All the Censured Ladies

You were asked yesterday at school not to sing Beyoncé’s “Single Ladies.” From what you told me, you staged a version of the “Single Ladies” video. You said: “the only parts I could remember were the part that goes ‘we’re the single ladies’ and ‘if you liked it you should’ve put a ring on it.'” Eventually, one of the teachers pulled you aside and asked you not to do that any longer. When I asked if you knew why you’d been asked to stop, you quoted the teacher as saying “the kids that don’t know about the Single Ladies will go home and sing it and their moms and dads will say [scolding voice] ‘how do you know about the Single Ladies?'”

I tried not to let this crack me up, but it was difficult. We talked a bit about how different houses can have different rules. I did not point out that most of the kids in your class probably know the song as it was performed by the Chipettes in Alvin & the Chipmunks: the Squeakuel. Nor did I point out that a five-year-old singing a Beyoncé Knowles song could never be as offensive as any human believing that the song belongs to the Chipmunks.

We have a few more years ahead of us before you master modulating your behavior for its audience. And in that time, I expect that you, your mom and I may catch some grief over what is considered age appropriate in our house. We may not always side with you, and sometimes we may take your side without letting you know. And, to be clear, we are totally fine with the teachers telling you to take a powder if they think it will save them some grief from some of the crazier parents. But I think it’s cool that you were trying to organize the other kids to re-create the “Single Ladies” video.

For those of you living under a rock (Mom, Dad), here’s the video in question. As a wise man once said, it is “one of the best videos of all time.”

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