The entertainment news media is reporting today that American Idol winner, Fantasia Barrino, is illiterate. In her recently released memoir, "Life is Not a Fairy Tale" she admits that she had to fake her way through a lot of the scripted portions of the show. Frighteningly she signed many a contract and record deal after her win that she didn't read at all. The saddest statement she made was that she's never been able to read to her 4-year old daughter.
Ok, there are problems here on many levels. How in the world did someone get to this competition that couldn't even read? I realize that football players and other athletes do it all the time, but given the rigorous schedule these contestants keep, including reading and memorzing unknown music, I'm amazed that she survived. Second, what a sad testament to our school system. She dropped out of high school as an unwed mother, but she should have been able to read long before that. Third, if it hadn't been for this unexpected blessing of fame in her life, her daughter, Zion, would most likely have grown up unable to read. My love for books, reading, and writing came in the lap of my Mom who read to me constantly. So much that I couldn't wait to read myself.
Thankfully Fantasia is working with a tutor now to learn to read. More than her talent to sing, I hope her status of American Idol will help other kids out there come forward if they can't read and cry for help. America already falls behind many other countries in educational levels, it's time we get the train back on track.