Monday, August 25, 2014

MTV 2014 VMAs - Superstar Beyonce & Nicki's Anaconda

Beyonce Knowles Carter just came in and stole the entire MTV Video Music Awards show! Just stole it. To the point where I forgot it was an awards show, and felt like I was at the "On the Run" tour itself. And it's a good thing she came on stage, because I was feeling otherwise pretty dismal about the state of popular music and the images these poor young females are being bombarded with.

It was all pretty unsettling...but then Queen B came out and did the damn thing with the right mix of confidence, talent, sexuality, and stage presence that these girls can learn from. She paid her dues, however. She did the Destiny's Child thing as a young woman, and has now proven to be a lady of class and grace, so even with Beyonce shakin it up and down the stripper pole on stage...there is enough context of her behaviour and her persona as a performer, that it was embedded in the right amount of context to make it OK. Great performance.

The appearance at the end from Beyonce's hubby Jay Z and that super duper cutie baby Blue Ivy was fabulous...what more can we say? Any more questions? Any more speculation about their divorce? That display of family affection as they presented her with the night's most prestigious honour (The Michael Jackson Vanguard Award), and the look of humility on Jay's face...Beyonce's genuine tears of gratitude. Even if they ARE divorcing, that whole episode was touching enough to make you not want to speculate about their woes right now. You want to believe they're a happy Hollywood family. You want to believe that the image presented has been true and solid as a rock. It was a nice touch to end the show.

As for some of those other performers (by the way, WHERE were the men tonight??)...not as captivating. Not enough history, not enough respect yet, and definitely not enough clout in the entertainment world for me to stomach their antics and outfits and nonsense. They haven't build up enough context yet for their personalities and actions...what we see is what we get, and that's what concerns me.

I'm so glad I am not a teenage female trying to grow up in the midst of this mess. The entertainment lover in me couldn't help but tune in for the overall adolescent MTV VMAs tonight; the "journalist" in me loves to see the reporting from the red carpet, reading the live-Tweets, and of course watching the post-awards recaps and reading the next-day fashion reviews. It's all good fun for me, and this awards show in particular is always full of excitement and headline-worthy moments, each and every year.

But Ariana Grande and them make me feel sad, because the tight leather, the bodysuits and high boots are too much for a like...14 year old? How old is she? It's too much. She obviously has a fabulous voice, but it just seems like too much sexuality too soon.

Even Miley Cyrus and the whole tongue and Twerking thing last year...she did something great this time around, bringing the homeless man on stage to speak during her acceptance award speech time. Nice gesture, and I suppose she really had to make up for last year's fiasco. Had it not been for that moment, I would still just look at ol Miley with disgust.

Every action, every pose, every outfit...everything is so closely emulated that you can't help but cringe sometimes when you see their actions, or hear them speak. My main thought is that I wish these young women would just be YOUNG women. Cute. Subtle. Even if they're in their 20s, it's still OK to at least hold on to some of that innocence.

Chances are, even though they are in their 20s, most of their fans are pre-teens and teenagers that will try so hard to emulate them, without the maturity or understanding. Last year's "Twerk" fiasco was a prime example...everyone took what they saw, misinterpreted the dance and ran with it based on that one performance. Just too much. Fortunately Miley kinda toned it down this year, but last year's scars are enough to disturb me for a lifetime. The "trying-too-hard" image is in abundance, and I don't know if it's because I'm OLD...or because I know that young women need something a bit MORE to emulate, and something with some substance, and some innocence, and some class.

I can't lie...I don't mind Nicki Minaj. And that's me as a 36-year-old saying that I like her music, and I think she's an original. She'll never be Latifah, MC Lyte, or Salt N Pepa, but it is refreshing to hear a female rapper...and Iggy ain't cutting it. Sorry. But OMG, what do the young girls who watch Nicki think? She's suddenly so hyper-sexual, yet so completely mainstream that it's really really disturbing! Fine, for a grown man/woman to see Nicki shake her ass...but how does a 14-year-old take that "Anaconda" video/performance in?

I'm sooo glad I grew up in the era of TLC, Lauryn Hill, Mary J. Blige and them where it was all baggy jeans, bandannas, and absolutely no nudity and sexuality-in-your-face. Yes, TLC wore all those condoms on their clothing...but they wore a lot of damn clothing, as well! Doc Martin boots, over-sized baseball jerseys. There was no pressure back then to have perfect makeup, a monster bootie, and a flawless mid-drift. All by the age of 18.

Again, it could be a generational thing, but I believe something can be said for leaning more towards the side of modesty and class and good-old-fashioned talent, rather than the gimmicks, the over-exposure, and the sexual antics. More personality, less "persona"... more talent, less trickery. More humility, less diva-ness. Some of these young girls need to earn their stripes, and come up authentically. Put in a couple decades of work before claiming their spaces. They need to look at the examples before them, and focus more on their art than the sale of their image.

Written by Stacey Marie Robinson for the "Urban Toronto Tales" blog.


1 comment:

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