Business management

Marvyn Harrison, founder of Dope Black Dads

The Dope Black Dads founder talks about celebrating Black mediocracy and the value and impact of creating a business from the heart.

“It was actually designed as a place for me to just have some friends and talk about parenting,” Harrison explains. “I launched it on Father’s Day; I was having a particularly tough time in being a dad and I just wanted to share that experience with some other people. It quickly became clear that that was a very common feeling for men and dads, and that we all needed that support.”

As the organisation has grown, so has its audience. “We now represent men, women, mums, dads. Really, anyone who’s challenged with their identity experience can create and follow the model.”

The group now has a US arm, Dope Black Men for men who aren’t yet fathers and Dope Black Mums, a ‘digital safe space’ dedicated to diversifying motherhood and inspiring and supporting Black mothers. Conversations from these groups all contribute to the successful Dope Black Podcast, which discusses wide-ranging issues such as mental health, parenting in modern Britain and relationship advice.

Communication is Key

Harrison’s CV speaks to his skills as a storyteller, with previous roles including head of content strategy for WPP-owned Hogarth Worldwide and head of branded content at Manchester City Football Club. This September he launched Belovd Agency, a diversity, equity and inclusion consultancy which provides education and training strategy to support the advancement of “all intersections of humanity” in the workplace. 

“What I’ve realised is every business that has been created from a pure place moves people in a completely different way,” he says. “I think there is room for people to create businesses based on their actual life and perspective. A business is a really good opportunity just to take what your experience is, your skill is, your talent or view on the world and commoditise it for other people.” 

The person who just goes to work, has a job, has a family and a girlfriend still deserves to be seen and appreciated too. I want to be Black and not necessarily exceptional

Marvyn Harrison
Founder of Dope Black Dads

With the 33rd Black History Month coming up in 2020, Harrison says more work needs to be done to shine a light on the real, lived experiences of members of the Black community. His goal for Dope Black Dads is to bring the Black experience into the centre of what he tentatively calls the mainstream conversation.

“Even referring to it as mainstream is quite problematic. We exist, we are here, and we are overachieving in many ways based on our socioeconomic background. I want it to be normal and I want us to be seen.  

“Too often we celebrate exceptional Blackness, of which there are some incredible signs, but at the same time, the person who just goes to work, has a job, has a family and a girlfriend still deserves to be seen and appreciated too. I want to be Black and not necessarily exceptional. I want to be Black and loved, accepted and educated.”

Watch our interview with Marvyn below. NatWest is marking Black History Month with a series of interviews with influential Black business leaders and entrepreneurs.

This material is published by NatWest Group plc (“NatWest Group”), for information purposes only and should not be regarded as providing any specific advice. Recipients should make their own independent evaluation of this information and no action should be taken, solely relying on it. This material should not be reproduced or disclosed without our consent. It is not intended for distribution in any jurisdiction in which this would be prohibited. Whilst this information is believed to be reliable, it has not been independently verified by NatWest Group and NatWest Group makes no representation or warranty (express or implied) of any kind, as regards the accuracy or completeness of this information, nor does it accept any responsibility or liability for any loss or damage arising in any way from any use made of or reliance placed on, this information. Unless otherwise stated, any views, forecasts, or estimates are solely those of NatWest Group, as of this date and are subject to change without notice. Copyright © NatWest Group. All rights reserved.

scroll to top