I have been going through a JoJo renaissance this past year. Ever since finding out how bad my childhood fave got fucked over by the music industry, she has come back on my radar. Perusing her recent Spotify releases, I’ve fallen back in love with JoJo’s music. Ten years on, her lyrical storytelling has a sex-positive, staunchly feminist feel to it. Her sound is mature, rich and as melodious as ever. And those trills? They are as glorious. Ascension.
Of course, I’m talking JoJo Levesque. Leave-Get-Out-Right-Now Joanna. Since JoJo’s resurfacing, there’s been a new JoJo in town. A JoJo Siwa. Now, I’ve known about this JoJo since I was exposed to Dance Moms as a teenager. I remember she had an adorable lisp and – like all of the peppy pre-teens on that show – she was a phenomenal dancer. A phenomenal dancer under immense and disgustingly publicised amounts of pressure. I’m definitely not in the Siwa demographic in the slightest, and I have to admit, initially, I thought she was a lot. With her intense obsession with bows, sparkles, rainbows and sequins, her youthful and lively persona, she has been given a lot of flack for not “acting her age”.
Contrastingly, young Levesque rocketed to fame as a thirteen year old, and her music was all about boyfriends, break ups and other beyond-her-years themes. Guess what? She was also relentlessly picked apart for acting “older than she should”. In Hollywood, you genuinely can’t win.
Guess whaaat, though? They met, and they had the most pure, refreshing interview for us all to enjoy.
I feel kinda silly that it impacted me that much, but the YouTube comments agree with me.
- Because judging others is a waste of finite energy. Not to mention, it’s boring.
- Because tearing other people down just reveals that you have your own stuff to work on. (Go on, work on it. We’ve all got stuff.)
- Because this world has enough grossness in it, so it’s über lovely when we can forget about that for a while. Ya know, that feel good shiz.
…and because it’s lovely to see two people just being themselves, vibing and lifting each other up.
Teenagers Scare the Living Shhh Outta Me
It did break my heart a little to hear that JoJo (Siwa) is afraid of teenagers, but as a new teacher, I also kind of get it. (I love my students and they are zero percent scary, but I found student teaching last year properly terrifying.) Celebrities experience internet trolls and downright meanness to the Nth degree. I know I would not cope with the relentless filth flung at me if I was in the public eye, incessantly scrutinised by strangers.
I also know that, I also will kind of never ever get it. I can only imagine the immense amounts of pressure being famous puts on a person, and I’d rather not go there. I’d rather not be there. Attention is fun, until it’s completely unfun. Until it looks like death threats, fuck-you hate mail, online ridicule, stalkers and all of the awful stuff that comes with megafame. Especially in the digital age. Honestly, go JoJo S, for being herself. I wish her all the good things.
In the interview, JoJo (OG) showed eloquence and skill – never talking down or projecting an overbearing style. Siwa and Levesque navigated some important topics together, radiating pure joy, as well as maturity beyond their years.
*Pretty sure I have a crush*… but also:
I adore the feminist insight that Levesque’s lyrics exude. Learning about who we are is a skill and an art form, as is being able to put ourselves first without shame or guilt. People who are socialised as women commonly find this an arduous task. (As do some men too, I’m sure.)
I know I’m still working on it.
Be who you are and say how you feel, because those who mind don’t matter, and those who matter don’t mind.Dr Seuss
Arohanui, haumi mā xx