Thanks, Santa Barbara Independent, for your pre- and post-concert coverage of Wanda Jackson. Still, Aly Comingore’s review struck a jarring note when she wrote, “there’s a wavering disconnect in seeing a seventy-something woman sing about ‘shakin’ all over,’ and standing front-and-center for Jackson’s live show can prove slightly distracting.” Ms. Comingore states that from a few feet back, where Ms. Jackson was “barely visible,” she thoroughly enjoyed the show.
So, is Ms. Jackson no fun to watch because she’s 74? Should women in their seventies limit themselves to more “appropriate” types of artistry and self expression? Should elders be heard and not seen?
I wish for all of us, at any age, that we exhibit Ms. Jackson’s mastery, vibrant energy, presence and fun.
Let’s take it even further and create a culture that welcomes the healthy and generative expressions of anyone at any age. We all lose when we view people as statistics rather than gift-bearing human beings. The stereotype that Ms. Comingore propagates, however innocently, is outmoded and counterproductive. The sooner we dismantle the tacit agreement to limit ourselves or others, the sooner we can get on with solving the world’s challenges. Let’s focus on celebrating and fully utilizing our available talents – regardless of age.
To paraphrase another mature musical icon: “What’s age got to do with it?”