Last week, actress Tia Mowry posted a memo that no mother should ever have to. Apparently the sometimes not-so-nice things that have been said online about her precious 1-year-old son, Cree, have reached her ears. On Facebook, she defended her precious baby boy from “friends,” followers and fans who made vicious comments about him. (They are too rude to repeat here.)
“It’s disgusting that some focus on looks,” Mowry wrote on her Wall. “I brought a beautiful child into this world.”
Yes, she did. Period. End of story. He’s a baby, which means he’s off limits. I know celebs willingly step into the spotlight, and unfortunately personal attacks against them have become par for the course. But their kids don’t ask for that criticism. That means vicious talk about celeb spawn like Beyoncé and Jay-Z’s baby Blue, who was the subject of vile commentary when her 6-month-old face was recently revealed, is a no go. That goes for Russell Simmons and Kimora Lee Simmons-Hounsou’s precocious offspring, Ming Lee and Aoki, and Christina Milan and The Dream’s cutie-patootie Violet. I’ve read horrid and completely inappropriate comments about all of the above-mentioned children, judging their facial features, weight and/or hair texture. And there’s no way around it: It’s just wrong, wrong, wrong.
The same rule should apply even for the kids whose parents have allowed them to step forward, like Willow Smith. Dear Willow’s varying hair colors, length and textures, her not-so-real tongue ring, and her unique (but age appropriate) attire have inspired all manner of public critique that has gone so far as to call her sexual orientation into question. Yes, we all know she likes the attention (to some degree). All children do. But is it so very necessary to give it to her, especially if it’s negative?
I need us to evoke what my girl calls the “Apollo Kids Rule.” You don’t boo the babies! Grown folks who can’t pass the audience’s muster get the sign to go “to the left, to the left,” and then the Sandman comes with a shuffle, kick, step to bid them a “Good Night.” But the kids? It doesn’t matter if they’re off key, off beat or both. The audience sits through it and offers tepid applause at the end. That’s about what I need more people to do for celeb kids: If you must say something, say something nice, just like grandma and mama taught you to do. And if you really, really can’t find it deep within to say something positive (or you just don’t care), it’s quite fine to say nothing at all.
Demetria L. Lucas is the author of A Belle in Brooklyn: The Go-to Girl for Advice on Living Your Best Single Life (Atria), in stores now. Follow her on Twitter @abelleinbk