Youth Culture. There is one each generation and each generation does some crazy things that they think are the coolest hip thing at the moment and in some cases we look back on them and ask ourselves why? In other cases we look back on those things with rose-colored glasses making them out to be things that were great to do.
21st century youth culture is in a whole other bag.
Pop culture and society standards have always been a driving force as to why the youth do what they do from the hippie movement with their free love and drugs or the ’80s with their big hair. If people in the media, music, movies or tv shows were doing it kids are more likely to do it themselves. For the most part though what ever it was that kids were doing you mostly only knew about it from things like the radio, MTV or a movie that over glorifies it. But now that the media, movies, music and tv shows are now being done by the youth for the youth on platforms like Youtube, podcast, Soundcloud, Twitter, Instagram and many other platforms were it’s getting to the youth at a faster rate. Sadly though putting that much power into the youth’s hands can also be dangerous.
So as many people know by now thanks to social media becoming the biggest thing among kids challenge videos have become super big. Challenges like the cinnamon challenge, Kylie Jenner lip challenge, salt and ice challenge, ghost pepper challenge, condom challenge and ALS ice bucket challenge among others have made kids big on social media thanks to these. But unfortunately the past few challenges that the youth have been doing have been down right deadly like the fire challenge, tide pod challenge and the most recent “lacker challenge”. Like I said before sadly kids are doing these crazy things for social media likes and attention. Just like how back in the day if the media or one of your peers is doing something then you were most likely going to do it too (unless it was dangerous and you had some sense). But what is even more alarming than just the youth doing these challenges because other kids on the internet are doing them, you have these grown adults (between 18 and in their 30s) on social media and Youtube making videos of themselves doing the latest challenge. With the ice bucket challenge at least they were doing it to help fight a disease but in other cases these internet celebrities are promoting this stuff to what they know are their young impressionable kid fan base. Kids are being sent to the hospital and some are dying over this stuff. It is really worth the likes? the subscribers? the followers? NO!!! STOP IT! Go play outside with your friends, go play video games (good ones), go read a comic book, go start a band/learn music, go be 9, 10, 11, 12, 13, 14, 15, 16, 17, 18, 19, 20, 21 years old. Act your age!
Another point I wanna bring up about the 21st century youth is the people you look up to. Like I said social media and Youtube are huge. That can be a great thing and also not so great. Thanks to Youtubers being able to make millions of dollars (the big ones) off Youtube their videos are being promoted left and right and due to young kids being the primary audience of most Youtubers then they get promoted directly to them. People like Pewdipie, Channel Awesome, The Paul Brothers, Shane Dawson, Bryan Stars, Social Repose, Austin Jones, Sam Pepper, Eugenia Cooney, Onision and many others are prime examples of people with no real content besides prank videos, reaction videos, skits, vlogs or emo content. Some of these big stars even got their fame from places like Vine. That being said most of these folks give off a bad impression of how to look, act or carry yourself in the real world and thanks to that it is making brats out of these kids who follow them. It is also making these kids very vulnerable as well to the deviant ways of some of these Youtubers like Sam Pepper, Austin Jones, The Paul Brothers and Bryan Stars. Just take the most recent event with Youtuber Logan Paul and the whole “Suicide Forest showing a dead body in a video” thing. Youtube it’s self was so far up Logan Paul and his brother because they were making them money that it took them a good two weeks to even comment on the video at all.
This also has a lot to do with singers, band members, and rappers that you follow as well and become for a lack of a better term obsessed with to the point where they can do no wrong in your book and you will come for anybody who says other wise. Stan culture can be a crazy hurtful thing (I mean did you even listen to the lyrics of Stan by Em?) and sadly the number one perpetrators of this culture are young kids (and Black twitter but that’s another conversation). Of course back in the days of like Beatle-mania and other huge bands and artist becoming the biggest thing at the time you always had the “groupie” culture and those who would do anything to get to know these artist and they would save every magazine article and have every poster on their wall of these artist. They knew facts about these artist that not just everyone would know. I mean they made a movie about this called Almost Famous. Well take that and magnify it by 1000 and you have these social media celebrity stalking of today who know too much about their favorite artist and will use it against you when you try to come for them. Whats worse is that due to this extreme devotion of an artist these kids are beginning to forget that they have flaws and are allowed to mess up which makes it hard for you to reason with them in a level-headed way with out have things like death threats and other hurtful words thrown at you over a celebrity.
And like I said earlier these internet personalities are turning kids into brats thanks to the behavior they are seeing online by these folks. Take this annoying “rapper” (if you can call him that), lil Pump who was very I mean very disrespectful to a Wal-mart employee who was just doing his job and had asked lil Pump to leave his store and he started to cuss him out. Him who is a teenager cussing out a grown man?! Lord if my mom had been there I wouldn’t be here typing this jk but really what gives him the nerve?! sad.
And these Soundcloud rappers are coming out of the wood works with colored hair, different colored grils, and no talent what so ever with this “I’m the ish no body can come for me” mentality which we know is rubbing off on these kids.
What is also rubbing off on these kids is drug use. Thanks to hip-hop being the #1 genera in the world right now Soundcloud rappers are dominating the charts and signing 6 figure deals with major labels like Atlantic. Now thanks to these rappers becoming so big then the message in their music is becoming even bigger. Now yes almost ever generation since the ’60s has had music about drugs that’s just a fact of life. In the ’60s it was LSD, Mary Jane and Mushrooms, in the ’80s it was Cocaine and Heroine and in the 2000s it was Molly and lean (cough syrup and soda) just to name a few. Once the ’80s & ’90s did role around though it became less of the promotion of taking drugs and more of the promotion of selling drugs to get by. But as the 2000s made its way into the 2010s music festivals have become a big thing around the world and it became cool and acceptable to do Molly or do mushrooms at a festival to give you that cool ’60s retro vibe. Sad thing is like LSD before this had people jumping out of buildings cause they thought they could fly (true story my mom told me), lean, xanax and other hard-core drugs are out here killing the youth and those the youth look up too. Take the most recent cases with two up and coming rappers lil Peep and Frado Santana. Wither you were fans of them or their music during their short life on Earth or not you can’t deny that these guys had a following. In lil Peeps case it was mostly suburban white kids who loved him all though 90% of his content in his songs or on social media was of him taking the drugs that would take his life last fall. And with the most recent opioid crisis in the white suburban communities it’s pretty ironic the things the kids are following. And sadly you still have people who are promoting this stuff trying to say that drugs are just apart of the culture. But to me these new drugs folks are taking are chemicals and extremely more harmful than weed or shrooms but whatever. Then you have rappers out here who are not even taking the drugs but are still promoting them in their music. All in all it really needs to end and not be so promoted in any way to the youth who are out here becoming addicted to this stuff just because their favorite rappers are. And yes I know that you will try to say that some use this to cope with depression but I feel there are other ways to get through that then this.
Speaking of depression which we gotta talk about because that is a big thing among the youth which it always has been. Depression sucks! What’s worse is that in one way depression is actually being talked about some what in the media thanks to artist like Kid Cudi going to rehab and with the sad deaths of Chris Cornell & Chester Bennington last year but is also in my opinion is being exploited to the youth with too much depression and talking about “fake depression” in movies, music and on the internet. Like I mentioned earlier about the drug culture in music it feels like depression has become a big topic in music, movies and tv shows that over glorify this “emo or depressed” type vibe. Everything today has to have this dark vibe to it talking about how your life sucks. This leads kids to be even more depressed with so much darkness around them in the media. I just think this takes away from those kids who are actually depressed and seeking ways to cope with it.
And of course don’t even get me started on the unrealistic way we portray ourselves on social media which is influencing the youth and is causing a good amount of this depression. When the youth log into social media all they see is unrealistic versions of a bunch of people who just photoshop themselves to keep up with these unrealistic celebrity looks. The youth try to follow this trend and sadly it has lasting effects on how the youth look at themselves in real life. Then you have people putting way too much of themselves on places like Instagram, Twitter and Facebook to the point where we leave nothing to the imagination.
Over all youth culture is crazy and each one is unique to its youth but at the end of the day don’t take it too seriously. Be a kid, be a teenager, be a young adult your only young once and you should cherish that. Thanks to not growing up with social media in my prime youth I still feel the unique connection to my childhood and why seeing all the crazy things kids do for social media and Youtube makes me feel so much nostalgia for past times. Before the crazy pictures, videos, likes, follows there was just you, your friends, your favorite tv shows, movies and music but also just the untapped imagination of a child playing tag outside till the street lights come on. I miss that for today’s youth as I see them fall deeper and deeper down this social media path where frankly they are starting to lose themselves. The more kids are on social media the more I feel that the line between real life and the internet has become blurred.
But not everything about this generation is necessarily all bad and here are a few youth out there who are using their social media, Youtube, music, movies, tv shows, podcast and general activism to make a better world for themselves and their children.
Lilly Singh: is a Canadian YouTube personality, vlogger, comedian, author, actress & philanthropist. She is a really cool down to earth YouTuber representing brown girls like herself on the internet and giving them someone positive to look up to. Plus she is pretty funny.
Xiuhtezcatl Martinez: is a 17-year-old indigenous climate activist, hip-hop artist, and powerful voice on the front lines of a global youth-led environmental movement. He is the youth director of the climate activist group Earth Guardians. He cares deeply about helping to save this planet for future generation and I love that.
Willow Smith: known professionally as Willow, is an American singer, actress and dancer. Her music is out of this world and very much a main stay in my library. She is very talented and cares deeply about the world and puts that into her music. She is also highly spiritual, an activist and carefree and I just gravitate towards her.
Amandla Stenberg: is an American actress and singer. She is an activist and intersectional feminist who has done many incredible videos and think pieces on this subject before. Plus she is natural hair goals!
Jaden Smith: is an American actor, rapper, singer and songwriter. Like his sister he is big into music and has his own label for music, fashion and culture called MSFTSrep. He is out here making big moves with his partnership with spring water company Just Water and just making a lane out here for the misfits.
Raury: is an American singer, songwriter and rapper from Atlanta, Georgia. He is known for his eclectic sound mixing soul, hip hop and folk. He is also very much into crystals, meditation, nature and just being your higher self. His music is the definition of music with a message and I love it.
Yara Shahidi: is an American actress, model, and activist. She plays Zoey Johnson on Black-ish and now Grown-ish. She also comes from a line of strong female activist from Iran as well as herself being a intersectional feminist activist who is attending Harvard after a gap year.
Rowan Blanchard: is an American actress. She is a public activist in areas such as feminism, human rights, and gun violence who in 2016 came out queer on Twitter. She really cares a lot about intersectional feminism and making a better world for all women now and in the future.
Alessia Cara: is a Canadian singer and songwriter. I fell in love with her music when I first heard it. It was songs I could relate to being the introverted quiet one all through my youth who stayed home on Saturday nights in my own little world (and I still do). She made powerful anthems for young kids letting them know its ok to be flawed its the best part about you. Through her music she stands up for women and the young kids of today and her music is just really moving.
Zendaya: is an American actress and singer. This girl has been a powerful influence on young black girls with her Disney shows as well as her activism on issues like feminism and race. She speaks out about different issues going on in the world and really doing it big for the next generation of young girls out there.
Well here is a few shining examples of this crazy generation.
Like I said though each generation is different but each generation does crazy things that the next generations don’t understand so all though I don’t understand a lot of what you guys do (or why you do it) I can’t take away your creativity and wanted to be heard by someone.
JUST DON’T EAT TIDE PODS, LIGHT YOURSELF ON FIRE OR DO THE “NO LACKIN” CHALLENGE WHERE YOU POINT A GUN AT SOMEONE!!! BE SMARTER!!! 🙂
Well Till Next Time…Stay Young As Long As You Can!