Guest Blog - Member of the public
The youth of today are heavily influenced and sculpted by media be it TV, film, advertising etc. Mainstream Music is a key player in all of those with soundtracks influencing how we promote, feel and act. The problem I see is that many musical artists seem to be using this platform of free expression to influence people without accepting responsibility as a positive role model.
An example, the recent surge in wonderful black music has opened the pathway for genres such as raga/dancehall to become more mainstream and widely available. The vocals are unique and the rhythm and beat awesomely catchy. The problem? Whilst this exposure itself is great, many of these artists slam homosexuality, even promote killing homosexual people and are highly sexually explicit. Now I’m sorry if this offends those who relate to these artists in terms of cultural identity, but it bothers me that I have to ask my friend to turn her music off when my kids are in the car because of the level of “rude and inappropriate” language even if the beat is awesome. The same goes for dance moves. Why oh why is it ok that my 6 year old is learning to posture her body in a sexual manner before she is even old enough to know what sex is? Women suggestively using their bodies on TV in music videos is not girl power when applied to a young child.
Pop stars with so much makeup and hair extensions that you have no idea what they really look like, is not teaching my daughter inner confidence and to be proud of who she is. I grew up in the Take That/East 17/Spice Girls era, my teens were 90’s music where yes there were lots of screaming girl fans but I don’t remember sex ever selling me my crush. I adored bands for their songs but also for their mystery. They were truly untouchable unlike now where everyone can be reached thanks to social media and almost anyone can have their 5 minutes of fame even for being dreadful. What is there to aspire to?
As well as loving my 90’s pop groups, I also had a shrine to Elvis in my bedroom, my father was a big jazz fan and that heavily inspired my love of music with soul and depth. My understanding of music as something that takes you on a journey; a tool to influence for the good, to heal, to relate, to give hope and even to comfort. When I listen to Sam Cooke he sings to me, when I listen to much modern music it seems to be singing to the pot of gold. Fast cars, sex, women, stop at nothing egos.
Do we really want such a huge game changer to influence a generation of “me me me’s” especially in a time where poverty, hardship, environmental disasters and war are so prominent? I urge you, go and listen to some John Holt and tell me you wouldn’t rather your child listen to that than Vybz Cartel. Unfortunately given the free flow nature of music, age restrictions is not a possibility, we as a society need to stop accepting it as ok and overlooking the ugly just for a good boogie.
Bring back Disco I say!.