Saturday, May 14, 2011

Celebrity (and Why I Don't Ever Want To Be One)

Every child has that idea, that dream, of being famous for something. I was a little different, but not by much. First I wanted to be a teacher (so I could boss people around) and then I decided I wanted to be a singing diva (for pretty much the same reason, but more money). Over time though, I leaned more towards the normal than the celebrity but until recently I didn't wonder why that was.

My father is a music man. As such my first memory of living was sitting next to a sub woofer and being amazed at the bass and the way air moved through the big box with holes in it from the music player. I was in choir for all of my school years, and even dabbled in drama onstage, not off. Everyone in my choir classes were concerned with moving up to "Cantante" which was basically high school rock star status. Everybody in my class moved up or tried to. Everyone but me. I was propositioned by the director, pleaded with by the students, and even by some weird rule required to audition. I chose, however, to stay behind and usher in every new class of choir girls until I graduated. They still remember me and the littlest things I did with and for them.

I think that's what my life is: it's not about being the best, or being the biggest, greatest star. It's about touching people, one by one, with something that makes them feel comfortable enough to be themselves, if only for a little while and by doing that, I do become one of the best, biggest and greatest. It's about making a difference. And though I think fame is a great avenue for that, it comes at a great cost and often misses the mark entirely.

We often see celebrities smiling for the cameras, happy to sign autograph after autograph, doing interview after interview. You know what we don't see? Them enjoying themselves with their real friends. We don't see them at an "intimate" romantic dinner with a new potential significant other (because there are cameras literally everywhere), we don't see them having actual fun with their family (because there are cameras literally everywhere). What we do see of them are posed pictures, and awkward, off-guard smiles that never reach the eyes as they're being encroached up on.

This past week I was watching a lot of interview videos of my favorite artists and the one that stood out the most was Drake. Yes, we all know I have a huge crush on Drake :), but what I loved about him in a particular documentary (Better Than Good Enough) is that I felt I got to see him. Behind the fame, behind the rapping, behind the wheel-chair Degrassi reference he is a guy who's learning he's obligated to his fame and realizing that fame doesn't make a person happy.

He's obligated to his fame, not for himself or the love of his music, but for the people who depend on him. Obligated to his mother and making her proud. Obligated to all these people who've put money on his career to win (or fail). With that obligation comes a kind of lacking in other areas. He often raps that he doesn't have too many real friends. Girls he likes seem to think he's always sleeping with groupies and never fully trust him. There are chasms in his family life that weren't there before. A line that he said that stuck out to me was that "Everybody is happy...I can't be the reason all that ends," and in my mind I ask what I think anyone who cares about people as people would ask; "But are you happy?"

We see these celebrities and uplift them but do we really see them? In the seconds before the camera cuts away do we notice the sadness in their eyes or the gleam off their diamond chain? Fame takes away your identity and makes it something to market, so people can become just like you. Most people, fans,  don't love you for you, but rather the idea of you and what you could ultimately do for them. Is that what makes a person happy? Is that what makes a person feel like they're living?

I sometimes forget that our brightest stars often die young or in obscurity, sometimes by reckless behaviors brought on to make people care or numb the pain, but ultimately from giving everything and still not quite receiving the love they so desperately need back; the genuine kind not hinged upon how they look, how much they make or what they do but who they are as people. Appreciate them, but treat them like human beings, not like dreams to be toyed with or items to be bought. Stop worshipping them; they are just like us, and most times, ultimately weaker than we are.

Spreading love
Dropping knowledge
Respectfully appreciating talent <3

2 comments:

Im said...

think that's what my life is: it's not about being the best, or being the biggest, greatest star. It's about touching people, one by one, with something that makes them feel comfortable enough to be themselves, if only for a little while and by doing that, I do become one of the best, biggest and greatest. It's about making a difference.

Tes this is my entire being in a nutshell. i am happy and just want others to be happy as well and i try my best to do that along this journey i call my life...

i also never wanted fame, not through any of the dazzling day dreams and fantasies that i have... i wouldn't mind the fortune though, but even that isn't something i think about often.

you're gonna be A alright tes... i can feel it!!

oh did i tell you that according to my sun sign i am sporadically psychic?!?!?! :D

ps practicing more html on here.. sorry if it comes out messed up

Tes said...

I've never been one for fame or fortune really. Because with fortune comes the obligation to do things with it. If I had my way, with a million dollars I'd buy land somewhere in a forrest, build a cabin, hook up internet, plumbing and electricity and pay those bills for life. Done and done.

I do feel bad about the celebrities though. Not all of them mind you, but the ones I admire but see kind of struggling with fame. I wonder if they knew before they started doing what they do that money doesn't buy happiness.

lol I'm glad you think I'll be a-okay Yoles, cause sometimes I don't know. But since you spoke it, with your pyschic self, so it shall be. :)