Some of our fondest memories revolve around family gatherings and delicious meals, especially in the Black community. Just the thought of family reunions, holiday times and Sunday dinners with the family can make my mouth water when I think of the delicious spreads that are always on the table.

Food was and is an integral part of the day. The food is always delicious, to be sure, but even more importantly, the food brought us together to talk, to share, to reflect, to laugh–sometimes even to heal and grow as a family.

Sunday is Father’s Day; it is a day of celebrating our fathers and father figures for their roles in our lives. Notice that I say fathers and father figures. The media would have us believe that there are very few fathers in our communities. Unfortunately, there are some men who do not live up to their responsibilities as fathers and men when they play their part in conceiving a child.

However, there are millions of men like myself who are proud to be fathers and take the responsibility of raising children in this society very seriously, working to do the best we can despite the many obstacles that are placed in our path. As men in this society, it is important that we accept the responsibility of being mentor, role model and father figure to the children that are not necessarily our blood, as well.

So many of our brothers are incarcerated or have been victims of police brutality, racist hate crimes or Black-on-Black crime and have lost their way. It is incumbent upon all of us to lead and guide our young men and women so they can see what a “real man” is.

Sunday is a celebration of real men who are true fathers in their homes and in their community. In cities around the country, fathers and real men will be saluted at Real Men Cook.

I have had the pleasure of being involved in this event here in New York for a number of years now and for the last three years as event manager. It is a coming together of our community for sharing good times and fun over good food prepared by men. Real Men Cook is an event that shows our community and the world that there are real men who stand up as fathers in our communities. We are biological fathers, we are godfathers, uncles, mentors, basketball coaches, baseball coaches, teachers, etc. Real men care, real men teach, real men lead, real men love and real men cook.

I extend an invitation to everyone reading this to join me this Sunday from 2-6 p.m. at the Adam Clayton Powell Jr. State Office Building at 125th Street and Adam Clayton Powell Jr. Boulevard in Harlem for this year’s Real Men Cook celebration. Let’s come together as a family and community and celebrate the fathers and father figures in our community while enjoying great food and having fun!

Advance tickets are $20 for adults and $10 for children & seniors. At the door they are $30 and $15 respectively. Tickets are available via or by calling (800) 656-0713. Ticket proceeds benefit charities and programs serving youth.

Special thanks to The Amsterdam News, The Adam Clayton Powell Jr. State Office Building, Melba’s 125, 1209 Enterprises, Harlem World Inc. and the men giving up their Father’s Day of pampering to make Real Men Cook happen.

Marko Nobles is partner of InJoy Enterprises, LLC, Event Manager of Real Men Cook – New York, and most importantly, a married father of twin 5-year-old girls.