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“Daddy, I want to be like Katy Perry”

06/28/2012

Okay so my almost 2 year old hasn’t actually said this to me yet but I’m waiting for the day she does. She loves Katy Perry. Since she was a few months old, anytime I wanted to calm her down I’d play some Katy Perry. She LOVES the “Firework” song. She used to stop when it was playing and she would be rocking to it…cutest thing ever. (side note: I made a video of my baby’s first year and used Katy’s song as the background music…too damn cute) I realize I’m a “manly” man, but I like her music too…doesn’t hurt that she’s hot (sorry wife). Either way, I’m sure one day my kids will be imitating her or someone like her…its inevitable. But what do you do when that person your child looks up to does something that causes a “stir” in the public eye.

Lately I’ve been playing an assortment of videos for my daughter that usually includes Sesame Street characters. One of the videos happens to be Katy Perry’s “Hot and Cold” with Elmo. It’s the “evil” “inappropriate” “BANNED” video from Sesame Street that was pulled because of Katy’s “sexy” outfit. Of course, I don’t see anything wrong with it (and not cause of the sexy outfit part). Playing the video the other day had me thinking about parent’s reactions to certain media scandals that celebrities go through. It seems like every celebrity goes through something in the media that garners calls for boycotts and banning material. But is that really the answer?

I may be bias, being that I’m a filmmaker and all…but go with me on this anyway (because you love me). Let’s bring up the notorious Chris Brown situation. For a refresher, Chris brown, acting like a husband from the 50’s, slapped around his then girlfriend Rihanna. Totally messed up situation, shouldn’t have happened in the first place. Now, I’m not here to place blame on anyone or say who was right or wrong. Abuse in any form is not right. But I want to talk about the reaction to the situation by the public. Most were calling for boycotts of his music…which is usually the first reaction to anything. I remember hearing about the situation and telling my wife, “Boycott will not last; I give it less than a year.” Sure enough, there was a boycott of Chris Brown related music/stuff…. cut to a couple years later and he was receiving an award for his new music. So did the boycott not work? Did the boycotters get their anti-domestic violence message across?

In my opinion, that is not where we should be focusing. Instead I think the situation should have been used as a lesson at home. What parents should have been focusing on is their kids and what to tell them. Celebrities have highs and lows….ALL the time…but you only have one chance to raise your kids. Granted, I’m not a parent of a teenager (dreading the day…especially with two girls), but I am a parent. Don’t crucify me for this but I think we need to teach our children to separate what they see on TV from the actual human being. In other words, let’s take them off the pedestal. Let’s teach our children to know the difference between the entertainers “work” and personality. Entertainers are human, just like you and me (Not excusing them for any behavior). Humans have faults. I believe children should be taught not to see these celebrities as role models in the first place. What we see on TV and media is not there persona…sometimes it’s far from it.

I remember being a kid and being really into Walt Disney. I had books on him and the movies. Now for those that don’t know, Mr. Disney was a raging Anti-Semite (in a nutshell, he hated the Jews). Being a kid that loved Disney, I can assure you I didn’t grow up hating Jewish people. I grew up knowing the difference between what an artist put out and what he did at home. If you read history on Walt, he wasn’t exactly a great person to work for either. But now that we are in a social media driven society, we are seeing more and more what goes on behind closed doors of these celebrities. I believe it’s harder these days to shelter a child from the celebrities’ public life; it’s all over. So in my opinion, it’s our job as parents to talk to our children about the difference between what we see and what we don’t. Instead of focusing on boycotts let’s turn our attention to our own homes. Think about this, if we boycott every artist/entertainer that does something wrong, what would you be able to watch or listen to?

So I’ll keep showing my daughter (soon to be “daughters”) Katy Perry dancing around with Elmo. My daughter will still rock to “Firework”. And if Katy Perry is caught decapitating chickens, my kids will know not to do the same. Besides, I always say that I and my wife should be their first role models anyway.

Artistic WC

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