WBEZ | Selena Gomez http://www.wbez.org/tags/selena-gomez Latest from WBEZ Chicago Public Radio en Rihanna, Bieber and the dangers of celebrity worship http://www.wbez.org/blogs/leah-pickett/2013-03/rihanna-bieber-and-dangers-celebrity-worship-106255 <p><p><img alt="" class="image-original_image" src="http://www.wbez.org/system/files/styles/original_image/llo/insert-images/rihanna-barrington-high-032213-600x337.jpg" title="Rihanna speaks to students at Barrington High School on Friday, March 23, after arriving nearly 4 hours late. (Celebuzz)" /></p><div class="image-insert-image ">The gymnasium of Barrington High School exploded with <a href="http://www.chicagotribune.com/news/local/suburbs/barrington_area/chi-rihanna-barrington-high-school-20130322,0,5100849.story" target="_blank">Beatlemania</a>-like screams on Friday as <a href="http://www.mtv.com/artists/rihanna/" target="_blank">Rihanna</a>, pop princess of the Billboard charts and racy queen of the tabloids, made her grand entrance.</div><div class="image-insert-image ">&nbsp;</div><div class="image-insert-image ">Never mind that she was over three hours late, a delay she attributed to &quot;<a href="http://www.dailymail.co.uk/tvshowbiz/article-2297876/Rihanna-holds-2-000-Chicago-school-children-hours--stays-just-12-minutes.html" target="_blank">Chicago traffic</a>&quot; in an Instagram photo she posted just an hour prior. The meet-and-greet for students who had won a video contest about &quot;<a href="http://www.chicagotribune.com/news/local/suburbs/barrington_area/chi-rihanna-barrington-high-school-20130322,0,5100849.story" target="_blank">giving back to your community</a>&quot; was obviously low on Rihanna&#39;s priority list, as she offered &quot;thanks for waiting&quot; non-apology to the 2,500 person crowd--the majority of them young girls--and stayed for only 12 minutes.</div><div class="image-insert-image ">&nbsp;</div><div class="image-insert-image ">Fans grew disgruntled waiting for Rihanna to arrive, deeming her behavior &quot;<a href="http://chicagoist.com/2013/03/23/rihanna_visits_barrington_high_scho.php" target="_blank">rude</a>&quot; and <a href="http://chicagoist.com/2013/03/23/rihanna_visits_barrington_high_scho.php" target="_blank">pathetic</a>.&quot; However,&nbsp;<a href="http://www.celebuzz.com/2013-03-23/riri-tardy-for-the-high-school-party/" target="_blank">most were quick to forgive her</a>&nbsp;when she finally showed up. &nbsp;</div><div class="image-insert-image ">&nbsp;</div><div class="image-insert-image ">&quot;It was a really long wait, but Rihanna is so inspirational,&quot; freshman Batul Yawer told the <a href="http://www.suntimes.com/19029873-761/barrington-students-shine-during-3-hour-wait-for-rihanna.html" target="_blank"><em>Chicago Sun Times</em></a>.&nbsp;</div><div class="image-insert-image ">&nbsp;</div><div class="image-insert-image "><img alt="" class="image-original_image" src="http://llnw.wbez.org/styles/original_image/llo/insert-images/021212-justinbieber.jpg" style="width: 320px; float: right; " title="Justin takes a selfie on an audience member's phone. (SugarScape)" /></div><div class="image-insert-image ">Yeesh.&nbsp;</div><div class="image-insert-image ">&nbsp;</div><div class="image-insert-image ">What do these teens find &quot;so inspirational&quot; about Rihanna? Sure, she caught the attention of hitmaker Jay Z in 2004, and with the help of some very talented songwriters, churned out <a href="http://www.mirror.co.uk/3am/celebrity-news/rihanna-equals-madonnas-record-of-number-1450160" target="_blank">12 num</a><a href="http://www.mirror.co.uk/3am/celebrity-news/rihanna-equals-madonnas-record-of-number-1450160" target="_blank">ber one singles</a>&nbsp;to tie Madonna&#39;s record. However, the 24-year-old singer is also famous for <a href="http://hollywoodlife.com/2012/04/20/rihanna-drugs-use-coachella-cocaine-weed-pic/" target="_blank">rolling drugs</a> on her bodyguard&#39;s head,&nbsp;<a href="http://newsfeed.time.com/2012/11/23/rihanna-apologizes-to-press-for-grueling-777-plane-tour/" target="_blank">acting erratically</a>&nbsp;on several occasions and, perhaps most disturbingly,&nbsp;returning to <a href="http://www.vibe.com/article/chris-brown-rihanna-confirms-we-are-back-together" target="_blank">boyfriend/abuser</a> Chris Brown after he was convicted of physically assaulting her in 2009.&nbsp;</div><div class="image-insert-image ">&nbsp;</div><div class="image-insert-image ">Of course, everbody makes mistakes, and even chart-topping royalty like Rihanna should not held to standards unattainable by mortal beings. But her questionable conduct in the public eye (irresponsible at best, nihilistic at worst) sets a horrible example for her young fans to follow: be a bad girl, behave unprofessionally,&nbsp;<a href="http://gawker.com/5960967/the-new-rihannachris-brown-duet-is-great-unfortunately" target="_blank">record a love song</a>&nbsp;with the man that punched you in the face and <a href="http://www.justjared.com/2013/02/04/rihanna-dont-call-me-a-bad-role-model/" target="_blank">make no apologies</a> for it.&nbsp;</div><div class="image-insert-image ">&nbsp;</div><div class="image-insert-image ">Fans also cling with troubling rabidity to one <a href="http://bieberfever.com">Justin Bieber</a>, pop singer and babe magnet extraordinaire. His tween devotees (they call themselves &quot;Beliebers&quot;) have&nbsp;slammed him with false&nbsp;<a href="http://www.mtv.com/news/articles/1673747/justin-bieber-paternity-suit.jhtml" target="_blank">paternity suits</a> just to get his attention, issued death threats to his now ex-girlfriend Selena Gomez and<a href="http://www.nydailynews.com/entertainment/gossip/cut4bieber-trending-topic-draws-shock-outrage-article-1.1235624" target="_blank"> threatened to cut themselves</a> over his alleged drug use.&nbsp;</div><div class="image-insert-image ">&nbsp;</div><div class="image-insert-image ">Bieber is a talented-enough kid, but this whirlwind of insanity around a 19-year-old who frequently throws temper tantrums (he had the &quot;<a href="http://www.guardian.co.uk/music/2013/mar/04/justin-bieber-worst-birthday-club" target="_blank">worst birthday</a>&quot; ever, you guys) and doesn&#39;t even know how to spell &quot;<a href="http://wzlx.cbslocal.com/2013/03/13/5-things-justin-bieber-could-learn-from-janis-joplin/" target="_blank">Janis Joplin</a>&quot; is downright terrifying.&nbsp;</div><div class="image-insert-image ">&nbsp;</div><div class="image-insert-image ">The hero-worship of athletes is also way over the top. From high school to college to professional leagues, sports stars are showered with inconceivable amounts of money and praise. The greats (Michael Jordan, Tom Brady and even the recently<a href="http://www.time.com/time/photogallery/0,29307,1966486,00.html" target="_blank"> scandalized</a> Tiger Woods) are revered as gods. But besides being masters of their game, what have they really done to better society as a whole?</div><div class="image-insert-image ">&nbsp;</div><div class="image-insert-image "><img alt="" class="image-original_image" on="" pbs.="" src="http://www.wbez.org/system/files/styles/original_image/llo/insert-images/Gloria%20Steinem.jpg" style="height: 240px; width: 320px; float: left; " title="Gloria Steinem circa 1972, featured in the PBS documentary 'Makers: Women Who Make America.' (USAToday) " />Some of my role models are actors and musicians; however, they also possess many qualities outside the realms of &quot;acting&quot; and &quot;singing&quot; &nbsp;that I hold in high regard. I look up to these people not just because of their talent, but because of how they carry themselves through the world.&nbsp;</div><div class="image-insert-image ">&nbsp;</div><div class="image-insert-image "><a href="http://www.huffingtonpost.com/jessica-massa/four-reasons-millennial-w_b_863420.html" target="_blank">Tina Fey</a> inspires me as a writer, feminist and whip-smart businesswoman. I admire Andrew Bird for being a positive influence on other aspiring musicians through the <a href="https://rockforkids.ejoinme.org/?tabid=221218" target="_blank">Andrew Bird Scholarship Fund</a>&nbsp;for Chicago arts programs. Many more of my role models are featured in the PBS documentary <a href="http://www.pbs.org/makers/home/" target="_blank"><em>Makers</em></a>, which chronicles over 50 years of trailblazing American women: from Hillary Rodham Clinton to Maya Angelou to the original leader of the feminist movement, the incomparable Gloria Steinem.&nbsp;</div><div class="image-insert-image ">&nbsp;</div><div class="image-insert-image ">Outside of the entertainment industry, I implore our nation&#39;s youth to look to the people in their own communities for inspiration. Our life-changing teachers, nurses, neighbors, social workers, mentors, counselors, close family and friends are the true unsung heroes of our society; never to receive the same widespread media coverage as Rihanna and Justin Bieber, but always the ones whom we should value the most.</div><div class="image-insert-image ">&nbsp;</div><div class="image-insert-image "><em>Who are your role models? Leave a comment below, tweet&nbsp;<a href="https://twitter.com/leahkpickett" target="_blank">@leahkpickett</a>&nbsp;or join the conversation on <a href="https://www.facebook.com/leahkristinepickett" target="_blank">Facebook</a>.&nbsp;</em></div><div class="image-insert-image ">&nbsp;</div></p> Mon, 25 Mar 2013 08:00:00 -0500 http://www.wbez.org/blogs/leah-pickett/2013-03/rihanna-bieber-and-dangers-celebrity-worship-106255 Art or smut? 'Spring Breakers' is a hotbed of controversy http://www.wbez.org/blogs/leah-pickett/2013-03/art-or-smut-spring-breakers-hotbed-controversy-106008 <p><p><img alt="" class="image-original_image" src="http://www.wbez.org/system/files/styles/original_image/llo/insert-images/spring-breakers09.jpg" title="From left to right: Vanessa Hudgens, Ashley Benson, Rachel Corine and Selena Gomez get busted in 'Spring Breakers.' (Muse Productions)" /></p><div class="image-insert-image ">Harmony Korine has been pushing boundaries since 1995, when his breakout film <em><a href="http://www.imdb.com/title/tt0113540/" target="_blank">Kids</a>&nbsp;</em>shocked and disturbed the nation with its graphic portrayal of teen sex, AIDS and drug use. However, <em>Kids&nbsp;</em>was also a groundbreaking piece of art house cinema: shot documentary-style with non-actors (a young Chloe Sevigny and even younger Rosario Dawson were literally <a href="http://www.imdb.com/title/tt0113540/trivia?ref_=tt_trv_trv" target="_blank">plucked off the street</a> for their first film roles), making the drama feel as raw and real as possible. As a writer, Korine&#39;s intention may have been to shock his audience; but&nbsp;<em>Kids&nbsp;</em>accomplished even more than that: it woke people up with a bang.</div><div class="image-insert-image ">&nbsp;</div><div class="image-insert-image ">Unfortunately, Korine&#39;s latest foray into the adolescent underworld--<a href="http://www.imdb.com/title/tt2101441/?ref_=sr_1" target="_blank"><em>Spring Breakers</em></a>, opening this Friday in select theaters--doesn&#39;t look nearly as promising. While the footage from&nbsp;<em>Kids</em> felt gritty and urgent in an uncomfortably close-to-home kind of way, the previews for&nbsp;<em>Spring Breakers </em> are&nbsp;all fake MTV flash and flourescence (or, according to the <a href="http://www.rottentomatoes.com/m/spring_breakers_2013/reviews/?type=top_critics" target="_blank">mostly negative</a> early reviews, all style and no substance). A ghetto James Franco and a &quot;hardcore&quot; dubstep soundtrack by <a href="http://en.wikipedia.org/wiki/Skrillex" target="_blank">Skrillex</a> don&#39;t help either.&nbsp;</div><div class="image-insert-image ">&nbsp;</div><div class="image-insert-image ">And then there&#39;s the whole nudity kerfuffle. Two of the film&#39;s stars, Selena Gomez and Vanessa Hudgens, are best known for their roles on popular Disney Channel programs--Gomez on the TV series <em>Wizards of Waverly Place</em>, and Hudgens in the <em>High School Musical </em>film franchise.&nbsp;Gomez was 19 during the filming of <em>Spring Breakers,&nbsp;</em>and wears a bikini in almost every scene. Hudgens, who was 23 at the time, has a <a href="http://www.eonline.com/news/386370/vanessa-hudgens-talks-spring-breakers-naked-party-scene-then-the-bottoms-started-to-come-off-just-insane" target="_blank">nude scene</a> with Franco and Ashley Benson (of the ABC Family show<em> Pretty Little Liars</em>) as they engage in a threesome whilst snorting cocaine.&nbsp;</div><div class="image-insert-image ">&nbsp;</div><div class="image-insert-image ">Now, if nudity serves an artistic purpose onscreen, then I&#39;m all for it. Seeing Michael Fassbender completely naked in <em>Shame&nbsp;</em>empitomized&nbsp;the stark loneliness of his sex addiction,&nbsp;Mena Suvari&#39;s nudity in<em> American Beauty</em> is a pivotal turning point for Kevin Spacey&#39;s character and Hilary Swank&#39;s bottomless reveal in <em>Boys Don&#39;t Cry</em> is the defining moment of the film&#39;s climax. In fact, one could argue that nudity in all sex scenes--whether they be romantic or not--should be required for realism&#39;s sake.&nbsp;</div><div class="image-insert-image ">&nbsp;</div><div class="image-insert-image ">But what about those films where nudity pops up for seemingly no other reason other than shock value? Seth MacFarlane&#39;s Oscar&nbsp;<a href="http://www.youtube.com/watch?v=CQdXkfRoXTc" target="_blank">boob song</a>&nbsp;was misogynistic on so many levels, but at least the films he mentioned had actresses exposing themselves for purposes that served the film&#39;s plot (Jodie Foster&#39;s rape in <em>The Accused</em> being a prime example).<i>&nbsp;</i>However, did <em>Swordfish</em>&nbsp;really need that shot of Halle Berry flashing Hugh Jackman to advance the story? Of course not, but let&#39;s face it: most people wouldn&#39;t have bothered seeing the film had it not been for that one &quot;<a href="http://culture.com/articles/471/swordfish-interview-with-halle-berry.phtml" target="_blank">jackpot</a>&quot; scene.&nbsp;</div><div class="image-insert-image ">&nbsp;</div><div class="image-insert-image ">Perhaps that&#39;s why the nudity in&nbsp;<em>Spring Breakers&nbsp;</em>has been already been blasted all over the media. Reviews of the film itself have been less-than-glowing, so maybe the marketing strategists have decided that pushing the &quot;good girls gone bad angle&quot; for their once squeaky-clean Disney starlets is the best way to get those ogling eyes into theaters.</div><div class="image-insert-image ">&nbsp;</div><div class="image-insert-image ">So, is this the kind of movie that Korine set out to make: an &quot;artsy&quot; teensploitation flick with nothing meaningful under the surface? I hope not, which is why I plan to go see the film when it opens in theaters and decide for myself. But unlike most other people who are likely to show up, I won&#39;t be there just for the nude scenes.</div><div class="image-insert-image ">&nbsp;</div><div class="image-insert-image ">A trailer for the &quot;<a href="http://www.bostonglobe.com/ideas/2012/08/25/what-yolo-only-teenagers-know-for-sure/Idso04FecrYzLa4KOOYpXO/story.html" target="_blank">YOLO</a> generation&quot; (oy vey):</div><div class="image-insert-image ">&nbsp;</div><div class="image-insert-image "><iframe allowfullscreen="" frameborder="0" height="315" src="http://www.youtube.com/embed/Qw7Se-sCwYM" width="620"></iframe></div><div class="image-insert-image ">&nbsp;</div><div class="image-insert-image ">&nbsp;</div><div class="image-insert-image "><em>What&#39;s your stance on nudity in film? Leave me a comment below or let me know via Twitter <a href="https://twitter.com/leahkpickett" target="_blank">@leahkpickett</a>.&nbsp;</em></div><div class="image-insert-image ">&nbsp;</div></p> Mon, 11 Mar 2013 08:00:00 -0500 http://www.wbez.org/blogs/leah-pickett/2013-03/art-or-smut-spring-breakers-hotbed-controversy-106008