August Alsina probably won’t pen the next wedding classic. Surrounded by drugs and death, his life is another sad love song
STORY: Shanel Odum | PHOTOS: Sarah McColgan
“Who even reads magazines anymore?”
August Alsina’s rhetorical question echoes from the comfortable confines of Black Entertainment Television’s green room, where the 21-year-old singer is prepping for his second 106 & Park appearance. He’s perched on a bulb-framed vanity; long, lanky limbs swimming in drop-crotch sweats and an elongated black hoodie. A blue, denim Laker’s cap is snapped to the back and his eyes are hidden behind a pair of dark shades, which he rarely takes off. And while he is rocking the obligatory two chains, his baby Jesus piece is more delicate than dookie.
With his small collective of gatekeepers, the NOLA-native is currently discussing the power of print publications (or lack thereof). His publicist squeamishly reminds him that they’re not alone. Except August could give a shit that a journalist is within earshot. A segment producer quickly steps in to fill the awkward silence, whipping out a copy of the show rundown. “Ready to prep?” she asks. Then the orchestration of an olive branch episode begins. The deal is before August’s 106 interview is allowed to promote his album, he must address the fiasco of his last visit: when he seared host Keshia Chante for probing him about recent beef with fellow crooner and former buddy, Trey Songz—a subject August deemed off-limits prior to the live studio interview. Today’s reunion should prove interesting.
With less than 15 minutes before showtime, August pulls a shorty of Cuervo 1800 from his pocket and takes a swig. “It is Cinco de Mayo,” he says flashing a gold-gilded grin. Then he bows his head and extends his arms. “Now let’s pray.” After a brief benediction, the singer is ushered on set. Bow Wow rolls up seconds later and greets him warmly. Loud pounds are exchanged followed by snippets of small talk. Everyone’s waiting anxiously for the show’s hostess. Minutes later, she waltzes in, all smiles, getting primped and powdered until the moment she breezes on set, past August with the chilliest air. The audience loses it, the red recording light blinks on and the charade begins. Half-assed apologies are delivered from both parties like an overly rehearsed script. BET and Def Jam are pleased. Keshia and August appear disingenuous.
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