Off the Beat w/ Marc Lacy: How Do We Keep Kids in the Entertainment Industry Safe?

With the recent storm of reporting coming out regarding the alleged activities of R Kelly,
I’m quite sure many parents have rethought their plans in having their children in the
studio with critically acclaimed/established artists and producers. Now let me make one
thing clear, there are some established professional artists and producers who have no
baggage tied to their name and have a very successful track record in launching the
careers of up and coming stars.

So I definitely do not want to take anything away from the folks who are keeping it 100 and who have not allegedly committed inappropriate acts with children or anyone for that matter. But one thing this whole R Kelly ordeal represents, is THE POSSIBILITY, whether he is innocent or guilty. With that said, I know every parent was and is taking heed. And honestly, it should not take R Kelly rumors for a concerned parent or guardian to resort to necessary protective measures concerning their child being in an environment with other grown-ups.

Quite honestly, this recent chain of events and accusations, in my opinion, will permanently alter the protocol by which child prodigy artists are governed as they make their way into the industry.

I listen to many motivational speakers on the regular and one of the main things
they emphasize is that you have to be willing to take big risks if you want big success.
They say you’ve got to be inclined to put yourself out there and take what comes with it.

Mind you, we’re supposed to consume everything in life with a grain of salt. We’re
supposed to be able to sort out the literal from the figurative and govern ourselves
accordingly. However, we do not live in a world in which everyone receives everything
the same way, or the way something was “intended” to be received.

As a matter of fact, people tend to subjectively take certain things said by others, and apply them to their life as they see fit. And really, that’s what we’re supposed to do when listening to motivators. We must find how to apply what they’re saying, to our lives. But when it comes to children; especially if they’re under-aged, then it’s the adult’s responsibility to make major decisions for them…and keep it that way until they become of age to make the tough decisions on their own.

It’s typical when parents see a certain potential in their child, they want to
position the child to achieve the ultimate success. In doing so, they invoke a certain
level of discipline, implement a regimen, and apply oversight so that the child can learn,
grown, and achieve.

However, introductions to the subject matter experts more than
likely will be a part of the oversight. And you can bet your last dollar that if the child is
gifted in the areas of music, singing, and songwriting, they will be introduced to
someone in the industry at some point.

And if the subject is really enamored by the child’s talent, then they are going to most certainly inquire about working with them. Just say both the parent and child agree to work with the producer. If the producer is any good, then his or her calendar will be slam-packed, therefore they may not be able to work with the child unless it is off-hours or after hours. And depending on the excitement generated and the purported potential, the parent or guardian may be more

apt to take a chance and totally trust the other adult. However, I would like to think
that there’s not THAT much trust in the world. Here’s my final thought on this issue. Any professional who is in an arena in which there’s the prospect of working with underage children should have a contract that stipulates the child must have a chaperone. Or, have it to where they can take their mobile studio to the home of the child and thus a parent should be there. But make no mistake about it, any parent that loves their child prodigy is going to be overprotective and pretty much needs to be.

That child should be treated as a treasure and the other adults are either going to have to accept it, or simply find someone else to work with. It has nothing to do with not trusting the other adult, but everything to do with your love for the child…PERIOD. And if the other adult has children themselves, they should completely understand. But even if they do not have children, make them understand.

Heck, if the child is that talented, the parent should have a contract drawn up by an
attorney which stipulates the fact that the parent/guardian is the child’s agent and the
child does not budge without the agent’s consent and presence. Some say, this type of
response my stifle the child’s one and only chance to make it to the big time. However,
the reality is, they only have one chance at being a child, too.

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