All moms should be divas...this one just happens to be in Jersey!

Friday, April 15, 2011

Rihanna: Please, just go away. Now.

As the mom of two boys, part of my role is guiding two young men into the world of friendships and relationships. They will learn by watching, and thank God I have an amazing hubs to serve as a prime example. Unfortunately, they are also growing up in a world in which the media cards seemed stacked against healthy examples. I know parents have bemoaned influences around their kids, well, probably as long as there have been parents and kids. The difference now seems to be how truly out there the female stars are. It's not the scandal of a lone husband-swiping Elizabeth Taylor or burgeoning Madonna trading on sex appeal. It's EVERYwhere. And the most out there and nasally voiced of them all is Rihanna. And she drives me in-sane.

For those of you who don't know, or need a primer, Rihanna brought us that started-as-catchy-then-morphed-to-sensory-torture song "Umbrella" (-ella ella ella yeah ella). She also was in a car with her then-boyfriend, singer Chris Brown, when all hell broke loose. According to reports, they had a rocky relationship and each had hit the other before. In his car after an awards show one night, he pummeled her beautiful face. TMZ floated pics which you can Google if you choose. It was all over the news, and quite the talk of the young middle school set apparently at the time. Faced with the topic of domestic violence and a young son who has always gravitated to hip hop, we used it as a chance to talk about all the horrid parts of the situation. In conversations, we covered hitting girls (and NOT hitting), what to do when you start to get so angry you can't control yourself, and ways to handle it if you are hit by a girl. We used Rihanna as a teaching point because she was inescapable.

Rihanna next surfaced in our house, once again with the domestic violence topic, when she released the song "Love the Way You Lie" with Eminem. I'm not going to lie, I can't stand Eminem. Aside from the checkered past toward women, he always sounds so mean and angry and miserable. In that song, she sings the haunting line "Just gonna stand there and watch me burn, that's alright because I like the way it hurts." It's not metaphorical. They sing and rap about abusing each other, tying her to the bed, and setting the house on fire. What boggled me was Rihanna's choice to do the song BUT not do a single PSA I've been able to find about violence. I thought, "ok, it's awareness" and no, Son1 (then 12) you're not getting that on your iPod. Meghan Fox signed on to do the video with salary going to charity. A helpline appeared at the end. But, from Rihanna? (insert chirping crickets).... not a peep in her own words I could use to talk to my son about the horrifying things he was humming walking around the house.

I do not expect Rihanna to live every moment thinking about the effect her choices have on 13yr olds, but hey, it would be super nice if she did just once since she shows up at the Kids Choice awards. Hearing her say so little after releasing (and HEAVILY promoting) such a track was frustrating. When your kids and teens idolize these morons, and when dufuses like Snooki are plastered all over the place, you kind of lose your own mind discussing how unacceptable it all is. However, even in the "reality show" universe partying is one thing; violence is another. "When you treat people like that, there are consequences," was met with 12yo boy logic of, "yeah she showed him by making a cool song and being really famous so she's ok with it now." UGH. No, not the message I was going for. Back to the parental drawing board.

Over and over again, I hoped her nasally-auto-tuned voice would shimy its way back to Barbados and take that song that blared everywhere with her. In the trajectory of Top40 radio, I knew it would fade. Just as her song "Rude Boy" did, which had my sons singing "Rude boy, is ya man enough... is ya big enough? Is ya hard enough?" And it did fade, just in time for the song-fiasco in which we are now mired... and yet again, I say big thanks to Rihanna.

If you have a very well publicized romance laced with violence, would YOU of all people release a song about S&M? Does my 13 year old REALLY need to know what S&M is? You know I so love hearing my 11 year old Son2 walking around singing , "Sticks and stones may break my bones, but whips and chains excite me!" When I hoped the whole thing was way over their heads, Son2 chimed in with some confusion "So I guess she liked it when she got hit? That's what she's saying." Thanks Rihanna, on behalf of parents of young men who are your fans, and parents of the young girls who they will be dating and the good Lord willing, NOT treating so violently. Thanks for all the lovely conversations we get to have about it NOT being ok to hit, about it NOT being the norm for girls to like being whipped when with a guy (call me a prude). Please, just go away. You've had your 15 minutes and then some. The shock value worked and got you airplay, but it's getting old. You've made some money. Just go. Britney Spears just sang about threesomes with her parent-driving-to-soccer-cringe-inducing hit last year, so that's done. I shudder to think what you could possible sing about that would have greater shock value. Just please, go away.


  1. I can't imagine what it must be like to try to raise kids today. My oldest just turned 30, and we had those moments when I was tempted to smother her in her sleep... I wouldn't wish a teen aged girl on ANYONE! But music lyrics were never an issue. She loved good music, still does.
    When their world is swirl of rap music vids and lyrics, Ipods and tweets, TV commercials warning about the dangers of four hour erections and ED, you have to wonder what we're going to end up with in ten or fifteen years... besides adults with their pants around their knees waddling through Walmart...
    Lotsa luck, ma'am...

  2. I completely agree with you about Rihanna. I was shocked when she did that song with Eminem, and it was almost like she didn't come out and say "this is NOT ok. It's never ok." So many kids listen to songs like those and sing the lyrics not even having a clue what they're singing. I couldn't imagine trying to explain that to teenagers...good luck with that one for sure...

  3. Oy! As a mom of 4 teen/tween sons, I completely agree. When my then 15 year old started singing about how he was going to make good girls go bad I almost broke every radio in the house. All I got from him was, "It's just a song, mom." I guess he didn't take all those psych classes I did in college...oh wait, he's a teenager and knows more than any adult. AAAARGH!

  4. Can I raise my flag of agreement here! I'm not one to "shelter" my kids from the truth, but sheesh...lately things are just OVER THE TOP! I hate the music my older kids listen to. Yeah, I'm "that" mom. The one who listens to oldies and contemporary Christian music. If it's good enough for me, then surely it's good enough for the kiddos right?

  5. Oh, by the way, new follower from Blog Frog!

  6. Stopping from Mom Loop! I am so glad JDaniel likes classical music.

  7. From mom loop--Good for you with the intentional parenting. It might seem like they don't get those messages, but they do (and will repeat them to their own children). We do the same thing...approve what goes on the iPod, and keep them equally focused on other interests.

  8. (applause) I've had my share of insults to direct towards Rihanna myself. She can't sing, yet she's all over my radio airwaves. Enough! From songs about S&M and loving the way someone lies, is there anything positive about this woman? I don't have kids, but I do have two god kids and no one should have to explain S&M to a kid, especially under 10. Radio stations need ratings just like movies.

  9. Rihanna needs to come to my house this summer. She can stay in my guest bedroom and I'll create a Summer Camp she'll never forget, including classes about such things as How To Not Perpetuate Domestic Violence, Personal Pride, Where To Buy Pants So The Public Doesn't Always See Your Underpants, and Don't You Realize Parents Are The Ones Buying CDs & iTunes Music So Stop Pissing Them Off With Your Stupidity You Daft Little Girl with Terrible decision Making Abilities.

  10. Yes,
    You hit a hot button with me. There was a very disturbing article on the cover of USA Today two days ago about this. UGGGHHH!

    and by the way...

    I recently received a “Versatile Blogger Award. Part of the fun is paying it forward to 15 other bloggers that I admire. I selected your blog because over the last year, since I launched my site and jumped feet first into blogging, I have often read your posts and found your site inspirational. I realize this is not a “huge industry award” but bloggers give a lot and often receive very little recognition. I thought you might appreciate some kudos.

    You can stop by my site by clicking on this link. If you decide you want to pay it forward, please do. If not, just know that there are many people out there who love what you do!

    All the Best!
    Kim Bauer

  11. She is a product of the recording industry, Lord only knows why. I hate her music. I hate her message.

    Good luck on raising those boys. I had a daughter, and music, plus the internet, affected her very negatively. My sister has two boys, and they have been into rap since about 1983. They are odd dudes now.

  12. Good read and couldn't agree more.