Bill O’Reilly is no stranger to controversy. He is one of the most outspoken opponents of rap music and was instrumental in getting rapper Ludacris dropped from his endorsement deal with Pepsi in 2002. Nothing that comes out of his mouth shocks me anymore and his comments regarding Beyonce as of late are no exception.
Russell Simmons was recently on O’Reilly’s show discussing his new book and O’Reilly took this opportunity to probe Simmons on his thoughts regarding Beyonce’s music, her effect on young black girls, and the hypersexualization of her new album and latest single “Partition.” O’Reilly stated “I believe an entertainer like Beyoncé and a mogul like you have an obligation to protect children. Not put out exploitive garbage that you know harms impressionable children. I think Beyoncé — what she has done here — is inexplicable and I’m asking you, Russell Simmons, to explain it to me.” In response Simmons stated that the blame should fall on the parents rather than the children. I completely agree. Since the release of her most recent self-titled album, Yonce has received a considerable amount of backlash and many even go as far as to claim her own husband is partly to blame for her “poor” display of womanhood.
What so many people fail to realize is that
1. Beyonce is an entertainer and as an entertainer her outfits and music are largely for shock value. I have paid top dollar to see Beyonce perform because I love to see what outfits she will rock; plus her dancing skills are impeccable. As an supporter and fan, you want to see her put on a show.
Her lyrics are definitely for mature audiences; just because you have children listening to your music doesn’t mean you should make music only for children. Beyonce has evolved and grown as a woman and her music is reflecting her growth. She shouldn’t have to restrict herself from creating music that she loves just because there are younger audiences listening. You can’t let others dictate your every move. Beyonce has grown as a woman and so has her audience. When I started listening to her, I too was a young girl but now I’ve grown. I wouldn’t continue to listen to Beyonce if her lyrics consisted of the same content she was creating 10 years ago. Also, how does a MARRIED woman singing about how she shows her HUSBAND affection constitute as wrong?
2. Musicians aren’t and should never be thought of as role models (regardless of the fact that some are). As a parent, you should filter what your children listen to and see. Although it’s very difficult to filter everything that your child takes in, parents play a large role in what their child sees and if they don’t agree with Beyonce’s lyrics, outfits, or performances they need to restrict their children from it.
This debate between entertainers and their audiences is never-ending. Although I don’t have any children myself, I know when I do have kids I will not allow them to absorb any information that I think is inappropriate. In this day and age it’s hard to restrict everything but you can do what’s humanly possible to make sure your children aren’t viewing inappropriate content. At the end of the day, you shouldn’t restrict your art because you want to conform to your audience. Every artist has that artistic freedom and it is the responsibility of the audience to filter the art as they see fit.
What do you think? Is Beyonce a bad influence on black girls and today’s youth?