A lot or a little?
The parents' guide to what's in this TV show.
What parents need to know
Parents need to know that The Kandi Factory is a reality competition that contains some occasional strong language, some arguing, and some sexual innuendo, including conversations about virginity. Young women are frequently required to be more "sexy" as a way of ensuring their success in the pop music field. While the subject matter will probably appeal to teens, the focus is on creating bankable stars rather than positive mentoring or personal growth.
What's the story?
THE KANDI FACTORY is a reality series starring former Xscape singer and The Real Housewives of Atlanta cast member Kandi Burruss as she works with aspiring young singers in hopes of transforming them into bankable pop artists. Each week, the Grammy-award winning songwriter, who has written songs for artists like Destiny's Child and Pink, invites two "diamonds in the rough" to the Kandi Factory development studio, where they each spend a week learning and producing original songs that Kandi wrote for them. With the help of producer Don Vito, choreographer Victor Jackson, and stylist Kwame Waters, they each work on creating a new look and performance style that will help them appeal to audiences. At the end of the week, the newly transformed singers must perform their songs in front of the Factory team and a live audience. The one who demonstrates the most potential for selling records gets their song released and gets put into their own music video.
Is it any good?
The Kandi Factory offers a chance for folks to see what goes into the creation of a successful pop singer, which includes finding songs that s/he can perform well, being able to dance while singing, and creating an overall image that can be easily marketed to large audiences. Throughout this process, it also highlights some of the challenges singers wanting to "make it big" face when making this transformation, like singing types of music they don't like in exchange for success, and staying true to oneself regardless of who or or what the industry pressures them to be.
Burruss and her team make it very clear that they are investing time, money, and reputation to develop and promote singers that will make money for their label. As a result, any real attempts by young talent to share their misgivings or personal growth issues during the process are quickly dismissed with reminders that they must be willing to do what is being asked of them if they want to succeed. These messages aren't the most positive, but they certainly reflect the reality of the music industry.
Talk to your kids about ...
Families can talk about the kinds of expectations placed on aspiring singers in order to be successful in the music and entertainment industry. Is having great talent enough to make it big? How much attention should be paid to a singer's image? When you compare different singing and/or dancing competitions shows, like American Idol and The Voice, how much focus is put on a contestant's singing talent vs. their looks?
How do expectations about looks and talent differ between male and female artists?
What about the music industry needs changing? How could you influence positive change?
What's the difference between financial and creative success?
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