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Welcome to my musings on pop culture and parenting. I am the Pop Mama and this is a safe place to steal away from your screaming child and get your fix on what's up with Beyonce and great poop stain remover tips.

Thursday, February 17, 2011

Stage Parents

Two stories broke recently involving parents of child stars.  One was the whiny tale of Billy Ray Cyrus and his daughter Miley, as told to GQ Magazine.  The other was a very sad report of molestation and sexual abuse by the father of the sibling musical group, The 5 Browns (the group is made up of siblings who are all musical prodigies that went to Julliard and are disgustingly talented).  After all of the stories over the years involving stage parents, I truly think that stage parents in general (and I am sure that there are exceptions) have some kind of mental disease or defect.  Let's see...think of Joe Jackson (creepy abuser -- just look at his picture...yikes!), Dina Lohan (enabler), Jaid Barrymore (enabler, fame-seeker), pretty much any of the parents featured on Toddlers and Tiaras (crazy town), Joe Simpson (inappropriate), Kris Jenner (pimp) and there are a ton more out there.  Remember in the movie Juno where the ultrasound tech is insinuating that a teen can't be a good parent and Juno's friend shoots back that the kid could be headed towards a much worse fate with its adopted parents if they were, gasp, stage parents?  Well, unfortunately for the children of stage parents, life isn't always grand.   

There is definitely a difference between a "stage parent" and the parent of a child actor/celebrity.  The stage parent is the parent who continually exploits his/her child, both in the child's career and in his/her personal life.  The stage parent stops parenting and instead takes on the role of a coach, manager, friend, party buddy and publicist.  The stage parent does not know when to say when.  The stage parent stops having his or her own life and takes on the life of the child, making decisions not based on what is best for the child, but what is best for the child's career (and bank account).  The stage parent is a parasite.

Billy Ray Cyrus gave an interview to GQ in which he whines about how he blames himself for Miley's descent into smoking herb, partying and sexy pics.  He also blames the show Hannah Montana for tearing his family apart.  He goes so far as to say that he regrets Miley doing the show at all.  First, I feel that this interview is way for Billy Ray's own publicist to spin him as the good guy...now that he is getting divorced and his daughter is two failed singles away from posing for Playboy.  I really don't feel sorry for Billy Ray.  I can't help but think that he originally pimped his cute daughter to re-launch his career.  I mean, he did play her father on Hannah Montana, although he claims he has never made a dime off of her.  Well, technically, without her on the show, there would not have been a show-- unless they were doing a remake of The Beverly Hillbillies.

Second, check out the picture of Billy Ray that is featured in the article.  Not only is the food featured behind him (as he casually sits on his counter top?) probably a blatant product placement, but it is also an PSA for childhood obesity.  Here is a fun game, guess the amount of calories in this picture and the number of brands featured.  Seriously, is this what he eats?

On much more serious note, People magazine reported that Keith Brown, the father of the musicians in The 5 Browns quintet (all siblings) is being charged with sexually abusing his three daughters, Desirae (32), Deondra (30) and Melody (26).  The girls came forward and agreed to be named in the allegations against their father.  What a scum bag.  Keith Brown was the group's former manager, but no longer works professionally with his children (probably because they hate him).  I don't have a ton of background on this family, so I am not sure how much they were pushed into becoming professional musicians.  I remember seeing the three girls on Oprah years ago and being so impressed (and a little jealous) of how talented they all were.  Even if they all had natural talent, I still have to wonder how much their father enforced music practice, etc.  And, now that I know they were abused by their father, I am certain that their childhood was not even close to normal.

Stage parents gross me out.  Watch Toddlers and Tiaras and you will basically watch parents spend thousands of dollars dressing up little girls (no, really, toddlers) in bikinis and midriff baring school girl outfits so that they can dance around on stage for judges whose credentials are that they work at the local bank and like to wear body glitter.  Oh, and if the little girl pleases the judge (who is of course looking for "true facial beauty" and "personality"), then she may take home the grand prize of a cheap tiara and a $100 savings bond. 

Well, I have to step off my soap box now and run, Cameron has an audition...



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