Not Meant To Be

by Nelia Dingcong Bernabe

Sept 24, 2010
So singer-songwriter Katy Perry’s day of fun and frolic with Elmo on Sesame Street got the boot before it hit the boob tube (don’t you love them puns?). I heard it was because she was showing a lot of boobies and God forbid the little tykes get a peek at them through their bottles during naptime. Can’t have that!

Curiosity got the better of me so I went on YouTube and checked out the raucous. The video is short, just under three minutes and there are plenty of versions to choose from. It’s very typical Katy Perry. She’s dressed provocatively and yes, Maria, her boobies are partially covered (or exposed, it depends on your mood or gender). But nevertheless, she’s got on a pretty chartreuse frock, she’s all made up of course, and it looks like they – Elmo and Katy – were having loads of fun, especially the little red monster.

But that’s not why I brought up the latest Katy Perry skirmish. Sure the Sesame Street ban is big news but it’s just the luck of the draw. She’ll have good days and bad days and before you know it, she’ll be filming a video with Cinderella or Snow White wearing a Tinker Bell costume. Then we’re really going to have some serious problems. Have you seen what Tinker Bell’s wearing? Shiz!

I could really go on and on and on about the ban or talk about Katy Perry as Tinker Bell but being an empty nester, it really scratches me off from the panel of experts on the subject of what’s good or bad for young kids to watch.

Cleavage or no cleavage, Katy Perry’s Hot N Cold kept blaring in my head and it got to be too much. I turned on the radio and voila! The DJs of my favorite Christian radio station were at it too and their conversation took quite an interesting turn.

The lady DJ started talking about the Sesame Street ban – the whys and all that good stuff. In their banter, she mentioned Katy Perry’s roots – how she started out as Katy Hudson – the gospel singer, how her parents were both Christian pastors, and how she grew up as a Christian. They went on to say that they would not allow their kids to watch the scantily dressed Katy Perry run around with Elmo and were thankful that Sesame Street banned the video.

So far so good. What parent won’t be protective of their young kids? The male DJ said he’d like to have control over what his kids are watching in their formative years. Understandable because you know once they get to a certain age, you lose that tight grip. The exchange went on for a few minutes and his female partner spoke about Katy Perry’s Christian upbringing and how she sang in churches, made gospel albums and offered herself to God. Again, so far still so good. I found myself nodding.

But as fast as my head was bobbing in agreement, things went south without any warning. The lady DJ kept going and going like an Energizer Bunny about Katy Perry’s Christian roots. Then she said something that did not sit well with me. She asked the listeners to keep Katy Perry in their prayers, that they have to pray for her redemption, and pray that she gets strong enough to turn her present life around and that she really needs to go back to singing gospel music if she wants to save her soul.

Pray for Katy? Pray for what, I asked. Huh? All these could get quite confusing. I am not shy about professing my faith and embarking on my spiritual journey even when I started quite late, just the last six years. But in that short amount of time, I learned two things if you believe in the Supreme Being. One, God does not discriminate and two, He does not pick favorites among His children. So when the DJ said that we should all pray for Katy Perry, that made my skin crawl.

My initial thought was just because you host a Christian radio program does not make you all righteous and all judgmental. Did she forget the story of Mary Magdalene? But then again, if you’re a host of a Christian program, those are the things that are expected to come out of your mouth.

But will the blindfolds ever come off? Will the I-am-better-than-you mentality diminish? Is there a middle ground? I am all for voicing a strong opinion but when your existence is anchored in your belief that God is love, God is merciful, and God is all understanding, how do you justify living a double life? One that professes a God-like existence on one hand and on the other hand, you are purporting subtle superiority or casting judgment over other people.

I don’t know Katy Perry but I am sure her years of Christian upbringing did not just go to naught by wearing that cleavage-showing dress the day she frolicked with Elmo. She’s an artist and she has to dress the part and live up to that image. I am sure that one can argue that her drastic change from singing gospel music to “secular” music as her mother described it is driven by the lure of money and being worldly therefore sinful in the eyes of some. Maybe but that doesn’t make her a bad person, does it?

It’s hard for me to accept the DJ’s prayer plea for Katy Petty. Does she need redemption just because she showed more skin than what some people are comfortable with? Katy Perry is way ahead of the game. She started her relationship with God early on in her life. And God only knows what pact they made but certainly her success now could vouch for something for it did not come easy. She struggled as an artist – from the time she was a gospel singer to her time in Nashville and then to Los Angeles.

But times are definitely different for her now. Could it be because she’s actually receiving God’s favor and reaping His bounty? She has put in her time and paid her dues and for those who believe that we have a merciful God, I am sure you’ll agree that a low-cut dress is no reason for condemnation. Maybe for Elmo. Could you imagine how disappointed he must be? Poor Elmo, he was having so much fun in that video. I think that lady DJ ought to pray for Elmo’s well-being instead. Hmmm…don’t worry Elmo, it’s not meant to be but there’s always Tinker Bell!

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