This story originally ran on Today.com
NFL veteran Marcus Smith II is releasing, “Bathtime with Rai,” a new children’s book that he hopes will resonate with the “modern Black dads of the world.”
“The book was written for the modern Black dads of the world and for the little brown girls of the world,” Smith told Access in an interview. “I just want to put on for the Black fathers to let us know that we are here and for the little young girls out there, there are fathers out there that are trying to become the best fathers they can possibly be.”
Smith, 28, is a proud dad to Sarai, 2. His new book, “Bathtime with Rai” celebrates the bond between father and daughter.
“From nostalgic moments to laughs and giggles, Bathtime with Rai delightfully chronicles all the exchanges of love amidst a favorite nighttime ritual,” reads a description of the book.
Smith, who was drafted by the Philadelphia Eagles during the first round of the 2014 NFL draft, told Access that he takes parenting inspiration from Kobe Bryant, who was a proud girl dad.
“I look at him and his daughters’ relationship, and I feel like that’s what a daughter/father relationship should look like,” Smith said. “I try to go off some of the same morals and principles that Kobe did.”
In June, Smith shared a sweet photo of him reading a book to Rai, who wore an adorable pink bonnet as she sat on her dad’s lap.
“I am a BLACK MAN! And black father! I build …. I don’t tear down other BLACK MEN! ….I have felt the pain of being torn down and I have decided I will be deliberate about building others! All too often, we men find it easier to criticize each other, instead of building each other up,” he wrote. “With all the negativity going around let’s do something positive!!”
For Smith, the best part of being Rai’s dad is “being able to look at Rai in her eyes and say, ‘Wow, man, me and my wife created her,” he told Access. “She’s a beautiful human being.’ I think that’s the most rewarding thing.”
“Bathtime with Rai” will be available for purchase on December 2.