Spirituality of Kelly Clarkson: Misfits, Kenosis, and People Like Us

Kelly Clarkson performing in 2009. Anthony Correia /

Kelly Clarkson performing in 2009. Anthony Correia /

 Kelly Clarkson’s latest single is a pop culture anthem with a catchy tune. It’s called “People Like Us” and it has a spiritual depth that struck me when I first heard the song.

Clarkson identifies with certain people in the song – “people like us.” Who are people like us? Cultural scapegoats, outcasts, marginalized, misfits, and the damned.

People like us we’ve got to stick together

Keep your head up, nothing lasts forever

Here’s to the damned, to the lost and forgotten

… We are all misfits living in a world on fire

Some may criticize Clarkson’s motivation for identifying with cultural scapegoats. After all, she’s been a pop culture diva since her appearance on American Idol more than a decade ago. Is she identifying with the marginalized because ever since Lady Gaga did it in 2011 with Born this Way it’s now the cool thing to do?

Whatever her motivations, I think it’s amazing that it has become “cool” to identify with cultural outcasts. And as opposed to criticizing her motivations, I want to affirm them. Whether Clarkson realizes this, as a powerful and influential person who identifies with cultural “misfits” and the “damned,” what she is doing in “People Like Us” is modeling an example of Christ-like love.