Thursday, April 1, 2021

The Old Town Road to Hell

Look, I am not going to take up too much of your time, but can we settle this Lil Nas X thing real quick so that I can go back to Busy Black Momming (planning the Kid's 6th Birthday Party)? Because Old Town Road is staying on the party playlist...

I saw Montero. I wrote a Facebook post about Montero which I subsequently edited to clarify that while I was definitely clutching my pearls (like any respectable Busy Black Church Lady would), I was not condemning him for making Montero. Because I got the message, especially as a life-long hat-wearing Busy Black Church Lady who grew up recognizing the hypocrisy of inconsistent and morally selective Christian doctrine. Therefore, I won't take up too much of your time by providing my laundry list of examples. And before you point out how it might be ironic that I am now in that minority of regular church-going Believers, I assure you that is because I have lived long enough to understand why the old folks admonished us to get to know Jesus for ourselves. As such, I have determined that my friend Jesus probably would not approve of Call Me By My Name, but as someone who overturned tables and cursed folks out in the Temple...He ain't casting stones.

When I watched Lil Nas X slide that fireman's/stripper pole down yonder, my eyes popped out for a moment. When the serpent licked his crotch in the Garden, my hand went over my mouth as I audibly gasped. When I read that he also released a pair of limited edition sneakers with a drop of blood in the sole, I laughed out loud because even satanic same gender loving sex sells!

Yes, it was provocative, but that was exactly the point. He posted a bunch of explanatory tweets and allegedly apologized, but then he also promised his followers a 12-pack pair of Hanes socks if his song went to number one, so who knows when he's being sincere or when he's trolling? Because let's be honest, he is popular, so he's just doing what every other marginally talented performer in the past has done, which is ride this gimmick until he can't no more.

Folks are actually out here on Blue Ivy's internet complaining about the bad example he's setting for their children. Ummm, he ain't nobody's Daddy (as far as we know). We've done this before with other artists who have made the transition from the Mickey Mouse Club to hot young thang. The easiest examples to cite are Britney Spears and Miley Cyrus, and yes, y'all lost your minds over their embrace of their sexuality too, but you got over it. When New Edition broke up and there was Bell Biv Devoe singing Do Me Baby on one side and Bobby Brown Humping Around on the other, we just kept on dancing. Brandy sang about how she Wanna Be Down and Usher released an entire album of Confessions admitting to his f*ck boi tendencies. Back in my day, Madonna burst onto the scene singing Like A Virgin and there were a lot of comparisons to Cyndi Lauper who just wanted to have fun (without specifying what fun really was in the middle of the night). Michael Jackson was hanging out at Studio 54 and singing about a groupie named Billie Jean whom he denied impregnating. Are we forgetting this?

The only difference I see is that Lil Nas X is gay, but I don't recall he was ever in the closet, so his orientation has never been a secret. It isn't like Elton John where folks had the nerve to be full blown shocked despite numerous hints and clues over the years. Lil Nas just saved you the trouble of speculation, except for the meaning of Panini, which I might be taking too literally. This is just his version of Control. A typical coming-of-age Miley astride a wrecking ball naked or Britney dancing with a snake level stunt. He's legal and twerking a CGI version of himself as the devil. Shrug.

No, it doesn't offend me that he used to perform for kids, even appearing on Sesame Street. So did Lin-Manuel Miranda before he did Hamilton (and none of these kids listen to the clean version of that soundtrack or the mix-tape). A bunch of artists have gone on Sesame Street and adapted their songs for that audience, and when they returned to their adult fan base and switched things back, y'all knew how to apply the appropriate parental filters. How is this different?

Isn't this why Tipper Gore advocated for warning labels on music before her not really ex-husband invented the internet? So that you would listen/watch before exposing your children to possibly objectionable content. If it is a hit dance song, there is probably is a clean version via Kidz Bop, Just Dance, or Radio Disney or you can just avoid it altogether. That is one of your fundamental, inalienable rights as a parent. To pre-view and decide that Katy Perry running around after Elmo in a low-cut skating outfit is too much, while Nick Jonas serenading polygon shapes seductively is perfectly fine.

You get to make those decisions. Remember how you used to watch soap operas with Grandma and she would send you to another room during a sex scene? Or when your Dad ignored the film rating because he thought that a movie with Richard Pryor and a bunch of kids would be okay? Or how you got into trouble because you called that 976 number you saw posted on a telephone pole and got an earful (and didn't know that it cost money per minute, so you got in trouble twice)? Well, you are the parent now. This is part of your job, and with all of these tools that our parents did not have access to, I am confused why y'all seem so unprepared and inept at this.

And do not make the excuse that things are much worse now than they were when we were kids. They aren't. We saw plenty of inappropriate, homoerotic stuff that in hindsight went way over our heads like pro-wrestling or an episode of He-Man. You are worried about near-apocalyptic imagery but never raised an eyebrow when the bad guys had their faces melted off in Raiders of the Lost Ark. At least now you have social media to warn you in advance of what you might otherwise have inadvertently seen or heard.

Please tell me you aren't more horrified by a stylized three minute music video fantasy than the actual real-life horror of watching a 9 minute video of a man being killed on camera. 

That's all I need to say. Even if I did miss the real meaning of Old Time Road, it is actually comical to me that people are this upset (because the Kidz Bop version is much worse). Your grandparents were tripping on acid when they first heard Lucy in the Sky with Diamonds or really blazed when listening to Thank You Falettinme Be Mice Elf Agin (yep, that's the real title). Y'all expected Lil Nas X, the neon rhinestone S&M cowboy to be ambiguous and safe like Sam Smith. In the year 2021, what in the RuPaul's Drag Race kind of foolishness is that?

PS: Y'all know how to Google, so that's why I'm not linking to Montero.

No comments:

Post a Comment