Everyone knows that Ke$ha likes to party with glitter everywhere. Her songs are simple and sometimes silly, but ridiculously catchy. Unfortunately for the sparkly singer, her most recent single “Die Young” was pulled from several U.S. radio stations this week after the shooting at Sandy Brook Elementary School in Newtown, Connecticut. The single has plummeted from the top of the charts since the loss of airplay.
I have never felt bad for Ke$ha. She wakes up in the morning feeling like P. Diddy, surrounded by glitter. But for the first time ever, I actually feel the need to defend her. All she’s trying to do is make catchy, glittery tunes. Her lyrics are not to be taken seriously. Ever. If anything, she has harmless intentions and wants listeners to live life to the fullest by partying hard. In her own words, “Let’s make the most of the night like we’re gonna die young.”
“After such a tragic event I was feeling a lot of emotion and sadness when I said I was forced to sing some of the lyrics to Die Young. Forced is not the right word. I did have some concerns about the phrase “die young” in the chorus when we were writing the lyrics especially because so many of my fans are young and that’s one reason why I wrote so many versions of this song. But the point of the song is the importance of living every day to the fullest and staying young at heart, and these are things I truly believe,” stated Ke$ha on her website.
The Sandy Hook Elementary School shooting is a national tragedy. Under the circumstances, I completely understand why “Die Young” was removed from the air, but that song is not the issue at hand here. The timeliness of the song’s release could not have been worse, especially since a majority of the victims from the shooting were 6 and 7 year-olds, but the song itself has nothing to do with them or the incident.
My intent is not to come off as insensitive, but to look at the bigger picture here. America can silence musicians and stop playing their songs because they might “offend” a few people, but that’s not going to stop someone ill from grabbing a gun and shooting innocent people. The public figures we need to be pressuring are the people who can directly fix the problem—politicians and members of the National Rifle Association (NRA).
Additionally, Foster the People’s “Pumped Up Kicks” was pulled again due to the dark nature of the song. Meanwhile, the whole purpose of “Pumped Up Kicks” is to raise awareness about gun violence in schools, an extremely important issue that needs to be discussed in our country. (Last year, MTV censored out the word “gun” from the song whenever the video played on television.) In an article for Spinner UK, Mark Foster further explained the meaning behind the song.
“Pumped Up Kicks’ is about a kid that basically is losing his mind and is plotting revenge. He’s an outcast. I feel like the youth in our culture are becoming more and more isolated. It’s kind of an epidemic. Instead of writing about victims and some tragedy, I wanted to get into the killer’s mind, like Truman Capote did in In Cold Blood. I love to write about characters. That’s my style. I really like to get inside the heads of other people and try to walk in their shoes,” said Foster.
On their Twitter, Foster the People said, “Between 2001-present over 270,000 people have been killed in the US from a gun. It’s time to reform the laws.” This band is not trying to promote gun violence; they want to stop it from happening all together. Since the Sandy Hook Elementary School tragedy occurred, Foster the People have been encouraging people to donate to families affected by the shooting. Today, the band tweeted, “There needs to be real change if we are going to evolve into a better society. It starts with a loud booming unified voice of common sense.”
At a press conference on Friday, Dec. 21, officials of the National Rifle Association called to arm schools and blamed shooting on the entertainment industry, politicians and news media for enabling a society prone to gun violence. Additionally, the NRA presented a plan to protect schools, the National School Shield Program. Led by former Department of Homeland Security official Asa Hutchinson, the program would provide security training and protect schools and teachers as well as volunteers and retired police officers.
This is such a typical thing for America to do. Whenever something tragic occurs, officials immediately remove or ban any form of the fine arts that is similar to or reminiscent of the issue, but overlook the direct source of the actual issue. We have become so overly sensitive that our feelings cloud our judgment of right and wrong. We overreact to music, literature, and art that are essentially harmless. Maybe instead of removing violence from the radio, it should be eradicated completely. In America, we constantly censor sexuality, but glorify violence. Sometimes, we can’t leave it up to parents to decide what is appropriate for their children to watch or engage themselves in.
As horrible as the tragedy was, the Sandy Hook Elementary School shooting was a wake-up call. If we won’t protect our children from all sources of violence, what is the point? Children are the future—by neglecting their safety, we are subconsciously destroying their futures.
We can treat this as a moment of silence, but the ban can only last so long. Instead of petitioning against artists, we should be banning together and fighting the NRA for gun control laws. Gun violence is not a matter that should be divided between red and blue—we need to come together and reform gun control laws to protect each other, and our children. We need to ensure that incidents such as the Sandy Hook Elementary School shooting will never happen again.
I am not a Ke$ha fan, but of all the things to do first after the tragedy, banning “Die Young” should have been the last. In the meantime, I will continue to pray for Newtown; our hearts are with everyone who has been affected by this unspeakable tragedy.