It’s shaping up to be a terrible week in the press for Beyonce. Apparently Queen Bey’s endorsement with Pepsi is making kids fat. Forget about the parents who buy the sugar drinks and allow their children to have it in excess. Nope. It’s Beyonce’s fault that kids are obese in America.
Surely, you jest.
Writer Mark Bittman wrote a piece featured in The New York Times where he basically said that A-list stars, such as Beyonce, representing brands such as Pepsi is the same as if they used their celebrity to endorse semi-automatic weapons. Say what? Since when it is the job of anyone outside of your home to keep your kids healthy? There are movements in schools to get sugary sodas out of vending machines and off lunchroom menus. That is a great start to helping reduce the instance of childhood obesity in our country. However, likening Beyonce’s $50 million Pepsi contract to putting guns in the hands of children is uncalled for and extreme.
As a result of this sort of backlash, other journalists have come out against the megastar’s involvement in everything from the upcoming Presidential Inauguration to her scheduled SuperBowl performance. Their reasoning is because Beyonce is the spokesperson for Pepsi that she cannot be a good image for children as she is contributing, indirectly, to childhood obesity.
Let’s say that kids do see her celebrity affiliation with Pepsi and desire to drink more of it. It’s during that time when parents and guardians need to step in and enforce moderation or a ban on sugary drinks in their home. There are many factors to childhood obesity, including the diminished physical activity programs in schools, access to junk food via vending machines and more. However, the environment where a child gets the bulk of their nutrition is at home. Unless Beyonce is personally in the homes of millions of obese children handing out Pepsi to them after school, her endorsement is just business.
In that way, the public needs to stop expecting celebrities to be the beacon of morality for their families. That doesn’t mean that Beyonce or other celebrities shouldn’t weigh their endorsements carefully. Being the face for products such as liquor, fast food restaurants and more can be a conflict of interest for some. For others, not so much. The point is that it’s our own individual duty to regulate what we choose to consume. Blaming big-time celebrities for everything from gun violence to childhood obesity keeps the blame elsewhere and doesn’t address the real issues.
Surely, Beyonce is a great wife, mother, sister, daughter, and friend to those whom she’s close to. However, when it comes to endorsing and selling products to the public, that is how she (and countless other megastars) makes her living. We have the ability to reject what she or anyone else is selling if we don’t like or agree with the product or message it sends. That’s the bottom line.