Pop Mom: The Bowies and a Thing Called Privacy

January 15, 2016  |  



I’m getting ready to put a picture of my daughter on Instagram, even though it violates a rule that my husband and I have of not over-sharing photos of our kids. But this one of her sitting in her bed surrounded by stuffed animals is so adorable that I can hardly resist. I get it all edited and ready to go when something tells me to stop. If this picture were to somehow make the rounds out there in social media land and he saw it, he’d know immediately that it came from me.

Let me just ask him what he thinks, before I post it.

“I like it,” he says, “but why do you want to put it online?”

I tell him that I really like the photo, and it’s been a while since I posted anything of the kids, which is not really true because I posted something on New Year’s Eve.  

“Nah, I don’t think it’s necessary,” he says. “And remember we don’t want them on social media like that.”

I don’t make a big deal out of it, but I’m disappointed, and it’s on my mind as I go to bed. I adore my kids and I’m proud of them too. Sometimes I take a picture that I love and get mad because the only person that will see it is my mom and a handful of friends. I also think in terms of work. Some of us work in fields where the more people feel like they know us, the better. Nothing builds a connection like a family photo or cute snaps of the kids. I see tons of bloggers doing it, even celebrities (hello, Kimora Lee!) and I can’t help wondering if I’m making it harder on myself.

The next morning, I wake up to discover that David Bowie is dead. I’m shocked. Not because I’m such a huge David Bowie fan, I mean, I dig him like a lot of other people, but he was rarely on my mind. But in this case, he was. I had discovered a link of him and Freddy Mercury singing Under Pressure’ acappella just days before his death that I played nonstop and shared throughout my social media. It was like I had rediscovered David Bowie! Then he died. Just like that.

So like a lot of people, I find myself scrambling the internet for David Bowie.

I soon realize how much I don’t know about the man. Like how he supported Black music and raked MTV over the coals for not playing videos by Black artists. Who knew that him and Iman had been together over 20 years? And I even forgot they had a daughter, Alexandria Zahra, that nobody sees!

Wow. How did this rock star/supermodel couple remain so publicly private? I find the answer in an interview between supermodel Naomi Campbell and Iman from a couple of years ago. She tells Naomi:

“We decided from early on that we will keep the press and editors and everybody out of our house. So we totally understand the difference between the public and the private.”

But at the same time, she says of the usefulness of Twitter:

“If I say something about David, I get 1000 tweets, if I say something about my business just a few! The more personal, the better.” 

She obviously recognizes the world we live in. The more open, the more tweets, the more followers, the more endorsements, the more money. But still, I don’t get the sense that they’ve ever given too much. Can we say the same about Jay Z and Beyonce, or even Kimye? The closest we have to rock stars and their iconic wives?

Hmm…yes we can. We think we know them because we see them everywhere, but are we seeing these celebrities or their public personas? I doubt if Kanye wears that public scowl to bed at night. He might be a very funny person or a big cuddly bear. And what about Kim? Maybe she takes off that pound of makeup, that wig, and that booty, and hangs it all on the wall, after another long day of putting on “The Kim Show.” We get what they give, and foolishly think it’s everything.

At the end of the day, whether it’s the Bowies or Kimye, it’s just business.

Bringing it back to me, I’m seeing that it’s about business too, not just sharing for the sake of sharing or just to be liked and get likes. It’s about giving just enough that people want more, without ever going overboard and losing yourself. It’s the oldest marketing trick in the book.

Check out Erickka Sy Savané’s column, Pop Mom, right here on Madamenoire. Before Erickka became a writer/editor, she was a model, actress, and MTV VJ. She lives with her husband and two daughters in Jersey City. Follow her on Twitter and Instagram.


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