Skip to main content
Part of complete coverage from

Pink, a true pop artist

By LZ Granderson, CNN Contributor
updated 12:16 PM EST, Tue November 20, 2012
Singer Pink proves she's still a showstopper during the American Music Awards on Sunday.
Singer Pink proves she's still a showstopper during the American Music Awards on Sunday.
STORY HIGHLIGHTS
  • LZ Granderson: Why does our culture let auto-tuned syrup dominate the pop charts?
  • Granderson: Thank God for Pink, who care really sing
  • He says Pink deserves the kind of attention that Lady Gaga and Adele receive

Editor's note: LZ Granderson, who writes a weekly column for CNN.com, was named journalist of the year by the National Lesbian and Gay Journalists Association and is a 2011 Online Journalism Award finalist for commentary. He is a senior writer and columnist for ESPN the Magazine and ESPN.com. Follow him on Twitter: @locs_n_laughs

(CNN) -- One day, many years from now, future generations will look back at this time in our country's history and wonder what in the hell were we thinking.

The Kardashians are famous for no reason, same-sex marriage is controversial for stupid reasons, and somehow the "Twilight" franchise is a cash cow.

But our culture's biggest sin may well be the auto-tuned syrup we've allowed to dominate the pop charts. All-time chart records are handed to vacuous acts such as the Black Eyed Peas and singing awards are given to vocal lightweights such as Taylor Swift.

LZ Granderson
LZ Granderson

History will show a dark time in our culture in which a million followers on Twitter became a key component to winning a Grammy.

But thank God for Pink.

Become a fan of CNNOpinion
Stay up to date on the latest opinion, analysis and conversations through social media. Join us at Facebook/CNNOpinion and follow us @CNNOpinion on Twitter. We welcome your ideas and comments.



That's what I was thinking as I was watching her performance during Sunday's American Music Awards. She recreated the video for her current single, "Try," a midtempo ballad about the ups and downs of an imperfect relationship.

Where there is desire

There is gonna be a flame

Where there is a flame

Someone's bound to get burned

But just because it burns

Doesn't mean you're gonna die

You've gotta get up and try try try

Singing words like that live with the right level of emotion that Pink is known for is hard enough. Doing so while in engaged in an athletic pas de deux, complete with lifts, is breathtaking. She received a standing ovation afterward, much in the same way she commanded one at the 2010 Grammys as she swung over the audience's heads on a trapeze, asking:

Have you ever thrown a fist full of glitter in the air?

Have you ever looked fear in the face and said, "I just don't care"?

It would all seem like a meat-dress wearing gimmick if she didn't have the voice and lyrics to back it up. But she does, and thus we can all breathe a sigh of relief knowing her voice will be there for future generations to discover when looking back at us.

Pink won't be able to scrub our record clean singlehandedly -- there's just too much manufacturing for one person to overcome. But at least there will be evidence for my great-great grandkids to see that we weren't all "American Idol's" sheep. While Christina Aguilera has a tendency to oversing, Britney Spears can't sing, and Lauryn Hill sorta stopped singing, Pink has managed to carve a brilliant 13-year-career by being something that is incredibly rare these days -- an artist.

A complete artist.

Maybe the most underrated artist we've had on the radio in the past 20 years.

That's not to suggest she's been ignored -- Pink has sold more than 40 million albums worldwide. It's just when you look at the amount of publicity given to her in comparison to say, Lady Gaga or Adele, well there is no comparison. We know she is phenomenal, but the others are considered phenomenons. Gaga and Adele are worthy of the accolades, but whenever I listen to Pink's "Dear Mr. President," "Family Portrait" or "Sober," I feel the need to atone for us not making more room for her in the pop culture paradigm.

Billboard magazine -- one of the most respected names in the music industry -- ranked the top five performances from the American Music Awards. For them, Pink's brave rendition of "Try" was second. Tops was Psy doing "Gangnam Style" with MC Hammer.

MC Hammer!?!

Yes ... we're going to have a lot to answer for someday.

Follow us on Twitter @CNNOpinion.

Join us on Facebook/CNNOpinion.

The opinions expressed in this commentary are solely those of LZ Granderson.

ADVERTISEMENT
Part of complete coverage on
updated 3:12 PM EST, Thu November 20, 2014
The plan by President Obama to provide legal status to millions of undocumented adults living in the U.S. leaves Republicans in a political quandary.
updated 10:13 PM EST, Thu November 20, 2014
Despite criticism from those on the right, Obama's expected immigration plans won't make much difference to deportation numbers, says Ruben Navarette.
updated 8:21 PM EST, Thu November 20, 2014
As new information and accusers against Bill Cosby are brought to light, we are reminded of an unshakable feature of American life: rape culture.
updated 5:56 PM EST, Thu November 20, 2014
When black people protest against police violence in Ferguson, Missouri, they're thought of as a "mob."
updated 3:11 PM EST, Wed November 19, 2014
Lost in much of the coverage of ISIS brutality is how successful the group has been at attracting other groups, says Peter Bergen.
updated 8:45 AM EST, Wed November 19, 2014
Do recent developments mean that full legalization of pot is inevitable? Not necessarily, but one would hope so, says Jeffrey Miron.
updated 8:19 AM EST, Wed November 19, 2014
We don't know what Bill Cosby did or did not do, but these allegations should not be easily dismissed, says Leslie Morgan Steiner.
updated 10:19 AM EST, Wed November 19, 2014
Does Palestinian leader Mahmoud Abbas have the influence to bring stability to Jerusalem?
updated 12:59 PM EST, Wed November 19, 2014
Even though there are far fewer people being stopped, does continued use of "broken windows" strategy mean minorities are still the target of undue police enforcement?
updated 9:58 PM EST, Mon November 17, 2014
The truth is, we ran away from the best progressive persuasion voice in our times because the ghost of our country's original sin still haunts us, writes Cornell Belcher.
updated 4:41 PM EST, Tue November 18, 2014
Children living in the Syrian city of Aleppo watch the sky. Not for signs of winter's approach, although the cold winds are already blowing, but for barrel bombs.
updated 8:21 AM EST, Mon November 17, 2014
We're stuck in a kind of Middle East Bermuda Triangle where messy outcomes are more likely than neat solutions, says Aaron David Miller.
updated 7:16 AM EST, Mon November 17, 2014
In the midst of the fight against Islamist rebels seeking to turn the clock back, a Kurdish region in Syria has approved a law ordering equality for women. Take that, ISIS!
updated 11:07 PM EST, Sun November 16, 2014
Ruben Navarrette says President Obama would be justified in acting on his own to limit deportations
updated 8:21 AM EST, Mon November 17, 2014
America will have its hands full in the Middle East for years to come, writes Aaron David Miller.
updated 11:17 AM EST, Sat November 15, 2014
Gene Seymour says it's part of our pioneering makeup to keep exploring the universe
updated 12:42 PM EST, Fri November 14, 2014
Sally Kohn says the U.S.-China agreement to cut carbon emissions is a big deal, and Republicans should take note.
updated 4:29 PM EST, Sat November 15, 2014
S.E. Cupp says the Obamacare advisor who repeatedly disses the electorate in a series of videotaped remarks reveals arrogance and cluelessnes.
updated 5:00 PM EST, Fri November 14, 2014
Reggie Littlejohn says gendercide is a human rights abuse against women, with bad consequences for nations.
updated 11:57 AM EST, Thu November 13, 2014
The massing of Russian forces near Ukraine only reinforces the impression that Moscow has no interest in reconciliation with the West, writes Michael Kofman.
updated 9:55 AM EST, Wed November 12, 2014
It takes a real man to make the moves on the wife of the most powerful man in the biggest country. Especially when the wife is a civilian major general.
updated 8:47 AM EST, Wed November 12, 2014
Proponents of marriage equality LGBT persons have been on quite a winning streak -- 32 states and the District of Columbia now allow same-sex marriage.
updated 8:58 AM EST, Thu November 13, 2014
It has been an eventful few weeks for space news.
updated 3:14 PM EST, Wed November 12, 2014
It's too early to write the U.S. off, and China's leaderships knows that better than anyone, argues Kerry Brown.
updated 1:21 PM EST, Wed November 12, 2014
"How can Jon Stewart hire you to be 'The Daily Show''s senior Muslim correspondent when you don't even know how to pronounce Salaam Al-aikum?!"
ADVERTISEMENT
ADVERTISEMENT
ADVERTISEMENT
ADVERTISEMENT