One Winter evening, my sister was watching TV with her daughter. In among the adverts and sitcoms was a music show featuring various talented musicians and then after them, Rhianna came on stage.
The Time Magazine-declared: “One Of The Most Influential People In The World”: the multi-Grammy-, American Music-, Billboard Music- and Brit-Award winning, 150-Million album-selling artist Rhianna. And she wasn’t wearing much.
(A Young Lady In Her Underwear. Source: http://www.thecostmag.com/tag/rihanna/page/3/)
As RiRi gyrated her way around the stage my niece, confused by Rhianna’s choice of (lack of) clothing, asked my sister:
“Mum, why do women walk around on TV with their clothes off?”
My sister thought for a moment. Then replied:
“That’s a very good question… I don’t know why they do.”
My niece was nine years old.
Not wearing much clothing has been part of the entertainment industry for as long as I can remember and probably from before I was born. It provides something to look at and if performers were to just walk on stage wearing their regular clothes then they’d just look like… some bloke down the pub. Where’s the fun in that?
(A Young Man Down The Pub. Source: https://uk.pinterest.com/pin/62135669831453364/)
A young girl looks at what is considered, by most of us, a now-pretty-standard display on a music show and then she will think that’s normal. If she sees or learns about exceptional people, then she will consider them, if not normal, then at least someone to aspire to.
I don’t completely blame Rhianna or Lady Ga Ga, etc for failing to take on board that their actions or appearance will influence children who look up to them. Once you get to a certain level in the entertainment industry you are just a small cog in a big machine, even if it’s your face on the front of magazines and the machine is of your making. You are bound by obligations to those who now have their livelihood based on how popular you are. I know, because I used to be a rock star.
Among the team you would have various stylists preparing you for each photo shoot, TV show, and music video. I can remember the stylists I met in London, LA, etc. Their job is not the most intellectually challenging but it seems fun: dressing up famous people for special occasions… it’s almost like being a carer to the stars.
As the face at the front of this machine that’s been created around you, most of the team are happy to see you in some new controversy that will garner you free media space and thus promote your brand further.
The controversy can’t be too controversial, just enough to shock a little. You get found out to be a racist or something: you’re career’s over; wearing something revealing: free advertising.
(The Secret Of Success)
There’s an arms race to be more provocative as that controversy gets you column space, TV time and social media shares. Any press is good press. All this is PR: free advertising that keeps you noticed and keeps you and your products in people’s minds.
You could even say it’s not their job to be role models, they’re just popular figures in the entertainment industry… Lighten up.
Fair enough, but who would you rather the next generation aspire to be like:
- Courageous, dignified individuals who had the strength and resolve to fight against the prevailing ignorance that they found themselves forced to confront?
- Someone who walks around on stage in their underwear?
This is where we come in…
We need role models and heroes that show our children how to overcome adversity in the face of impossible odds.
Heroes that show our children that they can overcome the challenges of prejudice and injustice, whilst keeping their dignity and self-respect.
Those that will help our children to become the heroes that we know they can be, if they have examples of real life heroes to show them how it’s done.
And that’s why we created Historical Heroes. Subtly animated, reimagined stories of real life heroes for the iPad, that will inspire (and educate) our children.
Try a free preview of our first hero, Anne Frank: