• The Regressive and Degrading Billboard Music Awards

    by  • May 25, 2016 • Broadcast Decency, Sex • 23 Comments

    Last Sunday’s awards program demonstrated the depth to which American music has fallen.

    The Dick Clark-produced Billboard Music Awards have been a TV fixture since 1989. In years past the awards show was a classier alternative to the American Music Awards and the MTV Video Music Awards, where talent, rather than bad behavior, was a reason for tuning in. But that is less and less the case with each passing year. It was during the Billboard Music Awards, for example, that Cher dropped an “F-bomb” when talking about her critics. And it was during the Billboard Music Awards that Nicole Richie talked about getting “cow s**t out of a Prada purse,” adding, “It’s not so f***ing simple.”

    In media coverage of this year’s Billboard Music Awards, (aired on ABC Sunday, May 22nd), TV critics claimed that the show “shied away from controversy.” If that’s the perception, it can only be because those same TV critics have become inured to what is so obvious to the rest of us.

    Aside from a handful of performances — Celine Dion’s touching anthem to life after loss, “The Show Must Go On,” Ke$ha’s cover of the Bob Dylan classic, “It Ain’t Me, Babe,” and a tribute to the recently deceased Prince performed by Madonna and Stevie Wonder — most of the songs performed during the program equate to little more than letter to the Penthouse Forum put to music. And although the copious “F-words” were (for the most part) muted or bleeped out, there is no way for any network standards and practices department to edit around entire songs.

    Fifth Harmony’s “Work from Home,” for example, contains lines like, “We don’t need nobody, I just need your body, Nothin’ but sheets in between us, ain’t no getting off early,” and “Girl, go to work for me, Can you make it clap, no hands for me? Take it to the ground, pick it up for me.”

    Ariana Grande, a pop star admired by legions of teenage girls, told those young fans in her performance of “Dangerous Woman,” “All girls wanna be like that, Bad girls underneath, like that.” She sings, “All that you got, skin to skin, oh my God, Don’t ya stop, boy, Oh yeah, Somethin’ ’bout you makes me feel like a dangerous woman.”

    Rihanna’s “Love on the Brain” conflates love and violence with lines like, “It beats me black and blue but it f***s me so good.”

    And on, and on, and on.

    It’s inevitable that when someone over the age of 30 starts talking about the music enjoyed by younger generations, comparisons are made to parental outrage over the music of the Beatles and Elvis. But such comparisons are too facile.

    For generations, teenagers have applied a soundtrack to their lives, songs that perfectly encapsulate all of the complex feelings they are experiencing as they come of age. That soundtrack becomes an integral part of their memory, intimately tied to particular people or places or moments in time. Today’s teenagers face an emotionally barren landscape. There is no depth of human emotion or experience beyond just sex in these songs. There’s no exploration of the innocence of young love. No celebration of the joy of finding someone you want to be with all the time. It’s pornified pop. Nothing more.



    Ms. Henson is a noted expert on entertainment industry trends and the how the impact of entertainment affects children and the American popular culture at large. She also directs the organization’s Advertiser Accountability Campaign, which encourages companies to sponsor family-friendly entertainment. She previously supervised the research and program content analysis operations of the PT and produced a number of groundbreaking PTC studies that document the levels of graphic sex, violence and profanity on television. Some of those reports include: The Ratings Sham I & II, Dying to Entertain, Faith in a Box, The Sour Family Hour, The Blue Tube, and TV Bloodbath. She began her career with the PTC in 1997 as an entertainment analyst, documenting instances of inappropriate content on television. Ms. Henson has appeared on a variety of television shows including Fox News Channel’s The O’Reilly Factor, Your World with Neil Cavuto, The Big Story, CNN Headline News’ ShowBiz Tonight, CNBC’s On the Money, MSNBC’s Scarborough Country, and CBN’s Newswatch. She is a frequent guest on radio talk shows across the country and has been quoted extensively in news sources such asEntertainment Weekly, Time, Newsweek, The Wall Street Journal, The Washington Post, Los Angeles Times, New York Times, USA Today, New York Daily News, Boston Globe, Chicago Tribune, San Francisco Chronicle, Variety, Associated Press, Reuters, and Bloomberg. Ms. Henson is a graduate of the University of Virginia where she received a BA in Government. She resides in Falls Church, Va., with her husband and their son.

    23 Responses to The Regressive and Degrading Billboard Music Awards

    1. Matt
      June 4, 2016 at 10:18 am

      All mainstream entertainment today (outside of some feature animation, i.e. The Peanuts Movie and Zootopia) has devolved into trash and vulgarity. I am embarrassed for my generation for telling kids how to be drugged on pot and be good little snowflakes and get offended at Christian traditions. I sound like a grandmother when I say that, but I’m a young millennial born in the 90′s.

      • Matt
        June 4, 2016 at 10:20 am


    2. Bobby
      May 31, 2016 at 6:23 am

      Yet today’s churches are degrading into the same trash. If you visit services of very popular megachurches such as Newspring, Granger, or other like minded popular “houses of worship” attended by younger generations, they play these pop hits as service music. Some youth leaders teach kids to dance to these songs while not teaching Biblical theology.

      • k
        June 1, 2016 at 12:07 pm

        Bobby you are sooo right. They are not true Christians or true Christian church. Leading The Way’s Dr. Michael Youseff says 4 qualities of a New testament Church:
        1-they VALUE the preaching of the Word of GOd
        2-they hold each other accountable
        3-they avoid personal revenge
        4-they rejoice always, pray constantly, and are thankful in everything

        praise and worship is great but not the main reason to go to church and praise and worship are to be about GOD and his praiseworthy characteristics and NOT about how He makes us ”feel” One more thing the church is commanded to Raise up Jesus and He will draw all men unto him–NOT to become more worldly to draw in the sinners and make them feel at home.(sorry to rant but it gets to me)

    3. Terry Biron
      May 29, 2016 at 5:45 pm

      Thank you for all the information you provide. It is very discouraging to see what television has turned into.
      Thank you for reminding us that we can not trust television ever to be concerned with the well being of our children.

    4. JoAnn Osborn
      May 29, 2016 at 4:05 pm

      I’m so disgusted with the content of the Billboard Music Awards. How do they get away with their constant profanity and inappropriate dancing and singing with horrible sound tracks? It is almost all about sex! Can’t the majority be heard???

      Not watching it again.

      • k
        June 1, 2016 at 11:56 am

        They get away with it because it is part of their agenda. No the majority doesn’t matter to them…look at target. It is ALL about the agenda.

      • k
        June 1, 2016 at 11:59 am

        They get away with it because it is ‘their AGENDA’. FCC refuses to do anything. THe powers that be..are in on the agenda and pushing it. No the majority doesn’t matter..look at Target. You’d be wise not to watch it again.

      • Brad Douglas
        June 2, 2016 at 7:15 pm

        More proof that rock music, including pop, rap, metal, alternative, punk, etc, should be illegal. That is based not on religion but simply common sense and basic civilized standards. We’ve seen the damage it’s done to our younger generations, but still, nobody does anything. The communists weren’t Christian, but yet even they knew that rock was pure evil and should be outlawed. They were absolutely right.

    5. Donna Blankenhorn
      May 29, 2016 at 1:34 pm

      This trash on TV now is so upsetting. How are people suppose to raise their children decently, even when they have parents that are trying to raise them right. But like what has been said “It takes a village to raise a child”. I just can’t understand why this is happening. All you hear all over the place is the “F” word just in every day talking. People don ‘t even have the vocabulary to express themselves decently.

      • Questioner
        June 1, 2016 at 8:35 am

        ” All you hear all over the place is the “F” word just in every day talking. People don ‘t even have the vocabulary to express themselves decently.”

        Why does everybody think that the cause of profanity is low vocabulary or stupidity? I’ve been on this planet 32 years, and in my experience, the cause of most profane language is anger-much of it understandable if not 100% justified.

        And here’s another possibility-Maybe the “F” word is the only word that gets some people’s attention. People love to vilify Bobby Knight and other sports coaches for using profanity, even though they’ve never coached a sports team themselves and have no idea what it takes to do so. It’s easy to proceed into a situation overconfident and cocky when you have no experience with that situation.

        I’ve always found it strange that you’re not allowed to say the F-word on TV, but you are allowed to show things on TV that are a thousand times worse than saying the F-word (mutilated/decomposing dead bodies, drug use, underage alcohol consumption, extramarital sexual intercourse, revealing costumes, slanderous conspiracy theories, etc.)

      • k
        June 1, 2016 at 11:54 am


        I agree. If you cant understand why its happening let me tell you why its because the hour is getting late. The more sin there is the more exposed to it the more desensitization–I e the hardening of the heart produces even more and more debased defiling disgusting DARKer sin. Have you not noticed the immense number of DARK themed not only tv shows, movies but also commercials? They are also sending signals as in symbols if you know what to see as to who and what they are about and support. “as in the days of noah…” The ‘f’ word makes me sick. They don’t have vocabulary anymore and what’s more they have no shame and will NOT be ‘corrected’..they wantonly choose to f this and f that and everything else and delight in upsetting others..im sorry but that is plain evil in my book. Prayer is only hope for helping now. God Bless

      • Annie
        June 3, 2016 at 1:12 am

        Homeschool, get rid of cable and TV altogether. Have family time read travel and in my case honor God!

    6. May 29, 2016 at 1:27 pm

      This country has gone to hell in a hand basket. I remember thinking when I started fighting the City Council in Austin, Tx. years ago about same sex partners and people shacked up having benefits because their shack up worked for the city that this was the beginning of the end. Sadly, I was right. Now homosexuality is in every show even for children along with my two moms, two dads, transgendered dad, etc. The next thing that is already being discussed is man/boy love. They want to drop the age so teenagers can have sex with older men and it won’t be pedophilia. Thank you so much Hollywood and other social media for destroying our country.

    7. May 29, 2016 at 12:48 pm

      This is just what the communists wanted ! They said in the “communist rules for revolution ” a long time ago — corrupt the young; get them away from religion and get them interested in sex. Make them superficial and destroy their ruggedness…Get control of publicity and focus their attention on sexy books, plays, music, and other trivialities… Divide the people into hostile groups by constantly harping on controversial matters of no importance.. CAUSE THE BREAKDOWN OF OLD MORAL VIRTUES – honesty , sobriety, continence, and faith in the pledged word… Cause the registration of firearms on some pretext with the view of confiscating them and leaving the populace helpless…. This was found in 1919…. and here it is, almost a hundred years later and we are well on our way – if not already there !!! to the ” new world order” planned out for us by our present leaders…. What a shame and dishonor to our God and Creator !! What He must think of us !!

    8. Elizabeth mckee
      May 29, 2016 at 12:18 pm

      Rihanna and Brittany Spears were just awful. Dick Clark would not broadcast such a show.

    9. Elizabeth mckee
      May 29, 2016 at 12:18 pm

      Rihanna and Brittany Spears were just awful. Dick Clark would no broadcast such a show.

    10. Doug Wavle
      May 29, 2016 at 12:07 pm

      I have appreciated the work of Parents Television Council over the many years of your existence. Our current culture has deterred to a point of such Godlessness that they don’t any shame in the things they do or say anymore. We have raised five (5) children in the seventies and eighties in a God fearing and God honoring manner. It was in the early 70′s that we began hearing cuss words on some network programs. Since cussing and swearing were not allowed in our home, it was a policy that the channel had to be immediately changed (without knowing the end of the program we’d been watching). By 1973 we’d lost hope that we could watch a program to its conclusion without some sexual content of filthy language. So, we went with out watching the beginning of newer TV programs and eventually all programs, except news. Even that became laced with ‘adult language’ and images quite inappropriate. Since mid 1973 our home has been blessed without a television at all.
      Our five offspring have all married and they have given us twenty-three (23) grandchildren, two of which have married so that our family now numbers thirty-five (35). We are thankful that the FAMILY unit is more important than a television in the room with a number of INDIVIDUALS listening and watching whatever may be on it without any interpersonal conversation. (Remember the “shish, I can’t hear” if you talked during a program?)
      Keep pushing good FAMILY programs that don’t need a “PG” rating.

      • Brad Douglas
        June 2, 2016 at 7:18 pm

        I think maybe the Taliban was right about movies and television. That both should be outlawed. Turn the movie theaters and TV stations into churches.

    11. Sara Miller
      May 27, 2016 at 11:40 am

      I heard there was also a blatant endorsement of “men should be able to use the women’s restroom” in a Demi Lovato performance on this show, and also a Britney Spears performance where she writhes on a pole.

      The Disney Company brings us yet more cultural trash. I’m sure Walt is spinning in his grave.

      I actually have ABC as a blocked channel on my TV now due to all the cultural trash on ABC (“The Real O’Neals” was the last straw due to its constant bashing of Christianity). It used to just be the occasional cable channel I would block, now it’s venturing into broadcast networks I’m having to block (and I really didn’t want to have to block broadcast networks, but it’s getting to that point).

      • Anne
        May 29, 2016 at 5:36 pm

        I agree with you completely. All the broadcast stations (especially ABC) have dropped all pretense of showing anything that is family fare.

        • moax429
          June 1, 2016 at 4:01 pm

          I have long since blocked Fox, which is *even worse.*

          Now I may *very well be* blocking ABC next.

      • k
        June 1, 2016 at 11:43 am

        Hear Hear Sara–good for you. I support your actions. However I have avoided network channels since the 90′s when raising my own son. I don’t understand why you sound surprised to have to do it? I found that cable channels were the only place I could go to find family friendly programming. It is 100x worse now. Its a rare occasion to find a decent show and when I have I’m late to the party cause I do NOT watch any of the network channels. I don’t block them cause I look forward to the occasional peanuts cartoon on a holiday or the rare colorized I love lucy they put on. We do watch Big Bang but its prob on its last legs as a show. I have more channels blocked than I have to watch cause we don’t watch sports and there are a million sports channels no one wants. Sad really. So sad. Just wanted you to know I admire you and agree with your actions. You are a good parent and protector of your children. My child is grown but some of the commercials are getting as bad as the programming so I still block..mtv etc Do not let anyone talk you out of or make fun of what you are doing you are being a proper parent. God Bless —ps Disney himself ive heard was not the family friendly man we were led to believe…be wary

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