A Baby Bjorn State of Mind: An Open Letter to Jay-Z

by Sheena Miranda

Hey Mr. Carter:

After Beyonce glowed throughout her “Love on Top” performance at the 2011 VMA’s, she dropped the mic, unbuttoned her sequin jacket and lovingly rubbed her small baby bump. I was in awe. But the most revealing, heart-tugging moment for me was seeing you beam with pride, as you flashed a celebratory smile and gave your wife a salute.

Shortly after Blue Ivy’s birth, you released “Glory,” an intimate musical celebration of her arrival, and I felt flutters, as I pushed back tears, while dissecting and digesting the complexities of lines like, “Just make sure the plane you’re on is bigger than your carry-on baggage.” Jay-Z, you’ve had many titles in your lifetime, from dope boy to musical genius, but “Glory” proved that “Daddy” is the one you’re most proud of.

Almost weekly, your wife and Blue Ivy emerge on New York City’s streets looking photo shoot fresh: the new mom–in her stylish, but comfy ensembles–with Blue carefully tucked into her baby carrier; face covered and protected from paparazzi. While the images always prompt me to smile, my mind drifts. I can’t help but wonder if you ever suit up in a Baby Bjorn or how you look when you gaze down at Blue while holding her in your arms.  I’ve seen you grip a microphone with authority, and there are the endearing candid shots of you holding Beyonce’s hand, but since becoming a father, I’ve only seen one picture of you holding your “greatest creation.” And I can’t help but feel disappointed.

I’m a long-time fan, okay, I quote your lines during conversations, perhaps I’m a stan, but your music has served as a soundtrack for my life. I’ve watched you go from the cover of the Source to the cover of Forbes and your journey has been nothing short of inspirational. Now, you’re a dad, and as I much as I know the public isn’t entitled to pictures of you and your daughter, we need just a few.

As a black woman, who hopes to be a wife and a mother one day, nothing makes my uterus sprinkle glitter more than seeing images of black fathers with their children, especially in the media. From President Obama, with his daughters Sasha and Malia to the photograph of Tracy Martin with his arm lovingly draped around his son Travyvon, these positive images of Black fatherhood give the Black family strength, encourage Black fathers to be present and proud and give Black women more reasons to celebrate and smile at the Black men our lives.

Writer D.L. Chandler was right when he said you’re not a spokesperson for black fathers, but you are an influencer of black people, both men and women.

You used your lyrics to plant seeds about fatherhood way before Blue Ivy’s arrival. In “Meet the Parents” you cautioned, “…be a father, you’re killing your sons,” in “Moment of Clarity,” you forgave your father for his absence and parenting mistakes and in “New Day” you promised to “never to repeat him.” Jay-Z I’m not asking you to write a book on fatherhood or to be our modern day Cliff Huxtable. But now that you’ve joined the fatherhood club, I am asking you to put your Baby Bjorn on top (of your chest, that is), place Blue inside and walk the streets of NYC to further support the fact that being a father is real. A real job. A real experience. And most importantly, a real way to keep the spirit and reality of strong Black families alive.

  • http://method2hermadness.blogspot.com/ girlformerlyknownasgrace

    I have ALWAYS wondered why JayZ was never photographed holding Blue after the birth except for that photo. Or why they never did a family photo. Even that MTV thing, it was a clip of Beyonce and then cut away to JayZ’s reaction. No private photos of JayZ holding her bump, but just a few with Solange and her son. The men do not seem very present in the Knowles family.

  • Marsh

    -__- I seriously don’t think Jay-Z or any father needs to strap on a baby carrier to make a statement about fatherhood to the black community. I’m sure that he’s just as protective of and active in his daughter’s life as much as Beyonce is. We don’t know what parenting arrangement him and his wife have. Maybe Jay works the night shift and Bey has Blue during the day. Regardless, it’s none of our business and people should be satisfied that Jay did things right (met a woman, fell in love, MARRIED her, then when BOTH of them were ready to transition into parenthood they had a baby!)

  • http://www.cakefashionista.com Cake Fashionista UK

    So refreshing!

  • http://yeahtam.tumblr.com YeahTam

    Jay Z & Beyonce don’t belong to us. Whatever they do within the realms of their relationship as far as their children & career has nothing to do with the rest of us. So I guess, he should pose for a picture just to please those that care for what? I don’t get it. I am sure that he has already bought Baby Blue a Yankee fitted that she wears as they chill on the couch while Beyonce grubs on Popeye’s – even if they don’t , it is none of our business.

  • Tiffany W.

    I understand your argument, Sheena, but it’s not a far one…or logical. A picture of Jay and Blue together = A positive symbol of black fatherhood. How do you get from that premise to that conclusion? And why exactly does this symbol need to be a publicly displayed one? Are we trying to appeal the “we’re not ALL like that” sentiment to a certain non-black audience? You shouldn’t care about that. All we need for Jay and Bey to do is to raise a positive person that will make this world a better place to live. That goes for them AND THE REST OF THE WORLD.

  • I got sense!

    I was thinking the same thing.

    @Author:
    Really?!!? WTH?

  • I got sense!

    Tell ‘me Tiff!

  • Kendra P

    At the end of the day, Jay Z is a public figure. When you decide to put your face out there as a celebrity you understand that certain aspects of your life will be put on display. As a rapper/entrepreneur, Shawn Carter knows that the public will always be watching. No one is asking for a daily Instagram photo of him holding Blue Ivy. It would just be nice to see him continue to uphold his role as a powerful figure in the Black community by showing us at least some aspect of his role as a father.

  • Yulez

    Is this for real?

  • Merci

    On point. I was thinking the same thing.

  • Kelz

    Trying to figure out why and how this is any of your (and our) business.

    ………………………….still trying

  • http://yeahtam.tumblr.com YeahTam

    LOL I gave up. Never even tried.

  • Veronica

    I echo most comments. I can’t believe the author pinned this and published it. This is not any or our business, and the thought that seeing a picture of him carrying his child would validate that he is involved is ridiculous. You should respect jay-z and beyonce as some of the few celebrities who have kept some dignity by keepig their business to themselves, especially since they are now parents to a little baby. Jay-Z should pen a letter back to you.

  • cocochanel31

    Jay doesn’t need to do ish in public to “prove” his love for Blue Ivy! I mean really! what does it prove..we know he loves her…does he have to walk in Central Park daily for the public..I don’t effing think so!

  • Miss J

    lol sheena my dear are you serious? girlfriend are you with them 24/7? it’s not because we see beyonce walking around with her daughter that jay-z doesn’t do it when they ar ein the confort of their home. I’m not trying to bash you but common

  • tisme

    “these positive images of Black fatherhood give the Black family strength, encourage Black fathers to be present and proud and give Black women more reasons to celebrate and smile at the Black men our lives.”

    I disagree with this because Beyonce is not black.If she were, Jay-Z wouldn’t have married her.Jay-Z appears to be all these loving and supportive things to a person that does not look or claim to be only black who could give him a child that does not look only black.

    Jay-Z’s love for his daughter and wife mean nothing for black women,black children,or black relationships.

    This is what you should have written.

    These positive images give mixed race multicultural families strength, encourage Black fathers to be present and proud,of their multiracial and multicultural families,and give mixed race multicultural women more reasons to celebrate and smile at the Black men in their lives.”

  • lange

    I agree that they don’t owe the public anything but I must admit to feeling the same way about this:

    “nothing makes my uterus sprinkle glitter more than seeing images of black fathers with their children” haha

  • http://afrikanmami.blogspot.com African Mami

    Loooooool!!! Lawwwwwwwwd hammmmmmmercy!

    STANS are kray kray! Now ya’ll want Jay-Z to do what again?! Will it change your breathing pattern if he holds baby Ivy in public….I can’t!

    @ Marsh,

    high five sistah!

  • Tami

    Can Jay-Z live? Why must he parade his daughter for the public…We see what we are suppose to see. Sorry, but I totally disagree with this article. I get what the author is saying, but I don’t think he owes us anything more. He’s probaly a wonderful father in private.

  • mamareese

    Man get out of their house and let them parent how they need too. This is not the only photos of him and clearly she likes to be captured holding her baby. Dang stop with this already….they got a kids like most married couples in the world….what is the big deal? So what you dont see him being hands on my brothers son was alomst 6mons before he’d even hold him because he was so small and it made him nervous for fear he’d hurt him. I know alot of dudes that get shook by the size of a small baby.

  • http://@iamerikaellis iamerikaellis

    I’m not a celebrity or anything but children are not accessories. Jay-Z and Bey understand that while many like the author of this article want to celebrate this family, others want to scrutinize. They have the means to provide their daughter with many things and I think that discretion is a priceless gift. As far as celebrating a father daughter relationship, you don’t see that in posed pictures or candids from the paps. It’ll be evident in Blue Ivy’s character, a confidence that only comes when you have been adorned in your father’s love. Everything else is irrelevant.

  • loriann

    This article was a waste of time. Who cares if there are no photos of Jay Z with his baby girl? He doesn’t owe us that. The fact that he even recorded a song and the look on his face at the VMAs when Bey showed off her baby bump was proof positive of his pride and love for is little one. Can we please write about more important topics please? While I love the celebrity stuff to keep me distracted while at my boring job, this article was just plain silly

  • Queen B

    Although I would love to see a pic of Jay Z carrying Blue Ivy, I rarely see men using a Bjorn or a sling. In fact, I recently saw a photo of Orlando Bloom carrying his son in Bjorn while walking throught the airport but such images are rare as women tend to be the primary caregiver especially for an infant.

  • MzDan

    + 1

  • MzDan

    here here.
    I lost a few brain cells reading this article.

  • Toni

    yawl can’t be serious?!

  • gmarie

    there are tons of google images with black fathers and their babies, black babies, or heck just ultra cute babies in general..if you MUST see babies to get your uterus sparkling. Please understand their right, and their desire to keep something for themselves! they’ve shown us all pictures of the baby, idk what more it is some of you want from them. Do we need monthly updates on her height and weight and hair texture? Do we need to know if she is having regular bowel movements? Cradle cap?..what is it?

    The other thing with this is that a good number of people are just going to speak negatively about the images of her even if the Carters DO decide to share their gift..who needs that? It’s one thing to talk bad about the parents but no one would want to subject their children to it… Bottom line? I don’t blame them, and you shouldn’t either

  • Reality Check

    THANK YOU !!!
    stop romanticizing black fathers like their some mythical creature …. they ain’t that hard to find !

  • renee

    sooooooo…nobody gonna address the fact that while he’s so into being a father for his baby with Beyonce, he aint ever claimed the son he has with the Caribbean model.

  • Toppin (Formerly Known As Just Sayin’)

    So Beyonce isn’t black now? I swear some you chicks need help. Stop worrying about who and what black men are marrying…..and just do you. Damn.

  • lola

    judging love for a child for photos taken by paps is the most stupid i’ve read

  • http://codeemphasis.blobspot.com Clarity Jane

    This has got to be one of the most ridiculous things I’ve ever read, this ‘open letter’ trend is getting stupid now.

    I’m never gonna get those 4 minutes back.

  • binks

    Agreed, sorry but this article doesn’t make any sense. How about an open letter to absentee fathers, new fathers, fathers wanting getting back in their children’s lives again, step fathers, etc. but an open letter because you don’t see a father (a public figure at that) with any pictures of his child in public? Furthermore you shouldn’t look to a celebrity for positive images of black fatherhood, I’ am pretty sure there are great examples of black fatherhood in your family, around your neighborhood/city. Putting these celebrities on pedestals doesn’t work, let’s stop romancizing these people and take them for what/who they put out there nothing more nothing less.

  • Starla

    I am not sure what’s so bad about this article. Celebrities tend to influence people, especially the youth. Case in point, those stupid trends of sagging pants and skinny jeans, that there popularized by rappers. I believe what the author is saying, is that the same way these artists have people following them on dumb trend, they can also influence them to do positive things. Sometimes parenthood might not be seen as interesting or cool, especially for a young father. As trivial as that sounds, it’s the truth. SOME black men (please notice I said some and not all) do not take care of their children because they are too busy trying to live a certain lifestyle. Perhaps if they see someone that they admire openly embrace fatherhood, then they might too. Yes, it’s a stretch, but it’s no different than asking artists to rap less about violence and booty shaking, and more about positive things that might motivate the youth. So from that aspect, I understand what the author is trying to say. I do agree that he doesn’t have to prove anything, just as so many celebrities don’t have to prove to us or be role models; however, many of them make a conscious decision to be role models. And if his carrying his baby around starts a trend of fathers being more proactive in their children’s lives, then great.

  • Amber

    I totally agree with you. This open letter is ridiculous. Just because paparazzi can’t catch him he’s not a decent new father? GTFOH.

  • Morgan

    This is brilliant

  • http://losingsmartly.wordpress.com Alyssa

    lol

  • T.

    “I disagree with this because Beyonce is not black.If she were, Jay-Z wouldn’t have married her.”

    What the H-E-double-LL?!

  • S.

    I thought this was one of the dumbest articles that I have ever read until I read the comments… Now its probably the funniest articles that I have ever read lol

  • huh?

    WTH! I couldn’t even read the entire article because it’s so ridiculous.

  • MimiLuvs

    IMO, if it takes a couple of papparazzi pics of Jay-Z holding his daughter to persuade teenaged dads (and let’s face it: a lot of grown a$$ men) to be an active role in their children’s lives….
    It’s just one of the many eff’ed up things (in this world) that makes me wish for, as my grandma calls it, “the End of Days”.

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  • Dreaming

    It’s not completely far fetched as you think. Six years ago when my father took me to his job to check on his employees, I noticed that in his back office, he had a picture of his son and his son’s mother (now his wife) on his desk. Mind you, I don’t ever recall my father having a picture of my sister and me at his job…

  • Fa

    Come on. This letter is pretty unnecessary and very presumptuous.

  • http:www.chicnoirhouse.blogspot.com Chic Noir

    nothing makes my uterus sprinkle glitter more than seeing images of black fathers with their children, especially in the media.
    LOL

    Well I find it to be a turnon to see a man “hands on” with his children or a male teacher who really cares. Am I weird for that?

  • t..

    because its not his son

  • tisme

    @Toppin no one is wooried about what black men do.Stop projecting your issues on to me chick.

    Beyonce is not black because she said so.If you got issues with that take it up with her.

    I stand by what I said.If she were black Jay-Z wouldn’t have married her.
    They are an example of multiracial/multicultural relationships.And not of black relationships as the writer claims.

  • tisme

    http://www.youtube.com/watch?v=Jc50e02zDt8&feature=relmfu

    Beyonce is black french and native american
    She’s multiracial

  • Big Alexander

    This article deserves more credit than what’s being given!
    Think about it world…..When an artist wants to tell u about his back breaking childhood and up bringing he paints u the perfect picture and gives you plenty still shots of the place he came from…..When an artist takes interest in their wealth increasing, they will send out massive amounts of tweets, promo drops in interviews, and will even go as far as (quoting Jay-Z) “calling the paparizzi on myself”…..But when it comes to their Ultimate Self Interest their supreme so called pride and joys they almost never ever pass on the blueprint to the youth, to their followers, and most importantly their communities.
    One question b4 I go: How often do u see an Influenctial artist donate time or their faces to advertise or promote for planned parenthood or local fraternal agencies? You probably cant. You gotta Dig deeper people the article is less about more pics with baby blue but more about using and capitalize your influence when it can change lives!

  • Ginger

    Dumb article

  • We Get It

    I’m glad that you “see beyond the surface” of this article. However, like someone in the comments said before a celebrity’s picture with their child does not equate to influencing black men to embrace fatherhood. There are a slew of black celebrity males like Will Smith, T.I. and so on who PUBLICLY display positive fatherhood.

    And to your point about using your influence to change lives, Jay- Z’s foundation provides scholarships to kids who don’t come from the best situations with scholarships to go to college.Not only is he giving monetarily in support continuing your education he’s also say “even though I didn’t go to college, college degrees are important & I want kids to have that opportunity” through establishment of the program.

    I personally know two people in undergrad who are recipients of these funds. Partially because of Jay-Z they have the degrees to back their talents and be productive citizens. If that’s not changing lives, I don’t know what is.

    This article is pointless. If anyone celebrity or not wants to keep something about themselves private they have the God given free will do so, period.

  • um…

    But he did use his influence. And most importantly he did it in ways that are meaningful to him:

    “You used your lyrics to plant seeds about fatherhood way before Blue Ivy’s arrival. In “Meet the Parents” you cautioned, “…be a father, you’re killing your sons,” in “Moment of Clarity,” you forgave your father for his absence and parenting mistakes and in “New Day” you promised to “never to repeat him.”

    To ask him to release photos holding his kid is absurd! When you try to influence others by being fake you negate the purpose to begin with…

  • http://[email protected] fattiesoslim

    But my father is creole, or “multiracial”, my mother is black, which is pretty much Beyonce’s situation, and I still consider myself black. My last name is French, but I still consider myself black. I’m not saying I’m a Beyonce, but please don’t tell me I’m not black.

  • Shannon

    well written.

  • http://laneewrites.blogspot.com LovelyAnon

    I couldn’t even read the whole article because it’s insane to write a letter to a celebrity who doesn’t even know you, to ask him to carry his baby in public so you can see?!?! Really? It’s not that serious at all. How can you possible know how he feels about his child or if he takes care of her by a picture? I dont even know why I’m commenting because this is just foolishness.

  • Coconuts

    He sure does

  • Coconuts

    The LAST thing we need is more Beyonce/Jay Z crap. Bless their family & their baby, but please…too much is too much

  • Kirsten

    This article was so stupid lmaooo. And I don’t get the last paragraph. What was the point of bringing up what he said about his dad’s absence? So since he’s not photographed out with blue, that means he’s not there at all? Okay.

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