I was thinking about a Facebook post that I commented on last night.
The post was, like, a warning, I guess you’d say to parents (from a non-parent…not that that’s relevant) about letting their children, or daughters mostly, listen and sing along to the words of Beyonce’s song Drunk in Love.
I confess to not having actually actively listened to that WHOLE song, although my 16 y/o daughter has played it loud enough to garner Carnegie Hall status around here. I don’t really like many of Beyonce’s songs and the thought that I should ban my child from listening to any kind of music irritates me. Not that I am a lazy mother or anything like that, but I do remember when I was a kid and I was forbidden to listen to music from artists like Easy-E, Dr. Dre & Snoop, N.W.A. & Ice Cube (before he went to acting), Method Man, and Warren G & Nate Dogg, just to name a few.
Let me tell you, today I CAN’T STAND anything by Easy-E. I actually hate just about ALL rap music; but when I was being forbidden from listening, I remember how I would sneak home tapes from my friends, copy them and listen to the music in my headphones with no one being the wiser. I was rapping stupid crap like “Nasty B**ch” and “B**ch Betta Have My Money” and “F**k the Police” and “Regulate” and such like that mess was a part of my English writing homework.
It didn’t do my folks any good to try and tell me what I could and could not listen to. I did it anyway. I had to learn a lot of stuff on my own and the hard way because instead of them talking to me about it and what they felt was wrong about the music, they tried to shield me from some much needed knowledge. Today, I don’t try to shield my daughter from any knowledge at all. There’s things she needs to know from me and decisions she will have to make up on her own, but with HELP from knowledge she received from me.
Back to the post, one of the commentors said something about (paraphrasing and summing up here) this being the information age and our kids being able to go and look shyt up for themselves when they want to know what #surfboarding means (besides the very innocent thought of actually putting a surfboard in the gulf/ocean/beach and riding an actual wave). My thought to comment, which I did not, was that our kids learn from us. They wouldn’t really have ever considered going to go look stuff up if we hadn’t either a) encouraged it by TELLING them to look up stuff, or b) went to look shyt up on our own in their presence.
Whether we like it or not, our kids are a complete reflection of us. What they learn, they learn from us FIRST, and then the lessons are very much reinforced from THEM (media, friends, the outside world). But at home we have to start first and stay vigilant. My kid CAN’T STAND that I’m always in her ear about the music she listens to, the TV shows she watches, the websites she visits on her phone. She doesn’t like it but I ain’t finna stop. (excuse the ebonics there….lol)
The thought that really blew my mind about the whole “looking shyt up” thing was that we didn’t go looking up stuff back in the day; if we didn’t know what it meant, we just didn’t know. BUT, I believe that in our songs back then, we didn’t go looking stuff up MAINLY because we didn’t have the necessary means to like kids do today, but MOSTLY because, hell, we ALREADY KNEW what the freak the song was talking about.
You didn’t have to be a genius to know what was being said when SWV sang “Downtown” or when TLC sang about “giving you the Red Light Special”…unless you were a REALLY,and I mean ABSOLUTE really dunce and dumb kid. We didn’t have to have an Urban Dictionary tell us that when H-Town sang “somebody rockin’ knockin’ da boots” that they actually meant someone having sex. When they sang “Do ya body in the back seat” we didn’t need to have a dictionary and a descriptive meme to tell us that they meant having sex in the back seat of a car. We just sang along and hoped we didn’t get popped in the mouth for even having the thought sorta kinda float through our minds.
Hell for that matter, when Marvin Gaye was singing about how he needed some “Sexual Healing”, we didn’t bat an eye as we were 10 y/os singing along. And with that song, we didn’t even have to worry about getting popped in the mouth cuz our parents thought there was nothing at all wrong with that song. When Millie Jackson came on though, all the grown ups either yelled at us to get our “lil wanna be grown asses outta here” or they scrambled to at least turn the radio down, if not OFF.
The Pointer Sisters sang how they needed a man with a “Slow Hand” and nobody batted an eye. And when Salt-N-Pepa sang and performed “Push It” nobody had any doubt they were subliminally rapping about having sex. (Plus the dance to that song was sorta descriptive in it’s own right, even if I didn’t find it outlandishly risque.
I JUST found out last year that when Prince was singing about his “Little Red Corvette”, that the man was singing about a chick on the fast track to being a THOT…if you know what that means. If not…well, there’s that Urban Dictionary out there for ya….
I also JUST found out last year that when D’Angelo sang “Brown Sugar” the man was singing about smoking some weed!! Are you for real!?!?! LOL
And then, there was the comment about the dances today. OMG! Let me tell you, I harbor no love at all for the mess that is “twerking” these days. But, back in MY day… well…honestly, the most risque dance I can think of is The Butt. And really, that was just bumping hips AT THE SIDE with your partner.
I really think that most people (read: MEN) have a problem with “twerking” because THEY can’t do it without looking gay-ish. I mean, I personally think it is horrible for a woman to WANT to just shake her booty like that if she ain’t collecting some cash and using a pole as a prop, but that’s just me. Men, I believe, WANT to join in the fun, but don’t wanna look like they wanna have fun TOGETHER.
Anyway, that’s my long-winded rant of the day about us parents today trying to be upset and sensor our children from today’s crappy music.
It is our job as parents to teach our kids how to determine what they WANT to hear. But regardless of what we say to them, it will end up being a decision that they will have to make on their own. Try and shield them at home and they’re going to look for what’s forbidden elsewhere. It’s human nature. Talk to your kids, teach them what you want them to learn, they will retain the right stuff, even whilst being taught the wrong stuff from outside influences as well. Trust yourself to teach your kids to trust themselves.