Friday, August 22, 2014

Trouble in Paradise - the Celebrity Relationship Facade

I'm the first to watch it, first to believe it, first to be inspired by it...and first to be upset when it all falls down.

Back in July of 2012 I wrote about the powerful image of the celebrity couple, and how folks like Will Smith and Jada Pinkett, or Beyoncé and JayZ, could motivate and inspire us commoners to find love, sustain beautiful relationships, and create empires based on mutual interests and such.

I totally believe the hype! Every time! In fact, I enjoy the hype. Kim and Kanye...fantastic! A great mix of egos, and expensive clothing and vanity and beaucoup bucks. Completely entertaining as far as I'm concerned...but, if the current patterns of power coupledom are consistent, even those two will be wrapping up their nuptials by about 2018.

I don't take celebrity world too seriously, but I do enjoy it. As I've often stated, I can appreciate the power of an image, a message, and the brainwashing and manipulation that goes along with the presentation and reporting of these events and individuals. I watch reality television probably more than I watch scripted shows, and I take it for what it is: entertainment.

What stands out to me at this particular moment in celebrity history is the strong images that were projected about the couples in turmoil. For example, Beyoncé and Jay Z. No one else projects perceived perfection and power like those two. Just thinking about the "billion dollars in the elevator" and the amount of influence that the two of them possess separately, let alone together, makes them a couple worth watching.

With their recent "On the Run" tour, it seems to me like even fans started to tire of looking at the frozen smiles and staged photos. It all became too much. The secrets. The cover ups. The blatant PR spins, and of course, their inability to just keep it real and show their spectators a human side to them. As much as they are in the public eye and commanding respect and financial contributions to their careers...it seemed like they weren't willing to give much in return. Just more dancing. More boasting. And they drew the line at that.

As a fair-weather Beyoncé fan, I just grew tired of her. I love love love her music, have most of her albums, and obviously think she's a star like no other. Gorgeous, a great dancer, entertaining to watch and seemingly charming...even with all of that celebrity weight, she still get real annoying to me. Too much smiling. The perfectly timed Instagram photos. The staged outings and courtside NBA appearances all with a plastic grin and couture outfit. Not believable.

I always figured I was just a hater...but it seems like I'm not alone. After a while, the people want someone to believe in. Someone real. The entertainment takes you so far, but at the end of it, there needs to be an element of inspiration as far as I'm concerned. And the inspiration is only possible when authentic communication is taking place...and these people were starting to seem really really phony.

Another couple in the news this week is my beloved Mariah Carey and her little boy toy/husband Nick Cannon. They're apparently heading for divorce, and these rumours seems a bit more advanced and substantial than the "speculated" Bey and Jay rumours.

What interests me about the Mariah/Nick saga, is that within the lyrics of her latest album "Me. I Am Mariah" seemed to be some animosity towards him. Not directly, and I didn't read any dissections of the songs that would lead to these conclusions...but I could sense irritation. I could sense that maybe Nick was loving the celebrity limelight a little bit too much, that he was fronting a little bit too much, and that Mariah was far too successful (and mature) to be on that teeny bopper 106 & Park hype level with her man.

When they first hooked up it was really cute. On a Christian tip, and on a new love tip...Mariah finally finding love, and Nick hooking up with the woman of his dreams...it was an adorable and romantic tale. As successful as Nick is, his shit seemed to turn up big time post-marriage, and I was impressed with his work ethic. He seemed to be everywhere, doing everything...unstoppable! Great for him, but with Mariah at home with "dem babies" it did even (from an un-informed distance) seem like...why is this little boy running around town, to Vegas, NYC and back getting jiggy, DJing and hosting 101 shows while he has a family to raise?

What do I know, as a stranger a million times removed looking in? Nada. But despite the fortune and fame...there is still a man, a woman, a family to raise, and basic expectations. And I guess Nick fell short. Most women might stick around and deal with it...but a woman of Mariah's stature ain't got time for that shyt. Been there, done that. Money's been made...she probably doesn't have the energy nor time.
WORSE that this little mf was on-air bragging about his former celeb conquests like Nicole Scherzinger and Kim Kardashian...tacky. Not acceptable. I'm not surprised that Mariah was like...uh uh. Enough is enough.

This is all speculation of course, but I'm sure in the next couple of months all of these rumours will become a reality. It's the nature of life...and the nature of the celebrity gossip cycle.

I don't wish anyone unhappiness, and I'm definitely not trying to make light of people's relationship difficulties...but it is a damn shame when the picture is painted so beautifully, when the images make you feel inspired, and the combination of power is enticing...and then the façade fades away, and (womp womp) the illusion is no more.

It's been happening since the beginning of time, and in another few months a new batch of "hot" news stories will be in circulation (there's always Rihanna, more Kardashians, and the countless other A-list celebrity faves to watch)...but right now I think the potential Beyoncé and Mariah separations are huge.

The key will be the way the stories are summarized, and the lessons learned post-breakup, if it gets to that. There still might be an opportunity to learn a lesson or two, or gain some insight as to how a relationship can manage to fail despite the ample access to resources, getaways, opportunities, financial stability, professional help, and the support of millions of fans.

Such is life in the fast lane...and I will stay tuned in to see how it all concludes, one way or another.




Written by Stacey Marie Robinson for the "Urban Toronto Tales" blog.

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