Prom 2014: Would You Let Your Kid Have A Celebrity Prom Date?
My daughter has lived a privileged life in a great many ways. Pay no mind to her class status or how hard/easy her life has been. Never mind material goods like iPads and green grass. Never mind if the spoon is silver, gold or copper.
My kid has been able to meet some of the biggest names in music and culture. Alicia Keys. LL Cool J. Kendrick Lamar. Dr. Cornel West. Rev. Jesse Jackson. She even shook hands with a would-be President Barack Obama. I never hesitate to remind her that these encounters are not normal and to be wholly appreciative of them.
These days kids are asking for a celebrity prom date in what seems like a year-end matching ritual, largely driven by social media. And the stars are often saying, “Yes!” They almost never say no, often opting to blame “scheduling conflicts.”
This is evolution in a great many ways, because “back in my day” you were lucky to get a lousy autograph with a person of note. The best I did as a kid was a quick second with Charles Barkley, but if I could take Lisa Bonet to the prom? I’m sorry, Tina, but you would have been replaced!
Question: Would I allow a celebrity to accompany my daughter to the prom?
My first instinct was, “Sure!”
Why not? She would be a teen by that time and it would be a cute, special moment for her. And, it would probably make the star look good too. Isn’t that what life is about – a series of unforgettable, epic moments strung together?
Then, I remembered, life is also a bunch of learning experiences with a wide range of educational levels, so to speak.
Then, I realized AGAIN (thanks to social media) that kids are doing more than asking famous folks to hang out. They are requesting for just about everything (just look in the comments section of any celebrity Instagram).
And then there are the actual superstars.
By and large most are cool for a quick flick, but letting them have potential one-on-one time with a minor? My feelings quickly changed – word to James Franco and R. Kelly. Franco had a quick meeting with a 17-year-old and then the pair started going back and forth on Instagram and he didn’t seem to care she was under-aged. And everybody knows the controversy that is Robert Kelly.
To answer the question. I would probably let my own child go to the prom under certain conditions.
1) It would have to be an artist or celebrity that was appropriate. This means Chris Brown and Justin Beiber, should they be popular in the future, would not be acceptable. On the flip side, there may be some stars that don’t overtly seem appropriate, but are. These artists are mostly pushing an image and are sometimes low-key good people.
2) There would be some ground rules set. No touchy touch. All activities would be at a well-attended, well-lit and well-monitored place like a high school gym. This would mean, I’d be there too; to make sure the whole affair doesn’t turn into a real-life scene from the parent version of “Carrie.”
3) The star and his handlers and I would have a conversation. Just to ensure we’re all clear.
4) I, of course, would also have a conversation with my lil’ big one to make sure that the code of conduct is respected by all parties including her.
5) The last condition is one that transcends a quick press-worthy moment with a shooting star. I’ve already put in tremendous groundwork to make sure my child knows how to act around folks, celebrity or otherwise.
More importantly, I’ve constantly pushed the ideal that she shines as brightly as anybody in lights. Stressing self-respect is supremely challenging, because we live in a world where all celebrities (i.e. singers and rappers) are revered as kings, queens or gods (and they believe it). I definitely believe those barriers are becoming thinner by the day (Thanks again, social media!), but they remain strong.
Personally, I hope my kid is strong enough to turn down an opportunity to the prom with a celebrity, because she’s full of confidence and cockiness.
Shoot, I wasn’t.
Still working at meeting Lisa Bonet.
Just a picture.