Sinead Reaches out to Miley — and 11 Other Celebrities Who Mentored Younger Stars

sinead-oconnorHere’s the short version:

Miley Cyrus told Rolling Stone that the video for her hit single “Wrecking Ball” was an homage to the clip for Sinead O’Connor’s hit song, “Nothing Compares 2 U.”

Sinead posted a letter to Miley on the Internet in response, begging her not to “prostitute herself” for the music industry.

Miley responded on Twitter, posting Tweets from an old account of Sinead’s, trash-talking her mental state with comparisons to Amanda Bynes and a photo of Sinead’s famous 1992 appearance on Saturday Night Live when she tore up a photo of then-Pope John Paul II.

Sinead responded, this time on Facebook, and much more harshly:

You have posted today tweets of mine which are two years old, which were posted by me when I was unwell and seeking help so as to make them look like they are recent. In doing so you mock myself and Amanda Bynes for having suffered with mental health issues and for having sought help…I am staggered that any 20 yr old woman of the 21st century could behave in such a dangerous and irresponsible manner as to not only send the signal to young women that its ok to act like prostitutes but also to the signal that those who have suffered or do suffer mental health problems are to be mocked and have their opinions invalidated. Have you no sense of danger at all? or responsibility? Remove your tweets immediately or you will hear from my lawyers.

Okay, so there is no short version of this anymore.

Miley stuck with Twitter for her response, a two-part message that invited Sinead to meet up with her for a chat.

No response from Sinead so far, so that’s where they stand for now. Sinead’s attempt as an older, more experienced performer who has been through her own version of the industry and publicity mill to help a younger one appears to have backfired, at least for right now. Sinead said initially that her words were “said in the spirit of motherliness and with love,” and that does come through in her words:

I am extremely concerned for you that those around you have led you to believe, or encouraged you in your own belief, that it is in any way ‘cool’ to be naked and licking sledgehammers in your videos. It is in fact the case that you will obscure your talent by allowing yourself to be pimped, whether its the music business or yourself doing the pimping.

Nothing but harm will come in the long run, from allowing yourself to be exploited, and it is absolutely NOT in ANY way an empowerment of yourself or any other young women, for you to send across the message that you are to be valued (even by you) more for your sexual appeal than your obvious talent. 

Miley’s subsequent attack on Sinead’s mental state wasn’t cool, regardless, and by the time Sinead took to Facebook in response, anger had taken over, and that’s never good. Miley’s request for a meet-up? Curious.

One could see how after a summer of notoriety for VMA-twerking and sledgehammer licking — basically everything but her music — a person like Sinead would take an opportunity after Miley identified her as a role model to reach out like one.

Just because an older person does that, however, there is no guarantee that a younger one will either be willing to listen, be ready to hear whatever support or advice is being offered, or to even think that there is any reason for concern in the first place. “Experience is the best teacher” is a cliche for a reason.

With all the criticism lobbed about her at the moment, Miley herself seems rather satisfied with how she’s conducting business, regardless of what Sinead O’Connor or anyone else has to say about it. Admiring an artist for her previous work, and even modeling current projects on any aspect of that, doesn’t mean inviting that artist in as a critic, a mentor, or a behavioral guide, even if it’s needed.

Other celebrities have emerged as mentors and strong supporters for younger actors and musicians over the years, helping them navigate professional and personal situations as their careers progressed. Let’s take a look at some of these sometimes unlikely pairs. Maybe Sinead and Miley can eventually try to talk this out, too.

11 Celebrities Who Mentored Younger Stars:

  • 11 Celebrity Mentors and Role Models 1 of 12
  • Jonathan Lipnicki and Tom Cruise 2 of 12

    The Jerry Maguire actor famous for lines like "Did YOU KNOW the human head weighs EIGHT POUNDS?" says that Tom Cruise remains a role model for him. 

    "I met up with him a few months ago and got his advice for my transition as an actor," he told Vulture. "We sat out on the patio to his house and talked about acting. He puts a lot of emphasis on being polite and manners and being on time. He said to always keep yourself busy, because then you'll always be motivated to be creative. The more you produce, the more you create, the happier you're going to be anyway...So I have a poster of Mission: Impossible that he signed, ‘You can be my wingman anytime.' And it's one of those things that, whenever I feel down, it makes me believe in myself." 

    Image credit: Facebook

  • Loretta Lynn and Patsy Cline 3 of 12

    Loretta Lynn paid tribute to her mentor with the 1977 album I Remember Patsy, but she also got a thumbs-up from the singer for one of her earliest hits, "You Ain't Woman Enough," considered a daring song at the time. Loretta reminisces: 

    "She was my only girlfriend at the time. She took me under her wing, and when I lost her, it was something else. I still miss her to this day. I wrote ‘You Ain't Woman Enough To Take My Man,' and she said, ‘Loretta, that's a damn hit.' It shocked me, because you don't expect somebody like Patsy Cline to tell you that you have a hit. Right after she passed, I put the record out, and it was a hit."

    Patsy also told Loretta how to dress

    "She taught me a lot about how to dress. She told me to get out of the jeans. 'Course, I'd wear them till we got to the radio station and then I'd get in the backseat and put on my dress. And I'd take the dress off and go back into my jeans and go to the next radio station."

    Image credit: Flickr user Schram, via Wikimedia Commons 

  • Justin Bieber and Usher 4 of 12

    "Me and big bro Usher livin' the dream thanks to the fans," Justin Bieber shared in a Facebook photo caption. The two have posed for Billboard's cover together, and Usher has been a Bieber mentor since he helped discover him in 2008. Usher told Billboard, "Justin...As I said in the beginning of his career until now, the story has yet to unfold." That was 2012. In a recent interview with Ellen DeGeneres, Usher said he hopes that Bieber will hold up under the pressures of fame:

    "We hope that in his transition — as friends and family who have helped him be who he is — that he will continue to just mature. But in this day's age of social media there is no privacy. That kind of trial and elimination period is done in front of a camera. It's been done and many, many other celebrities have been a product of it. Some come out bad, some come out good. I'm hoping for the best. I don't look at it as a negative, though. I look at it as a teenager. He is a teenager having to live his life in front of a camera. Imagine if you had to do that as a teenager ... You go through something to get to something in life. If there were no humps in life, there'd be nothing to get over."

    Image credit: Facebook

  • Monica and Whitney Houston 5 of 12

    R&B singer Monica considered the late Whitney Houston a personal and professional mentor and friend. "She prepared me and always reminded me to never lose sight of who I was," Monica told MTV. "And I think she could be a testament to that because of what she experienced. It's hard on a daily basis, especially when I'm thinking about her."

    Monica has performed tributes to the singer she calls "Nippy" with Brandy, and says: 

    "I guess I get through the tributes for Nippy because I knew how much she enjoyed them. I didn't just start doing tributes to her: I was signed at 11 years old singing 'The Greatest Love of All.' I really appreciate the fact that for almost three decades she gave us music that will last. My grandchildren will know exactly who she is; my great-grandchildren will know exactly who Whitney Houston is."

    Image credit: Instagram

  • Lindsay Lohan and Oprah 6 of 12

    Lindsay Lohan is scheduled to have her own show on Oprah's OWN network, but after a big interview and an initial agreement, Oprah had to demand follow-through:

    "There was a lot of chaos going on. So I went to have a conversation, a real conversation about that, to say to her, ‘Do you want to do it? Because if you don't want to do it, that's OK. We could just end it. We don't have to do it.'... She said she wants to do it. So let's get to it. So I had that conversation." 

    After Lindsay's many struggles and efforts to get her career back on track, Oprah is a good person to have in her corner. Besides, if Oprah showed up at my house and told me I had to go to work? I'm pretty sure I'd get ready. Just saying. 

    Image credit: Pacific Coast News

  • Miley Cyrus and Dolly Parton 7 of 12

    Long before "Wrecking Ball" and twerking were things, Miley teamed up with "honorary godmother" Dolly Parton to sing "Jolene." 

    "Having an influence around like Dolly has just been great," Billy Ray Cyrus said. And Dolly told Parade she worries about Miley: "I remember myself at her age. We've all been a bit too hard on her. I hope she holds it together because there's a world of things she can do. She should keep an eye on things and make wise decisions."

    No word on how Dolly feels about licking sledgehammers, but if there's a career I'd emulate, hers is one of them. If I were Miley I don't know what I'd do about a lot of things, but I'm pretty sure I'd call Dolly for some advice. 

    Image credit: YouTube

  • Oprah and Dr. Maya Angelou 8 of 12

    Oprah calls poet Maya Angelou her "mentor-mother-sister-friend," a powerful relationship between two powerful women:

    "Since the moment I opened I Know Why the Caged Bird Sings, I've felt deeply connected to Maya Angelou. With each page, her life seemed to mirror mine ... For the first time, as a young black girl, my experience was validated. And it still is, only now I sit at Maya's feet, beside her fireplace, hardly believing that, years after reading Caged Bird, she is my mentor and close friend ... Now we have what I call a mother-sister-friend relationship. She's the woman who can share my triumphs, chide me with hard truth and soothe me with words of comfort when I call her in my deepest pain."

    Image credit: YouTube

  • Marcia Gay Harden and Ellen Burstyn 9 of 12

    Working with Ellen Burstyn on The Spitfire Grill and shooting a sad scene in which she didn't cry until her close-up changed Marcia Gay Harden's approach to acting:

    "Ellen said, 'Don't ever do that again,'" Harden writes in a book called The Person Who Changed My Life. "Had I seen that performance ... my own would have differed vastly. 'But ... but ... what if I didn't have any tears left for my close-up?' I asked, mortified. 'How would I get there?' She answered firmly, 'I would be there for you. I would help you get there.'... Ellen doesn't believe that energy or strength is stolen but that it is shared, borrowed, expanded, until there is enough for everyone to grow."

    Image credit: Pacific Coast News

  • Denzel Washington and Sidney Poitier 10 of 12

    Denzel Washington told GQ last year that Sidney Poitier advised him to keep a low profile in the industry:

    "Sidney Poitier told me this years ago: 'If they see you for free all week, they won't pay to see you on the weekend, because they feel like they've seen you. If you walk by the magazine section in the supermarket and they've known you all their life, there's no mystery. They can't take the ride."

    Speaking in honor of Poitier at his American Film Institute Lifetime Achievement Award ceremony, Washington said:

    "He meant everything to me. He was a positive example of elegance and good taste, he was a source of pride for millions of African Americans. He was a great movie star who was appreciated by millions of people all around the world ... He was very patient with me. He was very kind to me ... He gave me his time and his advice, and I can honestly say that the reason I'm up here today is because of Sidney Poitier — the time he gave me, the advice he gave me, the example he provided for me and many other African American actors. I love you, I respect you, I imitate you." 

    Image credit: YouTube

  • Drew Barrymore and Steven Spielberg 11 of 12

    Working with godfather Steven Spielberg since she played Gertie in E.T. at the age of six, Drew Barrymore considers him a lifelong example:

    "He's a great mentor," she told Access Hollywood. "He always talks about how important that is, mentoring, and he keeps his word. He really does ... [He] told me when I was doing ET, ‘Never act your characters, be your characters,' so I've always been very performance-oriented since then in trying to really believe in what you're doing and instead of acting, just being that person."

    Image credit: Pacific Coast News

  • Lady Gaga and Elton John 12 of 12

    Lady Gaga and Elton John have had a somewhat tumultuous relationship, but the singer and his husband David Furnish have made her godmother to both of their sons, and Elton frequently gives her advice and expresses concern for her well-being. "She's a great role model, she's young, [and] she's been a great godmother to Zachary," John said. "We're all bonkers in this business, but we're human beings at the same time." 


    Anyone looking for the Elton influences in Gaga's work (and maybe vice versa?) need only check out their medley of "Speechless" and "Your Song" at the 2010 Grammys

    Image credit: YouTube

Image credit: Pacific Coast News

Article Posted 3 years Ago

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