‘I’m a hands-on dad’
Damian “Bobo” Bowen knows something about legacies. He’s a single father raising his eight-year-old son Mekai, after the death of his fiancée five years ago.
For Bowen, Mekai is the living legacy of the years spent as a family with someone he loved dearly, and the son that he refused to part with after she passed on.
“Her death was a shocker,”?he said. “But having Mekai kind of cushioned the shock because job number one was keeping it together for his sake. I was cushioning him, and keeping him strong. If I didn’t have a kid then I would have been really isolated and depressed but because I had to put sunshine in his day that was my focus.”
While some men would have considered the task of raising a child on their own insurmountable and would have sought solace and help in child-rearing from members of the extended family, Bowen never entertained such thoughts.
“We were always real close and I can’t sleep without him,” he said. “I’m obsessed with Kai, so that thought never crossed my mind. At that stage when she passed the three of us were all living together so we were a nuclear family.”
After his girlfriend’s death, life changed for Bowen. He became the one that provided comfort to his son, took him to parties, made dinner, did doctor’s visits – everything that his mother would have done had she been alive.
Bowen also had to find a way to manage his own life while dealing with his son. Along with his day job in finance management consultancy, Bowen is a soca and reggae artiste who writes songs for other artistes. He came second in the Crop Over Festival Road March competition last year with Boat, and sang the song Fun Friend.
While he still was passionate about work and music, putting the focus on family became central for Bowen who became both mother and father; cooking, cleaning, ironing, packing lunches, doing Mekai’s hair, working with his teachers, and just basically doing everything. Out of that togetherness, a bond was formed between father and son that is unbreakable.
After years of putting his life back together and allowing love and a relationship back into his life, another son, Micah, came along. Micah, two, who lives with his mother, visits on weekends, and during the week.
According to Bowen, there is no set visiting time, which means that Micah would sleep at his dad during the week and on weekends.
Part of the change that he experienced was starting his own business Capitol M Investments because he is an accountant.
“I want to leave something for them. You can’t leave a job so I established a company called Capitol M Investments (the M stands for Mekai and Micah) which is an investment and consultancy firm together with my business partner, attorney Ryan Moseley. Business is going well and we have a nice portfolio of clients.”
Along with the flexibility in managing his time that is especially key when dealing with two small children, Bowen likes the fact that his job allows him to teach his children about money and business.
“Even now when I do homework with him I try to present his work within the context of consumer arithmetic,” he says. “Even when I see him slacking up I tell him you can’t do this you have to be the person to run this business. You have to instil that legacy mindset in them from early.”
There were a lot of reasons behind Bowen’s decision to start his own business, but high among them was maintaining that sense of individuality.
“As you can see from our expression, we like to express our individuality,” Bowen said referring to his locks. “In today’s world even though you want to express your individuality sometimes you still have to fall in line so that was one of the reasons.
“Then another reason is that you really can’t leave a job for your children. I work in a business where I see business owners making succession plans for their own children whether or not the children are prepared for the ascension and when I saw that I said I have to do that for my sons.”
Being a hands-on father is important to Bowen, who enjoys sitting down and doing homework with Mekai.
“It’s important to instil that work ethic in boys, because if it was up to him he would only play soccer. Plus today’s world is ultra competitive so it’s harder now,” Bowie said. “He came sixth last year, and we’re trying to come in the top four this time. I know he’s a bright kid but I know that I have to work with him. They see me as the ultra-cool dad because I love to take them out and have fun, but when it comes to his schoolwork it’s important to bring that balance.
But it isn’t just for Mekai that Bowen really plays a dominant role in his schoolwork.
“I remember when his mother was alive even before he was born she would say ‘I just want to get a bright child, I want my child to be good at school’,” Bowen recalled. “So in the back of my head, there’s always that driving force to know that spiritually I want to make her proud.”
Business isn’t the only legacy the children have from their father, who has revealed that both children love to sing, and Mekai loves to dance, something he inherited from his mother, who was a member of Dancin’ Africa.