8-year-old YouTube sensation Sophia Grace Brownlee has hit 21 million views of her rendition of Nicki Minaj’s “Super Bass”. The video became so viral, that it even attracted the attention of Ellen Degeneres, who brought Sophia and her cousin onto her television show, and surprised the two with a special meeting with Nicki Minaj herself.
While it was certainly a touching moment that made for great television, let’s add some context here in order to complete the story:
The official video for “Super Bass” has well over 180 million views on YouTube, at least one of which came from Sophia. If you haven’t seen the video for “Super Bass”, I encourage you to watch it to get an idea of the explicit nature of the song.
If you were unable to grasp any of the lyrical content during the video, here are some excerpts:
- “…he cold, he dope, he might sell coke…”
- “…that’s the kind of dude I was lookin’ for, and yes you’ll get slapped if you’re lookin’ ho…”
- “…when he give me that look, then the panties comin’ off, off, unh…”
The 8-year-old told Ellen that she did not know what the song's lyrics meant. However, during the show Minaj requests Sophia to sing the bridge section of "Super Bass" because “people need to hear the bridge”. What Minaj (and her PR folks) are actually doing is directing us towards the least offensive parts of the entire song – which talks about how her “heartbeat is running away” and has all those catchy “boom, boom, boom” parts.
It's hard to imagine that a high cute-factor is enough to excuse the performance of such raunchy and explicit lyrics on national television. However, that certainly seems to be the case in this particular instance.
“Music is beautiful, but I want you to stay in school. Put your books first and singing second.”
I don’t know about the rest of you readers, but that’s not the kind of advice I’d want to hear from one of my idols. That’s the kind of advice you’d hear from a distant relative who has no idea what you’re capable of, who has no idea of who you are uniquely, and knows nothing of what dreams you'd like to accomplish. After all, kids admire pop stars and athletes because they followed their dreams – not because they played it safe.
Nicki Minaj didn’t stay in school. She harnessed and nurtured her talent, while believing in herself and her capabilities the entire time while ignoring any and all doubters. She took a chance, and it paid off tremendously. So why did she play it safe by advising this hugely talented young girl to put her dreams second?
Perhaps Minaj and her PR people recognized the delicate nature of what was going on with this young girl performing such a raunchy song. This situation had all the right ingredients to be highly controversial, yet they chose to frame the story in a way that appeared to be totally harmless.
What do you think? Was the song too inappropriate? Was Nicki Minaj right in telling Sophia to put her dreams second?
This post is by regular Hypebot contributor, musician, and independent music business professional - Hisham Dahud (@HishamDahud)