Jarius and Terrell Joseph are TikTok’s favorite dads
Jarius and Terrell Joseph never wanted to be role models on TikTok.
The couple, who have been together for over a decade, started posting on social media at age 22 and were just starting a family. But now the family of four has nearly 1.5 million followers and has resonated with hundreds of thousands of people.
"We thought, 'Why not this representation for the people?'" Jarius told In The Know. “I'm so glad we did because I have the feeling that so many people are coming and saying, 'Until I saw you guys, I wouldn't have thought it was possible to have a family of my own. '“
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The couple almost thought it wasn't possible for them either. Both came from large families and knew they wanted children of their own, but as Jarius recalled, it was impossible to imagine that as a reality growing up as a young, black, bisexual man.
"I didn't think it was possible to have a family of your own, especially in my 20s," he said. "I felt like it was important for us to be what we were looking for."
Within months of moving into an Atlanta home in 2015, Joseph and Jarius became pregnant through a surrogate mother. In the 20th week of pregnancy, the surrogate mother had failed her first daughter.
"What people didn't know was that I think we were facing some form of discrimination in the hospital, too," Terrell said. “They didn't care so much about us during one of the toughest times - you know, we were the fathers and our surrogate mother miscarried. And you know, they didn't even let us in. We didn't get any updates. There was no communication with us. "
Around the same time as the miscarriage, the couple gained popularity on social media. Without hesitation, they wanted to share this part of their journey.
“You are looking for people who can guide you. People go to Google, people go to YouTube, ”explained Terrell. “There weren't many stories of people who looked like us going through this process… I think a lot of weight is given to mothers, which is amazing - there are some dope mothers out there - but part of our journey and our history is that fathers can do it too. "
Not only did Terrell and Jarius lack the hospital's sympathy, but they were also under pressure from their very limited paternity leave options. According to a 2016 report by the National Partnership for Women & Families, only 41% of the U.S. workforce have employers who offer some workers paid paternity leave. Only 9% of the workforce is employed by a company that offers paid paternity leave to all employees.
“We weren't the first. I think we were just the first to speak publicly about it and act out and share our experiences, ”Terrell added.
Fortunately, in late 2017, the couple officially fathered a couple of infants - Ashton and Aria - who were born a month apart from two different surrogate mothers and are now the focus of the couple's TikTok account.
"Jarius has taken the lead," said Terrell. “You know, we have a daughter [and] we don't want her to miss anything. So he does a lot of video tutorials in which he does her hair and simply shows that we can be just as great as parents, regardless of gender or sexuality. "
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“I think it's really amazing to be able to offer visibility and representation,” said Jarius. "That we have been chosen by God to be the ones who have a direct say in moving our community forward."
"Hopefully when they see us it takes people a second to understand people's backstory, take a second to understand, and don't just assume, 'Oh, they're brothers.' '"said Terrell." [Or] 'they give their wives a break with the children.' Family can be whatever you want. "
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If you enjoyed reading this interview, check out In The Know's conversation with the first transsporter to compete on a men's NCAA Division 1 team.
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The post Jarius and Terrell Joseph are TikTok's Favorite Fathers, first appeared on In The Know.
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