Music always has always been important to me. It has the power to make us laugh, cry and tap into our emotions. As a parent I am very conscious of all types of media my children consume, especially music. Sometimes I feel I’m the only parent who believes that there are some songs kids should not be allowed to listen to. But, am I wrong? Is it harmless to play good music with adult themes, if the meaning is covered up in metaphors?
While I was writing the article about building self-esteem in black girls I was trying to think of songs that affirm brown beauty. The first song that came to mind was India Arie’s “Brown Skin.” Although “Brown Skin” is one of my all time favorite jams, and does an excellent job of celebrating brown skin, it is a very sexual song and is for grown folks. I would not want my 3 year old daughter singing it.
In the past few months, I’ve noticed more and more people posting videos of their children — and most of them look under 5 years of age — singing portions of Beyonce’s, “Drunk in Love.”
Every time I see something like that, I cringe. But the comments sections is filled with people saying how cute it is. Really? Cute?
Metaphors: that’s the excuse that a lot of people give. They say, “Those lyrics have so many metaphors, the kids won’t understand!” I guess to some that makes it ok, but I beg to differ. Kids are hungry for knowledge, and are quick to discover meaning, without adults spelling things out. You could even argue that some kids try harder to find out, when told that something is bad by adults. But even if they really do not understand the meaning, does that make it ok or even cute?
We have to be aware of what kids are exposed to these days. There are near-constant stories of young children having sex in school bathrooms and not all of them make it to the mainstream news. Now, I am not saying that these behaviors are a direct result of music or other media, but I can’t help but think it’s a good idea to keep grown up music for grown up listening ears. Additionally posting a video of your child singing about “drinking watermelon” or “graining on that wood” seems inappropriate to say the least.
Mommies what do you think? Are there certain song you do not allow your kids to listen to? Is there a certain age where kids can listen to anything? Share your thoughts.
Angele is a wife to a wonderful, creative husband, mother to two beautiful, intelligent daughters and a lover of art, education and laughter. She is the creator and author of ABC remix.