Rebel Rocker, iconic bad girl, Pink, is usually a show-stopper, but this week she took it literally when she spotted a little girl crying in the audience and shut-down her set to give comfort and, in a watershed moment, parented the crowd. That moment can serve to remind us that taking kids with us to events can be stressful, yet also have surprising benefits for everyone.
Last week I wrote about Jada Pinkett-Smith being a tiger-mom on Facebook and parenting the media over what she termed “cyber bullying” attacks on young stars. Today we have another mom rocker, Alecia Beth “Pink” Moore who took her Philadelphia concert audience to task for fighting in the presence of a child. It’s starting to feel like if you want to be a mom who rocks you need to get “pink” into your name somewhere.
It’s safe to say I was a timid mom at the start, 19 years and four sons ago. When my kids were younger I dreaded taking them out in public fearing the social spotlight of being the mom with the wailing kid. I remember leaving carts full of groceries behind to snatch up a crying son and get out of the store in Olympic-time to avoid the embarrassment. A concert of any kind would have been unthinkable, but after seeing Pink in action I realize maybe I missed a step on the parenting path that could have taken us someplace great.
Pink can be seen in a YouTube video (scroll down to view!), shot by a fan at her Philadelphia performance Sunday night.
In a very mommy moment the singer’s gaze sweeps the massive crowd, zeroes-in on a distraught little girl in the sea of noisy humanity, and asks in a no-nonsense voice: "Hold on. One second. Time out. Is everything OK right here? Is this little girl all right?"
Mind you, this is a packed house and the entire audience is singing with her during the set, and yet she picks up on a child crying. She’s the mom of a little girl, age 2, and her thought is now rewired, tuned, like most moms’ ears are, to screen out everything and hear the child crying. Who’s got the mom super power? Oh yeah, Pink’s got it big time.
Then, she very pointedly asks why the child’s upset. She’s not letting go, this is one big pink tiger mom sorting things out and in so doing, parenting the huge audience. This is not the kind of audience you find at a church choir sing-along, this is Philly and the woman who, while having voiced a part in the children’s film "Happy Feet 2," also has washboard abs and was a powerhouse in the video for her new song “Try” where she does an Apache dance with a guy who looks like an mixed martial arts fighter, while covered in neon chalk and not much else.
Much like any mom at home, she then learns a fight in the crowd had frightened the girl and that’s when it gets interesting. "Y'all are fighting around a little girl?" Pink demands in what the world now can reference as the mom voice multiplied by the wow-factor of coming over a state of the art sound system and the Pink pipes.
The crowd instantly responded to this by booing the offending parties. Pink, realizing that she’s just thrown the weight of a heavy crowd onto the pile, backpedals and parents the other half of the crowd. She makes a joke about all of them having been there, done that, and the crowd laughs and things reboot to a happy event.
You might think the star was done and would just move on, but she can’t let it go until she’s sure the child is calm and happy again, offering her a stuffed animal someone had tossed on stage and a Rice Krispie treat. The child is now frozen in the spotlight, and Pink does the classic mom coax in a goofy voice saying, “Come aaawwwwnnn! You know you want a Rice Krispie treat.”
When the child doesn’t move Pink hands the prizes through the sea of humanity which obediently crowd surfs the stuffed frog and tasty treat to the child.
Pink ends the episode by telling the audience, “ ’Cause Rice Krispie treats make everything better don’t they?”
She tells the girl, “Don’t cry. Cry when you’re older.”
Then, before taking her seat she turns to the crowd and sternly adds, “Cut it out y’all. Y’all are grown-ass women. Seriously.” And the crowd went wild with support of parenting in Pink style.
What I took away from the video was that the little girl and her parents all survived the spotlight and in fact have the baby book entry of a lifetime, and that more celebrities should be as brave as Pink was in that situation. She didn’t give a moment’s thought to losing fans or how it would play, because her life is unscripted.
If I had it all to do over again, I would still rush the kids from the public places when they had a melt-down because it’s polite and keeps you from doing something out of desperation that might be even worse – like melting down yourself. However, I would also take my young children to more cultural events, performances, and social gatherings because they might have encountered someone like Pink along the way to free our minds of our fears.
While the lyrics for the song "Try" are intended to reference relationships, I think they work perfectly in this context as well:
Where there is desire
There is gonna be a flame
Where there is a flame
Someone's bound to get burned
But just because it burns
Doesn't mean you're gonna die
You've gotta get up and try, and try, and try
Oh, and of course, I want to thank Pink for permanently removing the “soccer mom” stigma from those of us who still make Rice Krispie treats. Sure, making a dessert out of a cereal and Marshmallow Fluff with your child will not solve everything, but as parents we still have to “Try, try try.”