In her instantly viral Golden Globes coming out speech, actor/director Jodie Foster remarked: “Now, I’m told, apparently every celebrity is expected to honor the details of their private life with a press conference, a fragrance, and prime time reality show.”
Indeed, back in the day, though gossip mags did their best to publicize celebs’ private lives and scandalous business, stars could get away with separating their person from their persona. Before Being Bobby Brown, for example, viewers had no real idea who Whitney Houston was beyond the honey-voiced, modelesque ingénue Clive Davis and Arista Records put forth.
Veteran music publicist Tresa Sanders has worked with Jay-Z, Dr. Dre, Common, Mary J. Blige, Keyshia Cole, Wu-Tang, Bootsy Collins, Nelly Furtado, and Snoop Dogg among others. She says, “In the past the artists that worked were ones that, for the most part, had good product, a really good strategic press plan and a person that implemented it well. Back then it was just the telephone and the fax in regard to communicating with a media outlet so you had to have someone that was a bull dog and at the same time creative. Someone that really was able to come up with angles and a great story.”
Today, not so much. The price of entry to stardom — and the pass to stay there — seems to be full and constant disclosure across a combination of platforms from Twitter to Instagram to reality shows.
Love & Hip-Hop: Atlanta castmember K. Michelle told Bossip.com being on the show boosted her career tremendously. “For three years I was singing my little heart out, and y’all was not hearing,” she says of her struggle to find an audience before she went on the show. “Look, I even tried to leak [an] unclothed picture, y’all still didn’t hear. Lord have mercy. Everybody else was doing it… you still didn’t care to hear me sing. And all I wanted was my voice to be heard, my story.”
She continues, “So this show, even though I’ve caught a lot of backlash, I wasn’t selling out shows then. Now I am… Love and Hip Hop has been great for my career.”