Editorial Staff

Does Essence Magazine Promote Single Motherhood for Black Women?

This is the August 2012 cover of Essence magazine.

Before I say anything let me say this, Nia Long looks absolutely breathtakingly beautiful and her sons are handsome (the older boy) and adorable (the baby).

Nia’s oldest son is 10 years old and her baby boy, named Kez Sunday Udoka and fathered by basketball player Ime Udoka, is barely 9 months old, having been born in November of 2011.

As you can see on the cover, the feature of Nia Long describes her as “Single, Satisfied & Raising Her Boys.” Less than 9 months after the birth of her youngest son Nia Long is already single and satisfied. Considering that marriage was never publicly announced as being in the cards for Nia and Ime, and seeing as how Nia has made it crystal clear that her main concern was having another child before the clock ran out rather than finding a lifelong partner, it shouldn’t be considered too much of a stretch to think that motherhood was more important that marriage-hood to Nia. And, for the record, Nia and every other woman has a right to consider achieving motherhood to be more important than getting married. Therefore, please understand that I am not bashing Nia’s right to have a child under any circumstances she chooses, with whomever she chooses.

I am however questioning why Essence magazine would put Nia and her two children on the cover with the line “Single, Satisfied & Raising Her Boys.” Now that it has become public knowledge that 80 percent of first-born children of black women are born out-of-wedlock and the leading literary publications marketed to black women put never-married, “single and satisfied” black female celebrities on the cover with their children who were born barely 9 months ago, isn’t it time to just accept the obvious–that Essence magazine, like most of black America, finds single motherhood to be acceptable and non-problematic?

I was so close to beginning to read Essence again. So close. So close.

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