about thirty of these.” African Kente Cloth Print Tie and Pocket Square Set, #30, Etsy.

Red Sangria. “I typically drink red sangria with frozen fruit. Maybe peaches or kiwi. Whenever I have a taxing day—and that is almost every day—this is my go-to drink.” Easy Red Sangria, Minimalist Baker.

Blazer. “A lot of my blazers are from Express. It is definitely my store of choice for my business-casual wear. I really like the fit of their shirts and blazers.” Slim Luxe Comfort Knit Blazer, $168, Express.

EarPods. “Since I spend so much time on the phone, whether for interviews or meetings, these headphones are essential.” EarPods with Lightning Connector, $29, Apple.

Signature Scent. “I’ve been wearing this cologne since college. That is nearly 20 years. I probably will not stop wearing it.” Mambo Cologne, $22.99, FragranceNet

Want to hear more from the boys? Check out Sage Advice for New Dads from More Experienced Fathers, shop these 50 Great Gifts for Dad, and peep the Father Essentials of pro pops Bryant Terry, Joey Gonzalez, Gray Malin, and Pete Oswald.

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