Jada Pinkett Smith wrote an interesting piece that might give us all a different perspective on bullying. Normally, when we hear the word, we picture one kid abusing another kid either physically, mentally and now even via social media. But Jada, has flipped the script. She wonders whether the media, is in fact, playing the role of bully against many young celebrities. “How can we ask for our young stars to have a high level of responsibility if we are not demonstrating that same level of responsibility towards them,” she asks in a recent Facebook post.
Jada knows a little something about the subject. Not only was she in the spotlight at an early age on “A Different World,” but she’s married to Will Smith who was a teen celebrity. They are also the parents of two very high-profile child stars Jaden and Willow.
Her argument is that while teen celebrities are trying to live out their often complicated lives in front the world, the media should consider their ages and offer more support and less …well… bullying. I mean it’s easy enough to push the buttons of a male teen in a normal situation. Add to it cameras in his face, invasion of personal space, and even taunting and it’s the media has created the perfect storm. No question about it. We in the media often go for the easy target. I can speak from experience and on behalf of my colleagues and tell you how safe it is to make jokes, be critical and yes insulting when you’re in your own protective bubble. On the radio, on a news set, on social media, you can hurl out anything you want it’s easy to get caught up in the hype. After all, if you haven’t generated the mean stuff, you’re just commenting on the mean stuff others have said.
As a mom, I can relate to what Jada says. I can’t imagine my boys being verbally attacked by adults on a regular basis. Even though the Chris Browns, Rihannas, Lindsey Lohans, and the Britney Spears of the world have done things that clearly are wrong , their situations have to be made worse by the constant scrutiny they receive. And when it comes to actress Quvenzhané being called the “C-word” and even Gabby Douglas who was vilified for having a bad hair day, there’s no excuse for the nastiness they’ve had to endure.
Jada ends her post by making the point that, “most of us would have fallen to the waste side before we could even get to a crashed Ferrari, a controversial romance, several heart breaks, or an Oscar nomination at NINE.” And that it may be some sort of misplaced envy at all that some of our celebrities have accomplished that causes us to lash out the way that we do.
Whatever the cause may be, the end result remains the same whether you are public figure or the kid down the street – a lot of heartbreak and humiliation.
I hope that Jada’s words will resonate with any adult who uses their media platform to cause hurt as a trade-off for a laugh or even better ratings. I’m not sure what the solution is going to be. Maybe, as with the child or teen being bullied at school or on Facebook, lots of love, prayers and support is sometimes the most we can offer them.