Recently, Amber Rose came under fire for comparing herself to Beyonce in an odd way.
Her point was that while celebrities like herself and Kim Kardashian got slut-shamed for being perpetually scantily clad, Beyonce got a pass for doing the same thing.
Of course, the Beyhive wasn’t having that shit.
You can imagine that they laid out the differences between those whores and their girl quick fast.
But in fairness, while neither Kim nor Amber has, say, put together an epic song, album, movie, compelling addition to the literary canon, classic television series, painting, sculpture or great philosophical, scientific or mathematical breakthrough, you can’t knock them if only for the fact that, unlike that great title of James Baldwin’s magnum opus, everybody knows their name.
And how is that?
Well, we know Kim as the one-time Paris Hilton sidekick, daughter of an OJ Simpson lawyer, girl that made the sex tape with C-level R&B, er, “star” and Brandy-brother Ray J.
We know Amber as the blonde Caesar-cut wearing former teen stripper ex of Kanye West, ex of Wiz Khalifa.
But each case, those forefront-bringing acts were years ago.
The question then becomes, why do we still know them?
Why does the media continue to gravitate toward Kim and Amber?
There, I said it.
If a celebrity is, at root, a “celebrated personality”, then not only recognizing but commodifying that part of your personality that has potential commercial appeal is an ability worth its literal weight in gold.
And I know this flies in the face of what I’ve written before about Kim K.
I will allow that I’m not perfect, make mistakes, and have a tendency to reverse myself when presented with superior information.
What can I say? Malcolm X did the same shit.
But in a defense of Kim Kardashian that I read recently, I couldn’t help but agree with the fact that it took a certain genius to turn a horrific experience like having your ex-boyfriend release a private video simply to shame you and building it into an empire that raises not only your own stakes, but the stakes of your entire family.
How the fuck else could we have gotten a Khloe Kardashian?
There are people that are literally amazing at what they do – Anthony Hamilton is the best singer working right now – but because of some absence, flaw, or lack in presentation, they go virtually unnoticed.
And what more evidence do we need than the fact that Russell Wilson was a Super Bowl winning quarterback that no one had ever heard of, married to a basic, white bread white girl and now that he dumped her for cheating and got with B-Level R&B singer Ciara, he’s nearly as big a star as Tom Brady?
Yes, self-promotion is a talent. It’s even a bigger talent if all, in fact, you are selling is yourself.
If there’s no album, book, movie, gallery showcase or television pilot to push and you can still both grab and hold attention, you doing something that’s not only spectacular, but, at core, fundamentally American: you’re putting on a show with nothing to show.