When the masks slip

Fans jump all over celebrities all the time, full of hero worship. They love their music, their style; they want to look like them – they wish they could be them. In short they want their lives, because they believe those lives are fabulous and oh so perfect.

20140104culture boxThere are ‘fan armies.’ Mariah Carey has her ‘Lambs’; Beyoncé her ‘Beyhive’; Justin Bieber his ‘Beliebers’; Rihanna her ‘Navy’; Taylor Swift her ‘Swifties’; Bruno Mars his ‘Hooligans’ (yes really); Nicki Minaj her ‘Barbz’ and on and on. ‘Army’ really spells out only part of what they do. Yes they are ready to go to war with anyone who disses their heroes, but they spend a lot more time promoting them on social media: Facebook, Instagram, Twitter, YouTube, on blogs; anywhere they can find space on the world wide web and there’s a lot of that. Really, some of these folks should be paid, they do so much PR; burnishing their heroes bright spots and jumping to their defence if and whenever someone as much as hints at one of their flaws.

And they do have those. As much as the fans might choose to live in denial, celebrities have their insecurities and they make mistakes. What makes their lives a bit difficult is that because of the fans need to know their every move, they practically live in glass bowls so that their insecurities must be carefully masked at all times and their mistakes – often they simply cannot even admit that they might have made them. It’s a hard-knock life. But they have the perks of money, fame and worshipping fans to cushion things.

Sometimes though, they let the mask slip—it must be hard to hold it up all the time—and the world, hanging on their every word and action can see a bit of what’s behind it.

Let me mention a few recent ones: (1) Ariana Grande’s doughnut-licking episode. In case you were not aware, she and her latest beau visited a bakery and she was caught on camera licking icing off doughnuts on a tray on the counter. They were not her doughnuts and there was nothing to suggest that she purchased them afterward. That’s just nasty. There’s no other word for it, no explaining it either. If that young woman was well brought up, she just let her family down. There was no reported drop in the number of ‘Arianators’, shockingly. Just as well I never eat doughnuts.

(2), (3) & (4) So it all started when Nicki Minaj, miffed at being snubbed by MTV in its announcement of nominations for the upcoming Video Music Awards, took to Twitter to hint that maybe she did not earn a Video of the Year nomination because she is not ‘slim’. Isn’t it time someone told Nicki the truth about “Anaconda”? I would have but Taylor Swift jumped in first, assuming that Nicki was referring to her; and she probably was, although she denied it. Of course, the minute it hit Twitter the Twitterati were all over it.

Following Nicki’s denial, Taylor did the next sensible thing; she apologized for missing the point, misunderstanding and misspeaking. Although it’s doubtful that she did do all of that ‘missing’ (I mean, Nicki could not have been referring to Beyoncé, who is the only other woman nominated for video of the year.) her apology had the effect of clipping that red wire on a time bomb. But not before Katy Perry did what is known in these parts as ‘picking up the fire rage’.

Now Katy, as far as I know, did not have a dog in that fight – unless that dog was Taylor. It has been said that Taylor’s song “Bad Blood” was about a ‘situation’ she had with Katy. So was this Katy’s way of confirming it? Her tweet was clearly directed at Taylor as she used Taylor’s words, which she said she found ironic, “as one unmeasurably capitalizes on the take down of a woman…” Now that she has said that, everything points to this scenario: Katy and Taylor have a beef; Taylor takes said beef and writes a song around it; Said song becomes a hit and then its video gets a nomination = Katy must be really, really pissed.

But sadly, she was left hanging out there as Nicki quickly accepted Taylor’s apology and then said that she respected her more for making it. Here’s the thing Katy, Taylor’s trademark is taking bad situations, making hit songs from them and then sitting back and watching as the cheese rolls in. How could you have forgotten “Picture to Burn”, “I knew You Were Trouble”, “We Are Never Ever…” and songs of that ilk? Furthermore, you have your own thing going on with your empowerment songs and your ‘Katy Cats’ in your corner. What? You want to give Taylor more song material? Take a seat girl.

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