I watched the Beyoncé Superbowl performance and was struck by a few things:
- She’s amazing.
- I know a LOT (okay almost all) of her songs. Word for word. In harmony.
- Apparently Beyoncé, along with Scandal, the presidential campaign, hate crimes and Chick Fil-A, is among the domestic news topics that expose the broad and opposing range of my social media connections. During Superbowl I got everything from scripture to stripper references to praise to technical criticism to frustration.
- Without substance, amazingness is a lot like a shallow action flick. It’s entertaining, but you expect little or nothing by way of plot, depth or meaning.
- Somewhere out there is a slumber-party video of me really badly imitating the Single Ladies music video wearing baggy, stripey satin pajamas and a feathered cardboard crown.
- If they’d done a well-timed release of a Bey-Fit workout DVD to her and her hubby’s music, complete with co-ed workout team, the Carters would be making millions more. Right now. Who do I write to about that?
- There don’t seem to be many pop stars around who don’t sing in panties any more.
- I’m old. Apparently I’ve reached the age where I call things like I see ‘em and am certain my sight is clear.
While I can appreciate shallow entertainment for what it is… It’s hard to understand why entertainers -including filmmakers, actors, musicians, artists, and the incredible Beyoncé as well- who are so brilliant, talented, edgy and great-looking… Would produce anything shallow intentionally.
Why would you want people to have low expectations?
Especially when you’re set apart.
Folk like me, and Joe Blow, and Sandy Smith are set apart too. But it’s far easier for us to pretend no one notices or expects much.
But if reported millions upon millions have their eyes on you, it’s unequivocally because they see more than you, something remarkable in you: Your creator. All the shallow entertainment stuff is a distraction.
As costumes get skimpier and filming gets racier, I can’t help but lament over the little girls idolizing and mimicking their favorite singer… Men lusting or fantasizing about another man’s wife… The perverted confusion of using sexuality as a power statement… The self-defeating paradox of aspiring entertainers being held to the low bar of overexposure set by their counterparts…
What are we feeding? Who’s responsible? What and who’s expendable? What’s sacred anymore? While I’m thankful for the 1st amendment right that allows me to even share these thoughts, I’m sorrowful that our country clamors for a culture of poison, calling it delicacy.
How is an artist to see more from the billions of consumers and how are billions going to see more from artists?
The most popular stuff in America is what’s worst for you. Music, movies, food, novels, news, clothing, products, vehicles, advertisements too often glorify sex, violence, manipulation, hatred, gluttony…
How did we get to the place where we want what’s bad for us? Where we think it’s funny to mock someone’s pain or suffering and ignore our aching? Where we don’t care who’s watching and are ignorant to our bondage? Where it’s not our job, our concern, our role, our life or anyone else’s?
We’re in this together.
And in this big world, it would be truly powerful if every person who had a platform of listening ears and watching eyes, believed they had a responsibility to use that platform to uplift their audience.
But it doesn’t seem like producers, filmmakers, songwriters, musicians, actors, or authors believe that. And it doesn’t seem like sex, violence, slavery, perversion, spirituality or anything else is worthy of sensitivity or care.
Some use the excuse that it isn’t up to them, they have no control. Others use the excuse that it isn’t their style. Others say it’s not what people want to see or hear.
It should be.
I don’t know where exactly folks think their creativity and success comes from, but it ain’t fans, history, drugs, alcohol, fashion or TV.
So how exactly do you place responsibility for the management and shaping of your gift anywhere but with the One who gave it to you?
And is that God, who blessed you with talent, served by uncovering layer after layer of flesh? Or by exposing layer after layer of spirit?
It’s scary to be truly naked.
Maybe that’s why so many artists hide behind fortresses of distracting shock value disguised as culture, art, entertainment.
We need a world where our leaders consistently expose increasing spiritual depth and inspire us to do the same.
Where we build on the strength of the artists, leaders, and humans who came before us by deepening the quality of what we do, through a deepened connection with the source of creativity.
Not by increasing shock value for an increasingly tolerant and numbed audience we’re supposed to be healing through our God-given talents.