If your life happens to be blessed by the presence of little girls, as mine is, you’ll know that big hair bows are an essential fashion accessory and that sequins can, and should, be worn in the daytime, especially when attached to crinoline. You might also be aware of certain irrefutable facts, including but not limited to:
Pink is the color of power.
Unicorns are real, if you search hard enough.
Glitter is a weapon for happiness.
And JoJo Siwa should run for president of something, namely because her eternally upbeat attitude is an antidote to all that ails us these days.
Are you scratching your head and asking, “JoJo who?” Oh, I feel sorry for you. I was once in that dark, clueless corner, too, proof that I was out of touch with the future — that is, the future as defined by YouTube, Nickelodeon and a nation of “Siwanatorz.”
So, allow me to fill you in. I’m no expert on Joelle Joanie Siwa, but as a grandmother and a great aunt to more than half a dozen tween girls who are huge fans, I know more about this 16-year-old media phenomenon than most of my friends. JoJo is a dancer, a singer, a motivational speaker and, perhaps most significantly, a brand.
Put another way: She is a merchandising empire. Her name is attached in some way to almost everything I’ve bought as birthday and Christmas gifts in the past couple of years. There are JoJo electronics, toys, arts and crafts, perfume and all manner of apparel. One of my last purchases was a JoJo karaoke machine.
She’s best known, however, for her signature bows, hair gear notable for its size and bright colors. Sure, hair bows are nothing new. In fact, Time magazine recently devoted an entire 1,400-word piece to the history of hair bows, tracing the lineage of this adornment to the ancient Greeks, Sumerians, Egyptians and Aztecs. The conclusion? Hair bows have meant a lot of different things through the ages, from a symbol of social class to one’s loyalty to a national identity.
JoJo bows kinda, sorta follow that tradition. A JoJo bow, placed just so on a side ponytail, is a declaration of pride and self-love. So, of course, to satisfy the tween public’s craving for meaning, there’s a bow-of-the-month subscription service called JoJo’s Bow Club.
JoJo Siwa’s rise to fame and fortune is an object lesson for our consumer-oriented, social-media obsessed society. She got her start by posting her own videos on YouTube using her Nintendo DS, but it was her role on Lifetime’s “Dance Moms,” and her 2016 digital release of a song on online bullying that got attention. Eventually Nickelodeon came calling.
Who knows what she’ll do next? Cookware? Financial services? Cleaning products?
Me, I think we should send her to Washington. I’m serious. She’s the antithesis of the Kardashians, the opposite of Twitter trolls and Facebook misinformation. Her positivity and wholesomeness would be like a welcome wave of pink ribbon. Case in point: Last year she tweeted a message to parents that said, in part, “So always know if you hear my voice it’s safe and your kids are looking up to someone who genuinely cares and wants everyone to be happy, supportive, loving, kind and themselves.”
I can just see her at a Trump rally, singing her most popular song, “Boomerang”:
I don’t really care about what they say/ I’mma come back like a boomerang/ Won’t let the haters get their way/ I’mma come back like a boomerang.
Or at the next Democratic debate, wedged between Kamala Harris and Elizabeth Warren, crooning from “Every Girl’s a Super Girl”:
Look out, we’re coming your way/ Shout out, got something to say yeah/ We save the day every day, oh/ Hey Every girl’s a super girl.
I may just write her a fan letter detailing my idea. Let’s do this, JoJo.