Nia Long graces the double cover of the August 2012 issue of Essence magazine, in one surrounded by her two sons Massai Dorsey Jr. and baby Kez Sunday Udoka and in the second, just holding her baby, Kez.

The veteran actress beams in a yellow strapless gown and a regal top knot with her baby, Kez, seated comfortably in her lap. She poses cheek-to-check with her eldest, Massai Jr. You can almost feel the love radiating from the image, but many have taken issue with the cover.

Not only are critics slamming Long as a cover choice, since she is clearly one of Essence‘s mainstays and has appeared on the cover several times, but they believe the cover line glamorizes single parenting. It reads “Single, Satisfied and Raising Her Boys” and depicts Long as content being a single mother with no desire for a partner (in reality, she is dating Kez’s father, professional basketball player Ime Udoka).

In some corners, the cover champions single parenting and represents an abandonment of the nuclear family model Essence once praised.

What are your thoughts on the cover, Clutchettes? Does it glamorize single parenting? Should single mothers be praised and put on a pedestal in magazines? Discuss!
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  • justanotheropinion

    Had a chance to read the article and must say my view changed. Before I read it, I thought “another story over glamorizing single motherhood”. Got the issue of Essence in the mail and went to the article. My take after reading it was that Nia Long is satisfied where she is in her life right now. That’s it – no more, no less. She doesn’t say it’s perfect nor without trials or issues. She doesn’t say motherhood without marriage is the the way to go, nor does she trash the father of either son. The majority of the story was about her being comfortable in her own skin. Her life (especially w/the new baby) may not be “conventional” – but she’s happy.

    Single parenthood is not something to be looked up to – it’s no joke. Her life is her life, whether you subscribe to it or not. She’s just starting to come to terms with blending her past into her present. I ain’t hating – it is what it is.

    In future, maybe we shouldn’t jump at the headlines, but instead, see/rad what the story is really about. Sometimes it is stereotypical, but occasionally (and unfortunately, this isn’t the norm), it might just be a regular old story about a woman dealing with old family issues and finding herself and realizing that where she is is right now, is good.


    I am horrified as the question is posed …is single parenthood being promoted!!!
    I am pursuing a Master’s Degree w/ a thesis in women studies. And I want all women of color to understand where we fare in the patriarchal fallacy of the “proper family”… WE DON’T!!! We must learn to celebrate the births of our children because nobody else does…in fact eugenicists in conjunction with policy makers are developing ways to “fix” the problem of Black motherhood. Through institutional devaluation we have had to reinvent ourselves, ladies don’t forget that!! Look at her family…They are beautiful !! We must rid ourselves of the social norms of which we are excluded, and CELEBRATE I mean really and truly CELEBRATE US. I ask the readers to ignore the social norms and take another look at the picture with love…I promise the only thing that will be evident is the beauty of FAMILY. we will always feel like failures if we continue to judge ourselves by the standards of “others” FAMILY for us is represented by the JOY OF TOGETHERNESS!!!!!

    • gallyun

      Easier said, than done…

    • JimmyB

      In other words Kenyetta, we should accept a lower standard for ourselves. The picture of Long’s “family” on the cover is incomplete. Two different men are missing unless she made those babies by herself. That’s not a complete family on the cover.

      It’s almost crazy to hear black women support single motherhood like they don’t know the truth is that those kids they are trying to raise by themselves will more likely end up in prison than on the cover of Essence magazine. They will most likely live in poverty, collect welfare, get on drugs, join gangs and walk around with their pants sagging, making more babies they can’t father to continue the cycle.

      What Kenyetta calls “social norms” we must “rid ourself of” is a man and woman having a child together and nurturing and raising that child together. Is that the social norm the black community just can’t seem to grasp? Is that the ideal we must rid ourselves of?

      We need to be RESPONSIBLE. Simple as that. Men and women need to stop being irresponsible and simply be more responsible. We need to celebrate complete families. Parents who try to stay together and make things work for their kids. They’re out there, I see them everyday. They are people who take responsibility for themselves and for the children they bring into the world. Essence’s choice for this cover was irresponsible.

    • Patience

      Wow Jimmy B what is your life like. Look, if a woman has two kids by a man that is later killed in a car accident, that doesn’t not mean that they will become drug addicts or convicts you idiot! Family is family, and I have more than one friend raised by two people that could not stand one another, but stayed together for the kids. The kids reacted to the daily fighting by taking drugs and becoming addicts. Being a single parent is hard as hell, but that does not mean that it can’t be done! On the cover of Essence is FAMILY, and family can be mom, dad, and kids, or mom and kids, or dad and kids, or worse because both parents were killed, uncle and kids. That is not to say that things will not happen, but to say that having a mom and dad does not guarantee success! Stop trying to control everyone else, and get some control over yourself! STOP JUDGING UNLESS YOU ARE WITHOUT SIN THAT COULD BE JUDGED!