I think it’s cute when children sing. It’s cuter when they can stay on pitch, but I don’t have high expectations. After all, they’re children. Some people are blessed with amazing talent that manifests pre-puberty. I acknowledge that and respect that. What I don’t understand is the parents of these talented children. Kids don’t understand that they’d be giving up a “normal” childhood were they to pursue a career.
Perhaps I’m biased because my parents never let me enter the professional realm. I was allowed to do as many local productions and talent shows and art exhibits and recitals I wanted to, but my mom never took me to auditions or to meet with agents or any of that sort of thing. And I’m grateful. While I don’t think anything would’ve come from auditions even if I had been dragged to them, I think my parents saved me from having major ‘tude problems.
I’ve met child actors. They are nasty. They expect to get preferential treatment. Usually because their parents have driven them hours to be an extra in a short film (true story) or because they get what they want while their younger siblings have been abandoned. I realize these are gross generalizations, but I think they are truthful enough to be seriously considered.
Take the Biebs. Is Justin Bieber cute? Yes. Is his music catchy? Yes. Is he genuinely talented? Yes. Does this mean he should have been launched into superstardom at the tender age of 12? (Okay, 15.) OH HELL TO THE NO.
In my opinion (and it is just one opinion of many), the Biebs should’ve worked on his music, done the Youtube thing for a few more years, finished high school, and then launched his career, oh… sometime after his voice changed. Then he never would’ve had the stigma of being a “teen star” and he would’ve been able to at least finish his childhood in a more or less normal environment.
Okay, so J Biebs is 1 in a million. But the phenomena has inspired hideous and insidious things to spring up, such as companies that capitalize by searching for the “next Justin Bieber.” Take, for instance, Jenna Rose and the uncomfortable monstrosity known as “O.M.G.”
Jenna is 12. TWELVE. And she’s gyrating and singing like a Pussycat Doll or a Kardashian. (If Kardashians could sing.) Her parents should be tasered and everyone involved with that video should be in prison. That is in no way acceptable. And this little girl clearly has some vocal talent. Hey Mom and Dad, why not get baby girl a few years of vocal lessons and dance training, let her grow up a little bit, and then let her bust onto the scene? What’s wrong with that?
And let’s not even delve into what happened to poor Rebecca Black. Yes, I hate that song. No, I don’t think she’s that talented, and yes, I hate that video. But she’s thirteen! She’s not old enough to make her own decisions! What were her parents thinking? Now this poor child is the butt of every joke. I’m sure she’ll be fine, but this never would have happened if her parents just let her live a normal childhood.
My point is, there’s a fine line between nurturing your child’s talents, gifts, and passions and exploiting them and/or shoving your child into an adult world where they have no business being.
The exception to this rule is, of course, Willow Smith. Mostly because she arguably never had a “normal” childhood, what with superstar parents and all, and because her music (and the accompanying videos) are fun and age-appropriate. They’re not trying to make her into anything but the fierce little superstar offspring that she is. I’m not saying she might not turn into a cokehead at the age of 14. But she’s the type of chick who likes to rock the beat. And I can’t fault her for that.
Whippin’ my hurr,