Sophia Grace and Rosie first caught my attention when the famous video of them singing to Nicki Minaj’s ‘SuperBass’ started spreading like wildfire on Youtube. The number of views for the video reached over 39 million and propelled them into fame ever since. Their videos are also shared countless of times on Facebook and on other forms of social media like Twitter. Commercial appeal and creativity are ways to make an impact in the Youtube community (Hassan 2012) For these girls, their young ages and adorable appearances make them commercial. Youtube was meant to be an experimental space, an ‘accidental cultural archive’ (Burgess & Green 2008). Perhaps their parents wanted to upload the video out of plain fun, or perhaps there was the aim of ‘striking gold’ through that video… which in this case, happened.
The girls were flown into Hollywood to appear on The Ellen Degeneres Show. Since then, they have appeared on the show for a couple of times and have even hosted interview sessions with celebrities like Taylor Swift, Hugh Grant and Reese Witherspoon. They were also given the chance to interview celebrities on the red carpet, and a fully-sponsored trip to Disneyland and Toys ‘R’ us. These events on a whole may seem harmless, but it is yet another example of the commercialization of children, an issue which has been associated with the entertainment industry for years.
Children are often exploited for their likability, their innocence, their ability to ‘make’ money. Child stars who enter the entertainment industry at a young age are often robbed of their innocence and being transformed into money-making machines for their parents and managers. Parents of Sophia Grace and Rose have already been criticized by the public for exploiting their daughters. Even Ellen’s fans showed their disapproval. One of them tweeted, ‘Aww they’re so sweet, feel bad for them because their parents are obviously milking it for the cash…they should be in school!!’ Another said, ‘I’ve watched them several times on Ellen and I know I might be in the minority but I really think that the songs/raps they perform shouldn’t be performed by a 6 and 8 year old.’
It is not an officially proven case that children entering the entertainment industry is a harmful thing, but over at Hollywood, the celebrities who went out of control at some point were coincidentally formal child stars. Britney Spears became deranged and shaved all her hair. Michael Jackson was just 5 when his life as a musician started. He was one of the greatest musicians of all time, yet he was accused of child molestation and pedophilia. Somehow, celebs who entered the entertainment industry at a young age became problematic when they got older.
I feel the need to address this issue each time I see young children being exploited like that. I feel bad for these young children who are being thrown into the world of entertainment. They are so young, they probably wouldn’t know what’s right and wrong. Their parents should be protecting them and giving them a normal childhood instead of exploiting their children for money and fame.