All Articles Tagged "famous"

Taylor Swift, Kanye West And The Perpetuation Of The “Intimidating Black Man” Myth

July 18th, 2016 - By Veronica Wells
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Source: AP Images

Source: AP Images

Y’all know I’m not a fan of Kim Kardashian; still despite his many flaws, problematic logic and slut shaming ways, a part of me still roots for her husband Kanye. I want him to do and be better. And while I don’t know if I’ll ever see that day, Kanye doesn’t need any help getting in his own way.

But for whatever reason, Taylor Swift seems to be hellbent on perpetuating this narrative that Kanye West is the villain in her story. While I think Taylor is an exceptionally talented songwriter and artist, I can’t stand the way she behaves in public. I shake my head when the camera insists on panning to her dancing awkwardly at award shows. I roll my eyes and kiss my teeth every time she acts shocked and stunned when she wins an award at these shows. And when she took the stage at this year’s Grammys to accept and award of Album of the Year and slam Kanye for a lyric in his song, “Famous,” I almost vomited.

If you don’t remember, Swift looked the camera knowingly before she said,

“As the first woman to win album of the year at the Grammys twice, I want to say to all the young women out there: there are going to be people along the way who will try to undercut your success or take credit for your accomplishments or your fame. But if you just focus on the work and you don’t let those people sidetrack you, someday when you get where you’re going, you’ll look around and you’ll know it was you and the people who love you who put you there and that will be the greatest feeling in the world.”

For those who haven’t heard, the line Taylor was referencing goes like this:

“I feel like me and Taylor might still have sex./ Why? I made that b*tch famous.”

At the time, I was like I get it. She wasn’t ok with Kanye saying the two had sex. Or that he made her famous. Still, for someone who said she wanted to distance herself from the whole Taylor Swift vs. Kanye West discussion, as someone who has openly sung and spoken about forgiving him, she does quite a bit to keep that old 2009 interaction going. More on that later.

Though she tried to play the victim in the incident, all of it came back to bite her in the butt when Kim Kardashian uploaded a few SnapChat videos of Kanye speaking to Taylor specifically about the line.

You can watch them below.

#KimKardashian is still dropping the tea #KanyeWest #TaylorSwift

A video posted by Baller Alert (@balleralert) on Jul 17, 2016 at 8:41pm PDT

Taylor: And I really appreciate you telling me about it. That’s really nice.

Kanye: Oh yeah. I thought I just had a responsibility to you as a friend.

Taylor: I never would have expected you to tell me about a line in one of your songs.

Kanye: Thanks for being so cool about it…relationships are more important than punchlines.

Taylor: Go with whatever line you think is better. It’s obviously very tongue in cheek either way.

Kanye: All I give a f*ck about is you as a person and as a friend. I want to do things that make you feel good. I don’t want to do rap that makes people feel bad…then he quotes the lines to her.

Taylor: I don’t think anybody would listen to that and be like that’s a real diss, like she must be crying. It doesn’t matter that I sold seven million on the album before you did that, which is what happened. You didn’t know who I was before that. It’s fine…I’m always going to respect you… And I’m really glad that you had the respect to call me and tell me that as a friend. And if people ask me about, I think it would great for me to be like ‘he called me and told me the line before it came out. Joke’s on you guys. We’re fine.’

But when the song was released, when people asked her about it. That’s not what she said or the tone she took. After the Grammy’s speech, her reps released this statement to GQ.

“Taylor does not hold anything against Kim Kardashian as she recognizes the pressure Kim must be under and that she is only repeating what she has been told by Kanye West. However, that does not change the fact that much of what Kim is saying is incorrect. Kanye West and Taylor only spoke once on the phone while she was on vacation with her family in January of 2016 and they have never spoken since. Taylor has never denied that conversation took place. It was on that phone call that Kanye West also asked her to release the song on her Twitter account, which she declined to do. Kanye West never told Taylor he was going to use the term ‘that bitch’ in referencing her. A song cannot be approved if it was never heard. Kanye West never played the song for Taylor Swift. Taylor heard it for the first time when everyone else did and was humiliated. Kim Kardashian’s claim that Taylor and her team were aware of being recorded is not true, and Taylor cannot understand why Kanye West, and now Kim Kardashian, will not just leave her alone.”

Oh Taylor.

But that’s not it. After Kim’s Snapchat reveal, Taylor released another statement on her Instagram profile.

“Where is the video of Kanye telling me he was going to call me ‘that bitch’ in his song? It doesn’t exist because it never happened. You don’t get to control someone’s emotional response to being called ‘that bitch’ in front of the entire world. Of course I wanted to like the song. I wanted to believe Kanye when he told me that I would love the song. I wanted us to have a friendly relationship. He promised to play the song for me, but he never did. While I wanted to be supportive of Kanye on the phone call, you cannot ‘approve’ a song you haven’t heard. Being falsely painted as a liar when I was never given the full story or played any part of the song is character assassination. I would very much like to be excluded from this narrative, one that I have never asked to be a part of, since 2009.”

I just can’t take her seriously.

One minute she’s about love and light and forgiveness, taking pictures with Kanye, singing songs dedicated to him, ki-ki-ing on the phone and the next she’s playing victim in the public eye. What’s so interesting about her response is that when she made the Grammys speech, she didn’t speak about women being called ‘b*tches” when they make it in the industry. She spoke about people taking credit for her fame. When the statement was issued to GQ, she completely downplayed the nature of the conversation and was vague what she did and didn’t have an issue with. She and her people could have easily said that while Taylor thought the “have sex” or “made her famous” line was tongue in cheek, she didn’t appreciate being called “that bitch.” It’s still a valid concern. But it’s the lies and half truths she tells that make me sick.

And I don’t say that lightly. The narrative of the beautiful, frail, helpless White woman being bullied, attacked, or intimidated by the strong, overpowering Black man is one this country knows all too well. In fact, it’s this narrative of the “threatening” Black man that we’re fighting against today. Now, to be fair, I don’t believe that Taylor is trying to insinuate that she fears for her life or career because of Kanye, but she’s made it clear that she has been emotionally threatened by his words and thoughts. And it’s her right as a woman to say and feel that. But don’t make it more than it really is to gain sympathy. Don’t one minute call Kanye your friend, saying that you’ll always respect him and then the next, when you’re speaking to the public, wonder why Kanye and his wife won’t leave you alone. They won’t leave you alone because they thought y’all were cool. They won’t leave you alone because you gassed him all the way up on the phone. Kim, specifically, won’t leave you alone because you keep trying to make her husband the big, Black, bad guy because it suits your career. And more than that, it plays into a trope White America, can not only recognize but believe. And why wouldn’t they? The dangerous Black man archetype was created from way back, perpetuated in the media. It dictated the rules of law enforcement. It caused thousands of innocent Black men to be incarcerated unjustly or at rates drastically higher than White criminals. And it’s this narrative of the inherently threatening, intimidating, bullying, dangerous Black man that is causing so many innocent ones to lose their lives at the hands of police officers who, like Taylor, benefit from perpetuating such a story.

I’m never here for that. But at this time, when this narrative is causing us to literally lose our lives, Taylor can miss me with her sob stories.

Almost Famous: Stars We Really Thought Would Make It

September 23rd, 2014 - By Meg Butler
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Fame ain’t loyal and these almost favorite celebrities know it better than anyone else. Even though it looked like their careers were headed straight to the top, Hollywood had other plans. But we’re still holding out hope for a comeback!

Image Souce: WENN.com

Image Souce: WENN.com

Bill Bellamy

When Bill Bellamy broke onto the comedy scene he had the charm, looks and talent to take him all the way to A-list celebrity status. But Bill Bellamy never really made it out of the 90s. But now that he’s been slowly popping back onto the scene and we don’t think we’ve heard the last from him yet.

You’re Never Too Old! Celebrities Who Became Famous After 40

July 8th, 2013 - By Iva Anthony
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While most celebrities become famous by the time they’re in their 20’s or 30’s, for one reason or another these 15 stars didn’t find fame until they hit the big 4-0.

"Hulk Hogan pf"

WENN

Hulk Hogan

Hollywood Hulk Hogan based his wrestling ego on the fact he was a star, but in actuality, Hogan wasn’t a star until he was in his 40’s. Hogan began his professional career in wrestling before trying his hand at starring in movies. After appearing in a few films, Hogan returned to wrestling, this time teaming up with Vince McMahon, who purchased WWF from his father. Becoming the face of the WWF, Hulk and his Hulkmania persona took the wrestling company to new heights and he became a permanent fixture in pop culture. After dominating the wrestling ring, Hogan ventured off into other fields including movies and reality television.

It Must Be Your Looks ‘Cuz It Ain’t Your Smarts: Celebs Who Have More Beauty Than Brains

December 10th, 2012 - By Meg Butler
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They say you can’t trust a big butt and a smile, but what about a big butt with a smile and no brains to go with it? Looks will get you far in Hollywood — very far actually — but there’s still something a little unnerving about people with all this money, power, and fame, and no good common sense or even book smarts to go with it. We’re not mad at these marginally clueless celebs, we’re just saying…

Kimbella

Photo Credit: DCRose.com

Kimbella

She’s lost the baby weight and she looks great. But Kimbella is giving dumb blonde a whole new meaning for black women. She’s done a lot to support people’s assumptions that she’s just a vapid model. But get this, she told Sister to Sister that she has a Master’s Degree. I’m going to need to see that sheet of paper because I don’t believe it.

All In The Family: The Next Generation Of Celebs With Famous Parents!

November 4th, 2012 - By Drenna Armstrong
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"DamonWayans PF"

Brian To/WENN.com

We all know about Sanaa’s famous dad, Willow and Jaden’s famous parents, Angela and Vanessa’s legendary daddy and the list goes on and on. But this is the new wave of celebs with famous parents. A couple of them you may know already and a couple may just surprise you – check it out!

Can Celebrity Kids Just be Kids?

December 20th, 2011 - By Brande Victorian
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Last night, while watching TV, I heard a newscaster say something to the effect of “Katie Holmes will talk about Suri’s breakdown” when we return. My mom and I gave each other “the look” almost instantly. Breakdown? The girl is 5.

Turns out what Suri really had was a temper tantrum in a toy store in New York City—the kind of thing every 5-year-old does in a toy store, whether it’s KB Toys or FAO Schwartz. In the midst of my search for what all the fuss surrounding Katie Holmes and Tom Cruise’s daughter was about, I came across a slideshow of the most influential celebrity kids. The Daily Beast ranked more than 70 celebrity children under the age of 6 according to their press and online media mentions in the last year and then asked E-Poll Market Research to measure the relative appeal of children who ranked among the Top 20 in terms of media power.

What kind of power could someone who can barely read, write, or talk have? According to the Daily Beast, “these kids have marketable and measurable influence. They spur clothing sales with what they wear, they sell magazines with their cute faces, and they prop up their parents’ popularity by giving them a human identity far from the glamorous silver and small screen personas.” And what does the site decide to do with that influence? Give the kids a huge dose of unearned fame and unnecessary critiquing.

Next to the names of the top 20 children which include Halle Berrys’ daughter, Nahla; Jennifer Lopez’s twins—with Emma coming in at no. 17 and Max at no. 4; and two members of the Jolie-Pitt clan, is an e-score rank, media rank, and Google rank showing how much influence the child has in each category. All I could think is why is this necessary?

Luckily, these children are too young to know they’re being examined in this way and picked apart for their marketability and influence, but it won’t be long before they become aware and the competitiveness amongst famous siblings grows along with these kids’ hunger for more attention or a recluse from the scrutiny.

I had similar feelings when I came across articles about Zahara Jolie Pitt’s hair extensions this week. Since the articles didn’t take the “why are you putting weave in a 6-year-old’s head” approach, the fact that a young black child was wearing her hair in braids is hardly new and hardly news. Isn’t there an adult celebrity just waiting to be picked on while these people tirelessly comb over how she’s wearing her hair this week?

While there are some celebrity parents who are guilty of drawing the paparazzi’s attention to themselves and their children, the media needs to be weary of the monsters they are creating. Do Paris Hilton and Kim Kardashian ring a bell to anyone? The famous for being famous epidemic has gotten out of control and when you start following every insignificant moment of these kids’ lives, they’re being stripped of any sense of normalcy and hyped up to rest on their name as their sole claims to fame for the rest of their lives.

It’s one thing to mention what a kid is doing, it’s another to essentially rank them by how important they are at the age of 6. It sets them up to be critiqued for the rest of their lives—creating either a huge sense of entitlement or an unfair deflated sense of self. It’s almost understandable why Michael Jackson had his kids walk around in masks–almost.

Instead of creating media stories out of nothing, why not sit and wait until these kids do something worth talking about on their own? Celebrity kids never disappoint when it comes to their actions, but let them be of an appropriate age before all the ranking and critiquing starts. They’ve done nothing to warrant it but be born.

Do you think the media has gotten out of hand in their coverage of celebrity’s children? Do you think it will have a bad influence on these children down the line?

Brande Victorian is a blogger and culture writer in New York City. Follower her on Twitter at @be_vic.

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