Every misfit’s hero, every mother’s friend, and every bully’s nightmare, P!nk has been disrupting the status quo for decades. Her 2001 single “Don’t Let Me Get Me,” from the album Missundaztood, was the soundtrack of my teenage years. Almost 20 years later, now that I'm a mother, she still grabs my attention through her approach to parenting. The singer, who delivered a breathtaking performance at the BRIT Awards last week, will stop in South Florida this Friday, March 1, on her Beautiful Trauma World Tour.
Who hasn't gotten chills listening to P!nk’s acceptance speech at the 2017 MTV Video Music Awards? Recounting the story of when her young daughter Willow was told she was ugly, P!nk turned it into a poignant teaching moment.
“When people make fun of me... they say that I look like a boy or that I’m too masculine. I have too many opinions. My body is too strong... Do you see me growing my hair?... Do you see me changing my body? Do you see me changing the way I present myself to the world?” she said to the audience. “Baby girl, we don’t change. We take the gravel in the shell and make a pearl, and we help other people to change so they can see more kinds of beauty.”
P!nk’s message about celebrating differences and staying grounded in the face of bullying rings true for anyone who’s ever had a hard time fitting in. Her unapologetic confidence and unwavering compassion for her daughter make her a role model for moms. P!nk’s leadership style reminds us that empathy should be at the core of leadership on any scale. Running a family is kind of like running a country. One can’t help but see the contrast between P!nk’s public mothering and Donald Trump’s bossy paternalism.
One Billboard critic proposed that P!nk’s “What About Us,” the chart-topping single from Beautiful Trauma, is a commentary on the current administration rather than a breakup song. He writes, “Closer reading (or watching the song's video) reveals that the song is actually more about disillusionment, with the government and He Who Shall Not Be Named: 'We are children that need to be loved... But, man, you fooled us, enough is enough.'”
In addition to “What About Us,” her song “I Am Here” also references the apocalyptic political climate. P!nk sings, “I’ve already seen the bottom, so there's nothing to fear.” It’s true: What woman, person of color, or any other minority hasn’t been traumatized by the president’s crass, distasteful, and harmful tactics?
We cannot forget the “Grab 'em by the pussy” scandal, the insulting mockery of a reporter with disabilities during Trump's campaign, and the abusive immigration policies that directly affect Miami communities. In politics, leaders sometimes enact unfavorable policy, but it’s possible to do it with poise and professionalism. Trump, however, has defined his damaging presidency through the flailing antics of an overgrown and spoiled bully, complete with name-calling and temper tantrums.
But we have an opportunity to make it better. Women and mothers develop a natural sense of leadership because they must solve so many problems, cross so many boundaries, and build so many bridges simply to live their lives. Nurturing leadership, like P!nk modeled at the VMAs, inspires and invites everyone — whether a family or a nation — to strive to be their best.
Let’s remember this as the 2020 election season approaches. An unprecedented five women have already announced they're running for president. And of those five, four are mothers. Adding Alecia Beth Moore, AKA P!nk, to the list of candidates would make sense because it sounds like she’s up for the fight: In “I Am Here,” she croons, “I know that I'll be ready when the devil is near.”
Seriously, though, we can use songs from Beautiful Trauma as the anthemic soundtrack to win in 2020. The album brims with uplifting and solemn lyrics that reflect how we feel and driving rhythms that can energize and galvanize voters. In "Wild Hearts Can’t Be Broken," P!nk declares, “This is my rally cry/I know it's hard, we have to try/This is a battle I must win/There’s not enough rope to tie me down/There’s not enough tape to shut this mouth/The stones you throw can make me bleed/But I won't stop until we're free.”