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

Montana Fishburne Can Learn A Lot From Fantasia

NEW YORK - JANUARY 06: Singer and TV personality Fantasia Barrino visits BET's 106 & Park at BET Studios on January 6, 2010 in New York City. (Photo by Michael Loccisano/Getty Images)

In the words of Flo Evans from Good Times, "Damn, Damn, DAMN." Once again Fantasia is making headlines over her personal drama. This time, she allegedly tried to kill herself by overdosing on aspirin and sleeping pills. I wish her the best so she can overcome whatever is going on with her. Fantasia has had her ups and downs with money, record sales, family and love. I think Montana Fishburne can learn something from Fantasia's alleged suicide attempt. Laurence Fishburne's daughter is so thirsty for fame that she's willing to follow in the bed sheet prints footsteps of Kim Kardashian and have sex on tape to get it. And who cares porn=unprotected sex=3 letters (sometimes)? Montana's looking at the bigger picture--magazine covers and endorsing diet products. Why didn't she use daddy's connections is beyond me. I don't know if they have a close relationship. But this is the kind of thinking we have in a society where people with no talent become famous:

I'll just screw some dudes on camera, get people to like me and have a TV show and launch a clothing line.

What Montana and other youngins' like her don't get is fame isn't always diamonds, Cristal and yachts. Ask Kelly Clarkson, Janet Jackson or Miley Cyrus. They all have phenomenal careers but are open about the drawbacks. Just from living in LA and meeting people in the business, I see the entertainment industry is just as merciless as it is glamorous. I'm not crazy about the idea of Montana's sex tape. But I'm more concerned about how she's using the stuff between her ears and not necessarily her legs. Can she handle the criticism and gossip from writers and bloggers? Will she differentiate between people who care about her and those wanting to use her for money, fame, access to the glam life? Will she choose trustworthy managers and accountants for her team? What about surrounding herself with people who won't sell her out to the tabloids for a few grand? I'm just scratching the surface because there's a whole lot of other stuff she needs to know that I have no knowledge about.

Now let's look at Fantasia. The girl has talent but I question her judgment. And I'm not saying this to be harsh on Fantasia but I'm just telling it like it is. She almost lost her home because she didn't make good financial decisions. When starring in the "Color Purple" musical, she didn't tell Oprah, OPRAH of all people, that she was skipping performances because of a growth in her throat. Then there's the family/ money drama I saw on the few episodes of her VH1 reality show. And now she's dating a married man, who she thought was separated, and the wife is suing her for splitting the marriage. Plus there's a rumored sex tape. See Montana, sex tapes can break you. Fantasia has gone through a lot in her life with rape, abuse, becoming a young mother, and illiteracy. And then her world changes overnight with American Idol. And so she's not making the right choices and it's hurting both her personal life and career. This is what I mean about having the sense and brains to handle fame. Rule #1 When he says he's separated, RUN like Coach is giving away free purses to the first 50 customers at their stores. IF HE'S SEPARATED THEN HE'S STILL MARRIED. Rule #2--Don't mess up a good thing with Oprah.
But the big rule overall is get help when you need it. People joke in Hollywood about having shrinks but I hope Fantasia is getting counseling.

07 August 2010 - Beverly Hills, CA - Kourtney Kardashian, Mom Kris Jenner, sister Kim Kardashian. Comcast Entertainment Group TCA Cocktail Party held at the Beverly Hilton Hotel. Photo Credit: Michael Jade/AdMedia

What Fantasia could really use is a Kris Jenner. Kim's mom is one of the reasons why Kardashian is a household name. Judging from what I see on the Kardashian's reality shows ( my guilty pleasures, especially Kourtney and Khloe's show) Mama Kris calls a lot of the shots and makes the business deals. She and her team figured how to spin Kim's image away from Ray J and The Magic Shower Show. Now when we see Kim K we think of Reggie Bush, her beauty and curves, the reality show and her sisters. Why? Because Kim K. said she was a victim in the sex-video scandal and was unknowingly recorded. That's different than Montana's plan of "I'm gonna intentionally have sex on camera so I can blow up."

Contrary to what Montana may think, it wasn't just the sex tape that made Kim Kardashian a celebrity and business woman. Kim K. and Mama Kris had enough sense to find the right people to help them captialize on the scandal. Don't forget that rumored pre-nup Khloe got out of her marriage to Lamar Odom. I bet Kris made sure her girl was taken care of. Forget Kobe, Mama Kris is who you want on your team.

Montana can shake it, slap it, flip it and rub it down all she wants. But if she doesn't have the sense and the tools to survive in the biz, her fame won't last longer than 15 minutes and a 1-900 sex line commercial. Depending on how she plays the game she could end up like a Fantasia or a Kim Kardashina. You don't need to make a sex tape to make it big. Sure it worked for Kim and Paris. But Oprah, Tyra, Martha Stewart, Rachel Ray, Miley Cyrus and Beyonce seem to be doing just fine without one.


  1. One more thing...

    Do you think this the end of Fantasia's career? I was debating with someone about this issue. I think Fantasia will bounce back. A lot of people are pulling for her, myself included. What do you think?


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