Yesterday I checked my Facebook live feed and saw that Lauren, a friend from California that I met during my time at the University of Hawaii, posted a Youtube video of PS22's Choir singing Lady Gaga's Just Dance. You can see that she and a few others didn't warmly embrace their choice of music.
Because I was lightly familiar with the Choir's background because I was exposed to one of their Stevie Nick's performances in my Educational Media class here at U. South Alabama, I brushed her comment off as a prejudice reaction. But then I got to thinking about the implications that these performances are creating. When does creating opportunities for celebrities to inspire and encourage our youth cross moral lines. These kids are being praised and encouraged to sing songs by celebrities like Kanye who are insulting other celebrities in their lyrics and on stage or by Lady Gaga who's lyrics promote alcohol recklessness and sexual promiscuity. Sure, these kids are talented-- but should their talent be exploited in order to gain the attention of people who earn their merit by singing about their partying lifestyles.
The bad sentiment that was building in my mind was further enforced when I watched two extremely talented kids singing "Run This Town" and "The Climb". Then, just when I was most impressed, the choir director prods one of the singer's young brother to "tell us a mean story about Tirzah." He then instigates a dialogue between the siblings consisting of tattle-tale and beating each other up. Of course their was no serious maliciousness going on-- but shouldn't teachers rise find positive ways to create relationships with their students and make them laugh?
At this point, I haven't decided whether or not I think it is healthy for the children to be exposed to some of these celebrities just because they are famous. On the one hand, these kids have already established many of these singers as heroes. They are going to listen and sing their lyrics beyond school walls regardless. Perhaps the encouragement that these celebrities are providing is just what these students need to gain the confidence that it takes to achieve success. Who knows?.. these children may even make make celebrities more aware of the impact that they are having on American youth.
To learn more about evolution of PS22 and how they got their start, click here. Watch the video below for an example of their indisputably positive educational performances. They are singing PEMDAS the Pirate which helps teach the mathematical order of operations.
SchoolTube - PS22 Chorus "The PEMDAS Parrot" by Zach Johnson
What do you think about the waves that PS22 are making? What conclusions have you drawn about American culture and education?