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Wednesday, 26 June 2013

Celebrity Role Models

I’ve just been reading on about all the flack this British author is getting for writing a damning article about Rihanna and how she is negatively influencing young girls. Liz Jones wrote that Riri has no qualms about publicly showing the fact that she loves smoking weed, has like a zillion tattoos, glamorises guns, promiscuity and for me, the worst one, going back to Chris Brown (for a time) who had previously beat her black and blue. Of course Riri had a snide response to the article and basically told Liz Jones that she was “jealous of her money” and to sod off. That response was all well and good and only to be expected from Riri. But where I totally disagree with her is where she says, “...“Role Model” is not a position or title that I have ever campaigned for, so chill wit dat!”  Errrmmm, no Riri, no. Once you decide to become a public figure, you inevitably become a role model whether that is your intention or not. It is not something that is "forced" upon you or something you can say “Nah, I’ll pass”. It comes with the territory so YOU need to “chill wit dat”.

What I found even more surprising were the number of comments supporting Rihanna and saying that she really should not answer to anyone or bear some sort of responsibility towards her young fan base. Now don’t get me wrong. I don’t have anything against Riri. I loooove me some Riri music.  In fact, Unapologetic is playing in my car as we speak. However, I am 32 and not 16 or even 22, so it is highly unlikely that I will put her on a pedestal and want to be like her “when I grow up”. I will not want to dress, act or behave like her. I am a woman who has come into her own and to me she is just another artist and to be forgotten about as soon as I switch off my radio. That is not the case with the tweens and teens that make up the bulk of her fan base. Whether she or anyone else likes it or not, she IS a role model!

Someone commented on this story and said, “Role models are parents, family members and community leaders. It’s sad when we as a society encourage our children to look up to complete strangers! The problem is with us not her. If I ALLOW my teen, child, niece or whoever to look up to Rihanna instead of living my life as an example for her to look up to then I have failed”. I totally agree with what he/she said. A child’s foundation, mentally, psychologically, spiritually etc is the responsibility of its parents, family members and community leaders. We are the ones that need to make sure that our children have enough self-worth to know what is right and what is wrong. However, that sure as hell does not mean that artists like Rihanna can think they do not have any influence on young children. As I said before, if you are a public figure then you automatically become some sort of influential role model. Rihanna didn’t just become famous because she was singing to rocks and pebbles. It’s her fans, her YOUNG fans that made her! Whether she likes it or not, they do look up to her to a certain extent. If you don’t want that responsibility, then don’t go looking for fame or at the very least, don’t live your life publicly and post everything about your life for all to see on Twitter or Instagram!

That is all.