Derrick Culpepper: Active Dads Rule
Forty-year-old husband and father, Derrick Culpepper from Rowlett, Texas and his now five-year-old daughter Linda’s video unknowingly went viral. But get this, it not only went viral once, but twice with over 50 million views.
The first time in September 2016, the video went viral after being up for 10 months. If you remember the rash of shootings of Black men was taken place all over the country, including Terrence Crutcher in September that year.
Two officers in a helicopter circled above as Tulsa police officer, Betty Shelby, fatally shot unarmed, 40-year-old, father of four, Terrence Crutcher.
In surveillance video from that chopper, you could hear Officer Shelby’s husband, say something as the victim walked slowly towards his car, his hands above his head: “That looks like a bad dude. Could be on something,” she says. That sparked outrage all over the country as Black men everywhere with the hands up, not resisting arrest, no weapon–are being killed for looking like some deem as a “bad dude.”
“At that time, maybe my video had three maybe 400 views. I didn’t realize it, but it was two days after the Tulsa shooting. A lot of people quoted that remark and said, ‘Does this look like a bad dude?’ and kept on sharing it. A lot of people were hurt during that time and was looking for something positive to get over the hurt that they were experiencing from Tulsa.”
And viewed it they did. It hit one million views in 24 hours and millions more views started piling up. Then BlackDoctor.org shared it in 2017 and received over 10 million views just on our platform! Culpepper started receiving calls from TV stations, magazines, syndicated talk shows, radio stations–all wanting him to tell his story of how the video came about.
“My wife is a elementary school principal and was away at the time for principles training,” explains Culpepper. “And whether she’s out of town or I’m out of town, we usually send pictures of the kids. But the video at the time was too long, or too big to fit via text message. So in order for me to get it to her, I had to upload it to facebook.”
But this is something that the Culpepper family does on regular basis.
“My family and I, we pride ourselves on treating each other with hospitality and respect. This didn’t start on September 22nd. When people take the time out to share their heart and message me or email me, I take the time to reply to them as much as I can. It’s humbling.”
“I incorporate my family in everything I do. I’m going to blink my eyes one day and my kids will be all grown up and gone and I’ll wish that I’d have time to do.”
When asked where he got his family values from, Derrick was sure to share that it was his mother and extended family members that instilled him the importance of family.
“I have to give credit to my momma,” he confesses. “Because my dad was in the military and he was gone and the relationship didn’t work out. And taking it back to the 70’s era when I was growing up, families weren’t moving away, so I had a lot uncles, plus my grandfather was there to learn from.”
Working full-time in the telecommunications field, Derrick is blessed with the opportunity to take his children to school before he starts work. He uses that time in the mornings to spend quality time with each of his children.
“I wanted to be something I didn’t see when I was growing up. I wanted to be there for my kids. I want to be there for my wife. All my aunts and uncles on both sides been through divorce. But I’m going to be there: I’m going to wash these dishes. I’m going to mop this floor. I’m going to do whatever it takes. If it’s in my ability to do to help, then I’m going to do it.”
Derrick and his wife already had a son and daughter before little Linda was born. But it was through the pregnancy that their faith deepened in God and each other deepened. After his oldest daughter was born, Derrick and his wife had two miscarriages.
Both babies had heartbeats and the loss hit them hard.
“So when God blessed us with being pregnant again, you know those feelings came back up every time we went to the doctor. But…