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

No Wedding No Womb:
Sista Stop Settling for the Sperm


No Wedding No Womb is a cyber movement featuring 100 black bloggers speaking out against the high percentage of African-American children born out of wedlock, fatherlessness in the community and to encourages black women to be more sexually responsible. Writer Christelyn Karazin of the blog Beyond Black and White is the brains behind NWNW. Below is's contribution...

R&B singer Kelly Price has a new song I play when my soul needs to vent called “Tired.” Price gives me chills when she belts how she’s tired of everything from lies and paying bills to keeping it real. Well, I’m tired too. I’m TIRED of sistas settling for the sperm. Too many black children are coming into this world fatherless. We’ve bought into this false idea hurting our community that BABY - MARRIAGE = BLACK WOMAN’S FATE. While many sistas desire to be “Mrs. So and So” one day, some of us think the title “Baby Mama” is the best we can do. Instead of setting our sights on true love, marriage and commitment from a man, we settle for his sperm and make babies. We all know the sista who settles for the sperm. She’s working the register at JC Penney and making moves at JP Morgan. She’s our girlfriend in love with the guy who isn’t ready to settle down. But she gives her womb and heart to him anyway. She’s the neighbor who takes out her frustrations from her past mistakes on her child. “You no good just like your daddy!” she yells to her kid over and over. But everyone on the block, including her, knew the guy was a loser. He never had time for his other kids and only made time for her when in the mood. But she settled for the sperm and a swollen belly. Both of these scenarios often have the same ending. She’s due in nine months. He’s gone. As for the baby, he or she may see their dad a few times. It’s no surprise Daddy split. He wasn’t serious nor reliable when they were dating. So why would he be there for his child?

Melancholy Child

I understand things happen. Condoms break and faulty birth control pills work more like Skittles than sperm blockers. Or the baby’s father was supportive in the beginning but did a 180 and vanished. Those cases aren’t settling for the sperm. They’re “oopsies.” I’m not putting all of the blame on this crisis on sistas, nor am I attacking single black mothers. Men who make babies they don’t care for need to be responsible. And not all black kids from single-parent households are troubled. But some of us women are more selective about which shoes to buy for a Trey Songz concert then we are about the men we bring into our lives. We’re so thirsty for love that even when “the one” won’t put a ring on it, we still let him put it in. And the overwhelming consequences in our community are fatherless boys with no map to manhood so they turn to the streets. And Daddy-less girls search for a father-figure in any man who’ll give them attention. Then the sperm-settling cycle continues.


But what really, really makes me TIRED is how the black community accepts fatherless homes as the norm. A girlfriend told me when she attended a family reunion relatives asked when were she and her boyfriend planning to have children. My friend responded, “Can we talk about marriage first?” I’ve shocked people when I told them I’m in my early 30s and have no children. One brotha asked me, “How did you do that?” But he didn’t miss a beat when I said I wasn’t married.

portrait of a groom holding the bride from behind

Some think black women have a better chance of finding a purple unicorn than a man who will say“ I Do” before we tell him, “I’m due.” The media, your family or friends may have implied you’re not marriage material because men don’t like black women. And just be happy that any dude with most of his teeth and enough sperm to give you a few babies is interested in you. All are FALSE. I’m aware when it comes to who exemplifies womanhood, society rates black women toward the bottom. And I know since slavery, black women’s bodies have been seen as “baby-making factories.” But this internalization of ourselves must stop. As Maya Angelou wrote in the poem "Our Grandmothers",” …my description cannot fit your tongue, for I have a certain way of being in this world.”

Couple with champagne embracing and toasting

So sista define yourself as being worthy--worthy of good , stable love and joy. Set your sights for that man who you KNOW will be a good partner to you AND a great father to your children. Until you find him, use a condom. Please. The Black Girls Blues soundtrack of single and lonely with kids is not your destiny. Michelle Obama, Holly Robinson-Peete, Iman and countless sistas around the globe can attest to that. Sista, you don’t have to settle for the sperm.

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  1. This is enlightening. I've heard about the higher rate of single parent homes in the black community, but I think I always associated that with societal problems like lack of education about contraception and poor economic conditions. I never thought about black women intentionally getting pregnant out of wedlock because they didn't think they had any alternative. That's really sad.

  2. @Zabeth, thanks and love your piece "The New Baby Daddy – Revised and Revisited"
    Everyone, you can read Zabeth's and other posts on

    @Erika--I think lack of sexual education and income are huge parts of the problem. But I also think some, and I emphasize SOME, sistas are careless when it comes to protecting themselves, because they want to keep just a piece of their man. And that piece is his seed. He won't committ to them and having his baby is the most they can get from him. I know women who have consciously and unconsciously done this.

  3. @ Erika--I've been on other sites since this NWNW dropped and some black women have commented that b/c of what they feel is a black male shortage, they don't see themselves getting married. But they want children one day so they're open with having kids outside of marriage. I said before, this is the case with SOME women, not all.

  4. I am not exactly sold on the #NWNW movement but I do appreciate the "respect your womb, use a condom" essence of your blog.

    OOW births is nothing new in the black community, in fact it is been declining over the years...for some reason it just seems to be socially acceptable now. The issues surrounding respecting your womb needs to not only be discussed but role-modeled in our community. Not only do women need 2 be encouraged 2 respect their womb, men need 2 be encouraged 2 respect & value their sperm & womens' wombs...but I digress

    thanks for sharing your perspective

  5. @ Pretty Poodle

    Thanks for your comment. I know there was glitch in the system and comments weren't being published. I appreciate you coming back. :)

    I know a lot of people, like you, aren't sold on NWNW. Is it perfect? Maybe not. But for me I wanted to encourage black women think more highly of themselves. I think a lot of us do want to get married but we've been hearing for so long that we're not marriage material. And I think that's one reason why so many of us aren't mating with GOOD men who will stick around. We don't think we can do better. Fatherlessness should not be the norm in our community. That's not fair to the mother, the child and it lets black fathers off of the hook. A man thinking he's a good because he sees his kid once a month is not acceptable to me.

    I agree with you 100% that black men and women need to respect their bodies and each others.

    All those against NWNW, keep in mind the voices of people who contributed articles are diverse. Don't just base your opinion on 1 or 2 blog posts.

  6. @ Chinedu I've heard this argument for sooooo long. I agree there are some sistas caught up in the thug love mess. I'm not and never have been. I don't want to date anyone who I'll have to bail out of jail. But there are a lot of sistas, like me, who like smart guys. A man's brain is sexy to me. But you say the "attractive" ones like the ballers. What do you define as attractive? When I was a teen the smart guys didn't want me. And as I've gotten older I notice SOME of the smart brothas I meet today know they're so in demand they don't put in the effort to try and woo you. Like I said, that's not the case with all black men.

    I'm not blaming black men for this problem entirely. My post was speaking to black women, warning them to be more selective about who they mate with. Again thanks for your feedback.

  7. It appears the situation remains the same trough the ages- women have all the real power, but fail to use it to their own benefit.


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