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'Baby Mama' Spurs Debate over Teen Motherhood

Fantasia Barrino's song "Baby Mama" has become an anthem for teen mothers. It appears on her album <i>Free Yourself</i>.
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Fantasia Barrino's song "Baby Mama" has become an anthem for teen mothers. It appears on her album Free Yourself.

American Idol winner Fantasia Barrino has two Top 20 R&B singles, and her new CD Free Yourself has sold more than a million copies.

One of her songs, "Baby Mama," is a tribute to young, single mothers -- a subject Barrino knows about. She was 17 when she became pregnant with her now three-year-old daughter.

Barrino says the song is not meant to encourage teenagers to have sex. But as her popularity grows, critics say the song is sending the wrong message.

Brenda Miller, executive director of the D.C. Campaign to Prevent Teen Pregnancy, says teenagers who become single parents are much less likely to finish high school -- and their own children are more likely to repeat the pattern.

At the same time, she and other critics, such as Washington Post columnist Donna Britt, acknowledge the need to support young mothers because of the obstacles they face.

Copyright 2022 NPR. To see more, visit https://www.npr.org.

Elizabeth Blair is a Peabody Award-winning senior producer/reporter on the Arts Desk of NPR News.
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