April 27, 2018
One day, P!NK's daughter Willow came home from school, visibly upset. The other kids had been mocking her for looking too much "like a boy." Alecia Beth Moore, the Grammy Award-winning artist better known as P!NK, wasn't happy. She wondered to herself what the ramifications would be for kicking some kid's ass but thought better of it.
Instead, she made a powerpoint for her daughter. She filled it with androgynous rock stars and artists - from David Bowie and Prince to Janis Joplin and Elton John. She told her daughter that femininity and masculinity aren't black and white. She implored her daughter to be herself.
For P!NK's entire career, she has received criticisms similar to what her daughter is hearing now: you're too masculine; you're body isn't feminine enough; your hair is too short. So she asked her daughter, "Do you see me growing my hair? Do you see me changing my body?"
Young Willow shook her head, and P!NK told her, "Baby girl, we don't change."
P!NK shared this story on Friday night, when she brought her Beautiful Trauma World Tour to Houston's Toyota Center. It was a thrilling night, equal parts musical and theatrical performance. The singer-songwriter was supported onstage by a full band, which included a violinist and two backup singers.
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Her act incorporated moving sidewalks, an airborne bed, Cirque du Soleil-level acrobatics, a dozen or so backup dancers and a 30-foot blowup doll of Eminem that lip-synced his verse on "Revenge." Near the end of her show, she was strapped into a rig that allowed her to soar above the crowd while doing front and back flips.
For nearly two hours, P!NK entertained a throng of enthusiastic fans with her soaring vocals, catchy choruses and high-flying acrobatics. Her set - which included covers of No Doubt's "Just A Girl" and Nirvana's "Smells Like Teen Spirit" - was brimming with classic tracks and newer cuts alike. In fact, she performed at least one song from each of her seven albums, save for 2000's Can't Take Me Home.
The show was undeniably fun, but it was the story about her daughter that stuck with me as I walked out of the venue Friday night. For all her positivity and general fortitude, P!NK is still fighting personal battles, just like the rest of us. And much like with her music, she has managed to find a way to be both strong and compassionate when helping her loved ones find solutions. And that's as inspiring as any of her songs, if not more so.
Because sometimes, you've got to dig your heels in and be you, even when life is hard to swallow, just like a pill.