Posted: 01/17/2012


Diary of a Single Mom

by Elaine Hegwood Bowen

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Robert Townsend’s Diary of a Single Mom is a quaint story of quiet struggle and triumph about a single mom who is yearning for success, although she’s never graduated high school. But she watched her father well, as she learned technical and engineering skills that help her to get a job as a building manager. But it just so happens that the building has two other tenants, both mothers with children and reluctant fathers, with struggles of their own. Even though this is a far cry from it, Diary of a Single Mom reminded me a lot of the premise of the Women of Brewster Place, women breaking out of their own individual jungles, whether physical or psychological.

Monica Calhoun plays Ocean, the star of the movie, and the job goes well, until Ocean becomes the apartment babysitter. Her uncle, Bo, played by Billie Dee Williams, brings her young cousin to live with Ocean and her two children.

Another veteran black actor enlisted by Townsend, Richard Roundtree, plays Mr. Bailey who runs a community social service agency. He helps Ocean with her GED studies and tries to prepare her to apply for college. Townsend touches on a major health issue—diabetes—as Uncle Bo is threatened with an amputation. He also, unfortunately, touches on domestic violence, when Ocean’s ex-hubby locates her, only to have the usual results occur.

After Ocean gets back on track, she is also on track for a better life. Diary of a Single Mom is a nice film with the primary character being a black female, without her portraying an angry, black woman.

Diary of a Single Mom illuminates the challenges and triumphs of three women struggling to create lives that not only sustain them and their families, but also inspire others toward more action and compassion in their own lives.

Diary of a Single Mom is available on DVD. Visit

Elaine Hegwood Bowen is an editor, writer and film critic in Chicago, who also serves as a news editor for

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