I listen to Top 40 radio every so often, and I can assure you it’s not for entertainment. While void of creativity, the music speaks into culture and influences lifestyle trends. And because listening to the music requires little brainpower to process the messages and beats, it is the quickest avenue for social change – good or bad.
Take for instance the popularity of the Jerk Movement. A duo by the name of The New Boyz leads this LA-based movement supposedly named for a simplistic dance move that somehow excites people to the point of procreation. If you listen carefully to the music, however, it’s easy to assume that the jerk is not the dance move, but rather the artists.
In the group’s current hit, “Tie Me Down,” these two 17-year old boys rap about how their instant success allows them to sleep with virtually any girl. In fact, they make it clear to the ladies that a commitment is far out of the question, at least for the time being. Despite the efforts of a few girls to make sacrifices to the New Boyz to show their dedication to a relationship, this line is blunt: “You ain’t nothin’ but a hoe.”
Here’s an excerpt from the second verse, and you can read the full lyrics here.
But you cant tie me down like a pair of shoe strings,
Yea you cute. so what?,
But lets get it through your head,
Yea we make love, sex, weed all in the bed,
Its the best thing I love about you,
But things dont change,
When im not faithful,
You be feelin all pain,
Now you stuck like a stain and i cant believe that,
Baby girl want hundreds i aint tryna do that,
Got so many girls and i aint lettin go,
Cause my life is great,
And you aint nothing but a hoe,
Yea you come to my shows and your very supportive,
Just show me a camera and my show recorded,
it was nice,
But Im Suprised That your still standing here,
Ay yea you know im a man,
And i have no feelings,
Im a start it from the top,
Girl this aint no lovin,
Im a new boy girl
Admittedly, the song is very catchy. I probably heard it several times before I actually listened to the lyrics. Before I break down an adequate response to this broken view of manhood, I’ll address the problem presented from the opposite gender as well: Miley Cyrus.
The daughter of Billy Ray Cyrus and the former Disney star who once tried to market a Christian image, Miley is stirring up quite the controversy with her latest single. If you haven’t seen the provocative video for “Can’t Be Tamed,” it’s nowhere near as depressing as the lyrics. The song is basically another shallow composition by a 17-year old, but proudly displays this popular trend for independence and a strong dose of commitmentphobia.
Full lyrics here
I wanna fly, I wanna drive, I wanna go
I wanna be a part of something I don’t know
And if you try to hold me back I might explode
Baby by now you should know
I can’t be tamed, I can’t be tamed, I can’t be blamed
I can’t can’t, I can’t can’t be tamed
I can’t be changed
I can’t be tamed,
I can’t be be, I can’t be tamed
The question I ask to those who are aghast at Miley Cyrus and The New Boyz is this: Why are you surprised? These 17-year old teenagers have grown up in an era where commitment has been scorned. Independence, as they so call it, is no longer a form of liberation but rather the outcome of selfish, lazy teens communicating solely through social networking. They propagate the sins of their parents to create popular trends that merely reflect the devastating isolation that is not just anti-romantic, but anti-human. Unnatural.
God created us to have emotion, feelings, and love. The New Boyz can boast all they want that they “have no feelings,” but that doesn’t make one a man. Besides serving as a self-declaration that they are no different than dogs in heat, the statement ultimately conveys they are sinners dead in their transgressions. Utterly depraved.
The dilemma also proves why Father’s Day this weekend will not serve as a celebration for many, but a reminder for my generation that the men who seeded their mothers weren’t brave enough to father them. For many, it only further isolates them from wanting to feel emotion or to desire commitment.
As a glorious reminder, I hope to encourage fellow believers that this Father’s Day is also a celebration that because of Christ we were adopted into the family of God. The fact that our culture is so isolated should not only break our hearts, it should compel us to be a light in the darkness.
I write this not to paint Miley Cyrus and the New Boyz as enemies; rather, we should pursue their generation and their parents with the Gospel…not just to stand on street corners shouting for repentance, but to pursue loving relationships with the unloved, and care for them far beyond the ways they only care for themselves.
Just like Jesus cared for us.