The Student Newspaper of Cathedral Catholic High School

Dons Press

The Student Newspaper of Cathedral Catholic High School

Dons Press

The Student Newspaper of Cathedral Catholic High School

Dons Press

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JoJo Lost Her Bow Bow

Sofia Mah
CCHS students Kate Stuart ‘24 and Dakota Conway ‘24 watch Brit Smith viral TikTok video regarding her song “Karma.”

Love it or hate it- you cannot escape it. JoJo Siwa’s new single “Karma,” released on April 5th, has not only dominated headlines but also captured the attention of millions worldwide. The American singer, dancer, and social media sensation has carved a niche for herself, transforming her brand into one synonymous with unapologetic self-expression. As Siwa continues to mature, she embarks on a journey of rebranding that is reflected in the nuances of her newest musical endeavor.

JoJo Siwa at the 2024 iHeartRadio Music Awards on April 1 wearing makeup and an outfit identical to one of her looks in the “Karma” music video. Photographed by Gilbert Flores, Billboard. (Getty Images)

At the heart of JoJo Siwa’s brand lies a dedication to optimism and individuality, traits that have endeared her to a vast pg global audience. Through her vibrant persona and uplifting messages, Siwa has grown a following that spans continents and cultures. Her distinctive bow-adorned style has become an iconic symbol of empowerment, embodying the notion that it’s acceptable to embrace uniqueness without reservation. Siwa’s influence transcends age barriers, resounding with young children, teenagers, and even adults who admire her zest and authenticity. In a world often characterized by cynicism, JoJo Siwa’s brand serves as a refreshing reminder of the potency of hopefulness and individual expression. 

“Karma” exudes rock-inspired energy through electrifying beats and rebellious lyrics, amplifying its invigorating essence. The first lines of the song set the unruly tone immediately, “I was a bad girl, I did some bad things.” Siwa shares in an interview with Billboard, “Originally, I was scared of the lyrics.” She toiled with the mutinous verses because she “wasn’t a bad girl” and she felt apprehensive cursing in her song at “18 years old.” 

Accompanying “Karma”, Siwa released a dramatic music video that has gained over 20 million views on YouTube. The video airs Siwa getting very close and personal with a cast of female dancers. She dances mature choreography in a variety of bejeweled costumes across exotic locations. One of the most viewed scenes is her emerging from the ocean acting like a glitzy sea monster and making her way to the shoreline of a private island. CCHS student McKara Sweeney ‘24 articulates, “I was very surprised especially because the music video was very dark in comparison to before when she was younger.”

Siwa immerses herself out of the water in her music video for “Karma” on YouTube.

“Karma” serves as more than just a song for Siwa, it’s a strategic move in her ongoing journey of rebranding. Through this “head-turner” track, Siwa ventures into new musical territory, attempting to shred her previous image of a bubblegum pop star from her previous songs like “Boomerang” and “Every Girl’s a Super Girl” and embrace a more mature persona. She tells an E-News reporter, “‘Karma’ makes you listen, ‘Karma’ makes you ask, ‘Karma makes you confused. So, whether people like it or not, the marketing plan worked.” Her evolving musical direction is a manifestation of the strategic PR tactics she schemes with her team. 

Siwa has received immense criticism for her rebranding on social media. Many individuals online have condemned Siwa’s transition as “indigenous” and as “lazy and obvious PR stunts.” In the wake of criticism, a red carpet interview from GLAAD Media Awards on March 16th has resurfaced. She hypes herself up to the interviewer, “No one has made, in my generation, this extreme of a switch. I am the first in my generation, it is very scary, but someone’s gotta do it.” The criticism exponentially grew following the interview which made Siwa publically clarify that while others in her generation have made the transition from child to adult star, it’s never been such an “apparent 180” change. 

Amidst the criticism of her transition, controversy regarding the copyrights of the song has waked. Brit Smith wrote “Karma” in 2011, recorded the song, and produced a music video. Nicole Vosburg ‘24 expresses, “I feel like she took advantage of an underground artist by copying her song.” In a TikTok video with 156k likes captioned “Setting the record straight…” Smith declares, “Somebody unearthed it from 12 years ago on Vimeo, my video, and it has been a crazy whirlwind since…” Social media has blown up Smith’s original “Karma” song and video. Sweeney ‘24 adds, “It makes me really happy that the original artist is trending again.”

CCHS students Kate Stuart ‘24 and Dakota Conway ‘24 watch Brit Smith viral TikTok video regarding her song “Karma.” 

Siwa discloses that along with her evolution as an artist, she is inventing a new genre of music, “gay pop,” she claims to Billboard News. She told the interviewer, “It’s like K-pop, right, but it’s gay pop,” before comparing her new track to “Applause” by Lady Gaga and “Can’t Be Tamed” by Miley Cyrus. On social media, the backlash to those claims has been strong branding her as “disrespectful” and “ignorant.” Many users point out that “gay pop” isn’t a new genre, having been pioneered by gay icons for decades including Elton John, Queen’s Freddie Mercury, and more recently Lil Nas X and Kim Petras. Later, Siwa took back her statement of inventing gay pop in a video published by TMZ and clarified, “I am not the inventor of gay pop, for sure not. But I do want to be a piece of making it bigger than it already is.” 

As JoJo Siwa strides boldly into uncharted musical territory with “Karma,” she not only defies expectations but also ignites a fiery discourse on reinvention and authenticity. While her evolution may spark debate, one thing remains undeniable: Siwa’s commitment to carving her path in the ever-evolving landscape of pop culture. Love her or loathe her, Siwa refuses to fade into the background, proving that in the realm of entertainment, the only constant is change. 

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About the Contributor
Sofia Mah
Sofia Mah, Staffer
Hi! I’m Sofia Mah and my passion lies in human connection, dance, creativity, and nature. Journalism is my outlet for amplifying the voices of marginalized individuals and communities, forging profound connections with people to tell their stories authentically. Through my writing and passions, I aim to create a more empathetic world where diverse voices are heard.

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