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

Cocoa Bits: Go Mo'Nique!
Steve Martin and Alec Baldwin Win Best Oscar Hosting Duo
Why Screenplay Writer Geoffrey Fletcher Gave Me Hope

82nd Annual Academy Awards - Press Room
The Mo'Nique I'm used to seeing is the raw comedian always picking on skinny girls and dropping four-letter words. I like the funny-girl Mo'Nique but I've enjoyed seeing a sophisticated side of her this awards season. Her acceptance speech was short, sharp and memorable. I loved how she saluted the late Hattie McDaniel by wearing a royal blue dress and white gardenia, just as McDaniel did 70 years ago when she became the first black woman to win an Oscar. Mo'Nique gave an amazing performance in Precious and deserved to take home statue.

Steve Martin+Alec Baldwin= F.U.N.N.Y
82nd Annual Academy Awards - Show

Whomever had the idea to pair Steve Martin and Alec Baldwin to host the Oscars is brilliant. Those two men were hilarious. They are now in my top 5 favorite list of Oscar hosts. The others are Chris Rock, Ellen and Whoopi Goldberg. Martin and Baldwin have great chemistry. I cracked up when they pointed to each other and told Zac Efron he was going to be just like them in five years. They kept the Oscars fresh and edgy. I want to see these guys at the Kodak again next year.


Crazy Journalist Does a Kanye on Oscar Stage
82nd Annual Academy Awards - Show

I didn't like it when Kanye West did it to Taylor Swift. And I didn't like it when journalist Elinor Burkett crashed Roger Ross Williams acceptance speech. Williams won for directing the short documentary Music by Prudence. The film is about a young singer in Zimbabwe with physical disabilities. I had no idea what Burkett said during her babbles. And the sad part is her rudeness took away the spotlight from Prudence. The audience could've learned about the young woman and
82nd Annual Academy Awards  Governor's Ball
disability issues in Zimbabwe. Burkett was a part of the project but she and the director are in some legal battle. Burkett will be on Joy Behar's show tomorrow night. I won't be watching. Lady Kanye said enough for me on Oscar night. The Academy should have allowed Williams to redo his speech. That's a once-in-a-lifetime opportunity. I wonder if they would've have let Williams have a redo of the speech if he were a woman and Lady Kanye was a man.

Precious Screenwriter Geoffrey Fletcher Gives Me Hope
82nd Annual Academy Awards - Press Room

Talk about a story of dreams come true. Before winning the best adaptation for Precious, Geoffrey Fletcher was working temp jobs just to pay the bills. He finished NYU 10 years ago with a master's degree in the arts but couldn't get a movie studio to pay him for writing scripts. I know how it feels to have dreams but it feels like the doors of opportunities keep closing. Especially in this recession. Fletcher never gave up on his writing ambitions and told the LA Times last year:

"I devoted myself to writing for years without representation or a promise of anything," Fletcher says from his New York home. "And there were times when I felt quite down about my prospects."

One particularly low moment came in a temp job, where Fletcher was working in a windowless bank office doing data entry. "Looking around that room, it drove home the point that I was very far from where I wanted to be," he says. "But I'm so thankful for that job and any job I've had."

That big break came and he's now an Oscar winner. He was so humble and surprised during his speech. His win was an upset because critics thought I hope he soars in Hollywood. Fletcher inspired dreamers like me to not give up and keep writing.

Photo Credits:
All photos from PicApp


  1. Hi Cocoa Fly! Im happy for a sista winning the Oscar! But it's shole is sumptin how many of us iz hatin!! Deep seated, ugly, I need Dr. Phil kind of hate! It seems that some black folks feel that both Monique and Gabourey should crawl under a rock and hate themselves! We black folks shole is sumptin else!

  2. I've been hearing about some people being upset with their roles. I thought Precious was a good movie. There were evil people in the movie and uplifting characters too.

  3. The Oscars were funny this year, usually it's uncomfortable silence but Martin and Baldwin kept going back and forth throughout the show. I was so happy about all the great parts that had nominations. Glad I actually watched.


  4. Tiffany I agree. Alec Baldwin and Steve Martin were on fire with the comedy the whole night. They made the Oscars a bit more fun this year.

  5. Cocoa Fly, Alec and Steve were in a movie together with Merle Streep last year called "It's Complicated".

  6. @ Femmefab--That's right!!! Thanks for the correction. I didn't see that movie and forgot about it. Did you see it?

  7. No, I didn't see the movie, but I did enjoy the interviews they all did together before the movie was released. They were so funny even then. I enjoyed them hosting the Oscars. They had good comedic timing together.

  8. @Femmefab--I heard the movie was just okay but I'm going to rent it and see for myself.

  9. @Femmefab--I haven't seen it yet. I'm going to rent it.


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