Written by PTC | Published March 19, 2021
During Sunday’s Grammy Awards broadcast, we were reminded how important music can be in our lives, and perhaps music has never been more important than during the yearlong nightmare of COVID-19.
We heard a beautiful tribute to the late, great singer Bill Withers, whose inspiring lyrics of Lean on Me perfectly embodied the selfless men and women on the front lines of the pandemic.
But we also witnessed the worst that music has to offer. Cardi B and Megan Thee Stallion performed their hit song, WAP – which stands for “Wet-*ss P*ssy.”
As if the song’s lyrics weren’t obscene enough on their own, they performed the song while simulating sex acts on stage and dancing against a giant stiletto heel/stripper pole.
On broadcast television. During primetime. With no meaningful warning to parents.
Teenaged girls watching the Grammy’s for the live performance of BTS – an immensely popular K-Pop boy band – first had to sit through this obscene performance of “WAP.”
And what message did those teenaged girls get from the performance? I’m going to give you a sample of the lyrics, but I warn you, don’t read any further if there are children nearby. These lyrics are graphic, vulgar, disgusting.
“I said, certified freak
Seven days a week
Make that pull-out game weak
…Beat it up n*gga
…Put this p*ssy right in your face”
Believe it or not, the lyrics actually get worse from there.
But let’s put this in context. Recently we’ve seen the beloved Muppets franchise moved into “age-restricted” territory because Disney is worried about “problematic content” kids might be seeing.
They think that classic cartoons like “Peter Pan” and “Dumbo” are too harmful or offensive for children to watch by themselves; yet they push programs like “PEN15” with a 13 year-old female character masturbating, and “A Teacher” that romanticizes a high school student engaged in a sexual relationship with his teacher, via their Hulu streaming network.
What a world we live in, when Peter Pan and Dumbo are bad for kids, but “Wet-*ss P*ssy” is perfectly appropriate for network television!
Artists have every right to confound empowerment with debasement, and sexiness with debauchery, but a broadcast television network carries a higher standard -- especially during the times when children are likely to be in the audience. Shame on CBS for putting it on the air.
But it’s important to remember that these aren’t the only examples of this kind of blatant double-standard. Hollywood markets programs like “13 Reasons Why,” which has been linked to a surge in teen suicides; and “Big Mouth” that sexualizes pubescent children in disturbing, appalling ways (including one young boy offering to fellate his father if his father will let him go home instead of having to stay at camp). Kids can readily access “Euphoria” on HBO, which glamorizes teen substance abuse and portrays full-frontal nudity of child-aged characters.
The list goes on and on…
If Sunday night’s Grammy’s debacle doesn’t prove that we are in a fight for the survival of our culture – for our children’s future – nothing will.