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Tuesday, August 23, 2005

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Featured Article: The Crap Your Kids Will be Watching This Sunday Night-What you Should Know About the MTV Video Music Awards

by Jonathan McKee
August 23, 2005

Sunday night get ready for one of the biggest youth culture "Dannys" of the year.


When I was growing up, a classmate of mine named Danny was quite a cultural phenomenon. Danny kept up with all the hot and current trends. Danny was the first kid with a Walkman and the first kid to go to an ACDC concert. Danny had the latest pair of Vans and the newest bright colored Converse. He was the first kid to dye his hair and always donned the latest issue of Thrasher Magazine.

If you wanted to know what was cool, or more specifically, what was becoming cool at that moment ... Danny was the kid. Danny was an indicator of what our culture was becoming, a thermometer of recent cultural trends.

But Danny was something else. Danny catalysted certain trends on our campus. He not only reflected our culture, he influenced our culture. Danny was the most current thing around, so everyone watched Danny. Kids copied Danny, because they knew that Danny "knew what was cool."

Danny reflected AND affected our culture.

This Sunday Night brings us one of the biggest "Dannys" of them all: The MTV Video Music Awards (the VMAs). The VMAs not only reflect our culture, they influence it. If Snoop Dog utters a new word when he's presenting a Moonman (MTV Video Music Awards are little statues of the MTV logo-the "Moonman") on Sunday night ... that word will fill the air on campuses around the world Monday. The same word will be in a new commercial on Nickolodeon within a month and on my SLANG DICTIONARY page in 2 months. (So ... we're a little slow!)

Last year Kaiser reported that 64% of teenagers have a TV in their bedroom and 69% have cable. Bottom line: A ton of kids are going to be tuning in to MTV this Sunday. I've even polled Christian kids in my leadership workshops across the country. Usually half or more of any given church's student leaders see the VMAs each year.

One never knows what to expect from MTV each year. In 2003 we were surprised with the Madonna & Brittany Kiss. At the Super Bowl half time show ... we saw even more!

What can we expect from this Sunday's event?

It's hard to predict where MTV will go. But I'm guessing that we will probably see three ingredients that have flavored these awards shows before.

1. Objectifying Women: Objectifying women is nothing new to hip hop and rap. But now that Rap music dominates the charts, treating women like objects is just more commonplace. (In 2004 just over 68% of American teenagers favored rap/hip hop-Kaiser. Ten of the top 12 singles in 2004 were R&B, hip hop or rap-Billboard),

Last year we saw this at the 2004 VMAs. Nelly performed an entire song with Christina Aguilera, never taking his eyes off her body the entire time. It was one of those moments you just had to witness. Immediately after the song if you would have asked him what color her eyes were ... he couldn't have told you. You think that Christina would stop and ponder, "Maybe he doesn't like me for my personality!" Little John did the same thing with the female dancers that performed with him.

And why not turn the whole show over to a role model in this area. P-diddy ... Puff Daddy ... I mean "Diddy" is hosting the VMAs this year. (Diddy has had more name changes than Prince.) Diddy has the reputation for throwing the wildest party's around, so this year MTV is advertising "the biggest and most outrageous night, hosted by the one man born to do it." If you want a sample of what he's born "to do" ... just Google his lyrics and take a peek.

But men don't even need to be on stage for women to be treated like objects ... today's female artists do just fine treating themselves that way. Just last week at the Teen Choice Awards aired on Fox, "The Pussycat Dolls" strutted around on stage singing their #2 hit "Don't Cha!" The only thing the stage was missing was some poles for them to dance around. And they strategically replaced a hip thrust where they usually drop the "f" bomb in their lyrics, "I know you should be f***ing me."

If you dare to surf your remote to MTV this week, every evening the VMA nominee videos are being shown. From Jessica Simpson, to J-Lo, to Missy Elliott ... you'll see plenty of women strutting their stuff, teaching our young girls that low cut pants and hip thrusts are what men like to see ... and if you've chaperoned a school dance in the last year, you'll see it's working!

2. Thanking God: I remember the good old days when artists like Madonna would finish rolling around stage in lingerie ... only to thank God for inspiring her. Nowadays God is thanked regularly, but some artists get even a little more specific ...
    Three artists:
    Usher, whose #1 hit song "Yeah" boasts the lyrics "I won't stop till I get em in they birthday suits... So gimmie the rhythm and it'll be off with they clothes..."

    Outcast, whose #1 song "Hey Ya" sings "Don't want to meet your daddy, just want you in my Caddy, don't want to meet yo' mama, just want to make you c*mma"

    Kanya West, whose #1 hit "Jesus Walks" almost won him "Best New Artist" at the 2004 American Music Awards. But when the "f" word spouting Kanya didn't receive it, he quickly retorted, "I felt like I was definitely robbed and I refused to give any politically correct bullsh** ass comment. I make the music from my heart ... and to be able to get 'Jesus Walks' on the radio and everything that's happening, I was the best new artist this year, so get that other bullsh** out of here."
What do all three of these artists have in common? All three of them received awards at the 2004 Teen Choice Awards and/or the 2004 MTV VMAs ... and thanked their "Lord and Savior Jesus Christ."

We'll see Kanya West perform and Usher present this Sunday night. Should we expect more thanking of the powers above?

3. Corrupting the Young: Sure, MTV has been corrupting the young for years. But my heart breaks for the teenagers that will be part of that event on Sunday night. At least six different teenagers will be part of "Diddy's party" on Sunday night. Hilary Duff (17), Joss Stone (18), Bow Wow (18), Ciara (19), Ashley Simpson (19), and Lindsey Lohan (19) will all be presenting awards on Sunday.

Why does this break my heart?

Because nothing is inappropriate any more. Just last week at the Teen Choice awards, teenager Amanda Bynes presented an award with the Wayans brothers. The Teen Choice Awards brought in 14 1/2 million votes from teen voters and was watched by literally tens of millions of children, tweens and pre-teens around the world. Teenage star Amanda is known and watched by pre-teen girls around the world on shows like the creatively clean and funny "Amanda Show" on Nickelodeon. My 7 and 10 year old daughters know who she is and watch her show.

Amanda followed her script and addressed the Wayans brothers, "You taught the whole world how to scream in the 'Scary' movies. Guys, I was wondering if you would be willing to give me a private scream session?"

One of the Wayans brothers answered, "You'd have to be butt naked and over 18."

Maybe I should be happy that they seem to respect that "over 18" rule. You will be when you find out that R. Kelly was just added to the list to perform at the VMAs this Sunday. Kelly is not only one of the more popular rappers at Sunday's event, he's probably the only one who had to seek permission from a judge to be there. The singer faces child-pornography charges in his home state of Illinois.

But how taboo is it for an adult to sleep with a teen when "Desperate Housewives," one of the hottest shows on network television, has one of their star characters sleeping with her teenage gardener? Perhaps our teens aren't watching it.

Think again.

At the teen choice awards last week, teens awarded the TV show Desperate Housewives three different awards. Eva Longoria won "Choice Breakout Actress" for the show. When she accepted the award, she showed a look of embarrassment and said, "Oh my God. I don't know how I feel about teenagers watching us!"

Wow- I'm actually in agreement with Eva on that one. And we'll see Eva again this Sunday presenting a Moonman.

    Performing that night:
    R-Kelly, Mariah Carey, Green Day, Ludacris, Shakira, 50 Cent, Cold Play, The Killers, Kanye West, Kelly Clarkson

    Handing out Moonmen:
    Jessica Simpson, Lil' Kim, Ricky Martin, Ashlee Simpson, Bow Wow, Eva Longoria, Nelly, Hilary Duff, Joel Madden from Good Charlotte, Ciara, Alicia Keys, Usher, Jessica Alba, Orlando Bloom, Kirsten Dunst, Lindsay Lohan, Joss Stone, Jeremy Piven, Snoop Dogg, Beavis & Butt-head

    Nominated the Most:
    Green Day is nominated for 8 awards
    Gwen Stefani is nominated for 6 awards
    Missy Elliott is nominated for 6 awards
    U2 is nominated for 5 awards
    My Chemical Romance is nominated for 4 awards
If you have kids of your own ... put em' to bed! Don't give up and think, "might as well let em' watch it." Guard your kids from this stuff.

As I said last week, be aware of this stuff, don't immerse yourself in it. This Sunday night is one of the few times I sit down and actually watch MTV. Don't make a habit of it.

And don't promote the event. It's one thing to be aware of something that kids are watching ... it's another thing to talk about something so much that it sparks an interest in the minds of kids. We don't want to become a negative "Danny" ourselves. Let's face it-it would be better if kids DON'T see this stuff.

Unfortunately ... most of them will.

If you liked this article, check out Jonathan's NEW BOOK

Jonathan McKee is president of and author of the new book "Do They Run When They See You Coming? Reaching Out to Unchurched Teenagers." (CLICK HERE FOR THE BOOK) Jonathan speaks and trains across the country and provides free online resources, training, & ideas for youth workers at

Something You Can Use: A Video Clip Discussion Starter about "Worship" and "Trusting God in Hard Times"

For those of you who frequent our web site ... you know that we like to use movie clips as "jumpstarters" for discussions with teenagers. We've just added a bunch of new ones. Check em' out- starting with one from the "Deleted Scenes" on the "WE WERE SOLDIERS" DVD.


MAIN POINT: Worshipping God during difficult times in life.

INTRODUCTION: It's easy to praise God when everything around is going good and everything is in its place. However, it's in the times when things are not going good or the way we hoped that our love for God "doesn't come easy." It can often be difficult to find the words and/or desire to praise Him or worship Him during tough times.

THE CLIP: This movie clip can only be found on the DVD. It is in the special features section under the deleted scenes heading "The Church." You can use this clip for a lead-in to a discussion about worshipping God during tough times.

The movie We Were Soldiers follows a group of soldiers who were ambushed by the People's Army of Vietnam at the very first engagement of the Vietnam War, recording their bravery, fighting and death for many. In the selected deleted scene the soldiers are heading to the battle field (where they will be ambushed), while their wives are back home in America at church on the Army base.

BEGIN: Deleted Scene "The Church"
(Scene opens with soldiers flying in helicopters towards battlefield)
    NARRATOR: It was a Sunday...November 14, 1965. There had never been a major engagement between the soldiers of America and those of the People's Army of Vietnam.

    (Scene switches to soldier's wives back home in America at church on the Army base)

    PASTOR: And for our offertory hymn, Catherine Metsker.

    CATHERINE: (Voice shaking singing through tears) My hope is built on nothing less than Jesus' blood and righteousness. I dare not trust the sweetest...

    (music stops as she can't finish).

    CATHERINE: I'm sorry.

    (Voice still shaking through tears)

    CATHERINE: My hope is built on nothing less than Jesus' blood and righteous...

    (pause, openly sobbing)

    OTHER WIVES: On Christ the solid rock I stand, all other ground is sinking sand, (congregation joins in) all other ground is sinking sand.

END: After the next verse is sung scene switches back to soldiers in helicopters and ends.

  1. There are many people today in our country who are experiencing the same feelings of anxiety and sadness as the soldier's wives in the scene we just watched. Do you know anyone who is active in the military in a war zone? Who are they, where are they deployed to, and how do you know them?

  2. If it's a family member, how does that feel to know that your relative is in a dangerous part of the world? If they are only a person you know through another friend or acquaintance, how do you think their family feels about them being in a dangerous war zone?

  3. Have you had a time in your life where things were out of your control and you had no choice but to go through the difficult situation you were in? (Maybe someone died, or your parent's got divorced, or you had to move to a new place.) What are some words that would express how you felt during that time?

  4. Paul, an early church leader, found himself in several situations in his life where things were out-of-his-control and he found himself in serious danger. Look at this passage:
    Acts 16:22-25
    The crowd joined in the attack against Paul and Silas, and the magistrates ordered them to be stripped and beaten. After they had been severely flogged, they were thrown into prison, and the jailer was commanded to guard them carefully. Upon receiving such orders, he put them in the inner cell and fastened their feet in the stocks. About midnight Paul and Silas were praying and singing hymns to God, and the other prisoners were listening to them.
  5. In this verse Paul and his friend Silas were attacked while attempting to do ministry. They were beaten and thrown into the deepest depths of the local jail. Paul and Silas had no control over this situation, what was their reaction?

Something New ... a new "NEW": Look out for our new "NEW" button on our Video Clip Discussion Starter page

Ever looking for something new? We've just added a feature to our VIDEO CLIP IDEAS page that you are going to like!

Now our VIDEO CLIP IDEAS page has a new "NEW" marker by any of the video clip ideas added within the last month. If you are looking for something new, just look for the "NEW" marker by the clip.


Jonathan Training in Wisconsin, West Tennessee/West Kentucky and Sacramento

Youth Specialties/Zondervan recently released Jonathan's hit new book, DO THEY RUN WHEN THEY SEE YOU COMING? REACHING OUT TO UNCHURCHED TEENAGERS. (CLICK HERE FOR THE BOOK) Bring the training to your city now!


-Waupun, WI-

September 17th, Jonathan is doing a Saturday workshop (9AM to 3PM) for youth workers within driving distance of the Milwaukee, Madison, and Fox Valley areas. If you're a youth worker, paid or a volunteer, this is for you!

Here's the details:

    Saturday, September 17th, 9AM to 3PM
    Youth for Christ/The Union Youth Center, 450 East Franklin Street, Waupun, WI 54963
    Two choices:
    • $20 after Sept 14th or at the door on the 17th (includes lunch)
    • ONLY $10 if you pre-register before September 14th (includes lunch)
    Contact Fond du Lac Area Youth for Christ at (920) 923-1416 or email
-Paris, TN-

September 24th, Jonathan is doing a Saturday workshop (9AM to 3PM) for youth workers in the West Tennessee/West Kentucky area. If you're a youth worker, paid or a volunteer, this is for you!

Here's the details:

    Saturday, September 24th, 9AM to 3PM
    Tennessee Valley Community Church, 1025 Mineral Wells Ave., Paris, TN 38242
    Two choices:
    • $20 after September 21st or at the door on the 24th (includes lunch)
    • ONLY $10 if you pre-register before September 21st (includes lunch)
      ($10 pre-registration will be available at the See Ya at the Pole Rally Jonathan is speaking at in Paris, TN on September 21st.)
    CONTACT the Tennessee Valley church office at (731) 641-8822
-Sacramento, CA-

September 30th, Jonathan is doing his workshop at the Youth Specialties National Youth Workers Convention. If you're a youth worker, paid or a volunteer, this is for you! If you haven't seen the promo video for this incredible convention for youth workers, check it out on ... we think it will give you some good reasons to be there!


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