Okay, full disclosure, I didn’t watch the Grammys but neither was I surprised the next day when I heard there was a controversial performance, so, not being one to judge, especially without having seen, I went to Youtube and checked it out.
I’m talking of course about Nicki Minaj’s performance of Roman Holiday. Now I’ll confess, I don’t really know the song and I’m not sure what inspired it though after watching the performance, I have a pretty good idea. I haven’t seen an artist with that much apparent contempt for the Catholic church since I read the DaVinci Code. Now for the record, I love putting on a show as much as anyone and more than most, I think involving as many senses as possible helps to reach more of your audience and showmanship with the right heart is not a bad thing. That being said there is also such a thing as being controversial for controversy’s sake or maybe just weird for weird’s sake. I think Ms. Minaj crossed that line in a big way. The performance was big but dark and strange and really honestly, I know nothing about her musicianship after watching it. It felt like there wasn’t a lot there musically so it had to be wrapped in writhing dancers and controversy. (I’m not going to embed the link here. If you want to see it, look it up on Youtube, by punching in Nicki Minaj, Grammy)
Contrast this with Adele. This young lady has had a tough year. Her voice gave out on her and she needed corrective surgery, there was question as to whether or not she would ever perform again. On this night, when her industry honors it’s best, she shined. She stepped to the microphone in a tasteful black dress, planted her feet and sang. No writhing dancers, no finger in the air (you know which one) controversy, just singing, amazing singing. The performance was touching like few I have ever seen on an award show and the crowd responded with a standing ovation also like few I have ever seem. Wow. What can we take away from this?
1. There’s nothing wrong with putting on a good show, but when you’ve got it, when you’re good, you don’t need to wrap it in controversy.
2. (The Adam Lambert rule) Too much controversy will kill a career in the arts. Your audience feeds you, don’t offend them without good reason.
3. People will always embrace an overcomer, so don’t give up.
Michael Jackson once said, “My talent is God’s gift to me. What I do with it and how I develop it are my gift to Him.” Your God given gift, used well to His glory, will shine. The thing you were created to do will open doors if you stand up and do it well. Develop your talents and when you get to use them do it in a way that honors God.