Celebrities favor self-promotion over music production
Celebrities are taking over the world. The evening news is rife with the latest on Nicole Richie’s pregnancy and Britney Spears’s daily train wreck of a life. Celebrity bloggers like Perez Hilton are infamous. Celebrities are going into other countries and adopting their children to save lives. Oh and, yes, while Bono and Madonna make attempts toward world peace, they would like you to wear pieces from their clothing lines — because you too can stop world hunger, one pair of jeans at a time.
Excuse me? These celebrities are clearly out of their minds. No, Donald Trump, despite my love of fine beef, I do NOT want your name-brand steak; despite the rigorous college lifestyle, I do NOT want your name-brand vodka. And why do the Coppolas have their own wine? Why is Carlos Santana, master of acoustics, hawking around women’s shoes? Why!?
It seems that the worst of the celebrity “Sell! Sell!” scheme lies within the modern music-making community. It’s gone way beyond Santana’s shoes. Take Diddy, for example. The notorious entrepreneur (You could call him an entrepreneur, right?) is not exactly renowned for his rapping skills, but he doesn’t even need rapping skills. His Sean John line is making him serious money, which he totally deserves because I’m sure he designed every piece. The artist formerly known as Puff Daddy is one of the masters of the “Sell! Sell!” scheme, making sure his name is plastered on everything, from a new fragrance to a new season of Making the Band. Diddy said it best with his Bad Boy crew in 1997: It’s all about the Benjamins. Uh huh. Yeah.
Jennifer Lopez has made an art of selling her name. In the last year, she has had to be making money from her four fragrances, her clothing line, her subpar movies, her Spanish-language album, and her recently released English album. Is she having trouble putting food on the table? Even considering how poorly her last few movies and her English album have done, J. Lo makes plenty in royalties. So what’s the point? Lopez is sacrificing her art for some perfume. Like other celebrities, her extracurriculars seem to be hurting her career. Do you remember how amazing Lopez was in Selena? Before she started putting her nickname on a bottle of “fragrance”?
I suppose the overarching question is this: Why are celebrities determined to put their name on anything that sells? People are going beyond their field to model for this brand, or make their own brand. It can only be about the money, because a lot of times, celebs do a poor job; and their fans, determined to support them in any way possible, end up smelling like a baby prostitute (a la Mean Girls).
Even though part of me cringes to think I could possibly end up wearing shoes by Jessica Simpson, there are celebrities whose efforts are commendable. I could question Sarah Jessica Parker’s new line of cheap clothing, curiously titled Bitten. Every piece in the line is less than $20 — Sarah Jessica Parker aims to please the people. Maybe Bitten isn’t a moneymaking scheme, with such cheap clothing; but I’m not convinced — it could easily be a scheme for SJP to sell her name. I mean, she advertises for Garnier Fructis face products! She is definitely all about selling her name. Gwen Stefani’s L.A.M.B. brand’s debut was integrated into her first solo album of the same name. Which was creative enough, until she started advertising for HP and generally slapping her name on fashion trends. I cannot wear a black and white striped shirt without someone asking me if I’m trying to be Gwen Stefani.
Celebrities are getting out of hand. Maybe if they weren’t so focused on selling schemes and making money, their material would be better. When’s the last time Sarah Jessica Parker was in a serious blockbuster movie? Footloose? Jennifer Lopez’s new album, Brave, is really bad. The success of Diddy’s last album, Press Play, depended heavily on the guest stars — all he did was cosign in the background. Celebrities, I love you and will continue to read celebrity gossip; but work on your art! Although I hate to admit it, it’s not all about making money. It’s about doing what you love.
And now to recover from my cliché, I’ll drink some of Nelly’s Pimp Juice (yes, it’s real) while wearing some Santana pumps and eating a Trump steak. And perhaps while I do all of this, I’ll call Trump and suggest he should endorse his own brand of hair plugs instead.