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

So Crack Isn't a "Black" Drug?

This has been the summer of celebrity deaths. I was saddened and shocked to hear about the death of DJ AM last Friday. He survived obesity, a deadly plane crash, and I thought drug addiction. But according to a police source for the NY Daily News, the cops discovered DJ AM with a nearly empty bag of crack stuck to his chest. Wait, hold up. Crack? As in Pookie from New Jack City crack-cocaine? I thought crack was always a "black" drug. A cheap narcotic you could only find in the alleys or on the corners of the black ghettos ( I wonder why), not the suburbs. And definitely not on someone making crazy money like DJ AM, who commanded up to $25,000 to spin at a party. Even Whitney told Diane Sawyer in 2002 she she makes too much money to smoke crack. But crack isn't wack to all of the rich. In 2005, when DJ AM spoke to People magazine about battling his addiction to food and drugs he said, "I was the only fat crackhead in L.A. And last summer Oscar-winning actress Tatum O'Neal was arrested in New York for buying crack.
But think about it. There's always been racial disparities when it comes to the rock. Time magazine published an article on crack reform laws earlier this month. Time reports last year 80% of people with crack-related offenses were black. Ten percent were white. As for powder-cocaine offenders, more than 52% were Hispanic, roughly 30% were black and about 16% were white. Still, if you get busted pushin' rocks or using rocks, expect to spend a much longer sentence than those caught riding the white horse. Crack-cocaine violators spend an average of 115 months locked up compared to 91 months for powder-cocaine offenders. In other words black folks are doing more time then other people who commit the same crime. The only difference is the type of drug.

Why do I find white people using crack a bit intriguing? Well, in my neighborhood I've seen a few white crackheads lately, about about two or there. That doesn't seem like a lot but my neighborhood is predominately black and Mexican. It is slowly becoming gentrified. I wonder with gentrification if we'll see more white drug users turn to crack for their high. Also, I lost two wonderful uncles to the pipe. That stuff literally devours people's soul. Anyone that has a family member addicted to crack knows what I mean. When you see crack heads on the street, they look like walking corpses. Anything that would make a woman sell her body, even her baby, for a hit, has to be some powerful stuff. So when I heard this news about DJ AM it made me think of my own deceased uncles. I know people get addicted to drugs, sex, booze, food, whatever because they're trying to medicate emotional pains they just can't face on their on. Hopefully DJ AM got the peace he hungered for during his short 36 years on Earth.


  1. Alcohol and other drug addiction is a slow suicide. I feel a lot of people who OD on drugs are not saying .... "I want to kill myself". They are looking for a higher high then they had last time.

  2. Anonymous,
    Absolutely some people do OD accidentally. In this case there's speculation of a suicide.


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