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

Switch It Up!
No More Sitting at Black Dance Clubs
in Southern California

"Switch It Up" is a Cocoa Fly series encouraging women to step out of the box and think out of the box in their social lives.

"People don't dance no mo' all they do is this..."

--Goodie Mob

It's Saturday night. Hair and nails looking fly? Check. Outfit is fierce? Check. Ashy skin lotioned up? Check. You meet up with your girls at the club and they're looking hot too. You hand the cashier $20 to get in. The bouncer stamps your hand and you shoot straight for the bar.
"Lemon Drop please," you tell the bar tender.

Oh, hold up. The DJ is playing your song.

Only rapper to rewrite history without a pen,
No ID on the track let the story begin, begin, begin
This is anti autotune, death of the ringtone...

"Oooh, girl I'm loving this Jay Z joint."

There are hella females in the spot and not too many dudes. So you dance with your girls, for the next few songs. You spot a cutie but hands off, he's with a date. The other guys on the floor have dance partners. A few more dudes trickle in, but they don't ask any women to dance. Those guys form a circle and dance with each other. Bobbing their heads to the beat and busting out a few moves. They'll give each other fist pounds if someone in the group does a really, cool move. Hmmmm, why would a group of men dance in a circle with each other and not other women? You and 50 other women sit against the club walls waiting for someone to ask you to dance. Hopefully, you'll get to do some Chicago Steppin' with at least one guy tonight. Maybe there's someone at the bar? You wait, and wait, then rock to the music in your seat. If you're lucky maybe two or three guys will ask you to dance tonight. Otherwise, you check your cellphone constantly for the time and text your friends at home that they weren't missing anything tonight because the sh*t is whack. Or you lie and tell them it was off the chain and they should have been there. Then you turn to your girls and start people watching. That gets old quick. The DJ throws on a slow jam and announces last call for alcohol. Once again you've wasted your time and money going to a dance club just to sit. You and your girls decide to leave. Now it's time for the best part of the night, IHOP.

This ladies and gents is my beef with SOME black clubs in Southern California. The male/female ratio sucks and a lot of the guys don't want to dance. I still don't know what' s up with the dudes dancing in circles. Next time I'll give them a Wendy Williams, "How you doin'?" The story is different when I party at majority black clubs in places like New York, Atlanta or Chicago. The men outside of So. Cal have a different swagger. Brothas there are constantly asking me to dance. By the end of the night my clothes are soaked in sweat and my feet are throbbing. But I could run a marathon after "dancing" in some So. Cal black clubs. I remember asking this one brotha why the guys out here don't ask girls to dance. He immediately answered, "Because you're supposed to ask us." Well, guess what I decided to do? That's right, I Switched. It. Up!

In my college days there was no way in the world I would roll to a club that wasn't mostly black. That was mainly because back then the diverse spots hardly played hip hop music. My thinking changed in grad school. I began hanging out with various people and we partied in Santa Monica, Hollywood, Redondo Beach, etc. These places were racially mixed and the men asked me to dance. Brothas, Latinos, Asian, white etc. they all asked me to dance. Since hip hop is popular now, the DJs in the diverse clubs played the same songs I hear in the black clubs. Don't tell anyone but, those spots are cheaper than the black spots. Many times I don't pay an entrance fee.

I haven't totally abandoned black clubs in So. Cal. It's just rare when I go to any. Some of my friends didn't agree with my change in venue. After I convinced them to come with me, they've had a change of heart. Others are still sitting against the club walls texting folks.

I'm not telling people to stop dancing at black clubs. I'm just sharing how I challenged myself to go outside of my comfort zone for some fun. That's what the "Switch It Up" series is all about. As for you Cocoa Fly reader, learn new dances. Go to a salsa club with your friends. If you don't know how to salsa, TRUST ME, the men there will be more than happy to show you. Shout out to Mango's in Miami Beach. We don't always have to drop it like it's hot to have fun. Also try learning African dance, jazz, belly dancing even ballroom dancing. Explore different rhythms and ways your body can move to music. Switch it up!

Photo Credits:
Photo by Malick Sidibe


  1. What are your experiences at black clubs out here in So. Cal?

  2. Cocoa Fly I am going to switch it up. You're right, it ain't no fun sitting in a club watching a bunch of men dancing with one another. Where I'm from that ain't nothing but GAY, that's what that is, and I'm not afraid to call it what it is. What kind of shit is that, you're at a club and a bunch of men are dancing together in a group. They should stay the hell out of our clubs, and go to the gay bars. WE WANT MEN, and not men that on on the down low. WAKE UP WOMEN, and stop settling for men that want to be with other men. By the way Cocoa Fly I love your series. Keep it coming Girrrrrrl.

  3. I comepletely agree with you. When I was back east I had to fignt to get off the dance floor. Me and my girls would be dead tired when we left the club. Our hair would be sweated out and clothes clinging to us...but we always left with a smile on our face. I recently went to a mix club and had the most fun I have had in a long time and didn't have to pay a cover charge. Now when ever I go to a black club I am not even excited because I know what is in store for me. I don't know about you but I am tired of paying good money to sit.-Thanks for writing this Cocoa Fly

  4. Ok...Jenee pka Cocoa Fly,

    Please now consider me a constant on your site. I love your writing style b/c I feel like I'm talking to one of my homegirls. That may or may not have been your aim but if it was...BULL'S EYE !!! Your "switch it up", "change clothes" campaign is so on point. I use to have that similar experience in the clubs but now that I'm older (3 yrs your senior) I know longer fall for that crapola. I'm at a point where I know my husband is right around the corner so I don't stress the weasles that try (or don't try for that matter) to slither my way. I live in NYC so there is something to do 7 days out of the week. But you know what, it seems like it's just quantity over quality and that is NOT THE MOVE. Anywho, love your site, your style, and I can't wait to read more. Btw, I've never tried speed dating, do you really think I should give it a shot? If so, any recommendations on any in the NY area?

  5. I saw some thing like this in an episode of the Boondocks! ( Gangstalicious - Homies Over Hoes)
    As you know Cocoa, Im latin and i always find me a mami or a sista to dance with when i go out but LA clubs are pretty lame. ATL clubs were GREAT!! LOL!!!
    Some ladies do need a reality check though lol!

    Copy and past the following link.


  6. @ Anonymous--Whew! Such passion. First let me say that here @ Cocoa Fly I love and support my gay brothas and sistas all over the world. In response to your comment I do think those guys who dance in circles are on the DL. But what's up with the straight brothas who just sit at the bar and don't dance?!

    @Tired--Girl, props for Switching it Up! You saved money and had fun. Don't spend all of that money just to sit down all night. Hell, you could do that home.

    @Miss One--Thanks for your comment! I heard that, stay away from the "crapola" and "weasels." LOL. As for speed dating, I liked it. Some people don't. I don't think it hurts to try. I don't know of any speed dating events in NYC. I learned about the ones in LA through Maybe try there. Or Google NYC and Speed Dating. Maybe some old articles will pop up with names of places. Good luck and let us know how it goes!

    @Juice-- Yes, Juice I'm sure you keep it juicy on the dance floor with your dance moves. LOL I think sometimes people in LA take themselves too seriously and don't know how to party. Just saw the YouTube video. This is very similar to what I'm talking about!

  7. Its funny that I stumbled onto this post because I was just thinking about this. First off, I would like to say that I dont often go to clubs period, but when I do they tend to be mixed ones. However I have gone on occasion and have found what your saying to be true, but not just for women but for men as well.

    When I go to a club I go to dance because Im not much for picking up women in that environment. But in my experience, the WOMEN at black clubs in LA are the ones who dont want to dance. They will come with 85 of their girlfriends and dance in a football huddle all night and expect you to get in the middle of that and ask one to dance. And when you do what happens? get "im good, im just dancing with my girls" and thats if you get a response.

    However, at clubs in other cities I have found the women to be more willing to just dance with a I feel what your saying be just know that men deal with this too

  8. @ Ozzie--LOL at the football huddle. The ONLY time I turn away someone to dance is if I'm tired or they look crazy. Even when I'm tired I promise the guy I'll dance with him later or ask him to come get me 3 songs from now. My friends and I stand in the huddle waiting for the guys to ask us to dance. I'm old school. I like for a man to ask me.

    And I don't understand why some of us can be so picky when it comes to dancing. I LOVE to dance so I'll dance with someone that I'm not attracted to. I don't care, unless they're looking drunk and loco. Ladies it's just dancing. He's not trying to marry you.

    Ozzie I love your comments. Please leave more :)


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