All Articles Tagged "teenagers"

My Boyfriend Wants His Troubled Son To Come Live With Us But I’m Not Ready For That

May 10th, 2013 - By Lauren R.D. Fox
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Shutterstock

Shutterstock

From Essence

Dear Dr. Sherry,

I am writing to you for some relationship advice. I am in a happy place in my relationship with my soul mate. We have been dating for quite some time and have been living together for two years. He is in the midst of building a fabulous home and totally has me in his future plans, and I love it all.

The only problem is that he has recently told me that he will be having his teenage son come live with us full time. The teen has a number of issues that they fail to address, like obesity, constant bed-wetting, lack of manners and poor hygiene. Do I put my feelings of happiness on the back burner or try to work out the new living arrangement? I am hoping you can provide me with some help on this one.

Best,
Conflicted

Read what Dr. Sherry Blake has to say about this on Essence.com

Is She Right? Jada Pinkett Says People Resent Seeing Little Girls With A Sense Of Self They Don’t Have

May 9th, 2013 - By Lauren R.D. Fox
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Source: WENNN

Source: WENNN

 

From HelloBeautiful

I remember vividly the first time I came to know the name Jada Pinkett. It was in the last days of “A Different World,” when the “The Cosby Show ” spin-off sitcom set on a Historically Black College campus was struggling to keep its freshness as it transitioned in to the early 90′s. Beloved characters Dwayne Wayne & Whitley Gilbert were all grown-up and professional, and the show’s once authentic connection to college life, youth culture and energy was dwindling. Insert Jada Pinkett’s Lena James, a powerful pint-sized freshman who boomed with energy and breathed new life in to cast. She joins the cast as a freshman, Lena James, introducing her self to the common area with a not so humble solo step routine: “L to the E, to the N, to the A, Step off, you ain’t getting no play!” From that moment on, in my 9 year-old mind, I was pretty sure I wanted to be her. She exemplified the spirit of what largely came to define the creative Black experience in the 90′s: loud, colorful and unapologetically proud. That was 20 years ago.

I find myself on the phone with Jada on a Thursday afternoon about a month ago. She’s in the process of doing promotions for “Free Angela And All Political Prisoners,” the brilliant documentary directed by Shola Lynch.  After a friend shared the film with her, Jada came on as a producer using her hollywood muscle to help get the film distributed in select AMC theaters nationwide. What I thought would be the typical 15-minute movie junket interview (abruptly ended by publicists listening in on the other end), turned in to a 90-minute phone call with the real Mrs. Smith about everything from her early relationship with her husband to why people should lay off Rihanna.

In what #TeamBEautiful has deemed the Best.Jada.Interview.Ever., we speak with the stylish and brutally honest A-lister about about parenting, dating, marriage, Black hollywood, and why America loves to hate on little girls. Check out the first of our three part series.

HB: You get a lot of criticism on the way you parent, has it ever bothered you?

JPS: You know what, I get it. In people eyes, I could see how it could be radical. It’s so funny the more I sit back and think about it, I was raised like this. It’s so natural to me–my situation was different; I had a lot of freedom. My mother worked a lot and she also struggled with drugs. So I had a lot of freedom at 12. But I also paid attention to where freedom worked and where it didn’t. One of the freedoms that I had was hair and clothes and how it completely [helped to] develop my self-esteem and sense of worth. And how, if I could dye my hair blue and shave it on the sides and deal with people remarks or smirks while I am walking to school, I’m good. To be able to stand tall in my own personal convictions for who I am and what I decided I wanted to be. And I was given that at a very early age. So by the time I got to 18 and I came out to LA, there was nobody out here that was going to pull me out of my own Jada game because I was very clear about who I am. You aren’t going to sucker me into to doing some crazy Isht I didn’t want to do. I didn’t have someone dictating to me along on what I need to be, and then at 18 struggling to figure out–I was already there. And the difference I see in Willow at 12 is, she’s got a loving father and the truth of the matter is that a girl’s emotional development is really strongly developed based on her relationship with her father. I just think of parenting at this: I don’t believe until waiting until a child is 18 to throw them to the world. I’d rather have kids in my house with me, building out certain freedoms as you go, and being there with them in my house while they are exercising these certain freedom so that we can be in the process in these freedoms together. When my children are 18, they will be fine. I don’t have to worry about them. Life starts when you pop out of the womb, and that’s what I believe!

Read more at HelloBeautiful.com

 

Is Our Zero Tolerance Culture Behind Kiera Wilmot’s Heavy-Handed Charges?

May 3rd, 2013 - By Charing Ball
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kiera wilmot

The case of Kiera Wilmot, the 16-year-old student at Bartow High School expelled and charged with a felony count for a bottle bomb/unauthorized science experiment, has inspired a number of petitions on Change.org from concerned citizens who are  demanding that the charges be dropped and she be admitted back into school.

Despite what could have transpired around this ill-advised “science experiment” of hers, Wilmot is by most accounts, an above-average teenager, who gets good grades and is generally well-behaved in school. That’s why many folks have expressed outrage over the severity of her charges from the local district attorney. Even her principal, who because of the district’s zero tolerance policy, reported the incident to police, has come to Wilmot’s defense. And as one of the petition creators suggested, Women make up only 20% of computer science jobs, 23% of graduate students in engineering, and only 25% of the STEM workforce. We are not going to resolve the gender gap in science and math fields by punishing girls for pursuing the fields.

I will co-sign that her inquisitive mind should be encouraged – perhaps in more controlled environments – however, I wouldn’t go as far as to christen her the next Marie Curie. By most accounts, she heard about a bottle bomb (also known as a work bomb) from a friend and wanted to try it for herself. She ended up scaring the crap out of a bunch of people, which is not a smart thing to do, especially not after the school shootings and recent bombing in Boston. However, I don’t exactly go around expecting 16 year olds to always do smart things. And that is why I am so happy that there has been public push back in this case. For me, Wilmot’s story gets at the heart of the problem with zero tolerance, which is not only an attitude, but as we see, a firm policy in some towns and school districts.

Ja'Meya Jackson

Ja’Meya Jackson

Ironically, the night before I read about the Wilmot case, I started watching on Neflix Lee Hirsch’s documentary, Bully. This is the controversial documentary about the often unforeseen effects of schoolyard bullying on the lives of young people. The documentary was controversial because it initially received an “R” rating, which meant it couldn’t be shown to young audiences who might need to see it most, but after some public nudging by Harvey Weinstein, the film was re-rated to a more teen-friendly PG-13. I’ve been avoiding this documentary because I just knew that it was going to make me upset. And as suspected, I was right. One of the stories, about 14-year-old Ja’Meya Jackson from Yazoo County, Mississippi, is the one that really got to me. She was an honor role student, who was facing heavy time for brandishing a gun on a school bus. According to Ja’Meya, she decided to get the gun, which belonged to her mother, after growing tired of being picked on by a few students on the school bus. Among her tormentors was a boy, who bragged about how he was not scared to fight girls. The whole incident was caught on the bus camera, and seeing the video and hearing her account provided some context to how this could happen. And yet, with this context, the local district attorney felt that there were “no excuses” for her bringing a gun on a bus, and he felt justified in charging her with 45 felony counts, including 22 felony kidnapping charges.

I turned the film off at that point so I can’t tell you her fate. I was just too angry to even finish watching after listening to the district attorney justify why this level of prosecution was needed against this child. Did she act recklessly? No doubt. Could she have seriously hurt someone and herself? Yes. Are there consequences to be had for her actions? Yuppers. But who says that those consequences have to be jail? And what value does it serve society in throwing an otherwise straight-arrowed child in prison for years? I can’t think of any.

There is a discussion to be had here about how this heavy-handedness towards our children contributes to the school to prison pipeline. Neither Kiera or Ja’Meya fit the stereotype of youth, who most folks would associate with felony crimes. As far as we know, they are not vicious and cruel. They don’t have a bunch of tattoos or baby daddies. They were not beating girls up and then uploading videos of it to WorldStar. They were, for all intents and purposes, what most people would describe as good kids, who deviated off from a pretty good path. Rehabilitation and the proper guidance to show them the error of their ways could probably have more results than a lengthy prison sentence. But that’s if producing well-rounded citizens is the motivation…

I think what is most unnerving about these stories is that I can recall about several incidences from my youth, which could have landed me in the same position as Kiera or Ja’Meya. I would name them but they were pretty boneheaded and by today’s zero tolerance standards, likely criminal. And it wasn’t like I was a bad kid; I just did stupid things at times. I didn’t always think about how my actions would effect other people. And that is at the core of what’s wrong with zero tolerance as a practice. It doesn’t recognize what is an essential part in growing up human; and that is making mistakes – even intentional ones. It provides no room for differences and nuances; that since you have the same outcome as someone else, how you both got there is the same. And that’s not true in any respects in life, and it is certainly not true for teenagers.

Boys?! The President & First Lady Talk About The Girls’ Dating Future In The White House

January 5th, 2013 - By MN Editor
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"Malia Obama pf"

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From ESSENCE

Malia Obama, 14, has four more years left in the White House before she jets off to the college or university of her choice.

But in the meantime her parents, President Obama and First Lady Michelle, have one major hurdle to cross: boys! The First Couple sat down with People to talk about the possibility of Malia dating in the coming future.

The President was asked about his jokes on having the Secret Service keep boys away from Malia and if she wanted to put an end to those rules. “She actually doesn’t pay any attention to what I say,” he said, laughing.

He went on to share he doesn’t worry too much because he and Michelle have set a strong foundation for their girls. “The great thing about the girls is they’ve got a wonderful role model in their mom. They’ve seen how Michelle and I interact — not only the love but also respect that I show to their mom. So I think they have pretty high expectations about how relationships should be, and that gives me some confidence about the future…”

Amen, President Obama. Read the rest of his fairly moving comments about the girls and what Michelle Obama had to add over on Essence.

Are we the only ones who can’t wait to see if Malia will be dating  – and if so, who – over the next four years?

Bonus Clip: Combating Negative Portrayals of Women–Tonya Lewis Lee Speaks

November 21st, 2012 - By Madame Noire
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About This Episode

As of late, television programming has been flooded with extremely negative and degrading images of women, specifically Black women. Tonya Lewis Lee, Editor-In-Chief, of HealthyYouNow.com  speaks with Mommy In Chief‘s Karyn Parsons about ways to combat unflattering images of women.

About Tonya Lewis Lee

Tonya Lewis Lee is established in her own right as a children’s author, activist and Mom to teens, Satchel, 17 and Jackson, 15. She is often described as a quintessential woman who manages a hectic career, which includes being the national spokesperson for “A Healthy Baby Begins with You” campaign, Children’s book author and longtime activist. In 2012, Mrs. Lee re-launched the lifestyle website, HealthyYouNow.com an online community dedicated to providing resources and support as women navigate the challenges of healthy living. d we want to highlight her many projects geared towards the empowerment of women.

As a lawyer turned author and producer, Lee has successfully blended her family with her professional life. She and husband filmmaker Spike Lee co-authored two children’s books “Please Baby Please” and “Please Puppy Please,” which are highly sought after in children’s literature.

 

About Karyn Parsons

Karyn Parsons is best known as the character “Hilary Banks” on the long-running television show, “The Fresh Prince of Bel Air.” Today she is a wife and mother of two. Parsons is also the Founder and President of the Sweet Blackberry foundation after being inspired by the true tale of a determined slave and the remarkable lengths he travelled to find his freedom.  While growing up, Parsons’ mother, a librarian in the Black Resource Center of a library in South Central Los Angeles, would share stories of African-American accomplishment with her daughter.  A mother and activist, Karyn created Sweet Blackberry to use the power of stories to inspire youth. Follow her on Twitter @Karyn_Parsons.

 

Want More Mommy In Chief? Watch these episodes:

Season 3

Season 2

Season 1

 

Tonya Lewis Lee on Motherhood and the Importance of Women’s Health

November 19th, 2012 - By Madame Noire
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About This Episode

In this episode, lawyer, author, writer and founder of HealthyYouNow.com, Tonya Lewis Lee talks about the joys of raising two teens, parenting with husband and filmmaker Spike Lee, and infant mortality rates among African Americans.

About Tonya Lewis Lee

Tonya Lewis Lee is established in her own right as a children’s author, activist and Mom to teens, Satchel, 17 and Jackson, 15. She is often described as a quintessential woman who manages a hectic career, which includes being the national spokesperson for “A Healthy Baby Begins with You” campaign, Children’s book author and longtime activist. In 2012, Mrs. Lee re-launched the lifestyle website, HealthyYouNow.com an online community dedicated to providing resources and support as women navigate the challenges of healthy living. d we want to highlight her many projects geared towards the empowerment of women.

As a lawyer turned author and producer, Lee has successfully blended her family with her professional life. She and husband filmmaker Spike Lee co-authored two children’s books “Please Baby Please” and “Please Puppy Please,” which are highly sought after in children’s literature.

 

About Karyn Parsons

Karyn Parsons is best known as the character “Hilary Banks” on the long-running television show, “The Fresh Prince of Bel Air.” Today she is a wife and mother of two. Parsons is also the Founder and President of the Sweet Blackberry foundation after being inspired by the true tale of a determined slave and the remarkable lengths he travelled to find his freedom.  While growing up, Parsons’ mother, a librarian in the Black Resource Center of a library in South Central Los Angeles, would share stories of African-American accomplishment with her daughter.  A mother and activist, Karyn created Sweet Blackberry to use the power of stories to inspire youth. Follow her on Twitter @Karyn_Parsons.

 

Want More Mommy In Chief? Watch these episodes:

Season 3

Season 2

Season 1

 

15 Going On 30: Are Today’s Teens Rushing Into Adulthood? Why They Shouldn’t…

June 21st, 2012 - By Toya Sharee
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Lockerz.com

Teen sweetheart Tiffany Evans recently popped back up on the R&B radar unexpectedly when she revealed in an Essence magazine interview that not only was she pregnant with her first child, but the she had been married for two years. Evans is only 19 years old, which places her walking down the aisle at 17 years old.  At 17, the only aisle I was walking down was located in the mall as I blew my whole paycheck on shoes, clothes and lip gloss.  No stranger to the tabloids, 19-year-old Miley Cyrus gained another gallon of side-eye from the public when she announced her engagement to boyfriend Liam Hemsworth whom she met in 2009 while filming The Last Song.  And the voice behind Penny Proud, 25-year-old Kyla Pratt faced a bit of backlash from abandoned fans when she announced that the reason she was MIA for a while was because she was busy being mommy to 1-year-old daughter, Lyric with fiancé, Danny Kirkpatrick, a former dancer turned tattoo artist.

In a world saturated by teen pregnancy, deadbeat baby daddies, and mommies who are shaking in the club when they should be at home two-stepping with their toddlers, it’s refreshing when we finally see young couples that are “doing it right” by getting married along with having kids.  But are they losing a crucial part of their youth in the process?

Getting married and starting a family are steps in life that there is no turning back from.  Your twenties are all about finding, nurturing and learning to take care of yourself before you become responsible for a lifetime of commitment.  I’m not saying there aren’t couples who take on these responsibilities early and do so successfully, but so many times I see people forgo the freedom and unique experiences of their twenties only to end up resentful in their thirties suffering from “Woulda, Coulda, Shoulda” syndrome.

Sure, the ladies mentioned above are probably financially stable and have both personal and professional experiences that most people will never have, but I still can’t help but wonder why it seems so many young people want to rush into marriage and having children.  I wouldn’t trade the reckless abandon of my youth for anything because not only do I try to live with no regrets, but many of those experiences (both good and bad) prepared me with life experience and memories that I wouldn’t have otherwise, which I am hoping in turn will make me a more well-rounded person.

The best thing about being a single twenty-something with no children is that it’s one of the unique times in life where you have freedom as an adult without having all the responsibilities of one.  Besides, you have the rest of your life to schedule every minute of your existence in a daily planner, multitask being a wife, mother and daughter and save for retirement. The list below features some key experiences that I think all young women should have in the short years we are still “young, wild and free”:

Cute Kid Alert: Diddy Shows Love to Chance, Christian and Justin for Graduating, Charlize Takes Jackson Out & More

June 12th, 2012 - By Clarke Gail Baines
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Hey, hey, hey! It’s your favorite post of the week (aside from Evening Eye Candy I’m sure), Cute Kid Alert! Let’s see who was showcasing their beautiful children as of recent.

For starters, we thought it was too cute that proud papa Diddy decided to shout out all his kids who graduated recently. Most folks have been paying attention to the fact that Justin got into UCLA with a huge scholarship and graduated from high school, but who knew Christian graduated from junior high school, and that his daughter Chance just finished kindergarten? The father sent love to his kids via his Twitter account, letting the whole world know about his brood of scholars:

Source: Black Celeb Kids

In his tweet for Christian, Diddy said, “Congrats to my twin Christian who graduated from 8th grade going to High School! God’s the greatest!”

Source: Twitter

For Chance he posted this picture and said, “Congrats to my daughter Chance who graduated from kindergarten! You’re on your way to 1st grade baby”

Source: Twitter

And for his first-born, Diddy said the following: “Congratulations @JDior_ for graduating from High School!! UCLA here we come!!!”

Source: Black Celeb Kids

Vanessa Williams also Tweeted out a picture of some of her kids. The two ladies above are Sasha (her 12-year-old daughter with Rick Fox), and Jillian (her 23-year-old daughter with ex-husband, Ramon Hervey II). For the caption, the proud mama wrote, “My big girls summer in the city…” Big indeed! I would have never looked at Sasha and thought she was 12…

Source: WENN Images

Solange was also seen out and about with her little man, Julez, as they hit up Stella McCartney’s Spring fashion presentation in NYC yesterday. She wore Stella McCartney and looked fabulous, per the usual, and her son was looking very dapper and colorful himself. Awwww, luv these two!

Source: Black Celeb Kids

And lastly, Charlize Theron and her son Jackson were seen waltzing around in Cali, hats on deck, and colorful attire in full effect. He looks like a living doll! Glad to see she’s so enamored with her little man…and I can’t wait to see what her shaved head is looking like!

CUTE-NESS!

More on Madame Noire!

Divas in Training: Celebrities During Their High School Years

February 29th, 2012 - By MN Editor
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I think most of us look back at our high school yearbooks with either one of two emotions: somewhat of a sadness at the younger and maybe slimmer us, or somewhat of a pain because of the tacky hairstyle or outfit we were wearing. Okay, okay, and some other folks are lucky enough to smile at the good old days. Despite how much money they get paid or how much makeup and designer clothing they put on, celebrities were just as raggedy looking in high school as the rest of us (raggedy might be harsh). They’ve changed a lot since then. Back in the day some of these ladies had longer hair, bigger noses, and so on and so forth, but they sure looked…normal. Check out these divas before they were taking over the big screen and stage.

Jennifer Hudson

Source: Necole Bitchie

Before she was on American Idol or Dreamgirls, Jennifer Hudson was just a young lady with a big voice attending Dunbar Vocational High School on the South Side of Chicago. Nowadays, she’s an uber-slim spokesperson for Weight Watchers, she has a beautiful son and a reality TV star fiance, and she no longer wears the microbraids seen below. Thank goodness! Man…everybody was wearing those damn things in the late ’90s! Thanks a lot Brandy…*shakes head*

Source: celebrityclassphotos.com

Source: hollywooddame.com

Teen Sex Offenders: Does the Time Fit the Crime?

January 25th, 2012 - By Brande Victorian
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A freshman girl dating a senior guy is a common scenario in high school. For some, the story ends with popularity, a high school sweetheart, maybe even heartbreak, but for others there is shame, stigma, and maybe even a charge of statutory rape.

The Daily Beast reports that there are a growing number of parents across all 50 states who are fighting to protect their children from the sex-offender laws that were meant to do just that. From their view, the punishments inflicted on high-school boys are far too harsh and they want the laws to change.

One mother, Francie Baldino, says her son Ken’s prison term was unthinkable. In 2004, the 18-year-old high school senior was arrested for having sex with his girlfriend who was a 14-year-old freshman. Because the age of consent in Michigan is 16, he was sentenced to a year in jail and three years’ probation. When Ken was released from jail he violated probation by resuming his relationship with the girl and then was given a sentence of five to fifteen years. After serving six years behind bars, he’s now forced to wear a GPS device and was told his home address and personal information would be listed in the sex-offender registry for 25 years.

When a guy is in his 20s and a girl is 14, the issue of sex with a minor is a no-brainer, but when we’re talking two high-school students, one of whom may have just become a legal adult, the issue is much more gray. Even Fred Mester, the judge in Ken’s case openly acknowledged the complexities of statutory rape laws when he sentenced him in 2005, saying, “Half my senior class … were dating freshman girls, and I suspect half of them would be in here today.”

While the prevalence of the act doesn’t mean it should be excused, it does call into question whether the law should recognize the difference between teen sex and teen rape. As Ken’s attorney, Cheryl Carpenter says, “The laws often don’t differentiate between a 50-year-old man molesting a 14-year-old girl, and two teenagers having sex.”

But how could that be done? Often times girls who sleep with older boys say the sex was consensual, but in an age where so many teen girls are admitting to being coerced into having sex or performing certain sexual acts, it’s hard to know whether they are telling the truth or protecting boys they are scared of. And as prosecutors argue, the law is there so there’s no need to delve into this issue of distinction at all. They say the law is the law and kids need to follow it regardless of whatever urges or relationships they have.

“The court isn’t imposing restrictions because it’s fun—it’s the law,” Paul Walton, a chief assistant prosecutor in Michigan, says. “You can disagree on the age of consent, but the law says that prior to that age, a person doesn’t have the ability to consent.”

Although following the law truly is the bottom line in these cases and the aim isn’t to encourage teen sex—although that behavior isn’t going anywhere—unfair laws are protested all the time.  With boys like Ken, who has now been taken off the sex-offender registry but remains a convicted felon for life, you have to wonder if their futures are being thrown away before they even get started with these harsh penalties.

Do you think sex-offender laws are too harsh when it comes to teens? Should legislators work to modify the laws or should they stand as they are to protect young girls?

Brande Victorian is a blogger and culture writer in New York City. Follower her on Twitter at @be_vic.

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