When Jay-Z and wife Beyonce welcomed their first child, daughter Blue Ivy Carter, into the world on January 7, Jay-Z joined the ranks of hip-hop dads that include T.I. and Fat Joe. Just two days after Blue Ivy's arrival, the proud papa released a new single, "Glory, Featuring Blue Ivy Carter," making the baby—babbling alongside her dad—the youngest person ever credited on the U.S. Billboard charts. Jay-Z sings,

The most amazing feeling I feel
Words can't describe the feeling, for real
Baby I'll paint the sky blue
My most greatest creation was you.

As the final notes of "Glory" fade out, we hear Blue Ivy Carter's newborn cries and coos. For older listeners, the sounds will recall Stevie Wonder's 1976 hit "Isn't She Lovely?" featuring Wonder's own infant daughter Aisha.

It would all be very heartwarming were it not for the recent brouhaha in response to a January 13 post from WENN, announcing that Jay-Z had written a poem for Ivy Blue in which he denounced the sexism—namely using the word "b——" to refer to women—prevalent in so many of his lyrics. What the mighty Oprah Winfrey had failed to do in 2010, when she challenged Jay-Z on his derogatory sexist language when he appeared on her show, a tiny little baby had, reportedly, done.

WENN claims Jay-Z penned these paternal words for his offspring: "Before I got in the game, made a change, and got rich/I didn't think hard about using the word bitch/I rapped, I flipped it, I sold it, I lived it/Now with my daughter in this world I curse those that give it." It's the kind of redemptive story that those of us who do not know even one single Jay-Z lyric desperately want to be true.

It's still not time to cue the violin music, though, because in an interview with the New York Daily News, the rapper says the poem was a fake. His publicist confirmed that Jay-Z had not, in fact, vowed to drop the word "b——" from his lyrics. In other words, Jay-Z had been presented with a ripe opportunity to transform culture but failed to seize it. Katy Waldman, writing for Slate, continues to be doggedly resigned to the fact that rap music won't lead society into a glorious new world in which women aren't compared to canines. She wryly notes, "It does take some chutzpah to call the media's bluff and actually pledge your continued allegiance to a demeaning swear word." Though seemingly short on character, Jay-Z has got chutzpah in spades.

Admittedly, to relinquish the "b-word" would be more monumental for the rapper than it would be for most. New York magazine tabulated its usage in Jay-Z's lyrics, reporting that he says "bitch" an average of 1.2 times per song. And while he's been saying it and singing it and shouting it for years, the ugliness suddenly came into sharp focus when contrasted with the evident, intrinsic value of his newborn daughter. It was MSNBC's Bob Trott who noted that Jay-Z missed the opportunity to "Dad up."

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If manning-up or womaning-up is to rise to the fullness of one's office, then to Dad-up is to be the kind of father whom children deserve to have. To Dad-up is to nurture. To Dad-up is to protect. It is to speak the truth about the value and worth of others. Had Jay-Z seized the occasion to Dad-up, he would have communicated, to the world and to his daughter, that all women—including one day Blue Ivy herself—are worthy of respect. Sadly, he did neither.

Of course, Blue Ivy doesn't have just one parent who's a world-renowned professional communicator. And though I'd like nothing more than to believe that she'll hear a different message from her mother, I'm not holding my breath. Several months ago, while preparing to lead a workshop with teenage girls about beauty and body image, I downloaded Beyonce's recent "Party" video as a vehicle for discussing the images of women the media present to today's teens. In it, Beyonce portrays a single young woman at a trailer park pool party, who coos, "I may be young, but I'm ready to give you all my love." (It's pretty clear from the context that she's not talking about sending her boyfriend a Valentine.) And though the clip was the perfect illustration of the kinds of pressures girls face today around appearances, I didn't show it to them. Though they had all seen it already, I simply couldn't be party to the lie being told about the value of women.

Because they are storytellers with international platforms, it's just too easy to point fingers at Beyonce and Jay-Z. But maybe it's one of those three-fingers-pointing-back-at-me situations. For whether or not you or I ever appear on MTV music news, we all tell stories about the inherent value of those created in God's image. If we never say one degrading word to our nieces or neighbors or daughters, they pick it up the same way Blue Ivy will: from the way we speak about women and men, and the ways we behave toward them.

Lots of folks who aren't Christians have had their feathers ruffled by Jay-Z's insistence on continuing to use "b——" in his lyrics. A particularly Christian response, to his evident failure to Dad-up as he begins fatherhood, though, might be to grieve the missed opportunity and to pray, in hope, that Jay-Z will seize the next one.