Mom Missteps

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  • A few weeks ago, author and mom blogger Denene Millner of http://www.mybrownbaby.com questioned the venom that greeted news of Sheree Whitfield’s imminent departure from “The Real Housewives of Atlanta.”

    The internet was full of “RHOA” fans gleefully celebrating the end of Whitfield’s reality TV career – at least on that show – because of all the drama she created. Millner wrote that she couldn’t understand why people were so happy to see a struggling single mother out of a job. Laughably, Whitfield’s reason for leaving was that she wanted to no longer be a part of the fighting and cattiness that she herself was usually a part of. While agreeing that Whitfield often contributed to her own problems, Millner thought people should show more compassion to a mother of two that now has to figure out her options. Though Whitfield’s reality TV run should give her more options than most, Millner’s take on it got us thinking about moms who need some career intervention. These are moms who are in transition, figuring out their next moves or trying to change their public images. Here’s our take on moms in the public eye that most need to make some changes.

    SHEREE WHITFIELD
    The 42-year-old single mother says that she will start a fitness business now that her abysmal clothing line She By Sheree has run its course. While Whitfield tried to take the high road, saying that she wanted no more of the “RHOA” drama, blogger Perez Hilton says otherwise, claiming that “sources” said that Sheree was jealous of Kim and Nene, her fitness business wasn’t promoted despite promotional tie-ins for other stars of the show and she was offered less money than the rest of the cast. At this point, if Sheree wants to continue a career in entertainment, she should take what little goodwill she has left and apply it to becoming a fitness guru for black women. Since reality TV cycles stars from show to show, maybe Whitfield should consider “The Biggest Loser” “Survivor” or even “The Amazing Race” to showcase her health new venture.

    HALLE BERRY
    Since winning an Oscar ten years ago for “Monster’s Ball,” Berry, 45, has had her share of ups and downs. Her career has been mostly down, as her movie choices are less and less successful. Her relationship with Gabriel Aubry produced a daughter Nahla, now 4, but since their breakup the couple has fought bitterly over custody and child support. Though she once said she’d never remarry, Berry recently acknowledged an engagement to French actor Olivier Martinez, and the couple seems happy. Though Berry’s public image has taken a beating from the publicity over the court cases with her baby daddy, paparazzi continue to shadow her every move and this week, Berry was photographed apparently cursing them out at her daughter’s school. She still looks great, but Berry needs to find a quality movie project to return her career to the heights she once achieved.

    SOLANGE KNOWLES
    Beyonce’s baby sis has been killing it on red carpets over the last year, going natural and finding her own style. Solange’s recent appearance at the Met Ball was a stunning one as she rocked a yellow Rachel Roy peplum gown that was one of the night’s best looks. (Though big sis B, in a custom haute couture Givenchy, still took the evening’s “Wow” award.) But Solo, 25, mom to Juelz, 7, hasn’t capitalized off this visibility. There’s been no follow-up to “Sol-Angel and the Hadley St. Dreams” released in 2008. Although she acted as well, appearing in “Bring it On: All or Nothing” and “Johnson Family Vacation” Solange hasn’t made a film since 2006. She’s tweeted about a new music project and has worked with Pharrell, Chromeo and an Australian rock band, but nothing has yet been released. While she’s made some headway to get out from Beyonce’s huge shadow, the strides that Solange has taken to establish her own identity have not yet resulted in any creative projects. Given all the work she’s done to increase her public profile, she should find a worthy project to do.

    PAULA PATTON
    While Paula Patton, 36, has been busy as of late starring in “Precious,” “Mission Impossible: Ghost Protocol,” “Jumping the Broom” and “Just Wright,” somehow her star hasn’t risen to the level it should. It may be that despite the fact that she’s a gorgeous girl, her acting has been, well, just OK and she’s played very similar characters in them all. Patton, who gave birth to son Julien two years ago, is married to singer Robin Thicke, who’s having the same career issues. They’re both gorgeous and both well-known but somehow they’re falling just short of the superstardom you’d think such a glamorous couple would have. Thicke is part of the group of singer/judges slated for the upcoming singing competition “Duets,” but with the glut of those kinds of shows, it may be too little, too late.

    SHAUNIE O’NEAL
    This former basketball wife probably felt like popping her collar when her “Basketball Wives” franchise became one of reality TV’s biggest hits. But then the backlash came as Evelyn, Tami, Jennifer and the rest became symbols of adult bullying, taking the mean girls to a new low. O’Neal, 37, now in development on a basketball wives movie with producer Tracey Edmonds, is feeling the backlash. She defended her show last month via a statement that said in part, that if some of the nastier elements of the show were edited out, it would be “scripted and not reality.” Umm, Shaunie, you need more people if you think we believe that. At this point, O’Neal needs to figure out what she can take from the “Basketball Wives” franchise that is good – whatever that is, and maybe order mandatory therapy sessions for all the women – and salvage a franchise that while profitable, is destroying the reputations of all involved.

    JADA PINKETT SMITH
    Smith, 40, has had a rough time of it lately. Her TNT show “HawthoRNe” was cancelled amid allegations that her longtime marriage to Will Smith was in trouble, and her children – daughter Willow, 11, and son Jaden, 13, have been roundly criticized for their attire, lifestyle and even for following in their parent’s entertainment footsteps. “HawthoRNe” was a modest hit, but wasn’t the best showcase for Smith’s talent. She hasn’t made a movie that wasn’t animated since 2007, unless you count her critically panned directorial debut “The Human Contract.” On the musical front, her band Wicked Wisdom is still intact but acting was always going to remain her money maker. It would be great to see Smith back on the big screen in a role better suited to her skills.

    FANTASIA
    One thing Fantasia has going for her – she CAN sing. And she’s made some great music over the past few years even if her “American Idol” runner-up Jennifer Hudson commands most of the attention and the high-end gigs. But don’t count Fanny out yet. After a messy public relationship with Antwaun Cook, who was in the midst of a divorce when the two hooked up, Fanny rebounded. Her last tour was successful and Cook was vindicated in his divorce case when it was established that he had been separated from his wife when he said he was. He and Fantasia had a son, Dallas, last year and Fanny was recently seen out in public for the first time looking like she’d been keeping up her post-baby workouts. And remember, Fantasia’s still just 27, but the mother of two needs to figure out her next moves very carefully. She’s got too much talent to let a few missteps derail her career permanently.

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