Many of us have childhood photos that bring forth joyful and fond memories. As “regular” people, we are afforded the luxury of choosing who we allow to view and experience our personal moments. It’s a privilege that most people in the public eye trade in the moment they become famous.
On some level, in today’s society, we are relinquishing this luxury with our love of Snapchat, Instagram, and Twitter. When you expose your life on social media, you open yourself up to the public’s opinion, whether it’s welcomed or not.
So in this over-scrutinizing era, where some “live for likes” and more people are concerned with gaining followers than leading their own lives, what happens when fame begins at birth?
Enter Blue Ivy
As the daughter of Beyoncé
and Jay Z,
the 4-year-old is an heir to Black pop culture royalty >>cue classical music over a hip-hop beat<<
How do we protect this young child, who has been both blessed and challenged to be born into a family that will always be creators of culture, thus automatically making them newsworthy?
The short answer is: We help her thrive. We celebrate her, praising every detail of her Black Girl Magic, from her Spanish-speaking abilities to her adorable appearances in mom’s music videos. We reminisce on how her mom revealed her pregnancy through an impressive, vigorous MTV Video Music Awards performance. We anticipate the many firsts this child will have.
And yet, the long answer is far more complicated. No matter how much we celebrate and uplift her, this past week, she was under attack again. In the darkest corners of social media’s comment sections, many spent the 2016 VMAs judging her looks. Whether it is her hair or her facial features or why she doesn’t look more like Beyonce, it’s troubling to see the ease with which adults are able to judge children, who can barely forumlate complete independent thoughts and sentences.
It’s concerning that grown adults are spending time typing insults and creating rude internet memes of a child who never asked to famous. (I do add, there are also positive things out there, too — lots.)
There are layers to this.
Blue Ivy’s scrapbook is being built by the internet.
The Tumblr page curated by her mother’s team can help create and add to the positive narrative, but it doesn’t control it. How are your words, re-tweets, and comments contributing to this girl’s childhood? When she’s old enough to read and understand the internet, how will she be shaped by both the positive and the negative imagery projected onto her?
Arguably one of the biggest sources for negative imagery that Blue will face when she gets older is the constant pitting of her against other celebrity children. Comparison is a thief of joy, and yet we spend so much doing it to Blue Ivy and North West
, daughter of Kim Kardashian West and Kanye West. They are different children with different looks, both beautiful Black children. But one could argue that Blue Ivy is often spotted looking just like she should: a 4-year-old child.She isn’t wearing elaborate furs or chokers. And when she IS dressed up, it’s like the beautiful Black princess she is.
Blue did not choose this life. She did not choose the magazine covers or red carpets. She did not choose their parents’ career. This is especially true of celebrity parents, but it is also true of our children as well.
To that point, I recently noticed that a friend of mine never posts images of her beautiful 10-month-old son. Not one. Recently, while spending time with her, I asked her to explain why. She told me she wants her child to be able to choose how he is projected in this world and not as an image she has crafted for him.
Again, I say, there are layers to this.
We are just starting to see what it’s like growing up in the digital age. There are psychological implications in the era of Instagram and Facebook. Comparison and competitiveness is becoming a norm
. A place where parents post pictures directly from the hospital. What is private or sacred when a harsh opinion is just a comment section away?
So before you post, I ask you to ask yourself first, Is this really what I want to add? Is this really the image I want to present of myself?
Think before you click send, beauties. Think, before you attack a child.
PHOTO CREDIT: Getty, Instagram
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