Hi, My name is Joi and I’m a pop culture addict. I have been one for most of my life. In fact, I can’t remember a time when pop culture wasn’t important to me. One of the more embarrassing areas of my addiction is pop music. I am obsessed with it. I know all the words, the back stories to most songs and much of the gossip that was woven in with the releases.
Tangentially, I consider myself a progressive, probably more so than most. I really don’t care what you do in your house, your bedroom, etc. Try not to hurt anyone without their consent. This is, of course, with the caveat that the persons participating are A.) Adults and B.) Capable of granting consent without coercion. And while I don’t care what you are doing behind closed doors, I would prefer if you just kept it to yourself. I am happy you are happy being an exhibitionist, just please don’t do it around me.
So, given all of the above, I have a huge problem with many pop artists of late and their disregard for the public space and their audience demographics. The airwaves, specifically, are supposed to be family friendly space. Why do we bleep curse words, but not content that talks about abuse? How does that work?
Some examples? Eminem talk about tying a girl to a bed and lighting the house on fire. Rihanna’s new song S&M has tons of explicit descriptions of pain/fetish play, and she has an older song about Russian Roulette. Bruno Mars has songs about being bored and choosing marriage for the evening, and another that describes multiple ways he would kill himself in order to prevent the object of his affection from leaving. And just pick randomly from the Brittney Spears catalog lately – threesomes seem to be one of her favorite topics, but who can forget Hit Me Baby and Slave for You, among others.
Eminem is a difficult example, as he would never posit himself as targeting a younger audience. But Rihanna, Brittney and Bruno Mars – they are clearly targeting the tweenie boppers and their song lyrics are insanely inappropriate. I don’t expect their music to be all Pollyanna, but you cannot have your cake and eat it too (altho, I DO hate that cliche – why CAN’T you eat your cake that you have?). You shouldn’t market yourself and stylize yourself for a younger audience, cashing in on their lucrative wallets, and then pretend that your music is not intended for their ears. Or at least not be flabbergasted when someone calls you out on it.
Yeah yeah, I hear what you are thinking, that innuendo has been part of songs forever. I agree and I think it is fine. My problem is that we have left innuendo land and are now knee-deep in explicit description land. What happened to nuance, metaphor, allusion, subtlety?
Those of you who know me offline know that I am far from a prude. But I know how to separate my worlds and how to draw lines for appropriate behavior. why is it so hard for millionaire pop stars with a gaggle of handlers?
I have been a children’s content producer for years. We have an ethical responsibility to our audience. In the online world, we have tons of watchdog organizations making sure we stay on the straight and narrow in the ethics arena. It is fair for me to bring this up.
Will I change it? – uh, probably not. Do I sound like a geiser screaming for the kids to get off the lawn? – kinda. But if you can’t rant on your blog, gosh darn it, where can you!
2 thoughts on “Stop it, Rihanna”
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Her first release was BILLU (2009), directed by Priyadarshan.