Tag Archives: Lil Wayne

Lil Wayne’s “How To Love”

It’s not hard for me to start a check list of the things I don’t like about Lil Wayne — his bad boy image seems to be well earned, and his lyrics are usually so vulgar I wouldn’t feel comfortable posting two lines together here on the blog.

Right now, though, all I can say is wow. I just watched the video for “How To Love.” Granted, it’s raw in spots (I’d rate it PG-13 for some of the visuals), and as believers we know that there’s something (Someone) missing from the storyline that could drastically change the outcomes.

Just to be clear, I’m not condoning Lil Wayne’s lifestyle, and I’m not saying I’d suggest his music as a whole. But this song and video pack a punch. There are lessons here that, as a youth leader, you need to be talking about. And having them served up on a silver platter like this from one hip-hop’s biggest stars is an amazing opportunity.

Get our “How To Love” discussion guide
The message in “How To Love” about our choices, and the impact that the people around us can have on our life is truth. You can dissect the lessons of the video (or just use the song if you’d rather) and download our re:tuned discussion starter for Lil Wayne’s song “How To Love” to have a conversation with your students about how, as re:tuned discussion author Chris Keating put it, “we often give our love away to others who don’t love us with a nurturing, sacrificial love like God has for us.”

Editor’s note: The re:tuned section in every Music Resource Book features  discussion points for some of today’s most popular mainstream songs. These brief studies are designed to give you a starting point for a “What do you think this song is about?” discussion about a song you hear hanging out with students at Starbucks. Or you might try dissecting the week’s featured “Glee” song in a small group setting. Many youth leaders tell us that the re:tuned section is one of the hidden gems of their YLO membership.

The bleepin’ VMAs

First, a confession …
I didn’t watch the Video Music Awards on MTV Sunday night. I know, I know. My “job” is music, and not that long ago I would have been glued to the TV. But thanks to DVRs, YouTube and the internet, I decided I’d spend the evening with my family and catch the highlights the next day.

“Highlights” being a relative term.

The first thing I heard on Monday morning wasn’t about any one performance, but about the amount of bleeping that the censors had to do for the broadcast. The New York Times summed it up this way:

This was maybe the most bleeped award show in history, and certainly among the lewdest: Lady Gaga’s opening monologue, in drag, channeling Andrew Dice Clay and Denis Leary; Cloris Leachman swapping foul talk with the “Jersey Shore” cast; Justin Bieber making phallus jokes with his girlfriend, Selena Gomez, during the preshow. The flat toilet humor of last year’s host, Chelsea Handler, had nothing on this.

Shock and Awe
The Video Music Awards have always been a spectacle – the outfits, the performances, the banter. Each years’ show seems to offer something to top the previous year’s outrageousness. And this year offered multiple moments of “what next?!” – Lady Gaga in drag, Beyonce’s pregnancy “announcement,” Katy Perry’s outfits (including her apparent tribute to the Rubik’s cube).

And then there was the language.

Tyler the Creator offered an acceptance speech that was unintelligible for all the censored language. Lil Wayne closed the night with a performance that made me think the mute button on my remote was possessed. I’ve been googling this morning to try and find a count of how many cuss words were used on the show. I guess nobody could keep track. Or maybe it’s because, as we’ve talked about recently, the definition of “cussing” varies depending on who you ask.

Record setting
Regardless of my impulse to dismiss the show as nothing more than a over-the-top-self-promotion-fest for the artist of the moment, I – we – need to pay attention to the VMAs. Why? Because our students do.

This year’s VMAs were record setting with 12.4 million viewers – the largest audience in the history of show and the largest audience ever for an MTV telecast. Of those viewers, eight and a half million of Sunday’s viewers were between 12 and 34 years old.

Events like the VMAs shine the spotlight on a Lady Gaga or a Katy Perry or a Lil Wayne. And the combination of vulnerability, curiosity, peer pressure and still-developing wisdom that defines the teenage years makes kids a sponge for the messages of the culture. Part of a youth leaders’ job is to encourage students to think for themselves, and not just accept the messages of the culture. We have to help them understand that scripture offers them a measuring stick for what they see and hear.

How about you: Did you watch the VMAs? Have you talked to students about the show? How are you encouraging your students to process what culture throws their way?