So Janet Jackson had a baby, and I’m all, “Yay, Janet!” because… baby (I love little humans), and Janet (I’ve loved her since Penny on Good Times). After “Congratulations,” “Eissa Al Mana is a dope name” and “Between her pretty face and her hot husband’s genes, that baby got to be foine,” there really isn’t much more to say about it.
This is what new mothers deserve. Janet Jackson is no different.
But not even 24 hours after she gave birth, there we were with all this negative, nasty talk about how Janet’s… 50… and too old to be pushing out babies… and selfish for waiting so long to become a mother… and sentencing her kid to a lifetime of suffering because his mom will be decrepit or dead by the time he comes of age… and probably had fertility treatments to have a baby at such an advanced age… and probably subjected her baby to health risks… and… blah, blah, blah *insert your foul insult here.* As if having a baby at 50 (while being a woman!) is an absolute abomination.
As my homegirl, the freaking brilliant and super sarcastic writer/thinker Samantha Irby said in a Facebook status yesterday:
everybody shitting on janet jackson like rich 50 isn’t the same as broke 27 let her live you poor ass bitch
Co-sign, yo. Cusses and all.
Because, really, who on the planet, right now, at this very moment, is luckier than little Eissa Al Mana, son of the millionaire bombshell superstar Janet Jackson and the billionaire businessman/Middle Eastern hottie Wissam Al Mana, parents who wanted him and made him with intention and prepared for him and, surely, love him with abandon?
Listen: we all know what’s going on here—y’all ain’t slick. In all too many eyes, age 50 is still considered “old,” “washed-up,” “moments from the retirement home,” despite that the world is full of dope 50-year-old women doing dope things and running circles around these lil’ “young” gals running around here side-eying anyone over age 40. Toss in the age-old “wisdom” that the chances of having a viable, healthy pregnancy and baby after age 35 plummets, rendering women’s bodies useless (sucks teeth), and you’ve got an environment ripe for judging Janet, and Halle (she had her son at age 47) and Jennifer Lopez, age 47, who has Drake draped across her shapely and uber fit derriere.Let's get out of Janet's uterus, shall we? Focus on the congratulations part and be inspired. Click To Tweet
Funny how nobody had anything to say when men like Michael Douglas (68), Woody Allen (77), Alec Badwin (55), Stevie Wonder (64), Tony Randall (75) and Steve Martin (67) had babies at those ages behind their names. Are we wishing ill of their children? Questioning how they’ll care for them, love them, protect them, be there for them and wondering how long their kids will realistically have them as fathers before they die?
Here’s the thing: none of us know when we’re going to be checking out of this life. You can have a baby at 17, 28 or 32 and get hit by a bus or have a heart attack within days or a few years of having a baby, or in all-too-many cases of Black women here in America where the maternal mortality rate is ridiculously high, die in childbirth. None of us are guaranteed that our babies will outlive us, no matter how young we are when we have them, and the world is full of parents who, sadly, outlive their children. Nothing, especially our next breath, is promised.
Plus, wishing ill on a new mother—no matter her age, but especially because she’s 50 when she gives birth—is rude AF. Especially if said mother is Janet Jackson, super star, who, when she’s not pregnant, is a fitness beast with the athleticism of the ballinest baller. And whom has the kind of money that can buy her any help she needs to carry and birth a healthy baby and keep up with that baby in any way she chooses. A 50-year-old, rich Janet Jackson baby and pregnancy isn’t the same thing as your 34-year-old, broke auntie’s baby and pregnancy. *with nods to Samantha, who also made that final point in her FB thread*
How ’bout this: let’s get out of Janet’s uterus, shall we? Let’s focus, instead, on the congratulations part and, if, like me, you’re pushing 50 or are already there or past it, let’s be inspired, too.
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.