Commentary: Will Beyoncé’s Pregnancy Cause a Spike in Black Teen Pregnancy?

Will her fans get pregnant purposely to emulate their "big sister?"

Posted: 08/29/2011 01:10 PM EDT

(Photo: Anthony Harvey/PictureGroup)

Beyoncé stole the spotlight on Sunday night’s 2011 MTV Video Music Awards and didn't have to say one word to do it. With the drop of a mic and a stomach rub she eclipsed the award show by signaling that she is pregnant.

 

Many hardcore Beyoncé fans worship the ground she walks on. So it was no surprise that her fans (or should I say "Stans"), were elated with joy. One fan tweeted "AWWWWWWWWWWW she's showing her belly. I'm crying my Godbaby is on the way #BEYONCE!!!".

 

Frankly, I feel sorry for whoever was on the VMAs after Beyoncé announced she was pregnant. I’m sure nobody saw them. Viewers took to twitter and phones to tweet and text about their hero and sister.

 

Beyoncé's popularity, a great deal of which comes from young women, drove her latest album 4 to debut No. 1 on the Billboard 200 album charts. The Grammy award-winning singer has had her first four solo albums reach No. 1, a feat that only two others — DMX and Brittany Spears — share with the megastar from Houston. But many of her fan base of women are obsessed not only with her music but her personal life, and while the pregnancy is great for Beyoncé and her husband, rapper Jay-Z, could this lead to a spike in Black teens copying their "big sister?"

 

The rate of teen pregnancy is on the rise, according to a study conducted by the Guttmacher Institute, the nonprofit, nonpartisan research group in New York that conducted the analysis. Black and Hispanic women have the highest teen pregnancy rates (126 and 127 per 1,000 women aged 15–19, respectively). It would be unfortunate if Beyoncé’s bump increases that statistic.

 

However, it is unfair to blame Beyoncé for any spike in Black teen pregnancy, if that were to actually happen. She has gone about having this child in the way that we would want young people to follow. The 29-year-old is a married woman, who is financially stable enough to provide for several small villages. Between her and Jay-Z money is no issue. Jay-Z was visibly excited about his wife having a child and has previously expressed his desire to be a father. Unfortunately, I feel many young women missed those details. They fast forwarded past the courting phase, marriage and everything else and pressed "play" on the pregnancy.

 

It almost scares me to imagine how many young females will get pregnant on purpose so that they can share being pregnant with Beyoncé. It seems a bit excessive to believe that because a celebrity does something, others will copy, but let’s be real — we live in a society where celebrities are worshiped. When Beyoncé announced she was on the "master cleanse" — a diet consisting of nothing but water, lemon juice, maple syrup and cayenne pepper, you can bet sales of those items went through the roof.

 

Again, in fairness, it’s not just Beyoncé. When Rihanna wore her red wig, it seemed like more and more women wanted to look like the Wendy's fast-food mascot. Nikki Minaj has females calling themselves a "Barbie." Jay-Z stopped wearing jersey's and sales of throwbacks plummeted. When celebs do something, we as fans copy them. That is why celebs get the huge endorsement deals. Companies know if a celebrity does something, odds are, you will too.

 

I have to commend Beyoncé. She is able to provide a stable environment for this child and the pregnancy was planned. "Planned Pregnancy" is almost like saying "Walkman." It still exists, I'm sure, but hard to find. Unintended pregnancies make up almost half of all pregnancies in the U.S. and are still on the rise. From 1994 through 2006, the unintended pregnancy rate among women with incomes below the poverty line rose 50%. In other words, men and women that probably can't afford children are having them at an alarming rate. Among higher-income women, the rate fell 29%.

 

My hope is that young Black women see what their big sister and hero Beyoncé did on Sunday as more than just a pregnancy announcement. It was a statement. She EARNED the right to be a mother. She has the money, she has the husband and now she will bring a child into the world that won't have a perfect life (paparazzi will be following that kid around forever), but he or she will still have the tools they need to succeed. That is my hope. Unfortunately my gut is telling me that a lot of young ladies will skip those steps and get right to the child.

 

In our society, instant gratification is the only kind of gratification that seems to exist.

 

The opinions expressed here do not necessarily reflect those of BET Networks.

 

You can reach Tony Anderson on Twitter at @tonyandersontv.

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