Rapper Fat Joe sent his firstborn child, Joey, who is autistic, a very special birthday message over the weekend.
“Imagine being a kid yourself and you are told that your first born has Autism,” Joe wrote under a photo of he and his son. “I was devastated to say the least , i was afraid asking God why is this happening to me. Nobody wants life to be hard until your confronted with reality, what do you do?”
The Bronx-bred rapper spoke about pushing through all the hardships of raising a child with special needs while pursuing his career and how it changed his family’s life.
“[I] knew for certain i nor my family would ever give up on JOEY, no matter how difficult life is or may become never give up on your family.” – Fat Joe
“Joey is and has always been a million times happier than me, he brings us joy and i believe he has kept my parents alive. they never want to leave his side.”
Throughout his more than 20-year career the rapper has been wary of letting the public see his relationship with Joey because of how cruel the world can be. He ultimately decided to share his experience of being a proud dad to let other parents with autistic children know he understands their journey.
“I never wanted to post or show pics of Joey because people can be cruel, but i learned to share my life experiences with my people so that you know you’re not alone,” he wrote.
According to Autism Speaks, the Centers for Disease Control and Prevention reported in 2018 that approximately 1 in 59 children is diagnosed with an autism spectrum disorder.
Joe continued, “Happy bday my son, i love you and my kids till my last breath. thank you mommy and poppy for supporting me my whole life and teaching me how to be a better person. when JOEY celebrates his birthday we all celebrate another victory another beautiful win for the family. Happy Birthday Joey i love you ❤️.”
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Christina Santi is a news and culture writer for EBONY.com. Born and raised in the Bronx, New York, she considers herself a well-read, not so traditional feminist with a heavy interest in music, fashion and pop culture. Christina currently lives in New York City, where she refers to her Cuban & Jamaican descent often while writing about her experiences as a first-generation Afro-Latinx in America. She also devotes time writing personalized reading material for her tutees and turning ideas into words for streetwear brand, PUER By Noel Bronson.