Last week Travis Orlando, a 16-year-old high school student and American Idol contestant from the Bronx madebig headlines. It wasn’t because of his singing.
During his introduction, Orlando shared his life experience and described the hardships he faced growing up in the Bronx surrounded by violence and drugs.
Bronx Borough PresidentRuben Diazwas not theleast bit thrilled about Orlando’s description of the Bronx and immediately released the following statement:
“I am thoroughly disgusted with the treatment of the Bronx on last night’s American Idol. Rather than focus on the amazing revitalization the Bronx has seen over the past three decades, the producers of the show chose instead to highlight the negative stereotypes that have plagued our borough for years. The Bronx is the proud home of 1.4 million people, and over the past 30 years we have seen a dramatic drop in crime, incredible new business activity and the development of amazing new infrastructure. The portrayal of the Bronx by the producers of American Idol in such an extremely negative light is not only shameful, it does not accurately represent how far the Bronx has come.
For those who want to learn the truth about the vibrant neighborhoods, world-class cuisine, burgeoning economy and amazing amenities the Bronx has to offer, I invite them to visit the official website of the Bronx Tourism Council, www.ilovethebronx.com.”
The statement immediately sparked a fierce debate online on blogs and social networking Web sites.
Many online believe that Diaz is overreacting; others feel that American Idol producers owe the borough of Bronx an apology.
Check out what some are saying on the great “Bronx vs. American Idol” debate:
Response to American Idol’s Bronx Slander [Changing The Court - Blog]
Bronx Tall Tale [New York Post]
Idol and The Bronx [New York Post]