First and foremost let me explain what exactly this is. This is an open letter expressing my utter disbelief at how one human can inspire and have the power to control so many people and still remain from most accounts a decent person. Recently I was going through my computer and happened upon the “Live at Roseland” DVD. Due to being a recent graduate with far too much time on my hands I decided to watch it again. I found that this time however, I was not drawn so much to your picture perfect performances but found myself more interested in the audience. Do you realize the diversity of your fans? Girl let me tell you!! Within the audience I noticed: white people, black people, Mediterranean looking people, Indian looking people, Asian people and all kinds of people!! I noticed old people, young people, fabulously flamboyant people and people who one would think - based on the shallow judgment of appearances were more comfortable at a Mitt Romney campaign meeting, but who looked just at home rocking to “Single Ladies”.
I point this out because even on a small scale your reach is incredible. Let me give you an example. I am part of a group of 4 very diverse friends who have been close since we were 12. One of the binding points in our friendship is our mutual fandom of you. In fact one of the girls let’s call her “little bear (in the most affectionate way possible), was so inspired by you and your impeccable performances, that for her 21st she talked us into a dance performance. Trust me if you got to know me, this would look like a bad idea from miles away! Not only am I uncoordinated, I possess the grace of a three legged donkey on crack. Nevertheless we all participated and it was an interesting dance, which turned out to be very fun! I use this as an example because if it weren’t for your crazy worldwide reach, our group of 4 mildly misfitted girls would not be as close. Another example of how much you inspire people can be found in the story of Little Bear growing up. At the age of 13 not one of us knew she could sing. By the age of 15 however, she got up in front of our entire class and performed your smash hit ‘Irreplaceable’. This may not seem huge to you as you spend most of your time performing for millions, but for Little Bear this was an accomplishment of ages. This experience helped pull her out of her shell and change her into the quietly confident Little Bear we all love today, all because of you.
While watching the DVD I also noticed something I don’t normally notice when watching other performances on DVD. It was very clear to me that while other artists look out into a crowd, flash a smile and return to their performances, you seemed to stop and drink it in. This astounded me because one would think that after reaching your level of success, a concert like Roseland would look like another pay day. In those moments you appeared very human. So human in fact that I was reminded that no matter whom you are, everybody poops. Bear with me, I’m not being gross here, I am just trying to explain how simply human you are. I feel sometimes we as fans forget that you too are a person who eats, sleeps and feels. Albeit you do most of this in five star luxuries, you however still remain just like the rest of us i.e. you still gotta poop!
Speaking of bodily functions and famous people, during your brilliantly edited DVD, we as fan are shown just how many icons you have had the pleasure to meet. Icons such as: Michael Jackson, Tina turner, Obama, M-Obama, Oprah, Prince and Barbara Streisand just to name a few. Do you realize that’s like half of my “I wish I could meet them” list?!? This kind of reach is incredible! What is more incredible though is the fact that you seemed to be more inspired and in awe by the kids you met, the kids with disabilities or the kids who were less fortunate. This is a true reflection on your character and is in itself a reason you are an inspiration to so many people.
You are such an inspiration that when you were on your world tour and came to Australia I missed your show. No it wasn’t some weird fangirl thing where I spent half the night chanting and lighting cinnamon scented candles in the hopes that you would magically knock on my door. It was 2009 and my parents were having a hard time keeping their business afloat. My brother and I would go in after school/uni and help them out to save on employee wages. I had a shift the night of your concert and decided through pretty shifty logic that helping out my parents would be kinder than spending $150 on the concert and another $100 on staff for the evening. If it wasn’t for your demonstration of love and admiration for your mother, coupled with my own parents excellent upbringing of me, I may have gone to the concert, disappointed my parents, dropped out of school, became a drug addict and ended up in a gutter somewhere. I only use this as an extreme example to demonstrate why you are such a positive role model to young girls.
Let’s face it, there are very few ‘hip’ role models for young girls. Most female artists these days are advocating drunkenness, promiscuity and a vocabulary so vile it would make sailors and my dad blush! Don’t get me wrong there are still some positive role models out there but they are few and far between. I feel you do not get enough credit for being one of the few positive role models. For someone who grew up in the business you did, you managed to stay away from sex scandals, drunken club fights, DUI’s and random mug shots. I think it’s time we congratulated you for being a little bit sane! I don’t know how you do it but it is pretty great to be able to look up to an entertainer with a relatively clean record! For that I thank you. I realize that negative people will always be around but because kids like me had someone so successful show them that it’s ok to just be you, there is a generation of young ladies out there who are just that, young LADIES! Not in the sense that we walk, talk and dress like ladies but in the sense that we carry ourselves with respect and dignity in all we do. I have been very lucky growing up because my family is full of strong; beautiful, inspiring women who have helped raise me. Others are not so fortunate and have not grown up with amazing mothers, aunties and grandmothers. These are the girls whose lives you have made a little more worthwhile through your message of self-respect.
In short this letter is simply a reminder that you my friend are a wonderfully inspiring person who has reached and influenced millions but who still remains, by most accounts a humble Texas girl. You have shown many what hard work, sacrifice and a little bit of luck leads to and you have proven the stereotype of good guys finishing last wrong. For these and so much more I say thanks girl! I guess what I’m trying to say is; you inspire so many it’s time someone let you know.
p.s As always…stay shiny and new!