All Articles Tagged "sophia grace"
In a recent interview with JuJu Chang for ABC’s “Nightline,” Nicki Minaj sat down to chat about everything from witnessing abuse during her childhood to being compared to Lady Gaga. Naturally, during the conversation the actual content of her music came into question. Late last year, after a video of Sophia Grace passionately singing Minaj’s song “Superbass” went viral, the artist said she and her crew developed a running joke: “Can Sophia sing this?” While she said she never wants to offend mothers with her music, she didn’t come into the industry to appeal to children.
Ok that’s… understandable. Even though you wear bright Barbie colors and speak/rap like cartoon characters, aka elements which are appealing to children, we’ll give you a pass on that one. I’d argue it’s the parents’ job to keep their children away from things they don’t want them to see or hear for as long as possible. But we’ll get to that.
The interview went on to address whether or not Minaj’s lyrics, and really her career at large, contain a “girl power” message. Watching the interview, I’m under the impression that, for whatever reason, ABC wanted to portray her in a very positive light. They highlighted Minaj’s song “Moment for Life” and aired clips of her explaining what it meant to be “bossed-up” as a woman in the industry.
True, those two examples would definitely paint her in the pro-girl power light; however the segment didn’t highlight one of Minaj’s most recent singles, “Stupid H*e” or the fact that she relies on one asset in particular during her music videos.(See her booty clapping in a cage during “Stupid H*e” or winding up in Big Sean’s “A*s.” ) Or even the fact that while she encourages women to be independent and successful, she often refers to herself and her competition as bytchs, though she didn’t seem too fond of the term in the interview. Contradictions.
On the other hand, we can’t deny that Minaj is achieving success based on her talent and business acumen. Her album, which has been criticized as being sub-par at best, is selling slowly but she’s going on a world tour to promote it, so even if she loses on album sales, she’ll make much more money touring. She’s signing endorsement deal after endorsement deal and she’s said time and time again that she refuses to rely on a man to provide success for her.
So what are we to make of all this?
If you were to ask me, I’d say nothing much.
We shouldn’t be looking toward any artist or entertainer to be a complete role model for us. Really, most people can’t be complete role models for us. If you examine any one person long enough, you’ll find something you definitely don’t want to emulate. This is as true for ordinary people as it is artists. The only difference is that with non-famous people you may have more insight into why they do the foolish things they do, whereas a celebrity may or may not feel the need to constantly explain him or herself, knowing that they’ll never have the approval of everyone.
While I won’t deny that I have a general interest in what celebrities may or may not do, when they act a fool, with the exception of a few, I can’t say that I’m truly surprised. 1. Because we’ve all been known to act a fool on occasion and 2. Because I don’t know, and therefore, have relatively low expectations for them. Jezebel reported that Minaj embraces being a feminist role model. I can see why she might think she fits that mold but I won’t look to her for that, simply because I have better examples.
Some people see a problem in the fact that impressionable people, children and adults alike, can start to internalize the images Minaj and other artists portray as some type of guidebook to life. It is a problem and people surely will take on celebrity role models. But children, in the care of their parents, shouldn’t only have those images to teach them what life’s about. And grown folks who willingly subscribe to Nicki’s antics as the best way to live life are…probably beyond help.
But more people than you might suspect are looking toward celebrities and Minaj isn’t the only one. There are people doubting the plausibility of successful marriages because so many Hollywood unions end in divorce. There are people personally offended because they feel Beyoncé lied to them about her pregnancy. And there are people who refuse to accept or acknowledge that Whitney Houston used drugs because they want to remember her fondly.
The best we can hope for from some celebrities is that they just might use their platform to do some good. And honestly, though not always consistently, I’ve seen Minaj do that.
I say all of that to say this, people, celebrities and common-folk alike, are complex. And being in the limelight doesn’t change that. People are never all good or all bad. The trick is learning what elements you may want to take from them and what elements you want to leave alone. Keeping that in mind, there’s no need to be surprised when Nicki Minaj is doing something positive like making it out of an abusive home and establishing a successful career as a woman in a male dominated industry. Just like there’s no need to be surprised when she releases a video that looks like it could have been shot at the now defunct Freaknik and aired on the similarly terminated, “Uncut.” She’s a human being. By nature, she’s full of contradictions and if we can expect anything from her, we can expect that we’ll agree with some of her choices and disagree with others.
By the way, you can watch the interview in its entirety below:
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While everybody is still talking/reeling about Nicki Minaj’s “Hell raising” performance at the Grammys, we totally missed the two little British girls do their thang on the red carpet.
Sophia Grace Brownlee, 8 and her cousin Rosie McClelland, 5 are probably best known for their sickening cute cover of Nicki Minaj’s hit song, “Super Bass” on YouTube. The video of them twirling around in pink tutus and princess crowns was so big that it got the attention of Ellen DeGeneres, who brought the girls on to perform it live with their idol Minaj. Eventually, this led to them being invited back to perform Keri Hilson’s version of “Turn My Swag On,” and a request by Ellen herself to cover the American Music Awards for the show.
On Sunday, the British invasion known as Sophia and her sidekick Rosie glided around the red carpet in gold and pink princess costumes rubbing elbows with Lady Antebellum, Rihanna, Katy Perry, Fergie, and Taylor Swift among others. During the show, Rosie confessed to Ellen that “we weren’t nervous but we were hungry…” so they even paused for a sandwich and juice box break on the red carpet. I swear children can be so deliciously cute sometimes. It makes me want to have a bunch of them but then I realize that I have to take care of them and go back to playing with my dog.
Like the rest of America, I have sort of fallen in love with Sophia and her off-beat cousin. Every since watching them on YouTube and then again on Ellen, I marvel at how talented and sophisticated they are to be so young. But I do wonder though if Sophia Grace and Rosie were two little black girls named Tamika and Shante, would we consider them special? Or would they, along with their parents, be chastised for having those kids sing songs that are way too grown for them? I mean, I can probably go outside right now and find several little Black girls singing all sorts of popular songs off the radio, so what makes them different?
Whether we like to own up to it or not, there is something both gravitating and gratifying about watching white people appropriate other people’s culture. We love it when Jimmy Fallon and Justin Timberlake do a melody of rap songs more than we love watching the rappers, who actually sang them. We marveled at the spectacle of the white girl with her keyboard sidekick jamming through Look At Me Now, even though we don’t like Lil’ Wayne and Chris Brown. And what about the video of the white teenager singing Rack City with his grandma? It was quite cool watching his grandma do the awkward jig in the background while her sweat jacket-hooded grandson lip synced to the uncensored version. Those sorts of things are amusing to us. However we better never catch Tyreek and Grandma Bertha doing that. We would be the first people online searching the yellow pages for the number to Child Protective Services.
The implication here, of course, is that the fictitious Tyreek and his Grandma Bertha are not innocent or impetuous like the hooded white teenager. The assumption is always that they probably live in a predominately Black community and therefore are pre-disposed to criminal activity. Therefore, they need both help and condemnation. Whereas the white teenager and his grandma, well they are being delightfully mischievous. Of course, I’m comparing a real life instance to a ghost example however study after study has revealed that there is some truth to how we internalize these ideas. For instance, CNN recently conducted their own version of the now famous black doll/white doll test and showed that even 60 years after the initial experiment, both black and white children not only prefer the lighter skinned dolls but also identified the darker skinned dolls as bad.
This sort of subconscious association makes it easier for folks – Black, White and in between – to readily accept or even make stereotypes based upon what we have been conditioned to believe. Even if the truth is as far away from the stereotype. Just ask the Chicago news reporter, who took the words of the innocent 4-year old Black boy, who just witnessed a murder, and manipulated them to make him seem like a little serial killer in training.
Now I don’t say all of this to throw shade at little Rosie and Sophia. I honestly think they are cute as buttons. However I do wish sometimes that we have the same sort of whimsical fascination with little Black girls and boys as we do with them. In many ways, our attempt to shield our children from stereotypes placed upon us as a race has done just as much damage to their self-esteem than the actual stereotype could. If they grow up believing that, because of their color, everything they do is inherently wrong and worthy of added scrutiny and punishment, then can we really blame them when they grow up to be ashamed and distant from identifying with being Black?
Charing Ball is the author of the blog People, Places & Things.
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Sometimes I think my moral radar is a tad bit off. My sister showed me this video of little Sophia Grace Brownlee singing Nicki Minaj’s hit “Super Bass”. When you see that a kid is about to perform a popular song, the assumption is that it’s going to suck. But little Sophia surprised me. She knew all the words, the tempo and she put on a little show in her pink tutu and tiara. After I watched the video I thought. How cute! The girl should go into show business. (I peeped how she was able to pick out the changes in pitch throughout the song.) And that was all I thought about it.
Then this morning I saw that Clutch Magazine had done a story on this same video. While many people applauded Sophia’s efforts, the writer over a Clutch was “disgusted”.
Did I miss something?!
Sure, “Super Bass” is not the most child-friendly song on the radio these days but as many times as I watched this video I noticed Sophia substituted some of the more “adult words”.
For instance in the original song, Nicki says, ” …he cold, he dope, he might sell coke“. Whereas Sophia says, “He might sell a car“. And when Nicki says, “And yes you’ll get slapped if you’re lookin’, hoe.” Sophia says “And yes you’ll get slapped if you’re looking hot.”
We can all remember listening to and singing songs that maybe weren’t so age-appropriate. For me it was Jodeci’s “Freakin’ You” and H-Town’s “Knockin the Boots.” I had the general idea, but for the most part I had no idea what I was singing about and I wasn’t substituting any words either.
So my question is this video really something to be disgusted by?
What do you think?