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Fantasia’s “Baby Mama” drama

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Reprinted With Permission

By Adrienne Donnell
Showtime Editor
The Birmingham Times

“What I’m saying is as a young single mother, your life is not over because you have a child.  If anything, having Zion has helped push me to work harder, be a stronger woman, because I want her to have the best. I do feel that my life has not been a fairy tale but I am blessed that I have come through the everyday struggle.”- Fantasia Barrino

Granted my generation has some flaws, but doesn’t every generation? Some members of the previous generation (about ages 45 and up) are a little too hard o­n us when it comes to what we like as far as music and how we express ourselves. According to them, our music is junk and what they had was real music. However, their parents most likely thought the same thing about their music, so the cycle continues.

I said that to say this: American Idol winner, Fantasia Barrino, has been catching a lot of negative feedback from her song entitled “Baby Mama.” I was reading an article from the Federal Observer (an Arizona based publication) entitled “American Idle-The New American Dream” written by Chuck Muth.

He criticized everything about Fantasia from her bad grammar to being a neglectful parent. He particularly complained about this line from the song, “I see you get that support check in the mail. Ya open it and you’re like ‘What the hell?’ You say, ‘This ain’t even half of day care.’ Sayin’ to yourself ‘This here ain't fair.’ To all my girls who don’t get no help. Who gotta do everything by yourself.”

In reference to this line Muth stated, “It’s hard to know where to begin here. Although the fact that Fantasia ain’t got no good English tends to confirm the notion that she, indeed, dropped out of school WAY too early.” He goes o­n to say, “I’m assuming, and not without reason, that the “support check” Fantasia refers to is from Uncle Sam and not the baby’s father.......But think about what Fantasia laments with regard to the paucity of her government check.

That it won’t cover the cost of food? Clothing? A roof over head? Medical care? No, that it doesn’t cover even half the cost of paying someone else to raise HER child during the day. Fantasia apparently believes that being an absentee parent is not o­nly a good thing, but an entitlement as well.”

When I read this obnoxious comment from Charles Muth, I couldn’t help but think, “What is this guy so bitter about?” He completely over-analyzed the song. First of all, in reference to her dropping out of school, Fantasia is, in fact currently working o­n obtaining her high school diploma.
Second, nowhere in her lyrics does Fantasia mention getting help from the government.

She was referring to a child support check from the child’s father that barely covers the cost of taking care of a child. And as far as the money not covering half the cost of daycare, has he overlooked the line in the song where she refers to women who are going to school, working jobs, and paying their own bills? She can’t take her child to work with her every day. Therefore she must pay for her child to attend daycare while she works to make a better life for her and her child.

A weekly columnist for The Birmingham Times, Hollis Wormsby, wrote an article last week entitled, “I’m tired of all these baby mama songs.” In his article he states that young stars need to understand the role their music plays in helping to shape the values and hopes of our young people. I agree with that comment. But if he is referring to the “Baby Mama” song by Fantasia, then that is exactly what she is doing.

She is shaping the hope of these young mothers to believe in themselves and to move forward with their lives. That is proven in the line from the song where she says, “We can go anywhere, we can do anything. I know we can make it if we dream.” By no means is she condoning premarital sex. It is reality and it is happening. We cannot brand them with a scarlet letter o­n their forehead, throw them in a closet and pretend that this isn’t happening.

Those days are over. Wormsby goes o­n to say, “I think amongst the ills of songs like Fantasia’s “Baby Mama” are that they celebrate something that isn’t really a victory.” A child is a victory. The act itself may have been a mistake, but the child is a blessing and so is being a mother. Now let me reiterate that I am not confirming teenage pregnancy, but we shouldn’t make these young women feel any less because they made a mistake. If they are working to take care of their child and being responsible for their actions we must commend them for trying to make a way. And these are the type of women that Fantasia is referring to in her song.

Hollis and I discussed our varying opinions o­n this issue o­n the weekly radio show Talkback o­n 98.7 KISS F.M. Ironically, my segment was shortened and moved to the last fifteen minutes of the show and we were unable to go into a more in-depth discussion.

Write to Adrienne Donnell at ADonnell@birminghamtimes.com with your opinions regarding this topic.

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