Who Is She
Selena Gomez was born to a teenaged mother in rural Texas in 1992. After being taken to pageants for a few years by her grandparents, she got her first big break when she was cast, alongside close friend and fellow pop star Demi Lovato, in the hit children's television show, Barney & Friends. After a few years on the show, she landed an audition for the Disney Channel as the lead character in a new show called Wizards of Waverly Place. The show and its subsequent films are some of the most-watched original programming in the history of the Disney Channel. Gomez soon extended her entertainment empire into the music world, releasing hit albums and singles. She has sold over 18 million singles worldwide and starred in box-office successes, including Hotel Transylvania and Ramona and Beezus.
After her last album Revival she weathered a rocky four years during which her love life and personal health were the subject of intense media scrutiny, eventually leading her to check into a treatment center. “I purged multiple different things, but it was specifically who I was then,” she says. Hitting rock bottom revealed a new way forward: She rid her life of toxic relationships, quit social media, and vowed to trust her gut on her future music projects.
What Are Her Messages
Gomez's music has, for the most part, been created by a factory of reliable hit-makers. And as such, the majority of it sacrifices much in the way of meaning and instead goes for the universal themes that saturate the radio. Falling in love is fun. Breaking up is not. Dancing is the best way to get over breaking up. Repeat.
To be fair, Selena has largely eschewed the hyper-sexual antics and imagery of many of her Disney counterparts and instead operated as the best friend every girl wishes they had.
When she does go for something with a little heft, it's surprisingly effective. "Who Says" is an encouraging ode to those suffering from low self-esteem, sounding like a big sister when she sings, "Who says you're not worth it? / Who says you're the only one who's hurting?" After a well-publicized on-and-off relationship with Justin Bieber, her single, "The Heart Wants What It Wants", found Gomez mining her personal life in her lyrics for seemingly the first time. The dark song (and her biggest chart hit to date) addresses the tumultuous nature of an unhealthy relationship, admitting "The future that we hold is so unclear / But I'm not alive until you call." "Good For You" begins signaling her shift into "serious adulthood" and as such, is more sensual than her usual fare, telling her beau that she just wants to look good for him and show him "how proud I am to be yours."
What Does A Youthworker Need2Know
Any student who grew up watching the Disney Channel is likely very familiar with Selena Gomez. Especially after she began dating Justin Bieber, she became a fixture in tabloids and blogs, inspiring multiple opinions on their rocky relationship and expanding their celebrity status and visibility considerably. Musically, Gomez has only recently begun to start to open up her personal life, which is encouraging and may help her have a long-lasting career. She is a talented, amiable actress and singer but the things she is beginning to reveal are troubling. She seems to be struggling with the thing that most young people struggle with at her age; identity.
She has, encouragingly, posted numerous references to scripture and worship songs on her social media accounts lately, including a video of her singing along to Hillsong UNITED's hit, "Oceans", calling it "beautifully written". Her music and career are excellent vehicles through which to engage students about finding their identities in Christ instead of relationships or other seemingly important, but ultimately trivial, statuses.
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