Sunday, January 31, 2010
In the summer of 2006 I started a DJ program for "at risk" youth. For the first time in my entire career I became very mindful about the lyrics of different songs, not just the 'bad language', but the content as well. The truth is, I never thought much about content in the past, but over the years I hear things differently. Mainly I was concerned about songs that glorified violent behavior and how young teenaged girls are so 'sexualized' in pop music. I work with kids, who have already been exposed to so much that it doesn't 'help' when their icons are boasting about their gun collections, gang affiliations or how good they are at "giving head" (obviously referring to some female artists). I do however feel a bit conflicted as in some cases I feel that artistic expression of such experiences can be cathartic and almost therapeutic for some.
I am and have always been a free spirit, so the truth is I would never discourage a teenager or anyone from listening to the music they love, how could I? Just the thought of coming in between an individual and their love of music goes against everything I believe in. All I can do is discourage them from some of the behavior that is demonstrated in some of this music.
There are a lot more boys in the "the system" than girls. Girls are already a special breed and (though this is a subject up for debate) most girls in a therapeutic setting do not receive the care and treatment they need because the psychology of "man" was built and has evolved around the psyche of "man". (Before I go off an a tangin and perhaps a subject for another post). Between all of the above and being a minority in such turbulent classification "at risk" girls are faced with a greater challenge than most of us could ever imagine. Because I do work with this population, I find it to be quite refreshing when artists as influential as Beyonce, takes some social responsibility for the affect that she has over today's youth and releases a song like "If I were a Boy". Though the whole Alanis Morisette thing in her Grammy performance did throw me off a bit, but either way I am grateful for artists like Beyonce who can offer a strong, positive and empowering voice to the girls that need it the most.