Sunday, December 9, 2012

Kevin Clash, The Royal Baby, & the Video Light

I love the media. It's no secret. I admittedly watch "E! News" daily to stay up with Hollywood, I watch those fabulous The Breakfast Club (Power 105.1) interviews regularly to keep up on what the hip hop and R&B world is saying, I check out TMZ online to see the breaking news, and I am awards show addict and Kardashian watcher. In short...I enjoy the worlds of music and entertainment. Immensely.

But every now and then this feeling of disgust takes over, where I look at how completely terrible the spotlight/aka the "video light" can be, and what it does to the lives of otherwise innocent people who are really just trying to achieve their goals, live their lives, and make a few dollars in the process. Every now and then I am disguted by our media-hungry "society" (of which I am obviously first in line), and feel guilty for even caring about what happens in anyone's life outside of my Toronto circle.

Like Kevin Clash. It was just a little over a month ago when I watched his documentary "Being Elmo" and was completely moved by this individual. I didn't know much about him, but automatically felt proud of him. He has a unique talent and passion, and managed to translate that into a legendary 28-year career with Sesame Street as the infamous voice/puppeter of the beloved Elmo. What a nice character, that Kevin! Someone who loved to entertain children, and someone who seemingly had such a kind heart and pure aura. UNTIL...the freakin sex scandals broke out. WTF??

I literally knew nothing but nothing about this guy...and so it was a shock to my entertainment soul to like him so only days later find out that these young men were alleging that he messed with them when they were underage.

Gay, straight. Whatever. But when the underage talk starts, it becomes really really unfortunate. And equally unfortunate is that this instant media spectacle will forever taint Kevin Clash's otherwise brilliant career and legacy. In just a matter of days, one (or three) desperate, fame-seeking "models," and so ends the career of a talented man.

Yeah, I'm disappointed that Kevin Clash didn't have better judgement (IF the allegations are true), especially given his public profile AND the sensitive nature of his work (the education and entertainment of a nation's children). But I'm also disappointed that after years of knowing that the situation was potentially not right, that the victims waited until now, essentially the height of Kevin's career to break the news.

It's a tough call with victims and manipulation and broadcasting the news and the timing of it all. I don't doubt that it was hard for the younger men to air their business like that. BUT, I do think there is a way to go about things that wouldn't require the public embarassment on either end, and a personal resolution of the problem. Not to take sides, but something can definitely be said for discretion...especially since the allegations are years old, and that Kevin, Sesame Street, and children EVERYWHERE could potentially be influenced by this adult story.

Bad taste all around. And it's very sad.

Another unfortunate situation, this Royal Baby. I've never been a Royal Watcher, or someone who followed the monarchy aside from common news reports, so to hear about Kate's pregnancy was kind of a non-event for me. What did sadden me was that she was forced to release the news of her pregnancy before she hit the comfortable 3 month mark that most women swear by. It's sad that even just as a regular-ass woman, that her body, her personal clock, and her privacy were instantly shared with the world (in the worst way) just because of nosiness and spectacle.

Yes, great to be royalty. She knew what she was getting into when she married Prince William. But so terrible that even the most precious joys and personal comforts of womanhood were robbed from her. And now she's up for at least 7 months of complete and excessive speculation, violation, and stress just because she so happens to be doing something that women everywhere have always been doing.

Again, she knew what she signed up for...but it's sad. Sad that their lives are SUCH a ridiculous fiasco. Sad that Princess Diana lost her life because of the same fiasco. AND EVEN incredibly TERRIBLE that the nurse at the hospital who answered the phone of those Australian prank-calling DJs has now supposedly taken her own life?!

I can't.

When I heard that news yesterday, my heart literally hurt. I thought about the pressure, the disappointment, and the shame this poor nurse must have felt as a result of innocently answering a phone call. I thought about how she thought the lives and protection of the Royals was more important that her own life, and it just hurt.

So Kate had morning sickness and was ill. Nothing too secret or invasive. But for whatever reason, this nurse (Jacintha Saldanha) thought it would be easier to die, than to forever face life as "the nurse who picked up the phone."

Sad. Sad. Sad.

Another annoying (yet fabulous) tool of media addicts and public folk...Twitter. I love it because you stay up-to-de-times in sports, local news, international news, entertainment, music, and especially for the real-time just a matter of minutes. It's great. A wonderful way to keep updated, and a quick check.

It is so extremely abused though, if put in the wrong hands! For example, Rob Kardashian this past week. What a fool! Airing his laundry in 140 characters, throwing his ex-girl Rita Ora (who I still don't fully know about or understand...what does she do?) under the bus, and doing so in a manner that only made him look bad.

Heartbreak: I get it. But I just had to shake my head when I read what was going on, and how in another 2 weeks (if not already) he's going to feel extreeeeeemely stupid for wearing his emotions like a 12 year old. Love hurts: I get it. But it sucks to have to let errrybody know your business, and the intimate details (true or false) of other people in your life.

Whether you have 20 followers or 2 million, Twitter is a dangerous ass tool. Must be used with caution. Big time.

Speaking of love and heartbreak on Twitter...can someone tell Rihanna and Chris Brown to calm the f*** down with the picture posting already? I can't watch. Truly. If they want to be in a relationship, all the power to them. I don't have a strong opinion either way on what they want to do with their lives. They're young. They're rich. They're talented. The've got the world at their fingertips. They can either turn their story into a powerful legacy and redemption story by surviving the odds, and making great music together and sustaining awesome careers long until their 70s...or they can take this crazy love affair into a tragic story.


Even as a grown woman, I love Rihanna's music. It's fun, it makes me feel good, and I can dance to it. Good stuff. I don't care if she wants to go back to her abuser. She's like 23. Of course she'll make foolish decisions...she's only human. BUT DAMN. They don't have to flaunt it, and get boasie about it, because if this goes sour again...what a backside!! It will be a shame of extreme proportions.

Discretion, folks. Discretion.

And how can you be discreet if your entire livelihood is built on you being in the public eye? How can you be humble, and private, and live your life when so many millions of people are so interested in your every move? Either to profit from it, to exploit it, or to make a mockery of it?

That "Video Light" is a dangerous thing. That fame, that money, that power, that status...everything about it comes with a price, if not executed correctly. Show business is a funny thing, but I guess that's what makes it interesting! You have those who navigate it with class, with dignity, and quietly make their millions and build their empires, and raise their families over the decades and you don't even know anything aside from their work. Some are masters at just doing their jobs, doing what they love, doing it quietly, and doing it gracefully.

And then there's those who truly just go "YOLO," do what they wanna do with no regard for consequences, backlash, or potential scandal. Living life in the moment and letting things fall as they may.

That's the biz, I suppose. As much as I love it, and enjoy it, and entertain myself with it has also given me a headache this afternoon as I ask myself if any of it is worth it?! It's such a fine line between huge success and all of the potential downfalls...and the fear of the other extreme: being irrelevant/mediocre/etc.

I love the media...I just fear it's destructive powers.

Written by Stacey Marie Robinson for Kya Publishing's "Urban Toronto Tales" blog.

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