The Fatherhood Project: Wiza Phiri on Music, Culture and Parenting
Monday, October 31, 2016

Oftentimes, you can find 9-year-old Angel Travis in the studio with her father, Wiza Phiri, making music.

Courtesy photo
By Wiza Phiri
I am the father of one amazing little girl named Angel.
I believe that culture is a very important part of raising children.  I am grateful that my daughter is experiencing my culture from Zambia.  She is learning about her heritage through her uncles and I.  Her grandmother, Ngao Phiri, has been a profound influence on her as well.  From generation to generation, food has always been a huge part of our family.  We make sure that Angel is also exposed to the language.  It truly does take a village.
My daughter has a solid idea of how a princess is supposed to be treated.  While she is growing into a queen, my hope is that her future will have a solid foundation of love, respect and understanding.  I want her to be raised like my brothers and I.   We were all raised in the true fashion of our culture from back home in Zambia.  She easily identifies with both her home where she was born and her other home in our motherland.
As a father, one my many roles I partake in is to help shape her identity.  I desire to empower her so that she makes good choices even when I am not around.  It is my goal to constantly boost her self-confidence and create the right environment for her to flourish in.
Angel has been a major part in my decision to transition from mainstream rap to inspirational music. I wanted to make music that she could listen to and would benefit her and others in a positive way.
My dreams for her include enjoying her childhood while being prepared for adulthood.  Someday she is going to grow up and when she does, I would like for her to understand that there is no dream too big to accomplish.  With enough drive and determination, she can be anything she sets her mind to do.  I will be right there to hold Angel’s hand and guide her.  My responsibility as a father will never be done.  
I remember the first time I held her.  It was like cradling the most precious delicate but powerful thing in the universe.  I was nervous until I made eye contact and I was filled with an abundance of love like never before.  At that moment, I knew I would do anything for my little angel.
Today she is a healthy smart witty 9-year-old with a heart of gold.  She puts a smile on my face when I notice my sense of humor, creativity or personal tastes in her. Whether it is her creating something with her hands or her explaining how she sees the world, I will always be there to wonder in amazement at the journey of life with my daughter.
Wiza Phiri is an artist and music producer.  He lives in Lansing, MI. 

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