by Denene Millner
I’m used to having butterflies when I interview celebrities, especially those I adore. But I had the flight of the Monarchs rumbling in my stomach when it came time to meet up with Serena Williams, the No. 1 female tennis player in the world, who is more than a tad notorious for not being a fan of reporters.
Here’s what I expected: a mean girl with bulging muscles and an even bigger attitude, ready to give one word answers that would make my job incredibly difficult. Here’s what I got: an intelligent beauty with an incredible body and a downhome spirit, ready, willing and able to answer any question I lobbed at her with every bit the thought and grace I needed to write this, Serena’s debut solo cover story in our magazine of record.
Serena was, in a word, delightful.
I met her first at a sprawling movie studio in Florida, where Serena spent hours changing from outfit to outfit, shoe to shoe, and turning it all the way on for a cover photo shoot that stretched to six hours. Afterward, we drove back to the sprawling Palm Beach Gardens mansion she shares with her sister, Venus, to chat way into the night. She served me a big bowl of southern-styled 15-bean and smoked turkey stew—a dish prepared by her own hand. (Serena can burn, okay? Her stew was delish!) Poured me a glass of red wine. And then got busy, talking about everything from her brush with death after a pulmonary embolism to the sisterly advice that got her back on her tennis game to the legend of the Venus Hottentot to the finer points of how to make the perfect batch of fried chicken. Read more…
Plus Model Christina Mendez Set To Walk In Adrian Alicea Haute Couture Fashion Show
Top Plus Model Will Strut Curves During New q3York Fashion Week F/W 2014
New York, NY, February 4, 2013 — Always in demand Plus Model Christina Mendez, known for her work with BET’s Rip The Runway, Good Morning America, Rachael Ray, Latina Magazine, Essence Magazine, Shape Magazine and more; will be strutting the catwalk for acclaimed fashion label Adrian Alicea Haute Couture during the Fall / Winter 2014 season of New York Fashion Week, February 12th, 2013 at Landmark on the Park. Read more…
By NICK CHILES
For most of us, we don’t have to look far to find evidence of the growing attraction of co-habitation over marriage for more and more couples, even those who have children together. From the celebrity culture with which this nation seems obsessed to our friends and family, we see more people choosing to forgo the ring and the marriage certificate. This is especially evident in the black community, where plenty of black folk (and black celebs) are choosing the roommate option over the ring. Nia Long was just on the cover of Essence magazine, talking about the strength of her relationship and not feeling like she needed a ring.
An article on Parenting.com chronicles the growing trend of cohabitation and asks whether this is good for the children. The article seems to come down on the side of….uh, maybe, maybe not. Stats reveal how much more common it is: The percentage of first births to women living with a male partner jumped from 12 percent in 2002 to 22 percent in 2010, according to the CDC. And the National Marriage Project, based at the University of Virginia, found that kids today are twice as likely to have unmarried parents living together than divorced ones. Read more…
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: Read more…
ESSENCE and Music Icon CHAKA KHAN Join Together for a Special Graduation Ceremony at 2012 ESSENCE Music Festival
I mean, I recognize that our job is to keep our babies from killing their fool selves as they march toward being grown up human beings and that we have to learn to let go a little, but on that day, as she pecked my cheek and bounced away from my car, it was very, very clear to me that, well, I ain’t ready for all that.
But in my quiet moments, when I really consider the kind of mother I am and especially the kind of mom I want to be to my babies, I recognize that I have to get ready. Especially for my Mari, who, at age 12, is hurtling head first into puberty and teenhood and all the stuff that comes with the two.
It’s the “stuff” that scares me—the stuff being the boys and the peer pressure and the self-consciousness and the sneaking and the rebellion and the false sense of maturity. I was a teenager once. I remember the mean girls. The cute boys and their sweet talk. The friends with the basements and the liquor cabinets and parents who turned a blind eye. How we all slathered on our war paint—our mom’s mascara and lipstick—and ran toward the fire, books and grades and what we learned at church on Sunday morning be damned. Read more…
Who: Denene Millner
Why: MyBrownBaby.com is an online destination for thought-provoking,
insightful, wickedly funny commentary on motherhood, for and by moms of color.
Through posts penned by a collection of best-selling authors, award-winning
poets, national parenting experts and moms and dads passionate about raising
great kids, MyBrownBaby.com lifts the voices of African-American moms (and
dads!) looking for the 411 / advice / a high-five on everything from pregnancy
and childrearing to sex, work and relationships—all filtered through the lens
of the African American experience. MyBrownBaby.com was founded by longtime
Parenting magazine columnist Denene Millner, the New York Times best-selling
author of 19 books and a frequent contributor for Essence, Ebony and Jet
magazines. Read more…