May 15, 2010
Big People vs. Little People (Revised)
The little 8-9 year-old girls in that viral video of them dancing to Beyonce's "Put A Ring On It" are the victims of their parents' neglect. It was child pornography, with a beat that can distract you from the fact that some adults made a bad call. Little girls should not gyrate on stage. Period!
This was my teacher/colonialized voice talking. As a child I recall the adults around us loving to see us dance Salsa and Disco. They loved to see the yungins replicate the adult world in terms of physical and verbal expression.
I remember a female cousin and I were very Dance Fever. I would swoop her up and she would do the pique ballet position as I spun her around. Ya know the move, one leg fully extended out while the other bent to the knee of the extended leg. I have pictures to prove it. I was eight-years old and she was five-years old.
The difference between our performance and that of the girls in the video is that it occurred in the safe-space consisting of our relatives. Also, we were both fully dressed. However, I'm sure the songs we danced to where lyrically meant for the adults.
I recall Donna Summer moaning a lot. I'm pretty certain that my cousin and I had no idea what the song was about, but we knew it had a good beat and we could work it.
The parents of the girls in the video make the case that people are reading too much into it. I don't doubt that. However, I do believe that for some of the girls it was just dancing, and for others it was a message about how grown women are suppose to "move" in the world.
It's all very complex, often confusing how and what we teach the yungins, therefore, thoughtfullness is the key. Let's give the children what they can handle emotionally. Don't ask Tootie to make love to the camera, when she has never been kissed by a boy.
It is important to protect children while still letting them figure out their way in the world.
At the end of the day, you plan for what doesn't hit you, and get hit with what you don't plan for.
May I get an amen!?