Starting Your Dreams Later In Life and Embracing the Detour

Jenee Darden speaking at Creative Mornings I know it's been a while since I've posted anything but that's because of my job. I'm working as a reporter covering Oakland and I host an arts segment on the radio where I get to interview amazing artists from around the Bay Area. Plus I'm publicizing my book  and building my speaking career!  You know what's funny? I thought this would all happen by the time I was 27-30.  Nope. That wasn't God's plan for me. I'm finally beginning to do the things I've wanted to do and I'm almost 40 years old. Some people reading this who are 40 will say 40 is still young. But some younger people reading may think 40 is nearly ancient. But I'm writing this post for those who like me, thought their career and personal dreams would come true much early in life. I'm here to tell you not to give up.  You know, death inspires life. A number of my relatives and friends have passed away, ranging in

Whipped Cream in My Cocoa? Part 1
Author's Comments on Black Women and Interracial Dating Stirs Debate

Last weekend author and music-marketing executive Jacqueline Rhinehart was in LA to promote her book "My Organic Soul: From Plato to Creflo, Emerson to MLK, Jesus to Jay-Z--A Journal to Help You Discover Yourself through Words of Wisdom." Very long title. I interviewed her and for the first time in my career I lost an interview. The brand new tape I used to record the interview was damaged so I only got one-third of our discussion. I will post a book review and what I can salvage from the interview soon.

A few weeks ago Dime and AOL Black Voices was buzzing with reactions to comments Rhinehart made about black women dating outside of their race. You can catch Rhinehart's comments in the video above. There was some outrage over her support for crossing color lines. I looked in the comments sections on websites and they referred to her as a sell out, anti-black love and someone who believes that white men are better black men.

Rhinehart's opinion doesn't justify her being called a sell out, anti-black, etc. If that's the case Venus and Serena Williams, Alfre Woodard, Halle Berry, Eve, Iman, Naomi Campbell, Tina Turner, Kim Wayans, Sanaa Lathan and Kerry Washington are sellouts? They are or have dated outside their race.

What about Quincy Jones, Tiger Woods, Tiger Woods daddy, Pres. Obama's daddy, Michelle Obama's brother, Russell Simmons, Seal, Lenny Kravitz, Michael Jordan, Puff Daddy, Terrence Howard, Sidney Poitier, Ice T, Prince, Reggie Bush, Tiki Barber, Kobe Bryant, Taye Diggs, David Allan Grier, a good chunk of the both the NFL and NBA, etc. Are they sellouts?

Rhinehart, like me, probably sees that 70 percent of black women being single is a serious problem. That's waaay to many sistas who aren't getting enough love. And I wonder how many of those women are lonely. As I've said on this site before, just because we have strong black women in our community, that doesn't mean they don't need some lovin'. Are there good black man out there? No doubt. But once you subtract the ones that are either married, gay, in jail, or straight and don't date sistas then the pickings are slim. And just think about how many brothas we are losing to the graveyards because of black-on-black crime. I live in LA where the number of black people is relatively small compared to places like the ATL or Chicago. So the number of available black men is smaller. If there are not enough black men to go around what are sistas to do? Wait until our eggs shrivel up like prunes and be lonely? If a sista finds a good man who treats her good whether he's black or not, why shouldn't she date him?

When I was in graduate school there was one brotha in my class. He was smart, a good writer, and cool to kick it with. He was a great guy. I couldn't date him because he was gay. Nor could the five black women in my class. I have nothing against homosexuality. That's just the truth of the matter--there weren't any available brothas in my program. I expanded my dating pool by going out with men outside my race and dating brothas off campus. Just like any co-ed I had fun. My dating life was better in graduate school, than undergrad. The black female ratio was bad when I was an undergraduate at UC San Diego. A few of my college friends swam in the Mediterranean and the Gulf of Mexico if you know what I mean. But many of my friends, including myself, did not date outside of our race. Guys from other races would flirt with us but we just couldn't go there. For some of us interracial dating was like selling out. For me, I thought I would experience a culture clash if I went out with someone from another race. So we didn't date much at all in college. However, many of the brothas on my campus were dating all kinds of girls--Filipino, Mexican, white, etc.

Which reminds me--I notice when black folks dicsuss interracial dating in our community, people automatically jump to black and white. Interracial dating is not just black/white. Going out with Asians, Latinos, people of Middle Eastern decent, etc. is interracial dating too. But our sexual history makes interracial dating with white people an extra touchy subject in the black community. During slavery and post slavery black women were racialized as being hypersexual and sex kittens. White men used this to justify rape. Many black women, against their will, had children by white men who wouldn't claim them. And black men were stereotyped as brutes on the prowl to rape white women with their huge penises. This justified the murder and lynching of black men. Today SOME people still hold on to these negative beliefs about black sexuality. We as black people understandably can't let this history go. We shouldn't forget this history. However, I don't think all white people feel this way. If I did come across someone of any race that carried these prejudices, I wouldn't date them.

I'm not telling sistas who to love. Too many of my friends, relatives, and colleagues are single. Whether the sista is a cashier at CVS or a producer for CBS, she deserves a good mate. I don't think white men are better than black men. Nor am I against black love. I'm single and I haven't given up on brothas. As I said before I know there are good black men out there. Pres. Obama isn't the only brotha taking care of business with his family. But being open to other men doesn't hurt. It increases your dating pool. I'm not going to settle with just anyone because he's black. I'm in my late 20's. I've traveled and befriended people off various nationalities. All I want is a good man to treat me right. And who knows what Prince Charming God has in store for me. He may be Prince Charming Hernandez. Prince Charming Pakowski or Prince Charming Jenkins. As long as he's good to me, that's all that matters.

Speaking of Prince Charming check out Part 2 of this discussion in the post above.


  1. Thanks for sharing your thoughts. As someone who is in an interracial relationship (and has dated black men in the past), the comments your write are very real. As a black woman, I know that a double standard exists along with prejudices in some cases (at least here in America). However, one should not postpone happiness because of the double standard. Defy it. Embrace the various shades of black, brown, white, etc. I don't want to get all Kumbaya, but love is no respect of color. If I weren't with Prince Trujillo, I'd feel the same way. Think about it.

  2. Right on girly! As long as you're happy and he treats you like the princess that you are that's all that matters.

  3. ..i think love doesn't knows colour..brain,soul,heart and hope is the right ingredients to build a something storng and to look to the future...

    be ready and look around...there are a lot of good men..

    best wishes from italy.
    italicvs svm

  4. Wow. A very smart, thought-provoking piece. As a white man, I guess I had no idea that it was still so taboo for educated, hip black women to date outside their race. As you noted, that certainly does not seem to be the case amongst black men.

    You say that you just "couldn't go there". Is that because black women arr not attracted to non-black men? When you talk about a culture clash, would the problems come from your family or friends? Or is it something internal?

    Anyway, thanks for your thoughts, and I hope you touch on the subject more in the future.

  5. Thanks to everyone for their comments. In response to Anonymous #2:

    --black women are attracted to men outside of their race. I can't say that all black women are attracted to men outside of their race, but I would say many. The issue becomes how many are willing to date outside of their race.

    --I always thought the culture clash would be both internal and from his family. My family is okay with me dating outside of my race. But I would be concerned about his family accepting me. I would also be concerned about whether he would be compassionate about things that pertain to me as a black woman--discrimination, sexism, having different texture hair, the foods I eat, etc.


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