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

Exploitation and Ignorance, BET Awards' Biggest Winners

If I had to use a Michael Jackson song to describe Sunday night's BET Awards it would be "They Don't Care About Us." By "us" I mean my black people. I am embarrassed by what I watched the other night, especially Drake and Lil' Wayne's performance. The world is mourning Michael Jackson and these fools get on TV rapping about sexing women all over the world. "Every Girl," has so much profanity that most of the performance was bleeped. Check out the lyrics:

I like a long haired thick red bone
Open up her legs then filet Mignon that pu**y
I'm a get in and on that pu**y
If she let me in I'm a own that pu**y
Gon' throw it back and bust it open like you posed' to
Girl I got that dope d**k

But the foolishness and disrespect didn't stop there. The dancers on the stage appeared to be black girls in their teens and tweens. You can see it here. I'm not easily offended by things but this performance was disgusting. You don't rap this kind of song on an awards show, especially when it's dedicated to the legacy of an international icon we just lost days ago. On top of that, Drake and Lil' Wayne exploited and disrespected these young GIRLS. What they did was SICK, SICK, SICK. Obviously these cats don't care about us black women or black girls. Once again sistas are told the best thing we got going is between our legs. Why didn't Lil' Wayne and Drake perform something more appropriate? Better question, why didn't the producers of the show tell them to try something else? That song was not appropriate for television whether Michael Jackson had passed away or not. Hold up. I forgot we're talking about Buffoonery Black Entertainment Television. If it makes black folks look uncultured, you can guarantee BET will give it airtime.

In between the crude lyrics, Lil' Wayne and his crew shouted RIP to MJ. I'm sure MJ rested peacefully as "P-bombs" echoed through the Shrine Auditorium, reminding everyone why he broke racial barriers in music 25 years ago. So Lil' Wayne can rap about "fillet Mignon-ing" women's vajajays as middle- school girls snap their fingers and twist their hips. That's way more romantic and sophisticated than Ne-Yo's version of MJ's "Lady in My Life" performed earlier that night.

So Listen To My Heart
Lay Your Body Close To Mine
Let Me Fill You With My Dreams
I Can Make You Feel Alright
And Baby Through The Years
Gonna Love You More Each Day
So I Promise You Tonight
That You'll Always Be The Lady In My Life

The BET Awards was the first program to honor MJ, but they dropped the ball so hard it shattered. They don't really care about us black people. Because if the powers-that-be truly had an interest in the image of black folks, most of the programs wouldn't glorify ignorance and incompetency. Between T-Pain coming on stage with a necklace the size of his chest that read "Big Ass Chain" and Ving Rames' coonish "Baby Boy" skit with Tyreese I was done that night. There seemed to be a problem with host Jamie Foxx being cued to read the teleprompter. Many times he was staring at the cameras for a few seconds before saying anything.

Michael Jackson deserved a better salute. Hip Hop journalist Davey D made an excellent observation, noting that there wasn't even a moment of silence for the King of Pop. At least Ne-Yo and Jamie Fox gave moving tributes to MJ. I understand the BET team had to make last minute changes but the Drake and Lil' Wayne's act should've been axed. And I wanted to see more quality tributes to MJ. Chaka Khan and the O-Jays were there. Why didn't they sing a couple of MJ hits? Like my friend suggested, Ginuwine could have busted a few MJ moves since Usher wasn't there to perform.

So the big losers of Sunday night's award show were the people BET doesn't seem to care about, us. While Exploitation and Ignorance were the reigning champions.


  1. I didn't watch the BET Awards, but I heard a lot of people state similar complaints. For the first time in years, I'm actually looking forward to the MTV VMAs. My bet is that they will have the best MJ tribute of all (as they should considering he put that network on the map).

  2. It's sad that this so called "Black" network couldn't give the brotha a proper salute. I'm sure Joe and Janet Jackson didn't want to hear Lil' Wayne talking about he has a "dope d**k" after just losing their son and brother. Now we'll probably have to watch Justin Timberlake attempt a moonwalk on MTV.

  3. LOL @ Justin moonwalking. Let's hope not. Too bad Chris Brown had to mess up. I think he can mimic MJ's dance moves the best.

  4. You think Chris Brown can mimic MJ better than Usher?

  5. Well, I'm glad I didn't miss anything...and I also see why I stopped watching BET around 2003...such a shame.

  6. Ugh-

    I can't even believe that Drake used to be the cute little boy on Degrassi!

  7. Oh and I love how when the performance starts, he says, "In honor of the best we ever had..."



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