In The News
Why We Needed Beyonce To Have A Baby
We really needed Beyonce to have a baby. Or maybe I did. I don't mean that because our generation is procreating less and calculating our families more. And when I say, we needed this, I mean black women. In the age of Basketball Wives, Love & Hip Hop and the The Real Housewives of Atlanta, we really needed a popular figure to show the world that we are all not all unwed baby mamas, with constant drama, and do-nothing Dads.
Lately, the media's portrayal of black women is downright disgusting. Just pan the channels, and you'll pretty much see us as drink-tossing, weave-snatching, oh-know-you-didn't single moms in some sort of conflict with our man or the father of our children. These kinds of stereotypes are dangerous especially with very few positive images to counter them.
Ever since I launched MochaManual.com, I've been having an honest and robust conversation about the life as a mother of color, including the media stereotypes and negative misconceptions about black moms. In those online conversations we've lamented our invisibleness and not being viewed as intentional, nurturing mothers and women who love and cherish their own children, not just women who make good nannies for others.
That's why we needed Beyonce--a young married woman, an intentional mother, in a committed and loving marriage (not shotgun) to show us who black women really are. To show us what black families can really be.
I felt this way when Michelle Obama became the First Lady. When President Obama said Michelle was "the rock of the family" and his "best friend," he declared to the world what we've known about our role in our families and our communities for generations. He told the world that black relationships are more than accidental pregnancies and baby mama drama. Our first family showed the world what we've known all the time. We are more than the media's images.
Years ago, all we had was Claire Huxtable. As a teenager, I glued my eyes to the TV every Thursday night dreaming about a high-powered career, well-appointed brownstone (or other dream house), and a professional man who rubbed my feet even though he had a tiring day too. She was the original strong black woman with a career, beautiful kids and a successful man who adored her. Claire Huxtable was the first time we saw a black woman, having it all--not just taking care of somebody else's family. We looked to fictional characters for a rare glimpse into a life TV said white women had been enjoying for years.
Claire Huxtable would have a whole lot to say about the current portrayals of black women. To make matters worse, some of the worst images aren't from fictional characters. They are real women (depending on how you define real) who are really just puppets being used in the name of "reality" to play to stereotypical images and ideas about black women. All in the name of good television. What a shame.
And that's where Beyonce comes in. She defies stereotypes. Even young hollywood stereotypes. Is it fair to put the weight of the perception of all black women on Bey's shoulders? Probably not. But I've seen the fierce stilettos she wears and I think she may be able to handle it. And I kind of think she knew we all were watching.
So congratulations to Beyonce and Jay-Z. I hope you are breastfeeding baby Blue Ivy Carter.
Beyonce, you should know that in my mind, Jay-Z is my husband (I'm a huge fan and he's my not-so-secret crush!) but you can borrow him.
And thank you for reminding the world what black love is and what black families can be.