African American family

This post is brought to you by McDonald’s®. I have partnered with them to spread the word about McCafé® Coffee.

Confession: last summer, right after the verdict in the Trayvon Martin murder trial, I considered shutting down MyBrownBaby. Seriously. I had my reasons. Above all else, I felt like after all the advocacy we’d been doing here on behalf of justice for Trayvon and the safety of Black children from the tyranny of racism and stereotypes and the danger that these things put our babies in, the acquittal of Trayvon’s killer and all the disgustingly racist responses to it, including nasty comments and emails to the MyBrownBaby inbox, made me feel like our work is all in vain. Like our babies don’t matter. Like the work we’ve been doing here the past five years doesn’t matter. Like, why do I stay up almost every night, sometimes until 1 a.m., reading and thinking and writing and sharing and pouring my heart out in this space, only for it to mean absolutely nothing when it should count most? Why bother with this anymore? I’m an author. A freelance writer. A wife. And most importantly, a mother. And MyBrownBaby isn’t paying any bills. Or making me feel good about the time I spend nurturing it. Or making the sun rise in the morning.

But then a new day came and I had an epiphany after I reconsidered the mission—the reason I started MyBrownBaby in the first place. My “About” page says it clearly and succinctly:

MyBrownBaby is irreverent. Funny. Full of posts that make you think. Maybe even say, Amen, because it reminds you of what’s going on behind your closed door, with your family. It’s a place where African American parents and parents of black children and their opinions matter, and are heard, respected, and revered. For their poignancy and strength. For their intelligence and authenticity. Because they deserve it.

And we do. The fact of the matter is that even five years after founding MyBrownBaby, the blogosphere is still woefully devoid of online spaces that have dedicated themselves to telling and showing the stories of Black parents in America. Indeed, I can count on one hand the number of sites that do so exclusively and even less that examine the intersection of parenting, race and justice in the way that we do here at MBB. Remembering the mission and rededicating myself to it—plus taking a few weeks to think about new ways to tell our stories without driving myself totally into the ground with the pace I’ve kept since founding this space in 2008—helped me to get back on track and do what I vowed to do that night I posted my first blog piece: provide the service. Commiserate with like-minded moms. And use my mind, my heart and my soul to help moms like me sort through the beautiful struggle that comes with being parents of Black children in America.

Now writing every night even with a full-time writing schedule during the day is still not easy. But the magic is back. The flame has been lit again. The passion has been renewed. For this, I’m grateful.

I tell you these things to remind you that when the the going gets tough, it’s important to remember the mission. Maybe the mission is to raise beautiful, smart, thoughtful children. Maybe it’s to advance in your career. Maybe it’s to find a mate who loves you and treats you right. Maybe it’s to fall in love with you. Whatever it is, remembering the mission makes the grind that much easier and the win that much more sweet. It worked for me. Perhaps it can work for you, too.

And while we’re on the subject of the win, it is my great pleasure to announce the winner of the #McCafeGrind Sweepstakes I’ve been running here at MyBrownBaby to celebrate McDonald’s® Free McCafé® Coffee Week. A bunch of you faithfully tweeted, Facebooked and commented on the giveaway post to up your chances of winning a bounty of tech goodies designed to help your everyday grind—thank you for that! But only can win—and the winner is… *drumroll!*


Get it, Nadia! Congratulations, sweets! Thank you for being a faithful MyBrownBaby reader and for entering the sweepstakes. Here’s to your prize winnings bringing joy, productivity and awesome to your daily grind!

In the meantime, don’t forget to stop in for a free small cup of McCafé® coffee today, the last day of the coffee extravaganza at participating McDonald’s® restaurants. The coffee is delicious, affordable (not just because it’s free today but because outside of Free Coffee Week, it really is quite reasonably priced) and a great start to your day! Get yours. I’m definitely going to get mine!

Cheers to MyBrownBaby. Good coffee. And a productive grind that helps your remember your purpose. Onward!

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This post is brought to you by McDonald’s®. I have partnered with them to spread the word about Free McCafé® Coffee Week happening March 31 through April 13 at all participating McDonald’s restaurants in the U.S.  Stay up to date on Free McCafé® Coffee Week via @McDonalds and @McCafe on Twitter.
All opinions and stories are my own.

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Denene Millner

Mom. NY Times bestselling author. Pop culture ninja. Unapologetic lover of shoes, bacon and babies. Nice with the verbs. Founder of the top black parenting website, MyBrownBaby.


  1. So glad you reconsidered the road you were to travel for many, many brown mama’s need this kind of loving support from their own. Your words and input are a treasure to me and is a niche that you among few others are filling at his time. Thanks for making the brave decision to press on. What you have to say matters and more often than not resonates with those who have not yet found their voice on paper but, nod heads, give resounding um um um’s or just agree that you know how we feel and can write your behind off. You have my attention, prayers for your awesomeness and I give thanks for you!

  2. I am grateful you continue to press on, sis! We NEED MBB, and we need voices like yours to remind us that as Audre Lorde put it, our silence will NOT protect us. Thank you for this space!

  3. Very nice! Just when the difficulty was beginning to suggest that I was the only one who seriously considers packing up shop, this comes across my news feed. Thanks for sharing

  4. Denene, I am so glad you didn’t follow that urge! We need MBB. We need as many voices out there telling OUR story. Don’t ever give up. We are out there and we are listening.
    You are an important counterpoint to those voices who say our children aren’t worth as much, our parenting isn’t up to snuff and our communities are not enough. We know better and we need people like you to tell those stories. Maybe we aren’t commenting, tweeting or blogging as much as we should to tell you we are here. But those of us who are parents of children of color are out there living our own struggle, looking to outlets like MBB to encourage, chide, prod and drive us to action and be the best we can be for our families. We are not done. You are not done! Carry on, Denene.

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