Nia Long and Lauryn Hill recently announced to the world they were pregnant and with both ladies being unmarried, it’s caused a couple commentators to turn up their noses and give them the “side-eye”. It seems as though being a single mother has become the norm, especially in the black community and even more prominent in the black celebrity community. I came across an article on Essence.com written by Demetria Lucas that touched on this very subject and got me thinking: why has having a baby before marriage become so common in our community and even more so, why has this become a bad thing?
Like Demetria wrote in her article, before Lauryn Hill there was Erykah Badu who had a child by boyfriend Jay Electronica and received so much backlash that she wrote an open letter defending her decisions. What’s the reason for such outrage towards “baby mamas” in our community and not women like Kourtney Kardashian who is also unmarried with a child?
One theory is that by judging other African American women’s “bad” decisions, we create a sense of them vs. us which somehow shows the world that women who have children after marriage are better than those who have children before marriage since they have chosen to have children “the right way”.
According to the article, 72% of African American children were born to single mothers as of 2010 and that percentage is constantly rising. Of course having a happy, stable marriage and family life is ideal, however, if women are happily raising their children as single mothers, then why are people so judgmental?