Founded in the 90s, SUCCESSFUL BLACK PARENTING magazine has been a staple media outlet within the Black community. Focused solely on the Black parenting experience, provides a wealth of knowledge for newbie parents, parents-to-be and veteran parents alike.
We spoke to Janice Celeste, Editor-in-Chief/Founder of SUCCESSFUL BLACK PARENTING about the history of the magazine and about her plans for the future of the publication.
ShineMyCrown: What made you decide to create this platform?
Janice Celeste: It’s important for brown children to see themselves in the world, including in mass media. It builds their self-esteem. You can’t be what you can’t see, which is why the word, “successful” is in our title. We started this magazine back in 1993 so that young children who were toddling around a coffee table could see images like their own. We reopened the publication last year as a digital platform. We still want to bring back the print version, and we have a plan, but we need investors who believe in what we’re doing.
SMC: What do you feel are some of the myths surrounding Black parenting?
JC: The myths surrounding Black parents are single mothers on welfare and the absentee father narrative. It’s okay because the people who believe those myths are underestimating our entire population as we continue to rise. Stats show that the Y-Generation and Millennial dads are in the home and are involved. We see marriages increasing in numbers in the Black community yet at the same time single mothers are some of the strongest people out there. We women will raise our children to do better than us. We know we have to be ten times as good and we push ourselves and our children to do so. It’s making an impact. Black women are one of the largest educated groups in the United States right now, and I’m proof of that with my MBA. I was pregnant at age 17, a single parent for most of my life and now my girls are all successful women with their own amazing families.
SMC: Do you feel that there has been a shift in the mainstream in regards to images of the Black family?
JC: If you look back in history, the white slave master was the first example of an absentee father who set the bar for a deadbeat dad when they raped enslaved women and abandoned the babies they created with them. They broke up Black families on purpose. We have had our problems just like any other race, but our history may have exacerbated past problem, but we’re doing so much better. Look at television shows like Black-ish, which shows dad right there in the home because that is the shift. Black fathers truly are there, and they are engaged. We also have a larger extended family which needs to be addressed, not only in images on television but in publications like our magazine. Look, even Michelle Obama’s mother moved into the White House when Obama became the 44TH President of the United States. Our extended family is everything. Successful Black Parenting has columns titled, “Health” for family health issues and “The Grand Life” for grandparents.
SMC: How has the Black family evolved from when you started the magazine to now?
JC: Single moms were more common then than now, and Black women have more advanced degrees now. That’s the biggest evolution. We also are one of the fastest growing entrepreneur groups in the United States. Women are doing it.
SMC: What are the biggest challenges Black Parents face?
JC: We have an all-out-attack in education right now. Public schools are being defunded, scholarships will be taxed as income if this new tax bill becomes a law, teachers can’t buy school supplies, and there’s this mystical “Black-Achievement Gap” that schools are struggling to figure out in order to keep the minimum funding they do have.
We have to educate our own children, in the home in addition to any outside education. We have to make sure our children have the skills and abilities to compete in the workforce – in the C-suite. We can’t depend on the trap of student loans to pay for our children’s education anymore. We have to plan for their education even if we can only save enough to pay for college books. We can’t just say, “Well, I paid for mine, and they will respect their education more if they pay for it,” then give them no way to pay for college yet expect them to go to college
It seems that so many politicians want their constituents not to be educated, not to be smarter than them. Even our president admitted, “I love the poorly educated.” Ask yourself why that is? Your biggest challenge as a parent is to build the bridge to your child’s advanced education and toward a terminal degree any way you can.
SMC: What three tips would you give new Black parents to be?
JC: Surround your child with quality books and read to them enwomb and beyond. Children who are read to at a young age succeed in life and demonstrate high intelligence early.
Start an investment fund for college immediately and have everyone contribute to it for your baby shower, birthdays and holidays in addition to or in lieu of presents.
Be an involved parent, even if you’re tired. Don’t depend on teachers to do all of the work. Make sure they see you and have your current phone number and email address. Agree to Facetiming or Skyping teachers to stay in touch on a regular basis. Do this for every grade until your child graduates high school.
SMC: What does 2018 have in store for SBP?
JC: We will continue to work on the online site while building our audience and attracting followers who are engaged on Instagram and Twitter (@BlackParenting1). Today, everything is about your followers. Once we build a great following, we will begin to accept advertisers and investors. We are laying the foundation to return to print, but we will also keep our online presence at SuccessfulBlackParenting.com. I also plan to do more public speaking nationally and internationally and continue to promote my live talk show, BACKTALK which can be viewed by liking our Facebook page at https://www.facebook.com/BlackParenting1.
SMC: What is Black Girl Magic to you?
JC: Black Girl Magic is the ability to be great and achieve at whatever we do with that extra swag that commands attention. We ooze power in everything we do from our hair to the sway of our hips, to our actions. We make things happen, and we stand out in a crowd. We’re so magical that we’re often imitated but never duplicated.
If you'd like to support SUCCESSFUL BLACK PARENTING magazine, consider becoming a backer for the publication's print issue, which is set to launch 2018. The names of every backer will be included in the first print edition. Click here to support!