JoJo Siwa is an 18-year-old female who is a successful dancer, singer, and YouTuber. Her fame started at nine years old when she was on the hit reality show Dance Moms. She quickly made a name for herself when she became a social media influencer and signed a contract with Nickelodeon. For most of her career, her fanbase has been mostly younger children. However, as she gets older, she is starting to become a role model for young adults as well.
In January 2021, Siwa came out as queer to the public over a series of social media posts. Celebrities and fans of Siwa showed her an immense amount of support. Considering there have not been many child stars that represent the LGBTQ+ community, this was a huge deal. Thankfully, sexuality is becoming way more normalized to talk about with younger audiences. Growing up is hard enough, especially when an individual does not feel like their sexuality is validated. Siwa touched the hearts of many and inspired young people to share their own story and be who they are.
The Nickelodeon Kids’ Choice Awards is an American children’s awards ceremony show. Not only has JoJo Siwa been a huge part of the Kids’ Choice Awards, but she has been a prominent face for Nickelodeon itself since 2017. She has guest-starred in TV series and films, and has a mobile app inspired by her. Nickelodeon even has a whole line of Siwa-inspired products. In early April, they held their 35th annual Kids’ Choice Awards, and JoJo Siwa was not invited to this year’s show.
Many fans were shocked by the absence of JoJo Siwa at the show and thought that she just decided not to go. However, Siwa announced on Instagram that she would have loved to have been there, but she was not invited. She shared that she did not know the reasons for Nickelodeon excluding her, and it was obvious how upset she was by it. Though Nickelodeon has never come out with a statement as to why she did not get invited, there have been theories and rumors suggesting the reasons. People on social media have been saying that it is weird that Siwa was not invited the same year that she has been using her platform to be open about her sexuality. She even retweeted some of the tweets that had these claims, showing that she agrees how wrong it is and how it cannot be a coincidence. Going along with that, she posted to Instagram a few days before the Kids’ Choice Awards that she had cut her hair. While people showed much love and support, it is hard not to think that Nickelodeon did not feel the same.
As someone who grew up watching Nickelodeon, it is so disappointing to see that they would do something like this. When I was younger, there was very little representation to the LGBTQ+ community in TV shows and films. Now that it is finally being more recognized, it is changing the lives of young children and young adults everywhere. There have been rumors that Siwa was not invited because of the limited number of tickets due to COVID-19 protocols, but I do not buy that at all. She is an important part of the Nickelodeon family and she was even nominated for an award. Not only that, but they played her song during the award show as well. That is a huge slap in the face. In a generation that has been considered to be more accepting and open-minded than past generations, Nickelodeon seems to be taking steps backwards. They have no idea how much they missed out when they chose to exclude JoJo Siwa.