The Drive of Being Heard
Art and music usually intend of making an impression or a statement. Other people are inclined to voice their opinion when they’ve seen a play or heard a musical number that has moved them, whether the response is negative or positive. This drive for being heard and voicing our impressions has created an entire career; critics are paid to write or voice their reviews of various forms of art, whether it is food, movies, music, or visual.
Constructive criticism can be a great thing because it allows the artist to receive feedback that could very well improve its project. Even negative feedback can allow a creator to learn from its shortcomings and create even better work.
The Internet has become a helpful resource for artists in term of exposure, especially musicians and songwriters, as they are able to expose their work to a much larger audience with the ultimate goal to sell or receive more feedback.
Here Comes The Backlash
However, there are always two sides to a coin and the Internet has also created a cozy space for those anonymous self-proclaimed critics to step into the light. Unfortunately, with all of the great purposes of the World Wide Web, comes the backlash of the all too familiar “trolls”. These people are able to hide behind the anonymity of their computer screen and say hurtful things that are not constructive in the least.
Hearing mean comments and harsh words never feels good and is even worse when it has nothing to offer you in the form of betterment of your work. Often times these comments can be blatant attacks on personal characteristics or features and have nothing to do with the song or task performed, leaving the victim feeling even more upset and bruised. There will always be those people who feel the need to put others down; in the hopes of making themselves feel better.
So how do you deal with such toxic people? What can be done? Do you hole yourself up and stop working all together? Or focus on the one thing someone said, only to become an unhealthy and self-destructive obsession? There are much better ways of handling these types of people. As Taylor Swift says, “Haters gonna hate…” and all you can do is “get that dirt off your shoulder”, as Jay-Z so eloquently put it.
Personalities Grew a Thicker Skin
Using humor, appearing unconcerned, or responding with fortitude and grace can all be wonderful tools for responding to hateful words. In recent years, there have been some great examples of turning this negative into a positive. One such example is Kelly Clarkson. A “fan” commented about her weight on multiple occasions and Clarkson chose the “I didn’t even notice” approach to the tweets, allowing her true fans to see how little those hurtful comments influenced her.
Another great approach to such comments is using a little humor to combat them. James Blunt had a commenter say, “James Blunt looks like my left testicle” and his witty response was, “Then you need to see a doctor.” No doubt Blunt let that one roll off his shoulder and served the commenter a slice of humble pie at the same time.
Janelle Monae showed her true strength and wit as she responded to a male fan telling her to “stop being so soulful and be sexy… tired of those dumbass suits” with “Sit down. I’m not for male consumption.” Monae was able to stand as a great example to women everywhere through this simple interaction online.
Jimmy Kimmel even has a segment on his show entitled, “Celebrities Read Mean Tweets”, allowing the public to see the reactions of these celebrities as they are exposed to some hurtful comments. Some celebrities choose to laugh it off, some just shake it off, and others seem a little confused or annoyed, but no matter what, those words have an affect on people.
Make Lemonade Out of Those Lemons
With the era of the Internet also came accessibility to virtually anything in the world. This isn’t limited to buying shoes online or selling music on iTunes and all of those negative critiques are out there for the world to see. It has become increasingly easier for people to make such harsh comments without having to face their actions. The trolls of the world feel safe sitting behind their lit up screen, spewing out hateful comments to people, whether they’ve met them or not. Regrettably, this type of cyber bullying has led to the deep depression of many teenagers who have come into their crosshairs.
That’s why it’s even more important that artists and celebrities are able to stand up against online bullies. By responding in such a public forum, they are able to show others who have fallen victim that it is possible to rise above such insensitive remarks. Humor, wit, gumption, and courage are all useful tools in responding to mean comments. Being in the musical world, you know that words most definitely have power.
In a generation full of people who spend most of their waking hours online, it’s important to remember that and stand up against those that would rather invoke harm than praise others.
Receiving negative feedback is never an enjoyable experience and hearing insults can really affect a person’s well being, however, it is possible to make lemonade out of those lemons. Choosing to shrug off negativity will help an artist remain more positive and happy in the long run.
It’s important to recognize that those people who choose to hurl abusive comments and engage in taunting and slander don’t know you personally. Often times these “critics” are showcasing their own insecurities by participating in this type of behavior. Some may be completely oblivious to their influence while others may just not care, but either way, it’s important to decide how much you will let it affect you. Being offended is a choice and being able to make light of hurtful words will help propel you further in the long run. Life is about enjoying the moments and making the best of it; don’t let negative people pull you down.