Pop Culture, Race & Politics, Theory & Essay

Blue Ivy Carter: The First Black “Celebrity Baby”

Everyone reading this can probably recall two or three news events that impacted you so much that you’ll always remember exactly where you were and what you were doing when you first heard about it.

These occurrences, forever etched into our consciousness, can be split into two different types, and both types have to do with how we felt when we first became aware of them

Type 1. “This is some historic sh*t.”

Type 2.Damn. I didn’t realize it at the time, but earlier I witnessed some historic sh*t. I should probably make sure I remember this.”

For instance, I was sitting on the couch at my parent’s house during the infamous Pacers-Pistons brawl, and from the moment Ron Artest jumped into the stands I knew I was watching something I’d always remember. I immediately knew it would be a landmark event, immediately knew it would dominate any conversation I had for the next 72 to 96 hours, immediately knew it would have a transformative impact on the NBA, immediately knew that I’d always remember exactly where I was when it happened, and immediately knew it would cement Ron Artest’s status as the highest-functioning crazy motherf*cker on the planet.

On the other hand, the “etchededness” of 9/11 — an event I’m sure would be on most American’s lists — wasn’t as immediate. Sure, I remember exactly where I was when first hearing that tower one was hit by a plane, but it wasn’t until later that morning that I realized exactly how historic of an event that would be. (The first thing I said after my roommate woke me up to tell me that a plane had crashed into the World Trade Center? “They need to stop letting Harlem n*ggas in flight school.”)

The news of the birth of Blue Ivy Carter does neither. I will not remember where I was when I first heard saw it trending on Twitter, and if anyone outside of the Carter/Knowles circle has “Where I was when I first heard Beyonce had a baby” forever etched into their brains right now, they must have some sh*tty-ass brains.

With that being said, I wonder if, 20 to 25 years from now, the birth of Blue Ivy Carter will be an historically relevant moment. I realize this seems like hyperbole — she’s not even two days old and it sounds like I’m already reserving her star on the Walk of Fame — but she’s already made history. She’s the first African-American ever who was famous before she was even born.

Think about it. There have been black child stars (Michael Jackson, Emmanuel Lewis, Raven Symone, etc), black stars who had children at the height of their fame, famous children of uber-popular black people (Malia and Sasha Obama) and even established black stars who had children while at the height of their fame and saw those children become famous while they were still children (Willow and Jaden Smith).

But, never has there been a child produced by an African-American couple while both mother and father were A-list celebrities; a baby whose potential first name, last name, size, facial features, complexion, future, inherited traits, musical talent, business acumen, connection to the Illuminati, and existence (Remember, there was an actual debate a few weeks ago over whether Beyonce was even pregnant.) was discussed, debated, joked on, and theorized about by hundreds of thousands of people before she was even here.

With all that being said, I have no idea what all of this means. I have no idea if her birth is truly the most “post-racial” moment ever. I have no idea if Blue Ivy Carter is truly the most post-modern baby ever. I have no idea what her birth signifies, or if it even signifies anything at all. .

And, aside from the likelihood of Blue Ivy Carter being the first African-American baby to cause a multi-million dollar bidding war for the rights to print her pictures first, I (obviously) have no idea how the life of the first black celebrity baby will play out. I know it won’t be “normal” but I’m not going to assume it’s going to be completely abnormal either.

But while I don’t know what any of this means, I do know that the birth of Blue Ivy Carter definitely matters. How, you ask? I don’t know. I know that it matters/will matter, but I don’t know why. Ask me again in 20 to 25 years.

—Damon Young (aka “The Champ”)

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Damon Young

Damon Young is the editor-in-chief of VSB. He is also a columnist for GQ.com and EBONY Magazine. And a founding editor for 1839. And he's working on a book of essays to be published by Ecco (HarperCollins). Damon is busy. He lives in Pittsburgh, and he really likes pancakes. Reach him at damon@verysmartbrothas.com. Or don't. Whatever.

  • Iamnotakata

    I just want to say that I don’t give a sh!t about Beyonce having a baby.And they gave their child a dumb a$s name!!! The f*ck is a Blue Ivy Carter? A watch?….get out of here with that “celebrities” are dumb… Let’s hope that child ever has to look for a job…

  • MizThickaDenThick

    That poor poor Baby…thats all I have to say…

  • I was sitting in the family room with my uncle when the Pistons – Pacers fiasco popped off. Epic.
    But I do argee. Conspiracy theories aside, there does seem to be something significant about the birth of this little girl. But not as significant to me as the birth of the next door neighbor’s pitbul puppies. *shrug*

  • Little Blue has to be the first person to be a #1 worldwide trending topic on Twitter while she was in the womb, and then again within hours of birth. That’s boss.

  • I’m excited that Blue Ivy is here, but primarily because I wanna see Bey in concert.

    Let the concert tours begin!!

    P.S. the funniest tweet I saw re Blue Ivy came from Conan O’Brien:
    “Thank God Beyonce had her baby and can go back to work. For the past 6 months that family’s had to live entirely on Jay-Z’s salary.”

  • All I have to say is, now that Bey finally sat her azz down and had a baby, Keri Hilson can finally get her shine

    *tries to hold a straight face*

    *falls on the floor laughing hysterically*

  • It’s B-L-U and if you see the e’ drop em.

  • Ron Artest may be a crazy mug, but Metta World Peace will always hold a spot in my heart. I thought Blue Ivy was another conference merger in NCAA Football, and Ivy Blue would be the color of the Brooklyn Nets’ jerseys. Either way, blessings to that child.

    Either way, congratulations to the Carters.

    Now, I must get on with my life. Which may or may not include a scholarship for Harlem cats to get into flight school…

  • Imoteda

    Homie you were alive and living outside your parents home in 1945??? You are so much more awesome than I thought. Ofcourse if you really meant to type twin towers then you’re really not that awesome. Lol

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