Don’t you love the music award shows? There’s so many of them now, but often, the winner will come to the stage, and either at the beginning or the end of their speech, thank God “for making this all possible” or “for giving me this gift” (their voice). Similar discussions arise during celebrity interviews.
But oh how often we misuse our gifts. We know that our blessings, gifts, and talents come from the Creator, but we misrepresent him by the things we choose to do with our gifts and talents.
Is the Music World Going to Hell in a Handbasket?
I used to know everything about music videos when I was growing up. I loved them (see this post). But as I’ve settled into my 30s, I’ve really slacked off and haven’t kept up with videos. I’ll glance at BET or check online every now and then if I hear buzz about a video, but I won’t sit and watch them for hours and learn the choreography (if there is any) like I used to.
So one day I’m on Twitter and several people post a link for “the moment you’ve been waiting for—the world premiere of Lady Gaga and Beyonce in Telephone”!
Huh? I wasn’t aware that they had another song together.
I didn’t like their remix video for “Video Phone” (I don’t like the song anyway), but I went ahead and watched the 9-minute unedited version of the video. I don’t know how I got through the first few minutes before the song began, honestly. Of course the video went super-duper viral.
I watched some behind-the-scenes interviews, one of which showed Beyonce saying how honored she was to be a part of the video.
Honored? When I think of all the nuances and not-so-subtle messages in this video, why is she honored?
Then here come all the comments on blogs about whether or not Gaga and Bey crossed the line, was the video hot or not, blah blah blah. A few weeks later, someone posed the question of why people were upset with “telephone,” but not outraged about Erykah Badu’s “Window Seat” video, in which she strips down to nothing in a historical public park?
Is it Art?
Is all this stuff just art and entertainment? Depends on the audience you’re reaching, your perspective and your definition of artistry, I guess. I won’t speculate.
Discussions and debates about celebrities’ responsibilities (or not) to their fans about the messages they put out, the quality of their music, videos, lyrical content, and images are hardly new. Some of them will tell you, “I make music for my fans” and others will say, “I make music that I like and hopefully people will like it too.” Music artists (and I use that term loosely) are particular targets because music is something that stays with you. We remember details of songs, hear the songs in our heads, play them wherever we go, and create memories around songs.
What Do You Represent?
Monica is back with a new album after a 4-year hiatus to be a mom and do her own thing. I’ve long admired Monica for her voice and the way she carries herself. I think when she posed almost nude on her previous album cover, I was surprised, because she has the talent and the singing chops and thus didn’t have to go there, but I respect her. In the wake of her broken engagement with her sons’ father, I keep hearing her telling her fans that she is alright because God’s got her back.
I remember reading interviews during her last album (before having Romelo) that she was in no hurry to get married. I can’t help but wonder what girls looking up to her might think though, after having a second child with the same person and still being unmarried. It’s not a shocking thing in this day and time, but for a church girl with a mother who is a First Lady, and who is always acknowledging God, why sidestep that issue? Why give God credit for his goodness but not acknowledge Him in your ways? I’m not judging her (she’s not the only one), I’m just stating facts. (Enlighten me in the comments—maybe there’s something I haven’t thought of here.)
I admire Mary Mary because the fact that they don’t use a lot of traditional gospel music allows them to reach people that they may not otherwise reach with their messages of God’s love and having a healthy self-love. A lot of secular artists respect them for the same reason.
Here’s my view: If you are blessed to have a platform to share your talents with the world, please be careful how you represent yourself. You influence so many people with the things you say and the projects you participate in. Yes, you may win the accolades of a few, but don’t become a spiritual sell-out.
For what is a man profited, if he shall gain the whole world, and lose his own soul? - Matthew 16:26