Thursday, June 13, 2019

Real Men Cook, Black Father's Day Charity Event Celebrates 30 Years

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Nationwide -- Real Men Cook, Chicago's premiere urban Father's Day charity event, marks its 30-year milestone this year. The food-tasting event's purpose is to uplift families, promote wellness and highlight positive Black male engagement.

This year's celebration is being held on Father's Day, Sunday, June 16 from 3pm to 6pm at Hales Franciscan, an all-male high school located at 4930 S. Cottage Grove in Chicago's Bronzeville community.

Real Men Cook is the largest, longest-running and most-anticipated Father's Day celebration of its kind. It provides a platform where "real men" from all walks of life give up Father's Day pampering to work and be celebrated for demonstrating extraordinary commitment to their families and to their communities.

Through Real Men Charities, the presenting non-profit, Real Men Cook has become a national model that has influenced the way Father's Day is celebrated in the U.S. and beyond.

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At one time, the event was held in a variety of major cities including Atlanta, New York, Dallas, New Orleans, Philadelphia and Washington, D.C.

As a show of support of the message and the mission, the Father's Day celebration has attracted a host of celebrities who have cooked, served and/or attended the event, which was once held in over 14 cities. Among the high-profile men include then State Senator Barack Obama, actors Idris Elba, Mel Jackson, Shemar Moore and Anthony Anderson, Grammy Award winner and hip-hop artist Che "Rhymefest" Smith, comedian/actor J. Anthony Brown, civil rights icon and Congressman John Lewis as well as legislator Danny Davis and the Rev. Al Sharpton.

The event also attracts a host of father/son combos who come together to cook, connect and strengthen their ties. Among the fathers and sons who have attended include Former Senate President Emil Jones and his son Senator Emil Jones, Rev. Jesse Jackson, Sr. and his sons, former Congressman Jesse Jackson, Jr. and Professor Jonathan Jackson, the late Alderman and Mayor Eugene Sawyer and his sons, Roderick and Shedrick, Tom Joyner's sons have also represented and paid tribute to their dad at Real Men Cook.

In making the announcement, Ayinde Cartman, executive director of Real Men Charities -- stated that the longevity of Real Men Cook is testimony to its endurance as a must-attend family celebration and to the community's embrace of its mission. He added that this year's event will feature the standard fare of celebration, food, family and fun but will include reflections on its history with tributes to the founders, cooks, volunteers -- the heroes and heroines behind the event's success.

He added that this year's gala will be driven by the hashtag #RealMen30, which will be a landing spot where well wishes will be placed.

"We are excited to reach this 30-year journey," Rael Jackson, long-time Real Men Cook director, declared. "I have grown up with Real Men Cook. Seeing how far we've come and understanding the commitment by participants is amazing. It is also fantastic to see these men bring their culinary artistry and their families each year in a spirit of love."

Explained Cartman, "All my life these men of Real Men Cook have devoted countless volunteer hours and resources to cook their favorite dishes and serve. It is inspiring because the overarching goal is to influence young men to serve and grow their families and communities throughout the year."

The event will continue a Real Men Charities, Inc. tradition of promoting health and wellness, prevention and awareness for families and children. Accordingly, men will be serving traditional dishes as well as healthy, fresh and vegan dishes. They will also be broadcasting the message that every day food selections can help to prevent disease.

Cartman stressed that over the years, Real Men Cook has grown into a Movement. "Life is about change," he declared, "and we welcome change. At the same time, Real Men Cook has remained true to its original mission of promoting healthy families and keeping the good men Movement vibrant while engaging every segment of our community. We are encouraged and humbled that there was such an outpouring of love to Real Men Cook over the years and over the decades. Family and community love symbolize the spirit of the day!"

Celebrities, media personalities, ministers, politicians, entertainers, athletes, local community leaders, chefs and everyday hard-working fathers and father figures will participate as part of their resolve to defy the negative images often depicted in the media.

Lead sponsors are ComEd and U of C Medicine, supporting sponsors are Oak Street Health, Black Bloggers - Chicago, the Quarry Event Center, South Shore Current and West of the Ryan Current Magazine.

About Real Men Cook
Real Men Cook was conceived and launched in Chicago in 1990 by entrepreneurs Yvette Moyo and Kofi Moyo as a local Father's Day family celebration. The original concept grew to being celebrated in as many as 13 cities and evolved into a national Father's Day tradition. 

Real Men Cook's success spawned the creation of a number of products including a cake mix and hot sauce and the book Real Men Cook (hard back) and Real Men Cook: Rites, Rituals and Recipes for Living, published by Simon & Schuster with a Foreword by then State Senator and now former president Barack Obama. The book highlights family celebrations around food and pays tribute to the participants. It includes a compilation of the favorite recipes of almost 100 of the nation's -- and Chicago's -- famous men. The book is available for purchase on In 2018, Real Men Charities purchased The Quarry Event Center, at 2423 E. 75th Street in Chicago. The Quarry is Real Men Cook's permanent home where it hosts activities, programs and events and that support Real Men Cook's mission, including the arts.

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Posted by community events coordinator, Nzinga Lonstein Austin, is a prolific blogger who writes on the entertainment industry and issues for people with developmental and physical challenges.

She is presently in high school looking to have a career in video, film, and media. You can see more of her entertainment writing on Lonstein Movies.

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