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‘You Should Love ’Em’: Fat Joe Opens Up About Raising a Child with Autism 

Fat Joe appeared on ABC News on April 20 to promote awareness for Autism Awareness Month, and the “What’s Luv” rapper described being a 19-year-old father and learning his son Joey was autistic.  

“Well, I’m 19, we’re having Joey, uh, once the doctors tell me that he wouldn’t be normal, his mother said we should give him up for adoption, and that wasn’t the case. Me, my mother, my father raised Joey,” he said. “We said, ‘Nah, he’s ours.’ He’s brought so much joy to this family.” 

Fat Joe and his son Joey in a Dec. 15 Instagram post. @fatjoe/Instagram

The Grammy-Award-winning rapper, who was born Joseph Cartagena, went on to say that Joey has been the biggest blessing to his career and to his family. “Joey’s just always, always happy. He’s just a bundle of joy.” 

Cartagena also spoke on the difficulties of raising a child on the spectrum and noted many parents run from the responsibility. “Now, of course, ya know, kids on the spectrum, you know they’re hard to deal with, and a lot of fathers run away. A lot of parents run away from the responsibility, because it’s not easy.” He encouraged parents who are having a tough time raising autistic children to stick with it and to know their children are blessings.  

The “Make It Rain” singer went on to say that he would never leave his children behind and called Joey the “Don Corleone” of the family who loves reggaeton music. When asked what people should know about autistic children, Cartagena replied, “You should love ’em.” He also gave a shout-out to all parents and teachers dealing with children on the spectrum. One in 44 children in the United States has autism spectrum disorder.  

Fans reacted and praised Cartegena for bringing awareness to autism.  

“Joe Crack talking about the most gangster thing he ever did live on the news,” replied one fan. “What a man to be a wonderful father to his son and not take the route of fear and abandonment, especially at age 19,” said another fan. “Props to Fat Joe! I have so much respect for him.” 

“Wow, the mom wanted to give him up for adoption….it isn’t ‘easy’ but parenting is hard in general. I have so much respect for him now hearing this story,” commented one.  

“Fat Joe knows it’s not easy but it’s so worth it. They are the best people on this planet.” 

“I just gained a lot of respect for this man… fathers matter, and kids too no matter what,” said another. “Joe Crack ‘I’d never leave my children behind.’ Respect.” 

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