Stars and stripes: the ad campaign for Acne Studios, after which Kordale and Kaleb attended Paris Fashion Week. Photograph: Inez Vinodh/Acne
At a time when Black Lives Matter was illuminating a seemingly unending epidemic of police killings of unarmed black men, an image of black gay fathers in a tender moment with their daughters had a particularly poignant resonance.
"I knew I’d never be as great as I could be as the police are designed to oppress minorities"
The fact that a family selfie on Instagram was noticed at all simply demonstrated how rare such images are in a culture in which black men are routinely demonised as threats to, rather than emblems of, the American family.
It was no bad thing that Kordale and Kaleb were also easy on the eye, and looked like fathers who knew how to enjoy one another’s company after the lights were out. The photo garnered more than 54,000 likes, and has been followed by a steady stream of typical family portraits that show them celebrating birthdays and holidays as well as the birth, last October, of Caleb IV, the latest edition to the family.
Today, KordalenKaleb (to use their Instagram handle) are sitting in their spacious kitchen sharing pizzas with the kids. A dog runs around, alert to the heightened energy as Kaleb preps his hookah with Mojito-flavoured tobacco and Kordale fiddles over the filters for an Instagram selfie.
Yet, against the upbeat fairy tale of the couple’s social media, the story that Kordale tells of his childhood is a cold-water bath of reality, one that makes his success as a father all the more affecting. And it helps illuminate the love and energy and sheer tenaciousness that he’s invested with Kaleb in building a home for their children.