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 6:03 PM EDT, Tue August 19, 2014
It used to be billy clubs, fire hoses and snarling German shepherds. Now it's armored personnel carriers and flash-bang grenades, writes Kara Dansky.
updated 1:27 PM EDT, Wed August 20, 2014
Maria Haberfeld: People who are unfamiliar with police work can reasonably ask, why was an unarmed man shot so many times, and why was deadly force used at all?
updated 5:52 PM EDT, Mon August 18, 2014
Ruben Navarrette notes that this fall, minority students will outnumber white students at America's public schools.
updated 5:21 PM EDT, Tue August 19, 2014
Humans have driven to extinction four marine mammal species in modern times. As you read this, we are on the brink of losing the fifth, write three experts.
updated 7:58 AM EDT, Tue August 19, 2014
It's been ten days since Michael Brown was killed, and his family is still waiting for information from investigators about what happened to their young man, writes Mel Robbins
updated 1:23 PM EDT, Wed August 20, 2014
Sally Kohn says the Ferguson protests reflect broader patterns of racial injustice across the country, from chronic police violence and abuse against black men to the persistent economic and social exclusion of communities of color.
updated 8:42 AM EDT, Mon August 18, 2014
The former U.K. prime minister and current U.N. envoy says there are 500 days left to fulfill the Millennium Goals' promise to children.
updated 9:10 AM EDT, Mon August 18, 2014
Julian Zelizer says the left mistrusts Clinton but there are ways she can win support from liberals in 2016
updated 1:38 PM EDT, Wed August 20, 2014
Peter Bergen says the terror group is a huge threat in Iraq but only a potential one in the U.S.
updated 1:34 PM EDT, Sat August 16, 2014
Mark O'Mara says the way cops, media, politicians and protesters have behaved since Michael Brown's shooting shows not all the right people have learned the right lessons
updated 11:23 AM EDT, Sun August 17, 2014
Retired Lt. Gen. Mark Hertling says the American military advisers in Iraq are sizing up what needs to be done and recommending accordingly
updated 3:41 PM EDT, Fri August 15, 2014
Marc Lamont Hill says the President's comments on the Michael Brown shooting ignored its racial implications
updated 5:46 PM EDT, Fri August 15, 2014
Joe Stork says the catastrophe in northern Iraq continues, even though many religious minorities have fled to safety: ISIS forces -- intent on purging them -- still control the area where they lived
updated 6:26 PM EDT, Thu August 14, 2014
Tim Lynch says Pentagon's policy of doling out military weapons to police forces is misguided and dangerous.
updated 9:15 AM EDT, Fri August 15, 2014
S.E. Cupp says millennials want big ideas and rapid change; she talks to one of their number who serves in Congress
updated 7:57 PM EDT, Thu August 14, 2014
Dorothy Brown says the power structure is dominated by whites in a town that is 68% black. Elected officials who sat by silently as chaos erupted after Michael Brown shooting should be voted out of office
updated 7:49 AM EDT, Thu August 14, 2014
Bill Schmitz says the media and other adults should never explain suicide as a means of escaping pain. Robin Williams' tragic death offers a chance to educate about prevention
updated 11:05 AM EDT, Fri August 15, 2014
Nafees Syed says President Obama should renew the quest to eliminate bias in the criminal justice system
updated 4:24 PM EDT, Thu August 14, 2014
Eric Liu says what's unfolded in the Missouri town is a shocking violation of American constitutional rights and should be a wake-up call to all
updated 3:22 PM EDT, Wed August 13, 2014
Neal Gabler says Lauren Bacall, a talent in her own right, will be defined by her marriage with the great actor Humphrey Bogart
updated 6:56 AM EDT, Fri August 15, 2014
Bob Butler says the arrest of two journalists covering the Ferguson story is alarming
updated 4:35 PM EDT, Wed August 13, 2014
Mark O'Mara says we all need to work together to make sure the tension between police and African-Americans doesn't result in more tragedies
updated 4:06 PM EDT, Mon August 18, 2014
Pepper Schwartz asks why young women are so entranced with Kardashian, who's putting together a 352-page book of selfies
updated 7:08 PM EDT, Wed August 13, 2014
Michael Friedman says depression does not discriminate, cannot be bargained with and shows no mercy.
updated 11:25 AM EDT, Tue August 12, 2014
LZ Granderson says we must not surrender to apathy about the injustice faced by African Americans
ADVERTISEMENT
ADVERTISEMENT
ADVERTISEMENT
ADVERTISEMENT