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

Whitney Houston and the Insensitive Media

The fun, talented, sexy Whitney Houston I idolized.

It took me a while to take in Whitney Houston’s death one year ago today.  She died a few days before my grandfather, so I was more focused on his transition.  I still can’t believe she’s gone. She was beautiful, amazing, graceful, indefinably talented and classy when she debuted.  Whitney was also troubled. Some pain in her life drove her to drugs. And for that I have compassion for her.  It hurts to see a family member or friend who is brilliant and kind, spin out of control from drugs. I know personally from relatives who couldn’t move past their pain so they turned to substances.

But I won’t dwell on that because that was just a part of Whitney’s life. I cannot tell you how many times as a little girl, I paraded around my bedroom in my pajamas with a hairbrush microphone pretending to be Whitney. I wanted to cut holes in my jeans so bad just to be like her. Oh and her voice. It was like she gave a gift to your ears and heart with every note. That’s the Whitney I loved and admired.

I wish I saw more of this Whitney from the media.  I noticed when she died, it seemed like the media used as many crackish looking shots they could find. They’ll show her “I Will Love You” video and then cut to a crackish shot. I felt like there was some sick joy in watching her fall. Lady Gaga has talked about society’s love for a rising star and their twisted eagerness to see them tumble.  But most of the media was definitely not Team Whitney.

When Farrah Fawcett died, the media hailed her as a beauty icon. She had problems with addiction. I didn’t see too many clips of her high on Late Night with David Letterman. Just a lot of images of her glorified hair, body and Charlie’s Angels days. Yet, I saw a lot of photos and videos of Whitney high. When the media mentions Elvis, the focus is more on his fame and music, not his bout with drugs. Not the same case for Whitney. Rarely do I see a story not mention her drug abuse.  And then there’s Lindsay Lohan who lives in a courtroom because of her foolishness.  When entertainment shows mention her, I get a sense that they want her to win. They want her to beat her demons. Whitney didn’t get the same compassion. They weren’t cheering her on to get better. They were waiting to see when they could get the next headline about her drugs, or Bobby Brown drama.

What’s scary is that I notice they’re doing the same thing with her daughter. I turned to an entertainment show the other day and the big question was “What’s Bobbi Kristina smoking?” Days before her mother’s death and the media is tying Bobbi Kristina to drugs.  I hope her handlers are watching her because I can see where this is going. The media hound dogs are eager to see her mess up.  I wonder if Liza Minelli was treated the same. Like her mother, she had problems with drinking.  I wonder if the media will treat Anna Nicole Smith’s daughter the same (I loved Anna Nicole Smith). Whitney Houston deserved better from the media. Especially since most people say she was a kind person.


  1. The media loves to bring back all of the negative words and photos when someone has died. You are right I wish we could have had more of the Whitwhit we knew.

    Peace, Love and Chocolate,

  2. Hey Tiffany,
    It's really unfortunate how the media treats her. But I am feeling your peace, love and chocolate. That sounds like a heavenly combo.


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