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

Tameka Raymond Speaks On It

If you haven't heard, Usher's soon to be ex-wife Tameka Raymond has spoken, well written. She penned a piece about her inner struggles as a dark-skinned black woman for the Huffington Post. It's titled "She's Pretty for a Dark Skinned Girl." Raymond addressed her haters and how they dissed her because of her age and skin complexion. She wrote:

"In fact, I have read similar comments about myself that I am 'dark, aggressive, bossy and bitchy.' It has been stated that my husband should have been with a "younger, more beautiful" woman. Astoundingly, the majority of the remarks come from African-American women and are mimicked by others. Sadly enough, I don't know nor have I met 99% of those making these assertions."

I've blogged about the vicious remarks people have said about Tameka Raymond. The critics were so nasty one would've thought Tameka was sleeping with their men. I've read things about her and wanted to say to the writer, "What did Tameka do to you?" I know we as women can be catty, but damn. When sistas are dissing another sista because of her age and skin complexion--that's sad. No, that's self-hatred. Black people, we need to move past our color complex issues.

Tameka is an attractive woman and I give her props for snagging a younger, handsome man. I don't hate on people like her. I take notes. No, the marriage didn't work. However, she must have done something right in the beginning to cause Usher to put a ring on it. Plus she's a celebrity stylist. She seems to have a lot going for herself. After all, she is from Oakland. ;)

Raymond was even open about her near-death experience in Brazil where she planned to get cosmetic surgery. She said:

"...while on vacation in Brazil I decided to undergo tummy lipo-surgery. After having an allergic reaction to the anesthesia, I went into cardiac arrest before the procedure ever began. I nearly lost my life over something as superficial as having a flatter mid-section and trying to adapt to society's traditional definition of beauty. As I nursed my psychological wounds, I began to realize that trying to live up to the prototypes of external beauty paled in comparison to the fact that I have undergone labor, subsequently being blessed to raise five handsome, smart, healthy, intuitive, and happy children."

Tameka was buying into the status quo and her haters. It nearly cost her life. But I applaud her for being honest about her insecurities and facing them. I know how she feels. I was teased in elementary and middle school because of my dark skin by black students in my class. Some of them were darker than me. As I grew, they told me I was pretty for a dark skinned girl. I prayed I would wake up with skin like Halle Berry or Vanessa Williams. Then I grew to love myself and my chocolate skin. I wouldn't trade it for the world. Hopefully Tameka Raymond feels the same.


  1. Hello, Cocoafly. My name is Sandra and I found your blog through the link and mention over at Evia's blog. Thanks for your coverage of both Tameka Raymond's piece on and on the Free Your Mind seminar a couple of weeks ago in L.A. Anyway, I like your style, and I'll be checking your blog from now on to see what you have to say. Thanks again.

  2. Sandra,
    Thanks for listening to my story and reading my blog. Stop by Cocoa Fly anytime. And tell your friends. :)

  3. I suppose the pressure was too much for the two of them. We all wish them well.


  4. Coco Fly,
    I can give you a discriptive story behind this, but first check it out. This is a friend of mine that I know personaly. Soon after she sent her book to the ATL a post was made. check this out.

  5. Tameka's article is a stolen piece of art.


    Tameka Foster Raymond recently responded to allegations of plagiarism on Global Grind.

  7. ppl dont hate her because of her skin color thats the last thing on they mind its all the other things in the press b4 and after they marriage she is a snake and what ppl to feel sorry 4 her but you cant blame her thats how snakes do rolling my eyes at tameka and you for falling for the bullshit

  8. Tameka being dark is not the problem, her looks is. She read Aisha Curry's book and wrote an article on it. She's a fraud. Why is Maneka trying to stay in the limelight. She need to be at home taking care of those 5 kids that she barely spends time with. Usher should have listened to his mom. Nobody hates on her Usher fans just wants the best for him and she's not it.

  9. Her dumb ass spend more time tweeting than taking care of her kids. She's just trying to get the public to side with her, she need followers. Maneka has a self esteem issue. She has issues with herself. The marriage is over now she needs to move on.

  10. @ Lovely--what press are you talking about--blogs, tabloids? People in the conservative press have called Pres. Obama a racist and Nazi. Should we believe them b/c it was in the press? I work in journalism and I don't believe everything in the media. I'm not falling for anyone's "bull" as you say, but what stories are you falling for?

    @ Shay--I'm an Usher fan too. But why are you so concerned about who he dates/marries? That's his choice. He's a grown man. And if fans don't like the next woman he dates, you think that's going to stop him from dating her? Also how would you know Tameka Tweets a lot unless you're following her?

    As far as Aisha Curry's book is concerned, I'm sure she has very interesting things to share in her book. However, the story about the trials of the dark-skinned black woman is not original. Alice Walker, Toni Morrison, Gwendolyn Brooks, Marita Golden, Whoopi Goldberg, Fantasia, journalists at the Washington Post and The Root and a ton of black female bloggers have all written or discussed this topic before Aisha Curry.

  11. I hope that when my daughters are grown, that they have your keen ability to cut through bullying and cultural bullsh*t and to see themselves as beautiful women, inside and out.

    BTW, I think you should write a book from your Switch it Up series.

  12. Thanks Diana. We have to teach our girls to be strong, good thinkers and have confidence. I'll look into your suggestion about writing a book. :)


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