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PR Moves: Jojo Siwa

Jojo Siwa first rose to fame on Dance Moms. Now, Jojo is all the internet can talk about; positive or negative, the internet is ablaze. For Jojo, this is a positive development. Jojo has always embodied a loud, outgoing, and extravagant persona. Previously characterized by bows and rainbow glitter, she is now shifting towards a more edgy image, yet maintaining her signature flamboyance. Despite the criticism of her latest release, "Karma," the issue seems to stem not from the song itself but from Jojo's public persona. Brit Smith's version of "Karma" has been well-received, indicating that the song itself is not at fault. The widespread recreation of Jojo’s choreography on TikTok further suggests that the critique is directed at Jojo rather than her artistic output. The question remains: what should Jojo's next move be?

Here are my ideas:

  1. Another Podcast- Zach Sang

Zach Sang comes to mind as he seems to produce easy going interviews with artists that allow them to relax and show their true personalities. I think Jojo should go on Zach Sang and damage control. I think this interview should accomplish the following: clear the air regarding how she got "Karma," explore her queer identity and recent her "gay pop" comment.

First, I think credibility is the main issue Jojo is facing. Did she write the song? Was she involved in any production? What actually happened? In some interviews, Jojo claims that the song underwent extreme workshopping, but listeners can't really identify radical differences between Jojo and Brit Smith. Then Jojo claimed to be doing revolutionary, yet the song is 12 years old. I don't think these missteps are lethal to the campaign, but I think they deserve to be acknowledged. Thus, Jojo should set the record straight and apologize for all the confusion. Basically: Yes, the song was intended for Miley 12 years ago. No, she did not know Brit Smith had the song before her. Yes, some changes were made to try to modernize the production and there was a lyric change.

Next, Jojo should expand on her queer identity. She is young and learning more about herself and queerness and the intersection that exists there. I think this vulnerability will make people fall in love with Jojo, or at least understand her a bit more. Jojo's loud, dramatic persona is great, but it can come off as insincere. And though it is difficult to navigate fame as you want to keep some things personal, there is a way to share a little and make it seem like a lot. That is the art Jojo must master in this stage of her career.

Finally, Jojo needs to explain her "gay pop" comment. The internet swiftly called her out, citing numerous icons that preceded Jojo. She tried to self-correct and say that she was only looking at her own generation and later she tried her best to pay homage to the greats, but all it seemed to do was put her deeper in the hole. I think Jojo is young and learning and that is her advantage here. She needs to be honest and its okay to say sorry sometimes. She can say something like, "of course I know 'gay pop' is not something new, I know that there are many queer icons in the history of music. I think I was trying to explain that I haven't seen someone like me, producing what I am trying to. Which is a 20-year-old girl, exploring sexuality and queerness after being the fun child-friendly performer I was. Obviously, I see how uneducated my comment was. And I should've worded it better. Basically, what I really want to say is that "gay pop" is the direction I want to go with my career and future projects.

Also, when on the podcast, I think it's important that Jojo wears clothes that are not distracting like the hat she wore in her interview for "Call her Daddy" with Alex Cooper. I can see how the clothes she wears is another performance, another way to keep her persona intact and in a way, protect Jojo from getting too vulnerable and actually letting the audience in. That can't happen in this interview because the words she says will be very important and we don't want anything taking away from that.

2. The Kelly Clarkson Show

Kelly Clarkson is one of America's sweethearts. She is real, down to earth, but a can be goofy and outgoing. I think her personality would blend well with Jojo's and provide a nice environment for Jojo to talk about her music and future projects. Different from the Zach Sang interview, I think Jojo should talk about her growth as a musical artist and explore what that looks like for her. The themes she wants to touch on and some ideas she already has. I think with Kelly, she could have a really interesting conversation that would help re-establish her credibility as an artist.

Then, because both Kelly and Jojo are fun, loud personalities, I think they should play a game together. One idea is a game where they are both showed pictures of famous musicians and they have to take turns naming them. To start off on a funny note, the first one will be Gene Simmons as a way for Jojo to laugh at herself and explain that she knows who that is but did not recognize his name on the red carpet when her outfit was compared to him. The other possibility is Jojo teaching Kelly a dance move. Jojo is a dancer, a true performer at the root of it all. This would be a fun way for her to high light that skillset.

3. GLAAD Awards- New York Ceremony: May 11, 2024

I think Jojo should perform at GLAAD Media Awards, if possible. It is obvious that Jojo really wants to explore her queer identity and be accepted by the community. She wants to establish herself as a queer voice and artist and I think this is a great place to do it. Also, people online are making fun of the way she dances to this song and the costuming choices she makes. This would be a good platform for Jojo to show a different side of herself as a performer. The biggest change would have to be her outfit/makeup. Jojo is desperately trying to shed her former glitter, sparkle persona yet she is still in head-to-toe glitter. If she wants her rebrand to be a success, she needs to find another way that is still true to the over-the-top Jojo that she is but is in fact different from the Jojo we have seen before. She wants drama and edge; she needs to find that. Now, I am no stylist so I must admit my knowledge here is a little limited. But I think of leather and studs or something more along the lines of what we saw Dua Lipa perform in at the 2024 Grammy's.

4. "Karma (With Brit Smith) (Remix)"

A collaboration between the two could be a fun way for Jojo and Brit Smith to celebrate the song and its popularity. There's been attempt online to stir up controversy between them where none exists. Brit had the song but never released it. A decade later, Jojo did. That's the narrative. Fans clamored for Brit's version on streaming platforms, so she obliged—not out of spite, but to capitalize on the buzz. A joint effort could be a positive move, turning the conversation into a shared success.

In conclusion, Jojo must show some humility and vulnerability. She has the potential to be more than a meme online, but she needs to let her ego take a hit every now and again. It is much easier said than done, but if she wants the success and to be taken a little more seriously, I believe that is a necessary move. I look forward to seeing what Jojo does next.


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