Nia Long & Sons On Essence Cover: Black Celebrity Single Moms Are Worthy of Celebration, Too
by Denene Millner
In the piece, the 41-year-old star waxes poetic on embracing life as a single mom, her relationship with Kez’s father, fiancé Ime Udoka, her recent connection with her dad and living a fulfilled life. “I’m in my forties, post baby and I’m thinner than I’ve been in years,” Nia tells Essence. “The last step will be letting my hair go natural. That’s when you’ll know I’m free…”
Of course, her beautiful cover does not come without controversy. Apparently, the headline—”Nia Long: Single, Satisfied & Raising Her Boys”—has some folk feeling some kind of way about celebration of single motherhood by Nia and Essence. I dared wade into the comment section of the YBF, where I first spotted the gorg cover, and there, people are going ape crap over the fact that Nia is unmarried and has two children by two different men. Witness:
I get so SICK of seeing Nia Long. This woman is UNMARRIED being paraded around like she is some SAINT. Nia Long is just a TYPICAL UNWED mother. There is nothing special about her at all.
Wow. Just… wow.
I have to say, I’m consistently amazed at how personal people take it when a single African American mom gets some shine for being a good mother to her children, sans the ring. Erykah Badu, Lauryn Hill, Taraji P. Henson, Halle Berry, Nia—black people reserve a special kind of vitriol for these mothers, calling them and their children all out their names, with absolutely no regard for the fact that each of them is smart, beautiful, accomplished and, by most accounts, passionate about their babies and their roles as moms. Each of them CHOSE to have their babies with men whom they loved but either were not ready or did not want to make the big commitment with. How, exactly, does their choice not to marry the fathers of their children personally affect you? Are you any richer or poorer because of their decisions? Are your kids missing out on something because Nia Long has yet to marry the father of baby Kez? Is the Earth about to spin off its rotational axis because Lauryn and Erykah and Nia’s children mirror the 70-plus percent of black children in American being raised in a single-parent household?
And why, exactly, do we not call Angelina Jolie, Kourtney Kardashian, Padma Lakshmi, Kate Winslet, Madonna, Kate Hudson—the list of non-black single moms is damn-near infinite—all kinds of hookers and hoes and irresponsible and nasty and sinful and evil and, gasp, unwed mothers, when they grace the covers of magazines and prance across gossip sites and entertainment TV with their babies, being touted as “great moms”?
In the now infamous words of Erykah Badu when folk questioned her choice to have her babies out of wedlock: Kick rocks… Call Tyrone… Pack light… and if this post is not clear, Kiss My Placenta with all of that. Word.
And congrats to Nia Long, not only for gracing the July 2012 cover of Essence magazine with her adorable sons, but for showing that there is nothing more beautiful than an African American mom who is taking care of her family, loving herself and striving to live a fulfilled life on her own terms. Instead of criticizing, we should be taking notes.