How to Get Attention

chris_brown_rihanna_camouflageThree years ago, after Chris Brown brutally beat Rihanna, I posted an article that suggested the couple must have been slated to star in a remake of What’s Love Got to Do With It?–the Ike and Tina Turner story. This year, the couple reappeared seated next to Kobe on the floor at a Lakers’ game just prior to appearing together at the 2013 Grammys. Despite still being on probation, Brown made news only days earlier for attacking the openly gay singer, Frank Ocean, over a parking spot at a West Hollywood studio.  Ocean’s revenge was to beat Brown for Best Urban Contemporary Album. Judging from Ocean’s performance that night of his song “Forrest Gump,” Brown doesn’t have to worry about Ocean beating his stage performance.

Isn’t it interesting though how celebrities get headlines right before their new album, tour, or book? It doesn’t matter if the news is negative or positive as long as people are talking about them.

beyonce-3_4_r536_c534This is particularly interesting because the Rihanna’s and Brown’s relationship sparks so many comments and emotions: “She’s stupid for being with him.” “He’s was a child–he made a mistake–let it go.” “He’s an abuser, it will happen again.” “It’s none of our business.”…etc.  Fact is that it doesn’t matter if you’re for or against them, their relationship generates the attention it is meant to generate. Is it real? It doesn’t matter. The only thing we know for sure is that it succeeds at keeping them in the media.

Beyonce must have something coming up.  She showed up at the Superbowl and did a great job. A couple of weeks later, she released a self-made movie on HBO about her greatness called, “Life is but a Dream.” And just the other day, I caught her on TV talking to Oprah. In both the movie and the interview, she revealed that she lost her and Jay-Z’s first baby. Such tender reveals endear her to her base and make them even more likely to see her on tour, buy her next album or check out her next movie.  Yes, a celebrity suffering a miscarriage, an addiction, a abuse, an accident–or even just saying they did–can be good for business.

In the article three years ago, I talked about Whitney Houston admitting her drug addiction to Oprah right before releasing her latest album. The album went to number one. Unfortunately, as predicted then, Whitney apparently went back to drugs, which ultimately led to her passing away just before the Grammys last year.

Back when I first wrote my book, “What I Wish I Knew Before I Moved to Hollywood,” I wrote an article about Michael’s unfortunate fate and the Dark Side of Hollywood that forces artists to produce and keep producing. In the film, Beyonce made a point that many artists no longer do full albums because of costs and the way individual songs are released over I-Tunes, etc. “People just try to make a hit single and that’s it.”  What that means is that studios have artists on much shorter leashes–produce a hit or you’re done; sell out a concert or that’s it.

Maybe you never thought of it before, but when you see artists make these kinds of extreme confessions of personal struggles, or when you watch an artist appear to self-destruct in public, imagine how desperate they must be. These are the lengths to which they must go to get and keep your attention. What appears to be a passerby simply telling what he witnessed in a parking lot in West Hollywood may actually be a well-placed story by a PR firm, and quite possibly a staged event, designed to do exactly what it did–get you talking about an artist. So it doesn’t really matter if your opinion is favorable or not–all that matters is that their name crossed your mind that day.

Dave Chappelle said that either a lot of very talented people suddenly go crazy one day, or there is something very sick about Hollywood. Perhaps artists like Dave, Michael and Whitney are the canaries in the cave revealing something wrong with the business or, perhaps, they are just folk suffering with their own issues. I’d love to hear your thoughts below.

(The 2nd edition of What I Wish I Knew Before I Moved to Hollywood  available now exclusively on Kindle for only $4.99. Get yours now. Click here. Kindle e-books can be read on I-phone, I-pod, I-pad, Android, Mac and PC with the free Kindle App.)

Posted in Featured, For Musicians, Hollywood Dreams, The Business of Entertainment.


  1. I think you are on to something here albeit its very disturbing to think that the vocation itself leads to destruction of such creative genius and talent.

    • Faith, your comment reminded me of Dave Chappelle being interviewed on Inside the Actor’s Studio, so I added his comment to the article. He talked about why he left Hollywood. He said everyone kept trying to get him to do a movie in a dress and said that there was something wrong with the system. He noted Martin Lawrence and himself and a number of other entertainers who lost it and asked “why?” He said either all these people who used to be normal are suddenly crazy or the system is sick. It’s interesting that he hasn’t come back yet.

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