It's been more than two weeks since the annunciation of Aug. 28. I'm speaking, of course, of the coming of baby JayBey, the son of J-Hova born to the virginal vixen Beyoncé.
And like the three wise men of the Bible, the bloggers guided by superstardom have already begun the long journey to lay presents of opinion at the feet of the "Mini Creole Joyful Bundle Royal Fetus of Light," so dubbed by pop-culture connoisseur Kid Fury.
What's struck me most about all this hype (definitely not the hype itself) is the willful omission of Jay-Z in a tabloid narrative that's becoming increasingly focused entirely on Beyoncé, the black Madonna. Eerily similar to the biblical story of Jesus' upbringing, thus far the pageantry surrounding baby JayBey is framed almost solely around the impact that Beyoncé's pregnancy and subsequent motherhood will have on "our daughters" and on Beyoncé's career.
As did Joseph (who never speaks in the Bible, by the way), the image of Jay-Z as a loving, supportive, responsible grown man who takes care of his wife and child has so far taken a backseat. Instead of Hill Harper, Steve Harvey and whoever else would like to offer unmarried grown women advice this week penning congratulatory open letters to Mr. Carter — the 21st-century version of a cigar — the Internet has been littered with religious tracts, promoting the iconography of a woman who "did it the right way."
A Clutch magazine article says that Beyoncé's pregnancy news makes the idea of a healthy marriage "palatable to a generation that has grown up listening to their choice of baby mama anthems while using 'baby daddy' as a term of endearment."
The article's author, Janelle Harris, who mentions her own single-motherhood, also makes note of the official unions of other black celebs, like Monica, Keyshia Cole and La La Vasquez-Anthony. Harris wonders on the page whether or not these women "will inspire their fans, maybe even their fellow single mothers, to believe in the institution of marriage? Even reach for it?"
But there's nothing about whether or not their ball-playing husbands — Shannon Brown, Daniel Gibson and Carmelo Anthony — will inspire the boys buying their basketball shoes to buy into the concept of coupledom.
Keli Goff — author, political analyst and daughter of a single mother — writes on Loop21 that Beyoncé's baby bump "is sending a message to girls everywhere" but, Goff goes on, particularly to those "girls of color who may feel like they don't have a lot of options that you can earn your own money, enter a relationship with a man because you want to not because you financially need to, and when he's shown you he's deserving, you can give him the privilege of making a lifetime commitment to you and then you will give him the gift of a child."
Again there's no mention of Jay-Z's role as the receiver. I discovered the sanctioned tackiness that is "the gift receipt" in high school, and unfortunately so have a lot of young men. For all the number thumping that's been going on as of late — 70 percent of black children are born to a single-parent household — there hasn't been much by way of subtraction. Because if one plus one equals two, and three is a magic number … whatever; I'm not good at math. And neither are a lot of people, apparently. When will the narrative switch to the other side of the equation?
Writing for Sister 2 Sister magazine, author Jimi Izrael asserts that the soon-to-be Carter will most definitely affect Beyoncé's career. "God bless diva Beyoncé Knowles, her husband and her pregnancy — but her fans must certainly know her career as they know it is over, right?" Izrael continues, "Despite what you think, one can do it, but it takes two to do it right. Kids need Mommy just as much as they need Daddy." But there's no mention of how daddy Jay-Z's life will change. Only Beyoncé, according to Izrael, will have to choose. Really?
Now, I get it. Women are the ones who get pregnant. That's science. For nine months, there is a constant visual reminder that something inside is a-brewing, the times they are a-changing. But if that is, in fact, true, if the times really have changed, then shouldn't this renewed campaign for marriage and babies expand to include a wider audience? If only our daughters are listening to the fairy tale, then from whence will their promised princes come?
Speaking directly to his unborn son on the Watch the Throne track "New Day," the father speaks for himself: "Promise to never leave him even if his momma tweaking, 'cause my dad left me, and I promised never repeat him." Here's hoping our sons are listening.
Helena Andrews is a regular contributor to The Root and author of Bitch Is the New Black, a memoir in essays. Follow her on Twitter.
Helena Andrews is a contributing editor at The Root and author of Bitch Is the New Black, a memoir in essays. Follow her on Twitter.