I’m not a role model… Just because I dunk a basketball doesn’t mean I should raise your kids.

– Charles Barkley


A New Jersey family court has just rendered a decision that just makes you shake your head and wonder; that is, wonder why the court was ever involved in the first place. This case involves the performer Pink and it is a child custody action, however, Pink is not the parent and she has no connection to either the child or her parents. So what gives?

In this case the child’s father contended that Pink’s performance during a 2013 tour was age-inappropriate because of profanities in the singer’s lyrics, as well as sexually suggestive themes and dance performances and, that the child’s mother showed poor judgment by taking her 11-year-old daughter to one of Pink’s concerts on the tour. Thankfully, the judge hearing the matter disagreed and found that no negative inferences would be drawn concerning the mother’s parenting style.

There, the mother had taken her daughter to see Pink when she toured in support of The Truth About Love. The concert took place at the Prudential Center in Newark, New Jersey. First, the court found that both the CD and a DVD for The Truth About Love contained parental advisory notices for explicit content. The court also found that a review of lyric sheets and videos of the concert indicated that profanities and curse words were “sporadic and incidental, and not unreasonably pervasive.” In fact, the judge found that most of the songs contain no profanities at all.

The judge also wrote in his opinion: “More significantly, the lyrics in many of the songs are not only age-appropriate for teens and preteens in 2014 America, but from an artistic standpoint are particularly noteworthy in addressing important social themes and messages which are objectively relevant and very relatable to young Americans in high schools and junior high schools throughout the country.”

The judge furthermore cited Pink’s tune, The Great Escape, which addresses the problem of young people physically harming themselves in response to stressful situations. The song, the judge said, “contains lyrics which clearly attempt to provide listeners with a message of hope.” Another song entitled Perfect addresses the stress felt by people who judge themselves too harshly for their own faults. The lyrics carry the message that one does not have to be perfect to move forward in life, he said. That song was originally titled, F**ckin’ Perfect but at the concert attended by the mother and daughter, Pink sang a version without the profanity.


The judge added that “the reality with rock music is that in some instances, the listener cannot even clearly hear all the lyrics and decipher what the singer is even singing about” but “may still greatly appreciate and enjoy the song as a work of musical art.”

The father had quoted a Hollywood Reporter review of the show that described the dancing in the show as three males “molesting” the singer. The judge disagreed after reviewing online videos of the concert and he found that there were moments when male dancers, “in choreographed fashion, were trying to grab hold of the singer” but he added that the movements were in the context of a ballad concerning “an independent woman standing up to men who acted inappropriately towards her.”

In the end, the judge made the right decision and it is somewhat appalling that as a society we would ask a judge—an arbiter of law who deals with serious issues—to be reduced to a concert reviewer. Sometimes courts are asked to get involved where they do not belong and that is not the court’s fault but our own, at least in this case it was. Also think about how ridiculous it is to ask a judge to “judge” a performer. And what about the potential embarrassment to the performer if the judge went on a tirade lambasting the performer for inappropriate lyrics and choreography? Is this where we should be going? Fortunately, this judge got it right. I guess the courts do really work sometimes.








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