Siwa’s sexuality silenced

Madison Peters, Staff Writer

This year, Jojo Siwa has had a lot on her plate, coming away with second place on “Dancing with the Stars,” joining the judging panel on the television show “So You Think You Can Dance” and recently stunning the internet by cutting off her signature ponytail. However, attending the 2022 Kids’ Choice Awards will not be on her agenda despite being nominated. On April 9, Siwa addressed why she was not at the award show that night by stating, “I would have loved to be there, but I wasn’t invited.” Ironically, despite Siwa not being invited to the award show after being nominated for Favorite Social Music Star, one of her songs, called “One Chance,” was played during the ceremony. 

We all know her iconic style when we look at Siwa’s rise to fame. She always flaunted her high ponytail with glittery bows while being dressed in costumes with colorful rhinestones. Online, many criticized Siwa’s look, saying she “did not look her age.” Nevertheless, this would be the perfect image and role model for Nickelodeon and its younger audience. In 2017, Siwa signed a major talent deal, tying her closer to the brand.

Many were quick to accuse Nickelodeon of distancing themselves from Siwa with her new image. Since January 2021, after Siwa came out as pansexual to the world, she has used her platform to be an advocate for those in the LGBTQ+ community. However, Siwa not being invited to the Kids’ Choice Awards event is not the first time Nickelodeon has made questionable decisions regarding her. In September 2021, Siwa called out the network for not letting her perform her new original songs made for her film “The J Team.” She tweeted but has since deleted, “These are MY songs. MY voice. MY writing. Does this seem fair?” 

In the past few years, Siwa has played a significant role in Nickelodeon’s brand, but since coming out, people can’t help but wonder: Is the brand trying to separate itself from the colorful pop star? From barring Siwa from performing her songs to now “forgetting” to invite her to a major awards show she has attended since 2017, this all seems like poor timing after her coming out. With all of these controversies occurring after Siwa came out, many online speculate this has to do with her recently publicized sexuality.

While Nickelodeon has yet to comment on why Siwa was not invited to the Kids’ Choice Awards this year, it still rubs viewers the wrong way, whatever reason they end up producing. How do you not invite the face of your brand to an event that draws so much attention? I have an answer on Siwa’s behalf: this is not fair. It is completely and utterly unfair for a large corporation with an enormous influence on kids to silence one of their largest LGBTQ+ members and advocates. From the beginning of her career, Siwa’s main message to her audience is to be true to yourself. Yet by pushing her to the side, what message does this give the Nickelodeon audience?