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The student news of St. Paul Academy and Summit School

The Rubicon

The student news of St. Paul Academy and Summit School

The Rubicon

JoJo Siwa’s “Karma”: a chaotic rebrand, a cautionary tale for childhood fame

KARMA. JoJo Siwa emerges from an ocean in her infamous black face paint and sparkly body suit. The music videos vivid and animated visuals keep up with the fast-paced and dramatic song. (Screen capture from “JoJo Siwa – Karma Official Video” by JoJo Siwa on YouTube.)

From Dance Moms to Nickelodeon to “Boomerang,” the 20-year-old Joelle Joanie “JoJo” Siwa has been a singer, dancer, and actress since she was 12. Throughout her short career, she has become an iconic pop culture personality. Last month, on April 5, the American childhood star dropped her first post-Nickelodeon “adult” single, “Karma,” to rebrand from her child star image. However, the song has only caused ridicule and has made JoJo a universal joke online.

“Karma,” by itself, is an EDM song that is upbeat and, in some places, catchy. It starts with an eerie introduction before the orchestra comes in, developing the beat. The first verse begins with “I was a bad girl, I did some bad things.” Then, the song builds until it erupts into the chorus, accompanied by intense EDM music.

Overall, “Karma” is explosive and energetic, and its lyrics are cringe in many places but also memorable and easily able to stick in a listener’s head. The music video, however, takes “cringe” to another level.

In January 2021, JoJo Siwa came out as lesbian and, since then, has very openly and loudly expressed her sexuality, often excessively sharing her intimate preferences and experiences as well as making out-of-place comments. The music video for “Karma” follows this theme, as along with energetic dances, it displays very sexually charged movements of JoJo and multiple female dancers.

The outfits and makeup don’t make “Karma” any less cringe, either. The notorious black face paint and sparkly black body suit have gone viral in many TikTok videos mocking JoJo’s new single. The delivery of the song and music video feels so ridiculous and cringey that it makes it funny and gives an entertaining experience.

Instead of a rebrand, “Karma” has pushed JoJo further away from the mature, grown-up reputation she was aiming for. Its overly flashy and “bad girl” aspects have instead made her into more of a joke in pop culture. Paired with her press tour comments claiming to have invented “gay pop” and the allegations that “Karma” is a stolen song, JoJo has dug herself even further into the immature, cringe, overly childish image.

If Siwa truly wants to present herself as grown, she should look to focus on more nuanced forms of expression rather than the cliche and flashy nature of her new single.

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About the Contributor
Thomas Chen
Thomas Chen, Sports Editor
Hi, my name is Thomas Chen (he/him). I work as the Sports Editor for RubicOnline. This is my second year on staff. At school, I’m the Upper School Council treasurer and I'm also involved in the Asian Student Alliance. I love to figure skate and watch reality TV. I can be reached at [email protected].

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