Should Our Entertainers Also Be Our Role Models?

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    There is something alluring about the imagery of TI tossing a Molotov cocktail into an abandoned warehouse.

    It’s dangerous, it’s terrible, it’s the bad-boy type of sexy that is at times undeniable.

    There is something intriguing about listening to Teairra Mari croon about the dynamics of “sponsorship.” Watching her proudly tout baubles and goods fronted by a pseudo-sugar-daddy-sponsor is simply interesting.

    The idea of watching a young woman by the name of Kiely Williams demonstrating exactly what a night of “spectacular” sex is like in a music video appeals to many people. Perhaps it’s a turn on, perhaps it is liberating, perhaps it is disgusting. Irregardless of the emotion it stirs in the viewer, such a video is compelling.

    Sure we detest negative imagery in the media; but don’t we also oblige it? Russel Crowe said it best in the movie “Gladiator,” when he brazenly shouted to an arena of onlookers taking in the sight of imprisoned men fighting beasts and well armed men alike in a battle for their lives:

    “Are you not entertained?”

    The truth is, you are. You are entertained by sex, drugs, violence, grandiose things, pretentiously glamorous people and the underside of life. We all want to watch others do the things that we never can or never will. You may never be the cause of warehouse arson, but admit that there is something about the flames that make you want to watch.

    You may be too independent to ever expect any person to sponsor your Gucci-store-exploits. But admit that you watch Tierra Mari flaunt such a lifestyle, and marvel over the sight of how the other half lives.

    Maybe a night of random, irresponsible yet spectacular sex is not your vernacular. But admit that you would watch a music video based on this premise and talk about it, think about it, secretly envy it, or adamantly detest it.

    Whatever your perspective on the controversies birthed by today’s entertainers, admit that in the end, we are all entertained. With that said, I must ask, at which point do we separate the role models from the entertainers and accept each for what they are. Many of the most successful entertainers in the world have ridden the wave of controversy to the top of the industry. Superstars are super because we, the consumers, make them that way.  We demand that they keep our attention, then slam them for doing the things that are inherently entertaining. What if it is you and I who are responsible for and accordingly guilty of causing the idolization of less  than wholesome public figures? Really who is to blame? This discussion can so easily become a battle of which came first, the chicken or the egg; but there is something valid about the argument that we should not expect our entertainers to carry more than one torch if, in the end, we simply want to be entertained.

    Take a look at some of the most recent stars to stir up conversation of who and what a role model is. Should we expect these people to keep us interested and teach our children at the same time, or should we separate the two responsibilities?


    “I’m Back”

    Kiely Williams

    Teairra Marie

    Take a look at some of your favorite entertainers in the gallery below and decide; role model, entertainer, or both?

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