The Soundtrack of My Life

the music that keeps me going…

The Disappearance of Celebrity Mystique

on January 3, 2011

first things first! Happy New Year! thank you all for continuing into 2011 with me. I appreciate the company. 🙂

From time to time my inner sociologist gets the best of me, and I conduct pseudo case studies and analysis on various topics–all in my head, or I discuss with my friends. Based my environment at the time, it can be totally random about whatever I’m thinking–I’m a self admitted over thinker and critic. I spend a good amount of time on social networking sites, and thought I’d discuss how social media platforms help and hinder artists, in my opinion. For conversation sake, artist includes actors/singers/rappers/performers.

I remember watching CBS Sunday Morning a couple weeks ago and they did a segment on a hotel in California known for housing rising actors and talked about the stories of affairs and wild antics at this hotel. I was a bit intrigued by this info. I happen to love movies as much as music so I like to hear/read about actors and their lives prior to being super famous—their families, etc.

Reality TV has exposed us to pieces of many people’s lives and I think the very first reality show I watched religiously that wasn’t about “regular” people was the one with Jessica Simpson and Nick Lachey. I thought their married antics were pretty cute and entertaining. I also realize that many things are edited for laughs, drama, etc. on “reality” TV so it’s not so real after all.

So on social networking sites you have the opportunity get the real deal–in real time updates. Many musical artists provide sneak peeks to new music, and at times share instant feedback about it with their followers/friends. It really allows you to interact with them in a way never possible before.

I remember being a child and being in love with ABC–that’s Another Bad Creation for those not knowing. I remember writing letters to them via the fan club address on the back of their cassette tapes. I remember going to see Immature in concert and seeing Subway perform at the skating rink and getting them to sign the poster I tore out of Right On magazine. I remember imagining how cool my favorite artists were; even while still knowing they were regular people just like me.

Recently on twitter we’ve seen certain rappers say they sometimes wish they had a normal life–being in the business since age 5 has to be somewhat difficult–only to be blasted by “fans” saying oh suck that shit up, you are rich. We’ve seen other rappers have melt downs toward “fans” for criticizing their music and just being an overall crybaby. We’ve seen rappers e-thug against each other and create TTs (trending topics) about the other based on their involvement with a certain celebrity groupie. Of course the point of the TT is to get their followers–usually regular folks like us to “go in” on said person. We’ve also seen singers get bashed for stealing men from other singers, or regular chicks or whatever.  I mean…it’s all entertainment right? Is real life that messy? oh absolutely. One of my favorite sayings is “real life is stranger than fiction.” I believe this to be very true.

So going back to the TV special about this infamous Hollywood hotel, and with shows like E! Hollywood Story and VH1 Behind the Music were so popular because details about your favorite actor or singer were only rumored and it usually wasn’t until after someone created a documentary about their lives–many times after their deaths, or the dissolvement of a group, that we got to hear the details of what was “really going on”. There was a certain mystique involved with what we know as fame. We didn’t really know the people.  And I was okay with that. That makes reading biographies actually interesting and informative (if biographies are your thing that is).

Now we have social media to remind us of how regular and normal these people are—which is fine, I mean they shop at Target just like we do! How jerky and narcissistic they can be. We all know the artists that only interaction with their fans is when they retweet compliments. Hell, we know regular people that do the same. And lastly, how sensitive they are to criticism and for some people how mentally unbalanced they are as well. No judgment, just saying. After all, they ARE human.

When I say I really admire the way some artists interact with their fans, I mean it. I see some of my friends @ reply about concerts and shows and get comments back from the artists thanking them and think it’s so cool! Before my page was protected, I got a few replies from folks myself and I even some mutual follows. Good stuff.

But I don’t like how people (celebrity or not) abuse the “familiarity” of real time interaction to be rude to people they wouldn’t even dare walk up on in real life. I just wouldn’t have the audacity to curse out one of my favorite singers because while I happen to think she’s awesome–yeah, she misspells words on twitter all the time. I guess this is keystroke courage, and it’s present in all online platforms–not just twitter and not just towards celebs. Trolling so to speak. And/or pandering for retweets and “LOL”s. I guess.

In the past I have always been able to separate an artist’s personal life from their music (prime example, R. Kelly) because I didn’t really know that person anyway. Being a fan of music didn’t require me to cast judgment on them, and since you can “sample/view” music and movies without spending your money you don’t necessarily have to make a financial stand against someone.  I have heard several fans state that they wish they didn’t know so much about the inner workings of the minds of their faves. It can blur the lines and make it difficult to want to support someone’s creativity when you think they are just a downright terrible person and have seen the real time correspondence to support your notion, until they delete the tweets.

I don’t know if this makes sense to anyone but me, I just felt like sharing. I know everyone has different reasons and expectations for how they use facebook or twitter or blogs or what have you. And nobody’s way is wrong, again this is simply MY opinion of the situation.

I’m just very cautious, yet very curious of how the world will continue to evolve, and how the line between fame  and fandom will disintegrate with this technology and extreme access at our fingertips.

I purposely did not ‘name names’ or throw shots at specific people because if you are as perceptive as I am, you have an idea of whom these people are. Also, my gripe isn’t really so much with them as it is the relationship as a whole. They say “familiarity breeds contempt”…what do you say?


14 responses to “The Disappearance of Celebrity Mystique

  1. Social Media is connecting people like never before. It’s connecting people so much that fans actually think they personally know their faves and in some cases think that they’re friends…despite the fact they never met the person.

    What’s interesting to me is how upset some people get when a fave doesn’t reply to their string of attempts to get a response. I think all of this stuff is making many of us crazier.lol

  2. MilanRouge says:

    I definitely agree with you. Although I see the worth and value of certain celebrities using social networking (i.e. twitter) to stay connected to their fans, I also see the downside. I stopped following most/almost ALL celebrities because I appreciate the celebrity mystique a bit. I don’t WANT to know everything about them or whats going on in their head and to be honest…sometimes…I just don’t want to know how “lame” they actually are in real life. So I’ve chosen to draw that line for myself. LOL. I don’t knock them but for me…I just don’t want to start *side eyein* certain artists I love because they’ve gone Ape sh*t on someone via twitter. That’s just me though.

  3. @milesfan79 says:

    Lol great post!!! I feel you 100% and tend to have same viewpoint regarding fame/celebs and social networking. The internet has been a blessing and curse to society(and entertainment industry). It has giving us all avenues to change our social behavior, some abuse it and some use it constructively.

    For instance,take Keri for example, any giving day/hour you can find lots of slander towards her on twitter. I’m pretty sure that 99.9% of ppl slandering her on twitter wouldn’t have nerve to approach her and say “you suck and your career sucks” if they saw her in mall/store. About two weeks ago Manio(“hi hater”) posted a vid where he approached a young girl in mall that was slandering him via twitter, when he asked her what was up, she looked shook and said “its just twitter” lol classic example of how social interaction/criticism has changed due to social networking.

    On the flipside @wale is known for spazzing on fans via twitter, which is very disheartening and stupid. As an srtist you have to understand not eveyone is goin love your music, so to blast off on ppl that slander you/your music shows vulnerability IMO. Just keep it moving!

    Lol me being an analytical/social science person as well I could write a whole 30pg paper on this, but this was def a great topic!!

  4. For me, the question becomes, is what I’m gaining by having this 360 degree access to my favorite celebrities greater than what I gained by not knowing much about their personal lives at all. In some cases I think the answer is yes. A good example of that is someone like Yeezy. If you follow Yeezy as closely since the original Blueprint dropped, then you really feel like you know dude… like… personally. For someone like him, I think it advances his cause and, for his fans, puts into perspective his crazy rants and raves. When he said “George Bush doesn’t care about black people” real fans weren’t surprised. When he #KanyeShrugged Taylor Swift, I was a little surprised, but, I thought to myself… ‘that’s just yeezy being yeezy’.

    On the flipside, I think certain artists have done a great job managing the level of access we have into their lives in a way that allows them to maintain a certain level of mystique, even in this social media savvy day and age. Jay-Z comes to mind. He rarely does interviews, and, when he’s not promoting an album, you really don’t see or hear much from him, as far as his personal life is concerned. There’s always the tabloid stuff, but, as far as hard news… nada.

    Beyonce as well. B has the ability to be everywhere and nowhere at the same time. She’s like omnipotently absent. It’s amazing.

    Lady Gaga as well. Does anyone really know her or do we know the image she’s sold us.

    Still though, folks like Jay-Z and B are left over from previous generations. Even Gaga to an extent. As these young Keri “I have no Swag” Hilson’s and Kid ‘ridiculously emo Cuddys make their way to stardom, it’s interesting to see how they approach their relationship with their fans.

  5. Don Bee says:

    In the golden era of cinema a celebrity’s image was closely guarded by the studio. The way they dressed, interacted with fans/media and the photos they took had to be presented a certain way. You would not have seen a Fred Astaire without him being draped in am expensive tailored suite or a Marilyn Monroe not in an elegant dress. They also wouldn’t have been quoted saying anything ridiculous to the press. I’m sure record labels were the same way with their artist as well then.
    Social media and reality shows have increased our familiarity with celebrities 100 times over since then. It’s now time for celebrities to know how to handle this new found freedom. Just because twitter and facebook gives them a medium to voice their every thought, feeling and gripe doesn’t mean they have to. Some have used it for good and others have just used it up.

    Great post by the way!

  6. Jubilance says:

    This is a great post & the previous commenters have made some great comments as well.

    I miss the days where there was a wall between the fan & the artist. Heck, back in the day Berry Gordy didnt want anyone to know Teena Marie (RIP) was White, & it was relatively easy to hide her identity. Nowadays, its impossible to do something like that. The lines between fan & star are way too blurred and that presents a multitude of problems. You have fans who are unable to separate the artist from everyday life – so they expect the artist to be at their beck & call & perform at will, which is unfair. And as you mentioned, you have the e-thugs who allow the keyboard to give them more courage than they’ve ever had IRL.

    With the world becoming more connected, I feel this is only going to get worse. The next generation of stars are going to have to figure out how to maximize being in touch with your fans, with also maintaining a private identity & also not allowing the e-thugs to get to them. I dont know what the answer is, but Im sure someone will figure it out.

    A good question is why folks feel like they deserve to know absolutely everything about a celeb? Don’t they get to have a private life too?

  7. Erika says:

    I said this a long time ago… twitter ruined Raheem DeVaughn for me – knowing he was less suave than he is in his music… smh.

    If D’Angelo gets a twitter… I’m just blocking him in advance, and I’m blocking everyone that tries to make me look at him.

    I feel like… I appreciate the days where I could keep the daily ongoings of celebrities out of my life. Like, I resent the fact that I know so much about people who aren’t paying me in any capacity, LOLOL. Yay for social media bringing us together, buuuut BOOOO for ruining our favorites for us. LOLOL

  8. Tracie says:

    I love your blog today. While I don’t have much to say on the most current I worry about what our future will discover about us and our art from the ridiculous remnants we are leaving. I love taking music for music’s sake and separating the artist from, what is often a spontaneous and ephemeral expression of a passing moment or emotion. But these TT rants and ridiculous spectacles are just too much. And while I know they are human they do not live an everyday life and need to act accordingly. Yeah we got everyday assholes but what if 10,000 or even a 100 people where calling you on that I would want to do better or be quiet.

  9. anson1 says:

    Way to start off the new year, Reecie! I’m not on Facebook, Twitter, etc. & your post detailed a lot of the reasons why I’m not. I just never felt the need to know anyone’s business like that. And in some cases, some things you’re better off not knowing about a person. But I’m a different breed, though. I can see why artists, entertainers, etc. do it to further themselves & I get that. I’m interested on how all this will continue to develop. I’ll still keep my distance but I’ll have fun watching.

    Happy New Year, Reecie!

  10. Ms. Minx says:

    Definitely a great post, and I agree with Milan on not wanting to see/know how “lame” a person is IRL.

    It’s great that they want to interact with fans, but I also believe sometimes, great artistes are really sucky human beings :lol:. If I don’t wanna find out whether or not this is the case, I just won’t follow. I DO however give the ultimate side-eye to artists who tweet a mile a minute then “ask for privacy”…pick a stance, homie…and stick with it.

  11. lova says:

    i love it when you let your sociologist side show! your insights are always very thorough and give me something to think about. (~:

    now. yanno EYE agree with the idea that “…’familiarity breeds contempt’…”! these celebrities of which you speak (i really couldn’t figure out who you were talking about. #justcallmeslomo) would be well-served to practice –wait for it — #VAULTISM! LOL!

    great post!

  12. LaLaBakir says:

    I don’t follow many celebs or shall I say “music artists” on Twitter. Diddy, Fab, Breezy and Trey round out the bunch. I follow Angela and Russell Simmons and my future husband Terry Kennedy, oh and Kevin Hart. Kevin Hart is pure comedy, and the Simmons and Kennedy are always tweeting something positive. The glimpses that I do get of their life, I appreciate it. It’s not to much.

    I swear fo’gawd I was going to delete Diddy. Unlike others (who don’t want to know too much about celebs), I was annoyed by his promotion for LTTP. It was just too much. Trey barely posts. Fab and Breezy crack me the hell up. Like I would chill w/ them in real life.

    Maybe it’s because I’m not flooded by celeb updates on Twitter that I’m not as annoyed by the access to them. I think it’s kinda cool to an extent. The only celeb so far that I had to delete b/c he was plain ignorant was 50 Cent. But I can’t say that I was surprised.

    I think you said it best last week, only difference between us and celebs is money. And as long as the internet evolves, the more apparent that will be.

  13. Cheekie says:

    Great post, Reecie!

    Yeah, the mystique of celebrities is getting hazier and hazier. Especially with the growth of Twitter. More times than not, I read a celebrities timeline and imagine their publicist tearing their hair out with worry and frustration. I’m finding that I’m enjoying the entertainment that celebrities give THEMSELVES than reading gossip magazines. Because with the former, there isn’t as much editing, if any. It makes me wonder how much social platforms such as Twitter will start to replace more formal gossip platforms such as magazines because I’m noticing more often that people find out news via social networks such as Twitter before anything else — sometimes even before the celebrity themselves.

    It’s definitely an interesting aspect and these social platforms — with their instant entertainment — are definitely skewing the lines between the celebrity and… the human. And who knows if that’s a good or bad thing. Maybe a little bit of both.

  14. ChooChoo says:

    I cannot believe how insulting, bold, rude and mean some people can be toward celebrities on Twitter. I have seen some really personal and hurtful comments directed toward one famous person.

    I can only assume that those kinds of people are just as*****oles and treat everybody like dirt. Or mean with jealousy.

    I enjoy receiving a reply tweet from one celebrity in particular–received total of 4 replies during past year. It is exciting when it happens! Plus I am followed in return!

    It’s loads of fun.

    But I am shocked at the audacity of certain people out there.

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