DJ Severe is an LA-based musician and official DJ of the world champion Los Angeles Dodgers. As a four-time dad himself, we asked him to share his perspective on fatherhood, with all the joys, struggles and opportunities for growth that it entails.
I was raised by my stepdad, Louis Love, who was the best influence in my life — hands down.
Three of the biggest things he taught me were to always think for myself, remain calm in all situations, and to not be quick to judge in any situation — consider all sides.
But the most important impression he left on me was that he led by example.
My dad was once falsely arrested in front of me back in the early 80’s, it was a clear case of “mistaken identity” because of the racial stereotypes that were prevalent at that time.
I knew that he was fully aware that I was watching everything that was happening from the screen door.
Louis Love held his composure while being detained and then placed in the squad car.
I immediately knew as a youngster that this was him teaching me how to handle those specific types of situations that he knew I would one day possibly encounter.
Upon his release he sat off to himself for hours. I reflect on this story often.
My dad passed away in 2016, and to this day I like to go to his grave site and just ask him for advice and guidance.
A father is there to guide his children and teach them how respect should be earned — not commanded — through hard work, compassion and perseverance.
The breakdown of the family dynamic is so critical to the state of the world today. We must get back to respecting fathers and what they mean to the family, regardless of what struggles they had in life.
I grew up in the 80s and was raised in an era where parents worked all the time to retire from their government jobs to just pay off their house and retire. I was fortunate to be raised in the upper middle class. I had a bike and a backup bike!
My grandmother owned three homes in Altadena, a community with practically no racism and filled with White, Black and Latino families. We all got along and the community worked together in harmony; it was paradise.
When I came out into the real world, I was taken aback at the division that existed and felt like I was raised in a bubble — an anomaly.
To this day, I’m close friends with all of my high school friends and Pasadena residents. We’re family for life and there’s an unspoken oath that no matter what, “If you’re from ‘Dena, you’re family.”
This is not the world my kids live in today, but I’ve done everything possible to impart those values on my kids.
I’ve raised three daughters — ages 31, 28 and 13 — and one son, age 25. All creative, hardworking and well-mannered kids.
My main concern now is raising my youngest as times are quite different. The kids nowadays require a lot more patience, involvement and almost a negotiation mentality.
We all must live our lives, and the power of an apology is underrated. So many things can just be solved with a sincere apology, and this has been a sentiment that I want them to understand and practice.
I make a conscious effort to speak at local schools for their career days or foundation events to show kids, (especially in the inner city) that there are options to succeed at any level and any field.
My foundation with them is to teach them by example, as my father did, and show them the value of “To whom much is given, much is also required.”
I’ve made an effort to encourage my kids to come to me with anything that’s on their plate no matter what. They know I’m understanding of their mistakes and they know I try and always put myself in their shoes.
I can easily go back to when I was their age and how I would want my parents to approach me.
They remain a top priority for me, and despite being grown children, parenting never stops.
ELLISTON RANCHER HAT – IVORY
OLD CITY FEDORA HAT – BROWN BAND
ECHO PARK FEDORA HAT – DARK EARTH
All photos in this story were taken by Ray Castro.