Bowing to the pressures of public exposure, some of music's biggest stars are finding that honesty is the best policy. If you don’t know, now you know
At the top of 2012, Chris Brown’s manager, Tina Davis, spread an FYI to the media: that her client would be muzzled from all interviews. Three months before the New Year, however, Breezy tweeted a self-produced mini-documentary titled The Real Chris Brown. Without a poke of provocation, the “real” Chris Brown, admittedly tipsy, reintroduced himself as a torn 23-year-old in love with two ex-flames, Rihanna and Karreuche, explaining, “I’m not trying to be a player... I just care too much sometimes.”
It’s hardly the first honesty bomb dropped by a high-profile artist. But with social media now fueling marketing tactics, celebrity TMI has become a casual drug. Transparency is the new privacy, and it’s not just media hogs flashing their full hands. Even notoriously muted stars have indulged in candid confessions. Once tightlipped about their relationship, Beyoncé regularly shares snapshots of her home life with Jay-Z. And after years of denying a romance with 50 Cent, Ciara, a woman of almost no words, released her single “Sorry” along with a scanned handwritten letter about its real-life inspiration, and declared in a radio interview that Fif was afraid of her love.
While CiCi chose the old-school Q&A as her route to honesty, the majority of her peers realize there’s no need to gift a radio jock or journalist with a pull quote when artists can power their own exclusives via Twitter, Instagram, vlogs and Tumblr, where Frank Ocean exhumed his most tucked away secret about his sexuality. Critical and Grammy adoration followed. That same day, bending to the entertainment industry’s new show-and-tell standards, music’s most known unknown couple Diddy and Cassie finally claimed each other via fuzzy Instagram flicks, a visual confirmation. His caption: “I’m a very lucky man #knowthat.”
Stars aren’t suddenly opening up for the fun of it. It’s part of a promo plan, a fresh era of branding. With non-washed-up rappers like T.I., The Game, and Joe Budden starring in reality shows, full disclosure is no longer a stigma. And hot tracks aren’t enough when fans are stingier than ever about purchasing content. A receipt is more likely when a sense of attachment and duty is felt. Though the truth campaign can distort the line between genuine candor and masked marketing, it’s clear what the people want. Real talk. —Tracy Garraud (@itstracyg)