There is no question that the defining moment of this year’s MTV Video Music Awards was Beyonce revealing’ to the world that she and her husband Jay-Z are having their first child. Bey at the age of 29 and Jay at the age of 41 are definitely royalty when it comes to music and entertainment, so of course the news came with much excitement and jubilation to fans across the country when the news hit that the couple had conceived their first child. We have all watched as best we could as their relationship developed from eluding the media during their courtship and deflecting questions about their relationship to their secret wedding to those moments when they showed off their love for each other in public. In some of our own minds, there is a sense that we are just as involved in their relationship as they are themselves.
So now that they have shared their very special moment with us, as fans we are a part of what will be one of the most notable pregnancies in the history of pop culture. This isn’t something that could be denied like the couple did with their relationship for so many years. This is a BABY…the heir to a throne that most of us have watched for many years. Beyonce being the ultimate performer that she is will obviously continue to perform for as long as possible. So I’m sure they kept it to themselves for as long as they could, but now that the cat is out of the bag I think the question needs to be asked how Hip Hop will respond to it’s proverbial king becoming a father.
When I watched Beyonce unveil her baby belly I couldn’t help but wonder how Jay was going to react. Mr. Carter is usually calm and cool. He rarely changes his demeanor and rarely ever shows any sort of emotion other than a brief smile and his trademark chuckle. When the camera panned over to show Jay and Ye jumping up and down and slapping each other high 5′s it was apparent to me that we are witnessing another evolution in the life of Sean Carter. I saw something in Jay’s eyes that only a father could understand…There was a certain glimmer as to say that this is bigger than me…this is bigger than Hip Hop…this is one of THOSE things and one of THOSE moments that no amount of money could buy. From Reasonable Doubt to proud papa, one of Hip Hop’s most revered figures is stepping into the realm of fatherhood
Jay and Bey started their family in what many people consider to be “the right way”. They dated, got married, and then made plans to become parents and then they conceived a child. In today’s society we see so many examples of fathers continuously creating children without any sort of long term commitment to their child’s mother ( i.e. Lil Wayne and his list of ‘baby mammas’) . The culture itself usually breeds the idea that the way to live your life is to live a life filled with promiscuity without any regard for the consequences. Jay himself even said “You know I thug ‘em, f*ck ‘em, love ‘em, leave ‘em ‘Cause I don’t f*ckin’ need ‘em Take ‘em out the hood, keep ‘em lookin good But I don’t f*ckin’ feed ‘em ” Who would have ever thought that the man who coined the phrase ‘Big Pimpin’ would actually be settling down with a wife, having a baby and setting a good example for those young men who look up to him.
Now that Jay is going to be a father, what does that mean for Hip Hop? I think we need to take a look at what fatherhood means to our culture and what things can be learned from this situation. Our culture today as we see it on TV and hear it on the radio isn’t the most family friendly form of entertainment. You rarely see rappers who are settled down and raising a family, and those that we do see are often brushed to the side as “old heads” or “played out”. While rappers like Snoop Dogg, The Game, Dr. Dre, Will” The Fresh Prince” Smith, Nick Cannon, Big Boi and a few others proudly show off their wife and kids, lets be honest Hip Hop and fatherhood just don’t seem to mesh well on the surface.
I think Jay is in a very unique position right now. He has the ability to show that being a part of your child’s life and having a two parent household is actually the COOL thing to do. For year’s Jay has been the benchmark when it came to success in our culture. If Jay-Z drinks a liquor, so do the masses. If Jay-Z wears a particular brand of clothing, so do the masses. As a businessman and as an artist he has received accolades from a who’s who list of folks including Oprah, Barack Obama and Bill Gates. What we are about to witness with this new baby is big business kid! I don’t mean business in the sense of putting a monetary value on the child’s life, but business as in fathers getting down in the trenches and doing the things that they need to do to be a part of their child’s life.
Just like Sean Carter the businessman isn’t the same as Jay-Z the rapper, there will be a world of differences between Sean Carter the father and Jay-Z the MC. In my opinion now is the perfect time for Jay to become a father because there are so many issues that are plaguing our community that begin with the lack of father figures. This new baby will allow him to lead by example. Hip Hop needs a ‘cool’ dad. Jay’s influence on pop culture is immeasurable, and now more than ever men need to look at what he is doing and follow suit.
Will Jay’s new role as a dad cause a call to action for young men to stand up and be accountable for their actions? Or will this be just another opportunity that our culture misses to make some form of change. Fatherless homes are an epidemic in the black and latino community, and now more than ever we need somebody with influence to reach out to these young men and tell them to pull their pants up and be fathers to their children. Hopefully, the man who is known for his razor sharp tongue will use his power to help instill a sense of responsibility in some young men who are looking for direction and guidance. Each man is responsible for his own action, but as a father myself I know the excitement that Jay is feeling right now, and I also know how that excitement and sense of pride can be used to change the world and get to the root of what is ailing our society.
There are plenty of examples of black love and men who are responsibly parenting in our society who get over looked every day. Jay isn’t the first man to stand firm in the love for his woman and build a strong family structure, and he won’t be the last. But as he once told us himself ‘you are now looking at one smart black boy” Well that “boy” has blossomed into a man before our very eyes, and now it’s time for every male in the Hip Hop community to do the same thing…stand up and be MEN before we lose an entire generation of children to the ills of ours society.
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