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

Dad Popped Off and
Those Damn Mark Fuhrman Tapes
Episode 9 of The People v. O.J. Simpson

Source: FX
The one thing that the defense and prosecution agreed on was that former LAPD Det. Mark Fuhrman is a despicable, disgusting, hate-filled man.  Episode 9 is about the tapes where Fuhrman, who swore he hadn’t used the N-word in 10 years, was dropping N-bombs passionately. What hit me hard during this episode was not just him using the N-word, but his gloating over racially-motivated police brutality.  The media tended to focus on him using racist language, when there should’ve been a greater discussion of his racist acts of violence as a policeman.

He abused the privileges of his badge to target people he hated, instead of uphold the law. That made me sad and angry.  Twenty years later, this still resonates. While watching I couldn’t help but think of Sandra Bland, Tamir Rice, Alex Nieto, Mitrice Richardson, Eric Gardener and so many others. I have family members who work in law enforcement. Cops like Fuhrman hurt our community and don’t make it easier for police officers who serve with dignity.

Fuhrman managed to piss off everyone in that courtroom: the judge, the jurors, the victims’ families—everybody.  Just listening to how he describes Judge Ito’s wife you can tell he’s not only a racist, but a misogynist.  He pled the fifth to the question about manufacturing or planting evidence in this case. I don’t believe he handled the evidence with integrity at the crime scene. His failure and ignorance not to follow protocol when gathering evidence played a major role in the prosecution losing.

Fuhrman has gone on to have a successful media and writing career. I noticed younger people on Twitter were bugging out because they realized the Mark Fuhrman on FOX News is the same one depicted the other night. I watched a story on “Good Morning America” about book sales related to the trial. They reported Mark Fuhrman sold more books in the last few months than he has in the past five years. Somebody likes him and his beliefs. By the way,Johnnie Cochran didn’t cross-examine Fuhrman as shown in the miniseries. Attorney Gerald Uelman asked him about planting evidence. O.J. had so many lawyers. I don’t even remember the name Gerald Uelman.

Dad Loses His Cool

I really understood my dad some 20-years ago when he said this trial was a circus, because that’s exactly how the damn ordeal felt to me. I don’t mean just the trial, but all of the craziness that went on outside of that courtroom with the media.

About him nearly being held in contempt, that’s true. Hence, the title of his memoir In Contempt.  It played out differently in real life. My dad felt a cross examination was just going on way too long ( five days) because Johnnie Cochran was way liberal with the questions. My dad thought Judge Ito shouldn’t have allowed this to be ongoing. And so Cochran took a shot at the prosecution’s skills in sidebar and said, “They obviously haven’t tried any cases in a long time.”  My father popped off and Judge Ito threatened to hold him in contempt. When my father asked for counsel and Marcia spoke, she did take off her jewelry like she was ride or die, and would do time if my dad went down. Except. she was not as dramatic and overt as in the miniseries.

My dad walking out of the courtroom before Det. Fuhrman’s testimony was not quite accurate.  If my dad stormed out of the courtroom like Sterling K. Brown’s reenactment, I would NEVER hear the end of that. Dad told Marcia Clark earlier that day he wasn’t going to sit through Fuhrman’s BS after the tapes. He walked to the back courtroom, sat down, then left when Fuhrman began pleading “the fif.”

One more episode to go…


  1. Gosh I agree with your dad. 5 days of cross examination is ridiculous! People today who didn't see the trial on television have no idea how long and tedious this circus was and Ito had no control over that courtroom whatsoever.
    Also, my husband pointed out that Fuhrman has made a few appearances on Howard Stern. Lol.

    1. That's right Fuhrman has been on Howard Stern!

      This trial went on too long. But again, it was more than a trial.


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