Sunday, May 1, 2011

Blame It On...

Originally Posted on May 7, 2009. WARNING: The following post uses language, situations and concepts that are not suitable for all readers. Reader discretion is advised.

So, Jamie, what did Myley Cyrus do to you?

On the April 10th edition of entertainer Jamie Foxx’s radio show on Sirius and XM satellite radio, the shark was triple-jumped. Somewhere in the conversation with Foxx, model Claudia Jordan, hip-hop producer Poetess, comedians Johnny Mack, Louis Dix and Speedy the subject of the upcoming Hannah Montana movie was brought up. Miley Cyrus, the daughter of country star Billy Ray Cyrus, portrays the tween that splits between her normal “just a girl” existence with her pop stardom. For the new film, she reprised her role in another Disney production featuring the Montana character. What came out of the Oscar-winning actor/singer’s mouth shocked people beyond the satellite signals.

As the comedy was rolling after the show’s crew asked who Cyrus was, Foxx jumped in talking about her famous smile, including her exposed gums. Then, Foxx suggested that the younger Cyrus that she:

“...make a sex tape and grow up. Get like Britney Spears and do some heroin. Do like Lindsay Lohan and start being a lesbian and get some crack in your pipe. Catch Chlamydia on a bicycle seat. That's what I want.” 

Apparently, the rant began with acknowledgement of an incident at this year’s Grammy Awards involving Cyrus and British band Radiohead, where Thom Yorke’s band refused to meet the young Cyrus during the awards ceremony. Cyrus was quoted as vowing to ruin the career of the band.

A few days after the radio show, Foxx appeared on Jay Leno’s Tonight Show, where he apologized to Cyrus about his comments. The reason Foxx offered up was the comedy element of his show. He even suggested that the Friday afternoon radio show aspired to be “black Howard Stern” by explaining that “we go at everybody.” Though he stated he was “sincere” in his apology, many critics questioned whether Foxx really was.

Foxx wasn’t the only one “talking shit” on air.  The words “white bitch” was also used in conjunction with Cyrus by most of the radio crew, including Jordan. The former Miss Rhode Island and Celebrity Apprentice contestant, Jordan happens to be of Italian heritage mixed with being black. This prompted a subsequent reaction from her family in Providence where, on the next show, her grandmother supposedly called in and chewed her out on air for using the racial slur.

The April 10th show also became a rant against certain Urban Contemporary music artists with recent pop success. Foxx and his crew named Flo Rida and Soulja Boy in their criticism of this theme. This was an extension of Foxx’s complaint that today’s popular music is being recorded and produced with an “expiration date” on it. The next show, Foxx tried to reach out to Flo Rida and Soulja Boy with apologies and offers to record with them.

Why am I bringing this up now? It seems that the story involving Foxx and Cyrus just won’t go away, thanks to the latest edition of US magazine. I know sometimes the gossip rag lags in news, but every time something like this pops up somewhere, people are going to go bonkers about it. Might as well throw this out there, then…

Let’s back up for a moment. I enjoy listening to the Foxxhole channel on Sirius and XM. I get a lot of good material from Foxx and his crew, because they actually make sense on a level. I also commend Foxx for his campaigning for the election of President Barack Obama and understanding the lesson his 15-year-old daughter taught him about his vote for Proposition 8 in California.

However, Foxx wants to be Howard Stern real bad. Yeah, he can sing, dance, joke, act and do many things. He could also be an asshole, if he wanted to.

Understanding the show, the “XL (Extreme Language)” label on the channel and some of the concepts being discussed on all of the channel’s programming, one must understand the cost of being quoted – not to mention being a target for a previous action for criticism to come.

One must also understand that in the court of public opinion, the gavel can strike both ways. You’ll have reactions and over-reactions about what Foxx, Jordan, Mack and everyone else involved on the radio show will say. This is how Howard Stern makes his living – to fuck with the listener’s minds and get a reaction from them.

Breaking it down, I’ll agree first with Foxx’s assessment of today’s Urban-Pop music. I’m not a fan of Flo Rida and Soulja Boy. I think their music is crap and can only be played so much before a listener wishes for something better. We may also confess to a guilty pleasure or two. I have mine, but, honestly, Flo Rida or Soulja Boy aren’t one of them.

As for the 16-year-old Cyrus, if she didn’t say what she said about Radiohead after being rejected for a meeting by the band, then she would not be a ready target for comics, satirists and the media.  However, in the guise of comedy, certain things get said and will offend someone. Cyrus felt offended which exacerbated the media coverage Foxx, Jordan, et al got.

Should I feel sorry for Cyrus? Sorry, I’m not a fan of the Hannah Montana franchise, therefore the message of “grow up” needs to resonate here. In the entertainment business, as with life in general, innocence ends somewhere. Perpetuating the Disney image only went so far with its alumni, such as Kurt Russell. Cyrus wants to live in many worlds, including the music industry. Her father will attest to the difficulty of maintaining the balance between recording contracts and fickle audiences. That is life in show business!

Also, I’m not a parent. I have friends who let their children watch Hannah Montana and listen to Cyrus’ music. I understand where you’re coming from. Not everyone is on board with the Hannah Montana machine. My apologies, but I’m not on Cyrus’ court on this one, but I won’t suggest that she would do the things Foxx has suggested – not after her announced support for same-gender marriages.

Maybe we can go all the way back and blame Thom Yorke and Radiohead for sparking this cascade of celebrity badminton by refusing to meet with Cyrus. Nah…

Don’t “blame it” on Jamie Foxx and his radio crew about what gets said on-air! Don’t get the message twisted here. Maybe certain words and concepts will go a bit too far, but understand the context of the criticism even in the guide of comedy. Don’t just take the joke, Miley. Understand that as a public person, you will be scrutinized enough for a satirist or a comedian to poke fun at you with a message underneath the humor.

The same messages goes for Flo Rida, Soulja Boy, Governor Sarah Palin (R-Alaska) and everyone one else that had put themselves in the public eye for a comedy writer to include in someone’s act.

Blame it on the media? Nah. You do something that is considered stupid in one mind’s eye, there will be a joke about it. Foxx is right: It’s comedy. Just like the podcasts my friends at bTalk, The Buck and Bobaloo Show, The Inappropriate Couch, 619 Bearcast and Bears in The City do – it’s bloody comedy!

Now, do me a favor and laugh!

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