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Can Jay-Z Make Your Little Girl’s Butterflies Go Away?

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The other day a very nice package arrived on my desk—Season 5 of the Mary Tyler Moore Show. It contains one of my favorite episodes, where Ted Baxter is handed news copy from Mary, and simply reads it without having a clue what he is saying.

“I’ve never heard a Jay-Z song ... I don’t listen to pop music.”

As far fetched as it sounds, it happens all too frequently in real-world media, and it appears Miley Cyrus is a recent unsuspecting participant. Or at least, that’s what she claims.

If you have a daughter in the 8 to 13 range, there’s a good chance Miley Cyrus (and her ultra-popular pseudonym Hannah Montana) are known in your home. One of Miley’s biggest hits released this summer, a snappy tune called Party in the U.S.A. For the most part the song is pure fluff and sings about the “butterflies” in the tummy of a small town girl who gets off the plane in L.A. and has to mix and mingle with the “stiletto” crowd.

Amongst the star-struck lyrics the song also prominently mentions the singer is bopping to a Jay-Z song on the radio and the music just makes those butterflies fly away. This caused me to pause, as I’m aware that Jay-Z’s lyrics typically are not suitable for the 9-year-old crowd listening to Miley Cyrus (sarcasm intended). For those of you who are really curious, you can check some of Jay-Z’s musical poetry here: http://www.azlyrics.com/j/jayz.html

Now the next question one may ask is why Miley would choose to promote a hard-core rapper within a song intended for the ‘tween crowd? The answer, when asked of Miss Cyrus by a reporter from US Magazine at a Halloween party a couple of weeks ago, is that she claims she doesn’t have a clue about Jay-Z or his songs.

On the US magazine website, Miley is quoted as saying, “I’ve never heard a Jay-Z song ... I don’t listen to pop music.” When pressed as to why the rapper was included in her Party in the U.S.A. tune, she says, “I don’t know, I didn’t write the song, so I have no idea,” and continues to say she simply picked the song because she “needed something to go with [her] clothing line.”

These statements certainly attest to the marketing machine that is operating behind a young singer like Miley Cyrus, but I can’t help but wonder if this huge endorsement for Jay-Z that is being sold to young children wasn’t part of an equally well thought out plan -- or possibly even a “product placement.”

It’s bad enough when fast food joints are pushing figurines and toys from PG-13 movies to children that are far too young to see the film. Or when adult television shows and products are featured within programming aimed at a younger audience.

However, in this case we have a celebrity who is really a peer to her fans who is, like Ted Baxter, singing whatever lyrics are placed in front of her and promoting another singer whose work is anything but child-friendly. Frankly, whoever is managing Miley truly needs to think about what they would want their 9-year-old listening to. Personally, I haven’t heard a Jay-Z song that wouldn’t cause a few butterflies in a little girl’s tummy.

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About the Reviewer: Rod Gustafson

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