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Stop Asking Artists Like Lil Nas X, Cardi B and Britney to Raise Your Children

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Many parents rely on kid-centric entertainment to get through the days, much of which involves screens and speakers. They’re the new and improved (and non-narcotic) mother’s little helpers: Sesame Street, Disney +, Kidz Bop, etc. Child-appropriate entertainment that lets mommy or daddy have a little time to relax. In fact, Nanny Elmo is one of the only reasons this writer is able to get any work done sometimes.

As adults, it’s easy to figure out what’s appropriate for a kid to watch or listen to. Blood and gore? Nope. Explicit language and genital grinding? Big nope. Satanic imagery? Probably not. Yet some parents still seem confused about who and what is appropriate for children to interact with, and hold strangers accountable for their own kid’s exposure to what they consider inappropriate content. Enough is enough.

Last month, Lil Nas X released “Montero (Call Me By Your Name)” and at one point the accompanying music video shows the gay rapper giving the devil a lap dance before breaking his neck and taking his horns. We’ve seen more devil role play in PG-13 movies, but, boy, did it make the conservative parents of America a little hot under the collar. Their argument? Lil Nas X’s 2019 breakout single “Old Town Road” was loved by their kids, but now, on the same YouTube channel, he’s doing sexual favors for Satan. The rapper responded on Twitter: “i literally sing about lean & adultery in old town road. u decided to let your child listen. blame yourself.” followed by “i am an adult. i am not gonna spend my entire career trying to cater to your children. that is your job.”

But it seems that women, particularly moms in the music industry, are unfairly and more aggressively targeted for their role in children’s lives. Fox News accused Cardi B, mother of 2-year-old daughter Kulture, of “attacking American values, American traditions” with her performance of “WAP” at the Grammy Awards. The rapper has been shamed for the very fact that she is a mom who makes music for adults. Yet in one viral Twitter clip, Cardi B is seen turning off “WAP” when her daughter toddles into the room, proving that the very writer of a song whose title stands for “wet ass pussy” knows it’s not appropriate for kids. This one seems like a no-brainer to us.

Miley Cyrus, who once played a straight-laced preteen on the Disney Channel show Hannah Montana immediately came under scrutiny when she became an adult and turned her attention to music and performance art. She was accused by parents of being an inappropriate influence on their impressionable children with her revealing clothes and over-sexualization in music videos. It seems, though, that parents are more focused on sexualizing young women than are those kids who enjoy the artist’s work.

Take Britney Spears, a mother of two teenage boys who has received an enormous amount of unwarranted criticism throughout her decades-long career in music. Spears made headlines in recent weeks for The New York Times‘s documentary Framing Britney Spears, which examines her conservatorship but also reminds us how she was treated by not just parents but the media as well, particularly during the height of her career in the early aughts.

Plenty of children of all ages adored the pop star, packing stadiums and buying CDs. But her every move was examined almost microscopically by those who saw her as a bad influence on children. Concerns included her clothing, lyrics and an unhealthy debate on whether her breasts were “real.” In a now-controversial 2003 interview with Diane Sawyer, made popular again by the documentary, Sawyer, who does not have kids, tells Spears she has “upset a lot of mothers in this country,” seemingly justifying comments made by the wife of then-Maryland Gov. Robert Ehrlich who said she’d shoot Spears if she had the opportunity. Spears simply responds that she is not a babysitter.

We couldn’t agree more, Britney. 

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