British pop singer and songwriter Adele released a new single, “Hello,” from her third album, “25,” released on Nov. 20. Within 72 hours of the single’s release, it had over 71 million views on YouTube. 71 million views not because she was portraying violence in her music video or exposing herself in a sexual manner, but because she had a message that was unique and was packaged to fit the content of her character.
Adele garnered 23.2 million views in the first 24 hours. Compare that to Taylor Swift’s 2014 “Bad Blood” video that was viewed over 20.1 million times within 24 hours. According to Head of Culture and Trends at YouTube Kevin Allocca, Adele drew over 1.6 million views per hour the day her single was released. Now that is nothing to sneeze about.
Without delay, let’s switch our attention to the over-polarizing of sexual content that has dominated today’s music industry. In today’s society, sex sells ― everything from the latest accessories to the clothes we put on our backs. We live in a society that believes if a product doesn’t have a sexual image associated with it, then the sale or viewership will be reduced dramatically or even fail. Society needs to steer away from this notion that if it is not sexy then that means it is not good. In today’s music industry, artists are finding different avenues to display their bodies from album covers to their onstage performances.
Adele has broken that mold. She has been able to sell millions of records, without exposing her body to make a dollar, unlike other female artists in the music industry such as Nicki Minaj, Beyoncé, Rihanna and Lady Gaga. While I respect these artists and others who bear it all on stage and give a peek show on occasion to solicit cheers, I have a greater respect for those who choose to approach their craft from a different perspective.
I applaud artists like Fantasia, Chrisette Michele and Alicia Keys who conduct their business and themselves in a professional and tasteful manner. These artists have taken a page from the likes of Pattie Labelle, Aretha Franklin, Gladys Knight and other artists from that era who relied on their talent to sell records rather than their body parts to entice viewers to buy their music. These artists did not expose that which was intended to be seen behind closed doors in order to make their music careers successful.
A study conducted by Dawn R. Hobbs, a psychology professor at the University Albany in New York, concluded that 92 percent of the top ten billboard songs of 2009 were about sex. While Adele songs are not primarily about sex, but rather heartbreaks and dysfunctional relationships, she consistently breaks this mold that one has to dress in sexual manner to get to the top of the charts. She is indeed a trailblazer, and others should follow in her footsteps.
It is said that beauty is in the eyes of the beholder. Oftentimes, the beholder is blinded by society and yearns for the love of society, and that love is stipulated by rules and regulations that come with a price. A heavy price that not all can afford. One such price tag that comes with this sexual exploitation is that in order to be successful, you have to sell sex, or what was meant to be private has to be shared for public consumption for monetary gains. I salute artists who choose not to conform to the beauty that society requires of them. Their courage and the positive message that they are sending to young girls and boys is one that many others need to follow. This is the generation that will follow them, so they need to leave a legacy, one of class and high morals.
Artists should know that their bodies are temples, and they should be treated as a scared place. Something ought to be left to the imagination and not for public viewing. You do not have to expose yourself to be successful, and Adele proved it once again with her latest single.