Things just got real on “American Idol,” and anyone who has seen the spike in teen violence over the last few years know that, for our kids who are trying to survive this kind of bullying on a daily basis, it’s more real than we could ever imagine.
Like everyone else, I was shocked and dismayed to hear the allegation that Nicki Minaj threatened to shoot Mariah Carey on the set of the television show, “American Idol.” Of course, this is Mariah’s claim, but if it’s true, it’s certainly a problem.
This is not just Diva talk and not just for entertainment. When we get to the point of people making death threats toward one another, we are seeing the worst of what we can be as human beings. Yea, I know Nicki is from the hood. I know things got heated. In fact, I quietly wonder if Nicki Minaj has, like the early Whitney Houston, been branded to be something that she’s not. But the fact remains that she should know better, and I think a lot of us are getting sick of rappers making white people rich by promoting the violent use of guns that are manufactured to put our community into extinction.
I am also concerned about all the little girls who look up to Nicki Minaj and the possibility that they might believe that she actually did threaten to kill her rival. For the rest of us, it might be entertainment. Like a small fire that they are seeking to keep from getting out of control, American Idol executives are seeking every opportunity to put their fledgling show back on top. But for anyone who raises teen daughters in urban settings, you know that this kind of hunger for confrontation can be very real among young black women.
Part of the reason for my concern about violent shows like “Basketball Wives,” (and incidents like this one) is that I remember seeing one of my adopted daughters dealing with other girls in an urban environment. Her school was one of the worst in the state, and it seemed that she couldn’t walk down the hallway without some girl “mean mugging” her, talking about her behind her back or trying to fight her after school. It made me sad, because everything that was sweet and beautiful about my child was turning ugly.
I noticed that her increased level of aggression toward other human beings was largely the result of the fact that she was confronting a jungle-like environment that promoted survival of the fittest. Michelle Obama wasn’t showing up at her school to teach girls not to bully one another. It reminded me of a human/psychological version of the killing fields where Michael Vick raised his dogs to battle one another until the death. No dog can come out of that environment as a sweet little puppy, and few of my daughter’s friends could be the trusting, loving women they needed to become in adulthood.
Some of the girls at my daughter’s school ended up getting suspended for fighting, some of them ended up in jail. The nice girls might end up depressed and perhaps even suicidal because there’s nothing lonelier than being surrounded by bullies when the adults are too busy to care. The violence around us can be like a thunderstorm: We may not be the ones creating the weather, but we are certainly going to get wet.
When celebrities and role models behave this way on television, it should concern us all (yes, anyone that kids look up to is a role model and their parents can’t always stop them from admiring Nicki Minaj). The fact that Nicki Minaj — a multi-million dollar entity and highly successful artist — might do something like this is beyond problematic, and if there are witnesses supporting Mariah’s story, then Nicki should be removed from the show. It seems that black women fighting and trying to murder one another has become the trend of the day, and quite frankly, it’s making me sick.
Things just got real on “American Idol,” and anyone who has seen the spike in teen violence over the last few years know that, for our kids who are trying to survive this kind of bullying on a daily basis, it’s more real than we could ever imagine. Let’s kill the stupidity right now.
Dr. Boyce Watkins is the founder of the Your Black World Coalition and creator of the Building Outstanding Men and Boys Family Empowerment Series.
Op-ed pieces and contributions are the opinions of the writers only and do not represent the opinions of Y!/YNaija.