News of the imminent Jay-Beyonce spawn hit my timeline just seconds after Beyonce announced it to the press on the MTV VMA red carpet Sunday night. Before @MTV tweeted to confirm the rumor, a PR friend at the show had already broken the news on my timeline minutes earlier. I was hesitant to retweet. Since Jay and Bey tied the knot in a hush-hush wedding in April 2008, there’s been near constant speculation from media and fans of the couple as to when Beyonce was having a child and if she was pregnant.
Even after pics of Bey holding her bump appeared, there were skeptics who wondered, “Photoshop?” They’d heard the rumor too many times before to believe it now. But then Bey hit the MTV stage in pants(!), and hoping the audience could, “feel the love growing inside of me!”
For anyone still clueless, at the end of her vigorous MTV performance of “Love on Top,” she opened her sequined jacket and proudly rubbed her growing belly. The camera panned to the crowd, showing proud Papa to be Jay-Z in the front row, his Brooklyn ice-grill replaced with a giddy smile even bigger than the much-talked about one he wore in the video for his latest single, “Otis.” As retweets of congratulations to the Carters spread across Twitter, so did a few interesting comments, highlighting the “correct order” of Beyonce’s road to pregnancy and how she “did it the right way.”
After “Beyonce dated, married, THEN got pregnant... ladies, take notes,” appeared in my timeline the twentieth time, I was beyond annoyed. First, at how a celebratory moment got so quickly flipped into a jab at the modern Black family as 72 percent of Black children are born to single moms, then at the specificity of talking to the ladies about the “right” way of things.
News Flash: It takes two to make a baby. You want families back to “the way they were,” in our parents' (and for some, our grandparents') generation, i.e., a nuclear Black household? Then all the people who constantly place the onus of single motherhood need to stop all the woman-bashing and take the time to look at the fathers of children who chose not to put a ring on it, too. It's not like droves of men are asking for marriage and women are saying, “Nah… I’m just gonna do me!”
I don’t condone harshly judging single women with a child(ren). The blaming and judging doesn’t fix the problem, just criticizes the symptoms of larger issues -- then by all means throw that same level of vitriol and condemnation at the men who get them pregnant, too. Everybody involved -- except the kids -- needs to hear and get your message equally, if you ever expect change to come. Otherwise, let everyone, women and men, be. Until both parties involved in the creation of a child are addressed, it’s unreasonable to expect to see the majority of couples doing it the “right” way like Beyonce and Jay.
Demetria L. Lucas is the Relationships Editor at ESSENCE and the author of “A Belle in Brooklyn: The Go-to Girl for Advice on Living Your Best Single Life” (Atria) in stores now. She has recently been nominated for an African American Literary Award. Vote for her now on literaryawardshow.com.