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

So Excited About My First Journalism Award!

Jenee Darden poses with her first journalism award. 

What an amazing month. I went on my first trip to New Orleans and partied with sorors at our Boule. I took one day to catch up on some sleep before getting R&R in Napa. In between my travels I visited KQED in San Francisco to receive a New America Media Award for Outstanding Community Reporting-Radio.  Remember that piece on the film Dark Girls that I did for my job's show Mental Health and Wellness Radio? Well my story of being a dark-skinned girl in a "light is right" world, along with coverage of Dark Girls and other amazing interviews helped me garner my first journalism award.

The award means a lot to me because the last few years have been rough. I was dealing with long-term unemployment, got into a bad car accident, had to leave a city I loved because of joblessness, only to return to the Bay Area and help care for my dying grandfather. That's not even all of the hurdles I faced.  Receiving this award felt great.

Belva Davis and I chatting about
my story and black hair. 
Last year, I attended a book signing at Barnes and Noble by veteran journalist Belva Davis. She is the first African American female anchor in the Western United States. She was promoting her memoir Never in My Wildest Dreams.  She and I discussed how journalism has changed and I told her I was having trouble finding a full-time job. I felt bad because I couldn't afford to buy her book at the time.  Fast forward to 2012 and she's presenting an award to me at the New America Media Awards. It's amazing how God works.

And how ironic that exploring an issue that pained me for years in my adolescence, colorism, was a blessing in the end.

I'm just very thankful. Below is the video to my acceptance speech. We were only given one minute. In the short time I acknowledged my mama, my guests in the audience, the people who sign my paycheck and the deceased. I'm just keeping it real.

For all of you who prayed for me, cheered for me, mentored me, made me laugh when I was down and told me not give up when I wanted to---I thank you.

Thank you.