Justice for Jojo Siwa

Fans speculate why Siwa wasn’t invited to the Kids Choice Awards

More stories from Jenna Haynie

Since Jojo Siwa came out online in January of 2021, she has made her social media accounts and concerts a safe space for the queer community to belong and feel a sense of understanding. While on tour, she would dance around with a pride flag on stage, reminding kids too fully and unapologetically embrace themselves, including their gender identity and sexuality. 

“Representation in the media is so important because you want kids to see who people really are, who they could be or what they wanna be and truly discover themselves,” senior Scout Kress said. “I think that it’s really vital to have different kinds of people to look up to.”

But after not being invited to the 2022 Nickelodeon Kids Choice Awards, fans begin to speculate that it has something to do with her newfound open identity. 

“I thought that was really sad because I wonder how that makes kids who love her feel,” Kress said. “This person that they look up to came out, and all of a sudden she can’t go to things anymore.” 

For years, Siwa has been a sort of spokesperson for Nickelodeon’s brand and the face of the network, and she has won seven kids’ choice awards since 2017. She was even nominated for one this year. So why wasn’t she there? 

“I think it’s messed up because she’s done so much for Nickelodeon and it’s weird, especially because she was nominated,” said senior Ally Ingram. “It’s for sure related to her coming out, why else would they not invite their biggest moneymaker ever?”

 “A lot of you have been asking me why I’m not at the Nickelodeon Kids’ Choice Awards tonight, and the answer is very simple. I wasn’t invited,” Siwa posted in a video on her social media accounts. “I’m not sure why. But I just didn’t get an invite.” 

Fans erupted online on platforms such as Twitter, outraged that she was coincidentally not invited after publicly coming out and cutting her signature long ponytail into a pixie cut. It is hard to say and impossible to prove whether the two things were connected, but it has left fans speculating the reasons behind Nickelodeon’s actions, and until they publicly come forward, it simply remains a theory. 

“I think these things were definitely related,” Kress said. “Of course. What she was for, and who she is, that has to be the only reason.” 

Even when there is progression with broadening representation and education, homophobia still exists, one way or another. Whether it be directly leaving a comment on a social media post or indirectly not inviting someone to an event, the reality is, homophobia is still affecting queer communities. 

“Of course homophobia still exists, especially in school,” Kress said. “I mean you can tell, it’s just blatant. Especially if you are someone that portrays yourself differently than what people think is your ‘average kid.’ Kids don’t like different, and you can tell.”

Jojo Siwa, unlike a typical teenager, has her entire life broadcasted to the world, as she goes through the struggles of self-identity and acceptance. Siwa faces thousands of brutal comments and hateful posts every day, just for being proud of who she is, all the while maintaining her social media presence and posting positive content for her fans. 

“Going forward I think we, as a society, need to just normalize it, like Jojo Siwa is doing with her pride stuff, letting kids know that it is ok to be who they are,” Ingram said. “It can save them a lot of sleepless nights and bad years doubting themselves.”

Jojo Siwa, while maintaining her fun childlike personality, has been an important icon for teens and adolescents, who are continuing to figure out who they are, while also going through the typical experiences and struggles of growing up. 

“I think it’s something I definitely missed out on. I could have had a lot more realization and progression when I was younger,” Kress said. “That’s not really something that I ever had.”

Jojo Siwa first gained popularity on the Lifetime reality show, Dance Moms, where she then went on to hold on to her successes and continue in her entertainment career, including guest starring on Dancing With the Stars and going on her debut concert tour. 

“I think she had kind of phased out from our generation, but my little cousins love Jojo Siwa, they are obsessed with her,” Kress said. “I think now because she’s come out, she’s become more of a representation for younger kids and I think that’s really important.” 

Her main audience and demographic, outside of young girls and boys ranging from ages 3 to 10, has widely spread into the LGBTQ+ community as Siwa has become very open with her sexuality.  While she has received support and love from her fans, she has also received plenty of backlash from parents who believe that her sharing her sexuality is too explicit. Heterosexuality has always been the ‘norm,’ especially when represented in media, and while major entertainment companies are broadening their characters and storylines, expanding into queer relationships and lives, the LGBTQ+ community continues to stay underrepresented. 

“It is definitely valuable when kids learn that it’s ok to be yourself no matter what,” Ingram said. “It doesn’t make sense that being straight is the norm at all, because people are just people and there is no norm to it.”