As I look at the entertainment industry, it’s hard not to be bored from the “spot-filling” women in music who are backed by big business. I guess I can’t knock big business for adopting the ‘if its not broke-why fix it mentality?”, but as consumers our interest falls flat after a while. Where is the innovation? There are about 4 spots that the music industry fills on an annual basis- “sexy”, “shy/cute”, “hip/cool” and “rock”. If you look at the scope of music industry, you can basically categorize each artist into these four groups. Solely looking at the superstars in the industry you see the categorization as follows: Beyonce- “sexy”. P!nk- “rock”. Taylor Swift- “Shy/cute”. And Gwen Stefani- “hip/cool”. The new generation is continuing the pattern. Katy Perry- “sexy”. Melia “rock”, Vanessa Hudgens “Shy/cute”. Rihanna- “hip/cool”. This concept is most prevalent in music, but can also be seen across the spectrum of “celebrity”…and the categorization is even prevalent in types of magazines, publications, and television networks targeting young women. So who is to blame for this categorization… us or them?
Just as every single Olympian had a “rag to riches” story (but somehow found ways to hire the best coaches, have a nutritious meal plan, and access to amazing facilities for the past 4 years), we are force-fed the same ‘stars’ over and over again. But if we didn’t buy it…they wouldn’t sell it. So what exactly does it say about the female consumer market as a whole?
On one level it says that we classify ourselves in one of the four groups. And possibly not the same one through our entire life. We may start off shy and cute and develop into a sex symbol. Or maybe you started out with an affinity to rock and ended up shy and cute years later. If you look at your life, would you be able to place yourself into one group?
The idea of “one group” seems striking. At this day and age, where you can hypothetically be anything you want to be…why would anyone choose only one group? Wouldn’t it be far more appealing to be a mixture of the different types of girls that exist. I would like to think so. But that isn’t common. Most people choose to identify themselves within a group because its easy for them to define themselves to them themselves, as well as identify themselves to others.
There are outlying variables, like in any equation. The main person who pops into mind is Lady Gaga. She is an extreme in most equations, but she doesn’t really encompass any of the 4 categories. In the grand scope of her marketing presentation she is neither sexy, rock, shy, nor hip, (according to how other people are categorized). And that is the reason she became such a large success. You weren’t forced to only like her because she fit into the same box you did. People from all boxes could like her. Take Beyone as another example. Beyonce was loved when she was the “sexy girl” from Destiny’s Child, but she reached superstardom when she combined her sex appeal with the “hip/cool girl” character provided by her association with Jay-Z. This in itself shows us all that there is a huge benefit to living outside the box…or being able to jump in and out of different boxes.
But still, there are those people who will feel underrepresented. I remember watching the OWN network—a network all inspiring entrepreneurs should watch as they embark on building a brand—and I remember Oprah saying something to the effect of “Where can the intelligent and beautiful women go?” That question struck me because it is one that has always swam around in my mind. Nothing that is marketed to us is based on being simultaneously intelligent and beautiful…in an engaging and fun manner that the entertainment industry provides. Are those two things (fun and smart) polar opposites when it comes to women? Men seem to be able to have the opportunity to be businessmen and then hang out on the golf course. But where is the woman’s golf course? And no, its not the shopping mall. Where is a woman’s place to be her all encompassing self—smart, fun and beautiful? And who can that girl look up to? There has yet to be ONE person who was marketed to us to fill that gap.
Instead, we are intensely marketed Suzie Orman to handle our financial affairs and then we pick up an entirely different publication (or turn to an entirely different station) to check out soft and amazing hairstyles that make us feel confident. But HELLO…we are living ONE life. And more importantly, we are more alike than we are different. We all desire to be educated and confident in all areas of life.
There needs to be a place for that.
And not an a-z publication solely for black women. Or one solely for white women. Or one solely for rich women. Or one solely for people who live by a beach.
Think about it… you started reading Vogue way before you could buy one item from it. Why? Because although it wasn’t in your reach, you knew what you aspired to have. Likewise, a girl fortunate enough to purchase anything she wanted from those Vogue pages picked up Complex magazine to be inspired by streetwear designs.
Likewise, the girl who went from being the “shy/cute” girl to become the “cool/hip” girl…we are all changing and becoming different. Our income fluctuates, our interests, opinions, and beliefs evolve. Just because you start one way—or look one way—does not mean that has to be your overarching identity.
That’s not what this life is about.
This life is about progression, compassion, and fulfilling your life’s purpose. You should be inspired from a-z on various things and topics that ALL look different and come from different sources. That is the beauty of this world. Its such a hybrid.
As I write down my thoughts on the industry, I’m also writing my life’s mission.
Since the beginning of my memory…I have been different from my surroundings in so many ways. As I look back on my life I noticed that I pulled bits and pieces from each of them…all bits and pieces that I love. I was fortunate to be raised in a way that my parents always placed me outside my comfort zone so that I could be exposed to things outside my norm, and become inspired by them, and take what I liked and leave what I didn’t. That in itself was a blessing.
I have a huge dream. A dream that has replayed in my mind on a daily basis for years. I dream to be an inspiration to young women by exposing them to as many different things as I can so that they will know deep down that ANYTHING is possible, and if they see it…they can have it. I will present that intelligent, fun, and beautiful model. And although I can’t sing- I decided to show them this through a medium I’m truly passionate about (and music’s sister-industry)- fashion.
The beauty of fashion is that everyone wears clothes. Most importantly, everyone wears different types of clothes. The clothes themselves tell a story that takes people on a journey. From an army uniform to a princess’ dress, there are millions of stories that unfold behind the simple scope of fashion. Fashion can show you travel, bring music to life, and even suggest political struggles. Because we are all a mosaic of our own past experiences, we can inspire the lives of others from a-z. And that’s MOSAMUSE.