Great feed back on the issue I tossed out! Sure enough there was one comment that really nailed me. My friend Jon Cummings, is a father of two and a very well written music historian, made the point that it's irresponsible for all involved to take such a graphic song, and make it nice for a younger audience. Those kids will become curious and want to hear the original version that is, of course, titled "F*&k You" (how truly unoriginal). Jon's post got me thinking about the argument of social responsibility and art. Gwyneth, a mother of two, has the option to not do a song whose original could cause her kids to learn new words they should not. Maybe they'll ask what nigga is, and maybe why the man uses "f*%k", instead of "forget," so much. And do little kids need to know this stuff now, because their fave TV show says it's time?
It's clear how Ceelo Green feels about this as his video for the song has little kids using the word.
Couldn't Gwyneth talk with the producers and say it's maybe a bad idea? Or does she think that kids are resilient and they will process whatever they learn in an appropriate manner and artists aren't to think about the work they're asked to do. Those decisions are left to producers. The producers, even though they too are parents, are just trying to make a buck, and always get a free pass on responsibility due the the American understanding that "it's business" excuses all lapses in morality. But what about us?
Do we stand up and say "this is a bad idea" or is that taking too much responsibilty? I read years ago where Jenny McCarthy's family was a mess due to alcoholism and that she had a bit of guilt doing beer ads, but she still did them. My friend Kevin Spacey can't do enough movies about the crimes of the past administration. Celebs that speak out for a cause are often slighted for using their celebrity for anything but celebrity scandals.
This though does speak to responsibility. Most actors won't have a say. We'll have to sing, or not sing, the song that is in the script. Gwyneth is a different issue. She's got the yank to make people listen. Is it too touchy feely to hold her responsible? Well, yes…that's the point. This is who we are and where our influence lies. We can change the world with the right song, the right movie, the right phrase. The entire planet saw Harry Potter last weekend. The seventh Harry Potter movie. We are the influence. That influence goes both ways. Why squander that influence on something base and insulting because it sells? You might be thinking; "Oh it's just a fun song, lighten up." You're right, but does that excuse responsibility?
Don't believe that it's easier to go along and you're not really an influence. You're influencing even when you think you're just going along.
Use your art wisely.