By: Twitter Buttons

Thursday, 25 December 2008

Jack of all Trades...

Is it me or is Beyonce getting tres annoying? Now before you all sing a chorus of "Hi Hater", realise that this statement is coming from a Beyonce fan...or ex fan...well I'm going to her concert in May so I guess I still like the girl. I followed DC, watched every documentary and interview on MTV, rinsed her solo albums, knew all of her dance routines - my girls can vouch for that; writhing around on my living room floor practising the 'Baby Boy' routine - good times!!

So what went wrong? Three things for me. The first two are sort of interlinked. When Beyonce started on her 'journey to an Oscar', appearing in films in the hope of becoming a major movie star, I watched through my fingers -you know, the same way you watch a friend who thinks she can sing, giving it her all with a terrible rendition of Mariah Carey's Hero, complete with ad libs, neck movements and eyes clenched in emotion... She's just not that great. 6 months with an acting coach does not turn you into Dame Judi Dench, ok honey.

With the films came the over-exposure, my second reason. When Usher goes away in between albums - he makes a baby or something. When Justin Timberlake goes away, you start to miss him. When Beyonce goes away-she doesn't. Its just like 'arrggghhh get out of my face dammit!' Yes, I know she is on the Diva tip, wanting to be a legend, the next Barbara Streisand (her words not mine) but is that really feasible? Jack of all trades, master of none, hmmm?

That leads me on to my final reason. The talent. Is B that great of a singing talent - one guaranteed for legendary status? Will she ever be that ultimate Diva she plans on becoming? Is she one already? Listening to her new album 'I Am...Sasha Fierce', I'm not convinced. 'Halo' is my fave track on the slow CD, basically the only song I like, but with the rumours that Simon Cowell accused Beyonce of stealing it from Leona Lewis, I can't help resenting B's oversinging and feel that Leona would have done a better job. The second CD...hmmm ok, but still not great. Can B really do both - the Barbara Streisand romantic ballad image as well as the ride-or-die, RnB chick - watch the DIVA video and tell me if you think it's believable.

Let me just say that it's not all bad - I think she has a great voice and is a mesmirising performer; despite competition in the form of Keyshia Cole, Rihanna, Jennifer Hudson, Alicia Keys, Jazmine Sullivan et al, I think B is still the reigning Queen. However, is it only a matter of time, (poor songs, confusing musical direction and bad acting performances) before her crown slips? Or is B the definition of versatility and longevity in the entertainment indusry. What do you think, has B still got it?


Seasons Greetings from Fantasy Ride

Merry Christmas and a Happy New Year..roll on 2009 baby!



Friday, 19 December 2008

Doctor, I Have a Problem....

As David Tennant is set to leave the role of Doctor Who, there is much talk over who is going to be the next controller of the Tardis. Personally, I rarely watch the programme; old people falling over and cats fighting their mirror reflections on You’ve Been Framed always seemed to grab my attention on the other side. However, in the year of ‘black firsts’, many have predicted the coming of an ethnic doctor, no not Dr Raj from your local GP, but a black or Asian actor to play the most iconic timelord of all….well, time. Patterson Joseph and Colin Salmon have been name dropped – although I think Salmon should hold out for James Bond status. Meera Syal has also found her way on to the list as potentially the first female Dr Who.

To me an ethnic Doctor Who would be a positive development in an industry which has been labelled institutionally racist at times. Nevertherless, I also strongly believe that the concentration should be on finding the best actor for the job- if that person happens to be of ethnic orgin, then hip hip hooray. I don’t think precious Doctor Who fans will be too pleased with the media hype and fenzy overshadowing the show. Studio bosses making decisions with the primary concern of creating publicitiy and impact will only draw critisim and unfair scrutiny if an ethnic actor is in fact cast. You just know that certain people are waiting for Obama to slip up, anticipating even, in the hope that they can turn around and say “ha ha told you so”. If ratings of DW fall, you know the line will be “too much change…it alienated viewers” and the new doctor will be swiftly aneathetised.

I guess we’ll see what happens when they announce the new recruit. My money is on Patterson Joseph; with his typical English accent and theatrical/Shakespearean background, I can see him being a great Doctor. However, I can’t wait for the day when the phrase ‘the first black (insert high profile position here)’ is the first time it isn’t used.


Sunday, 7 December 2008

Alex vs Leona

Alex to win X-Factor, she is definitely a star. The only time I voted in all the history of X-Factor/Pop Stars/Pop Idol/Strictly shows was the Leona vs Ray Quinn final. This time around, T-mobile will be happy that I'm gonna be spending money outside of my free allowances, as I am committed to contributing to Alex's success on finale night.
However, when Alexandra wins, (yes "when"), and is under Simon's management, how is he going to successfully maintain Leona rise to superstardom and simulataneously launch the career of Alex's, without compromising either?

It's all about positioning. (Eve, my old lecturer will be soooo pleased that Im putting my marketing degree to good use here!) While both are great ballad singers, I think Leona's weakness may lie with the more up tempo, edgier records, for instance her single 'Forgive Me'...sorry but I can't. That was like 1991 Mariah BBE (before breakdown and Emancipation).

I think that Alex should be marketed more down the Beyonce avenue - not exactly like the diva herself but more the dancing, performance route and not the 'make love to your microphone stand' one. Should be interesting to see how Simon handles it. What are your thoughts and make sure you vote people!

"I'm sorry but that wasn't good.....that was fantastic". One of SyCo's many quotes.


Wednesday, 3 December 2008

Britannia Low

Miley Cirus, Corbin Bleu, Demi Lovato, the Jonas Brothers - just a few of the names making millions from the 'Tween' market in the States. Everyone's on a high with High School Musical and can't seem to get enough of Zac and Vanessa.

And then came the UK with their own attempt of annoying cheese and 'you can do it/follow your dream' cliches. It should have been good. It should have been the one programme to revive children's TV, with Arlene Phillips in production and Gary Barlow doing what he does best in the musical chair. So why did a couple of tin mugs from 1870, that Margaret found in a cardboard box in the loft, blow Britania High off the ratings radar?

Its debut only managed to secure 3.3million viewers. 'Only' I hear you cry, "why, 3.3million viewers is a lot, especially in these days of digital TV and multiple choice". Yes, it is a lot but compared to the Antiques Roadshow's 8.6million, it's a tiny drop in the ocean. With viewing figures dropping every week (2.5million by the 3rd episode), I doubt this bundle of sickly joy will be on our screens for a second series. At least then, Arlene can go back to her day job - coming up with the most complicated, long-winded, aliteration-littered compliments and put downs ever known to man on Strictly Come Dancing: "You were like a leopard leaping across the luxurios Lagos landscape, lothariously and lovingly licking his lady lioness. That Cha Cha Cha was magnificent!" Wow, the lady makes me laugh.

But what is the problem here? Why didn't it work? Despite the significant marketing investment, why are people switiching off? One of my arguments would be that children in the UK are much more cynical than kids in the US. Our ideologies are a far cry from 'the American Dream'. In America Billy Bob from Arkansas actually believes that he can be anything he wants to be; yes, even the President of the United States, because it has been drummed into him since the day he was born - that America is the land where dreams come true. In the UK, little Charlie is told to keep his expectations low, get his head down and maybe one day, if he works really hard, he might become head of the Soups and Sauces ailse at Tesco (no offence to Soups and Sauce heads at Tesco). Ok, maybe I'm going too far but the point I'm making is that even as kids, UK children are extremely clued up as to what the real world for the majority of us is like. They understand that it's hard out there and that we can't all be rich and famous, spending our lives doing only the things we like to do. This cynicism, and sadly loss of childhood innocence and optimism, may be why BB and the gang should maybe take a hop and a skip to their local job centre pretty sharpish...just in case.

Grange Hill, Byker Grove, Children's Ward. These were gritty, realistic and my favourite word - relatable. They brought in the numbers and I think that even though Britannia High was a good idea on paper when you look at the success High School Musical had in the States, the producers missed a big trick here. Trying to create a carbon copy to serve an audience that is so different may have been the reason why "This could be the start of something good" wasn't.

"I cannae see man, I cannae see" (PJ from Byker Grove blinded by a paintball pellet - classic)

Thursday, 6 November 2008

Back to Black...*(and White TV)*

Here's an issue which slightly bothers me...the lack of ethnic representation on TV. And by this, I mean characters that my friends, my family and myself can identify with. Ok, we see black people in Eastenders: Gus - the dustbin man, Paul Trueman - the gangster, Denise Fox - the single parent, Chelsea - the crackhead...a pattern forming anyone?? However, I do give credit where it is due, I have taken to the Masood family and feel that the inclusion of cultural themes such as Ramadan is a great move by Eastenders. But for the rest of television, (not everything, because there are some real gems out there) stereotypes seem to play a major role when it comes to casting, scripts, and story lines.

When Gus left Eastenders, I heard the actor Muhammed George discussing his departure during an interview on Choice FM. I recall him saying that Eastenders' bosses had apologised, saying that they didn't know how to write for him, that they were unsure of how to write for an ethnic character. Did I miss something? Am I an alien from another planet? Let's think of some of the best soap storylines that have gone by...Ok, let's settle for good because its been hard times in soap land lately. Coronation Street - Carla-Liam-Maria love triangle. Eastenders - Max-Bradley-Stacey. Hollyoaks -Niall vs McQueens. Emmerdale......anyone watch Emmerdale?? Ok moving on. My point is, couldn't those story lines be acted out by black, Chinese and/or South Asian characters? I think that some productions focus too much on the differences between races and cultures and due to lack of knowledge about certain communities revert to unfair stereotypes when really they should acknowledge that as PEOPLE, we all encounter the same situations from time to time.

At the moment, there is nothing out there which reflects my struggles, no young black female that I can relate to. While I agree that programmes like The Bill do reflect the situations which SOME are going through, I cannot see 'myself' looking back at me from the screen. Maybe it's me, maybe I lead a sheltered life, maybe they are reflecting a majority experience that I am naive to. All I know is that I live in South East London, in a large black community, I have never smoked weed or taken crack, I have never had a gun or knife pulled on me (thank God) I do not have a baby, I do not have a drug dealer boyfriend, I have not dropped out of school and have not been forced into an arranged marriage with Uncle Kojo from Agogo village....yet.

However, what I and many people I know have experienced as a young person living in Urban London is what most young people go through - finding a good man and other relationship issues (tell me about it), dealing with traditional African parents, managing friendships, adapting to the professional world of work. The subject is the same but there are just slight cultural inflections – nothing that should be so difficult for a television producer to recreate. Are theses subjects boring, less sensationalist than the stereotype? Possibly. But in a country with a lack of understanding or respect for other cultures and each other, the message that these stereotypes are pushing out there is just detrimental to society as a whole. For someone whose only experience with Asians are the stereotypical story lines they see on the TV, can you imagine the impact on the perception and understanding of people from that community?

I guess my point is that there is little variety to the representations out there. With white characters you have a mixture of good and evil, on the right side of the law and on the wrong side of the law, doing well in life and not doing so well. You have variety. I am not denying that issues like arranged marriages, "black on black" crime and single parenthood exists in ethnic communities but when this is the only thing we see, then TV must be doing more damage than good.

Noel Clarke, holla at me, we can do business.


Tuesday, 14 October 2008

It's Music of BLACK ORIGIN people!!!!!

Yes, its that time again - Black History month - check. MOBO's - check!
Today I was reading the New Nation and saw a piece about Jay Sean saying that he doesn't believe he should be nominated for a MOBO award because he isn't black. In the last couple of months, in the lead up to the award ceremony, there has been much debate in the media regarding the nominees and even nominated artists stating their opinions about the non-black people in their categories: Estelle vs Duffy.

But hold on, is everyone missing the point here? I agree with Estelle; just because Adele is kinda heavy, has a deeper tone to her voice and doesn't sing rock or cheesy pop, the industry tend to wedge people like her into the 'soul' category...umm I can't imagine Aretha Franklin Chasing Pavements, can you - once she got on the ground I don't know if she'd be able to get up! HOWEVER, the award ceremony celebrates artists who deliver music from black origin, not those who actually ARE of black origin. Every year they seem to miss the point.

The article in the New Nation went on to report the view that at the Asian Music Awards, there are never any black people nominated. Hello! When was the last time you saw Wiley dance around to Bhangra or Skepta sing along to Bollywood Bangle Sweep??? Black people do not tend to make music of south Asian origin and even if they did, the people nominated would depend on the actual definition of the ceremony - for Asian artists, or for those who create Asian music? There is a difference. With the MOBOs, the definition is in the name for all to see... so can we please get over it???


Wednesday, 1 October 2008

Walk Biatches!!

With the fashion weeks taking place, London, Milan, Paris, I was sooooooooooooooooooooo happy to see new Nubian model Jourdan Dunn in the papers almost every day. She's definitly doing her thing.

How many of you were impressed by Vogue Italia doing that much talked about 'black edition'? There has been much debate: gimmick vs making a real stance? Personally I believe that anything that placed the issue of the lack of colour in the fashion industry in the mainstream arena is a good thing. It got people talking about an issue that has been glossed over for years.

But has it really changed anything....

Take Milan Fashion week, Jourdan was the ONLY black model to walk Prada! I mean, this is an Italian label. Vogue is considered to be such an important publication, you would think that some of its great influence would filter down to these prestigious fashion houses. This colourless trend was also reflected in other shows - Gucci, Fendi, Versace and Missoni - 1 model in each of those and none in Giorgio Armani.

So did Vogue Italia just rip us all off?

This whole colour thing does get to me because it seems that even though this has been an issue for a while, its like pulling teeth to get some change up in here. Also aside from Alek Wek are there any REAL black high fashion models. I mean the kind with a 'black' nose instead of a European one, natural hair instead of long straight pony hair a la Naomi. By pushing to the forefront the most European looking black models are the fashion houses just ticking the box to say "there you go, there's your black girl, now leave me alone?"

Will there ever be genuine change? Or do we just have to accept that 'high fashion' requires a certain look, as does does commercial modelling or glamour modelling. Maybe women of colour fair better in specific areas of modelling only. You'll find a nice Asian model in the Next Catalogue. Play to your strengths and be a video girl is what some might say - oooh controversial. These thoughts are not my own, just putting it out there. (Nice recovery Shants). What I do think is that things will never change until the institutional barriers are broken. When the Pradas, Versaces, Guccis are making millions doing what they do, where is the incentive to break the cycle? Do you remember when the whole size zero debate happened and they banned models under a certain BMI index.....and then forgot all about it after press coverage died a little. It is all too easy to sweep these things under the carpet so I welcome campaigns such as Black But Invisible by Mahagony Model Management who are pushing to keep the issue in the limelight. But what we need are the journalists, the casting agents, even people in corporate positions who use models as spokespeople and endorsers - here is where people can make a difference to the fashion industry as a whole.

At the moment, there is the mentality that there can only be one at a time...Tyra Banks(God bless her soul - I love Tyra) talks about how back in the day she was labelled as "the one to challenge Naomi for the supermodel crown". They never pitted her up against Cindi Crawford or Linda Evangelista. It's still still happening in 2008, there are always pictures of Jourdan up against Chanel Iman, another Nubian newcomer, its crazy, but its the way it is for now until we show them that black is not only beautiful, but its profitable too.

"Walk like you're broke and the rent is due tomorrow"
Miss Jay, ANTM



Finally bit the bullet...


I finally bit the bullet...I have created my own blog...arrrggghhh what the hell do I do????

Having recently become an employee at one of the world's top public relations companies, us 'new grads' have had it drummed into us the importance of blogging, its effect on forming opinions and creating debate. So what do I blog about? What is my role as a new PR, on her way to becoming an influential figure in this weird and wonderful world?

Have. No. Clue.

I always thought blogging was a bit of an ego trip, for people who just like hearing their own voice; don't you just hate those types of people? What they can say in a sentence they drag it on for an hour. They go on and on and on...ok i'll stop.

Alright, I know what I'm going to write about...

I have a great interest in the entertainment industry, no I don't want to be the next Leona Lewis or Charlize Theron, more I'm interested in the power that it has to make money, create brands, form opinions and change people's lives. I mean how many twins, start acting at 2, start producing their own straight-to-DVD films before the age of 15, create a nation of followers other than the Olsens. As much as you might hate her, when was the last time Lyndsey Lohan was OUT of the news? On a more 'credible' note, who are the first ports of call when an issue, be it world debt, poverty, war, HIV/AIDS needs to be brought to the limelight - Gwyneth, Brad, Angelina, Jessica (Alba not Biel...and definitely not Simpson).

On another level, I love creativity. Whether it be an innovative designer which stops me from turning the page, a quirky, catchy beat that I can nod my head to, drama that keeps me on the edge of my seat, the creative industry brings me so much pleasure and entertainment. Its not all about the gossip, feuds and who's dating who.

So that's enough of me justifying why I'm going to blog about this industry - I apologise if this is a bit rough and not exactly the entertainment that I speak so highly of, it might take a while for me to get into a groove.

Oh yes, Fantasy Ride, the title. Well apart from all the emotions the entertainment world can take us all on, the ups and downs, (you see what I did there) I guess there are a few out there who want to actually become part of this vicious, 'chew em up and spit em out' wonderful bubble. But how much of it is reality, how much of it is right, how much of it is fair, is it an illusion, will the bubble eventually burst? Is it all just a big fantasy?

That was a bit dramatic wasn't it....sorry.

Blog soon!


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