Wednesday, August 20, 2008

In My Sister's Shadow

I am an older sister so I don't know what it is like to live in the shadows. I hope and have tried to encourage my siblings to create their own aura of light so that they they do not ever have to worry about any residual darkness that may fall from mine. I think they have done this as they are good at what they do and good at who they are (shout out to my parents who helped--LOL).

So, it saddens me when I see celebrity siblings who seem to be desperately trying to emerge from the shadows of their (often) more successful siblings. They do the most ridiculous things so that, I suppose, we will stop calling them Sally Mae's Little Sister and John Boy's Little Brother. And so that we will take them seriously. For instance, Ray J. Why in the world did he try to come out all gangsta in the early part of the century when he is from McComb, MS,--McCOMB!--the son of a gospel singer and the brother of Brandy, sweet pop star Brandy? And a sex tape, Ray J? Really? Then there's Jamie Lynn Spears, whom I guess doesn't really fit this paradigm as one teenage pregnancy hardly distinguishes you from the dead lights of Britney's drama. But the one that I am most appalled by at this moment is Beyonce's sister (who is still just Beyonce's sister at this point), Solange. What is this?
BEYONCE KNOWLES' little sister SOLANGE is set to shock fans on her new album by singing about drug-fuelled sex.The pretty 22-year-old, who was a mum at 18, sings about smoking marijuana and making love on a new Lil Wayne duet, called ChampagneChronicNightcap.And she insists every track on her new album Sol-AngeL & The Hadley St.Dreams is written from personal experience.She tells Giant magazine, "I am unapologetic; I don't write about things unless they're true. I'm a grown-ass woman and I've experienced grown-ass things." Source

I get that she may be grown and she wants people to recognize her "growness," but it has always been apparent to me that if you're grown, you don't have to try to prove it. You just be grown and people will recognize that. And you really don't have to put all of your business out there; grown folks keep that kind of business to themselves. If singers want to sing about adult topics, there's poor health care for adults and children, domestic violence, a rising HIV rate among Black folk, especially women, police brutality, an alarming rate of foreclosure in our community, the election. These are topics that concern grown folk. Okay, these topics probably won't sell records (but they should). One could sing about his/her take on spirituality, important (non-sexual) relationships, being a mother or father. Why is the default way to prove one's maturity sex? It seems to me if that's what someone thinks makes him/her grown, they're not really. And then to promote irresponsible sex on top of that?

I haven't heard Solange's whole album yet (and I probably won't), so maybe this song is just one anomaly among a bevy of mature, responsible songs. But this is not a good way to promote them. And it's not a good way to make a (good) name for yourself.

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