Beyoncé: Fierce & Flawless. Bow Down.

-photo credit via usmagazine.com

Hello Black Chick Media followers! It’s Sam Joseph aka @fakesamjoseph here with my first post. Naturally, it would be about a woman I, as well as many others have admired for over 16 years: the one and only Beyoncé.  Its hard to believe in only 9 days she will be turning 33. That’s right 33. With a net worth estimated at over 450 million dollars, 75 million records sold as a solo artist worldwide (and an additional 60 million records sold as a member of Destiny’s Child), few entertainers over the years have achieved the level of success and instant name recognition that this remarkable woman has: TIME Magazines Most Influential Person of 2014, The Most Powerful Celebrity in the World of 2014 according to Forbes, 9 American Music Awards, 16 BET Awards, 18 Billboard Music Awards (including the Billboard Millennium Award), 17 Grammy awards (amongst 46 nominations, thus making her one of the most nominated artists in history and the third most honored woman in Grammy history), and now 18 Video Music Awards including the Michael Jackson Video Vanguard Award, which she received Sunday night in an emotionally charged acceptance speech which concluded with a loving embrace with husband Jay Z and two year old daughter Blue Ivy.

In a much hyped performance, Beyoncé sang a medley of her critically acclaimed, multi-platinum self-titled fifth album BEYONCÉ for an unforgettable 16 minutes that had many a celebrities up and out of their seats singing and dancing. Clad in nothing but a bejeweled Tom Ford bodysuit, (a custom made version of a bejeweled tunic sent down Ford’s Spring 2014 fashion show), booties, a microphone and her signature golden locks, she proved to us all once again why she is arguably the greatest entertainer alive.

2014 MTV Video Music Awards-photo credit via MTV

Beyoncé Giselle Knowles-Carter (born Beyoncé Giselle Knowles) was born on September 4, 1981 in Houston, Texas to Matthew Knowles and Celestine “Tina” Beyincé. (Beyoncé’s name is a tribute to her mother’s maiden name).

Beyoncé was educated at St. Mary’s Elementary School in Fredericksburg, Texas, where she enrolled in dance classes. Her singing talent was discovered when dance instructor Darlette Johnson began humming a song and she finished it, hitting the high-pitched notes. Beyoncé’s interest in music and performing continued after winning a school talent show at age seven, singing John Lennon’s “Imagine” to beat 15 and 16-year-olds. In the fall of 1990, Beyoncé enrolled in Parker Elementary School, a music magnet school in Houston, where she would perform in the school choir. She also attended the High School for the Performing and Visual Arts and later Alief Elsik High School. Beyoncé was also a member of the choir at St. John’s United Methodist Church as a soloist for two years.

Aged eight, Beyoncé and childhood friend and cousin Kelly Rowland met LaTavia Roberson while in an audition for an all-girl entertainment group. They were placed into a group with three other girls as Girl’s Tyme, and rapped and danced on numerous talent shows in Houston. After seeing the group, R&B producer Arne Frager brought them to his Northern California studio and placed them in Star Search, the largest talent show on national TV at the time. Unfortunately Girl’s Tyme failed to win. (Beyoncé later said the song they performed wasn’t good.) The girls auditioned before record labels and were finally signed to Elektra Records, moving to Atlanta Records briefly to work on their first recording, only to be dropped by the company. On October 5, 1995, Dwayne Wiggins’s Grass Roots Entertainment signed the group. In 1996, the girls began recording their debut album under an agreement with Sony Music, and shortly after, the group secured a contract with Columbia Records. The group changed their name to Destiny’s Child, based upon a passage in the Book of Isaiah in the Bible, and within a matter of years, the group churned out the recognizable international hits: “No, No, No”, “Bills, Bills, Bills”, “Say My Name”, “Jumpin’, Jumpin'”, “Independent Women Part 1” (Their longest running Billboard number one single clocking in at 11 consecutive weeks atop the chart), “Survivor”,  “Bootylicious”, “Lose My Breath”, “Cater 2 U” and “Soldier”.

It was after the success of Destiny’s Child that Beyoncé took her career even further, establishing herself as a high profile brand and solo artist. 2003’s Dangerously in Love debuted atop the Billboard 200 (and to date remains the entertainer’s top selling album with 11 million copies sold worldwide), and spawned the international hits “Crazy in Love” (featuring her then-boyfriend Jay Z), “Baby Boy”, “Me, Myself and I” and “Naughty Girl”. “Crazy in Love” was critically lauded and is currently listed at 118 on Rolling Stone’s 2010 list of the 500 Greatest songs of all time.

-photo credit via flickr.com

Before the release of her second studio album B’day (With the instantly recognizable hit “Irreplaceable”, which to date, remains her longest running solo number one with 10 consecutive weeks atop the Billboard Hot 100), that was recorded in only three weeks and released to coincide with her 25th birthday, she starred in a Golden Globe-nominated leading role in Dreamgirls opposite Jennifer Hudson, Jamie Foxx and Eddie Murphy playing a singer based on one of her major influences, Diana Ross.

On April 4, 2008, Beyoncé married Jay Z in secret and revealed their marriage to the press in a video montage at a listening party for her third solo effort I am…Sasha Fierce one month before its release on November 18, 2008. The album, her third consecutive number one solo album on the Billboard Hot 200, was comprised of the Billboard Hot 100 number one and feminist anthem “Single Ladies (Put a Ring on It)”. This song was an instant hit because of its highly choreographed and iconic music video that featured her, and two backup dancers in nothing but black leotards and stiletto heels. The album also featured the top ten hits “If I Were A Boy”, “Halo”, and “Sweet Dreams” giving Beyoncé the record of having more top ten singles than any other woman during the 2000s. On January 20, 2009, Beyoncé was given the honor of performing a rendition of Etta James’ “At Last” at President Barack and First Lady Michelle Obama’s first inaugural dance.

After a short break from her career, during which she traveled the world, she headlined the 2011 Glastonbury Festival, becoming the first solo female artist in twenty years to do so. Her set list comprised of songs from her fourth studio album 4, including “Run the World (Girls)”, and “End of Time”. “Love on Top” the fourth and most successful single from the album was performed at the 2011 Video Music Awards and at the end of this performance, she revealed that she and Jay Z were expecting their first child by dropping the mic and opening up her blazer to show off her growing baby bump. Her appearance helped the 2011 Video Music Awards become the most watched broadcast in MTV’s entire history with 12.4 million viewers. Her child, named Blue Ivy Carter, was born on January 7, 2012. Only a year later, Beyoncé sang the American national anthem at President Obama’s second inauguration. The following month she performed at the Super Bowl XLVII halftime show to critical acclaim. Later in the month she released her HBO documentary Life Is But a Dream, which along with being directed and produced herself, revealed footage from her childhood, her roles as mother and a businesswoman, as well as recording music, rehearsing for live performances, and her return to the spotlight after her daughter’s birth. Later in the year she embarked on her The Mrs. Carter Show World Tour, which went onto become not only her highest grossing tour but also the highest grossing female and solo tour of 2013 as well as one of the highest grossing world tours of all time.

It was the unexpected December release of her self titled fifth studio album that took the music and entertainment industry by storm with the lack of any prior promotion. The album debuted at number one and made Beyoncé the only woman to have her first five albums debut at number one. The single, “Drunk In Love” which features husband Jay Z, was a commercial success as well, peaking at number 2 on the Billboard Hot 100. After the conclusion of The Mrs. Carter Show, she and Jay Z embarked on their joint On the Run Tour, their first co-headlining stadium tour together.

Despite all of these accomplishments, it is the heart, passion, and humility Beyoncé possesses that sets her apart from her contemporaries and can be attributed to her success today. She reminds us all that we are all capable of great things if we put our hearts and souls into what we are doing. I will always be a fan of this amazing woman and look forward to the many albums, tours, and performances of hers to come.

photo credit via girlthatsmysong.com

 Keeping it ***Flawless as always (thanks to Bey)

thefakesamjoseph

It Comes with the Territory: Stalkers, Creepers & Other Mystical Creatures

If there is one thing I enjoy about this industry, it is the mass love and support that can be found if only one looks hard enough (Or, if you’re just plain lucky enough, whichever comes first). But if there is one thing I despise, it’s the creepy creeper stalking (All haters, naysayers and all those others that cause stagnation, please have a seat. Thank you) [<–I don’t even know if that really fits here, I’ve just always wanted to say it]. Having had an impromptu roundtable discussion recently about this topic with a few colleagues, we were quite shocked to learn we have all experienced what we call the OMG I’M TOTALLY OBSESSED crazy stalkers (Though, in all fairness, I think we’ve all been there and done that. I’ve waited at many a stage door, and written I don’t know how many fan letters…), silent (and not so silent) creepers, and just outright nut jobs. I now truly understand why some public figures/celebrities just let it all out on the general public from time to time, because more often than not, they probably deserve it. And I commend them for it (The celebrities for going off, not the fans for being jerks. OK just wanted to make sure we’re all on the same page). Recently, while scrolling through Twitter, I came upon a conversation between a fan and a rather well known actress. The fan actually had the nerve to take it upon herself to tell said actress to, “Mind your Ps’ & Q’s whilst tweeting–note your tone–don’t be defensive.” After I picked myself up off the floor from laughing (Really? Who do you think you are telling somehow how they should TWEET?!), I began to think about the deeper issue at play here. (OK so that posted example might not be the best one, but you know what I mean. I see instances like that all the time on social media sites). Most of us have taken out restraining orders (or should) at one time or another. Some have completely deleted all forms of social media. And others have decided to go toe to toe with the wrongdoers (YIKES!). While none of these options could be named as the best road to take, one thing we did agree on (besides that it needs to be stopped) was we absolutely have to make a movie/web-series/play about the situation (I know, that’s not what you thought I was going to say was it?). What better way to deal with what could be seen as a rather intimidating situation than to make fun of it? (My thoughts exactly)

To go back to my scholarly roots for just a second, this reminds me of a book by Judith Mayne titled Cinema & Spectatorship. Part of the text discusses “star-gazing” and the notion of the relationship between the audience (the voyeur) and the subjects (the images/persons on screen). To sum it up as best (and succinctly) as I can without writing a 5,000 page dissertation is, the text provides a fascinating discussion on how viewers perceive and relate to (or not) the representations of the personas they see before them. For example, if one were “obsessed” with the actress Elizabeth Taylor, is that person truly obsessed with THE Elizabeth Taylor, the whole (real) person? Or, is it the (studio) constructed image they believe to be THE Elizabeth Taylor that enthralls them? Are you still with me? Good. I dropped all this incoherent film babble to say, these people (I don’t know why I keep calling them THESE PEOPLE, like they are some kind of alien entity or something…), are so deep into their collective obsession(s), that they don’t even realize who or what they are truly pining after (or the fact that they just look really bloody crazy).

That’s enough film theory for one post, back to the original thread. While during our meeting we may have found our collective tales of terror simultaneously ridiculous and shamefully hilarious, in reality, it’s not an especially funny subject. What is it that makes people feel they have a right to pry and hound and stalk? (Who in the world has this much time to waste?! Perhaps you should be out doing something…You know, like being a good citizen and contributing something to the world besides your un-medicated insanity. Take up a hobby. Knit a sweater. Write a novel. Lift weights. I don’t know, anything. Just be constructive) A better question might be, what is it about cyber-communities and relationships that makes one obsessed about a person, place or thing to the point of madness? Bullying? Violence? I’ve seen people creep on the children of the celebrities they like in order to get closer to them. Screenshot, Photoshop and create actual files and folders and blogs dedicated to obsession and love or hate for someone/something. People that are old enough to know better engaging in simple minded disgusting behavior. They literally create what I like to call “stalking networks” to make sure they can “randomly show up” wherever said celeb/public figure/random person might be (I’ve told plenty of people they should think about body guards…I’m just saying…). Being in Public Relations, this is something I see and deal with often. While crisis management is indeed one of our specialties, stalkers are an entity (and a rather nasty little thing) all to themselves. I should make that a service, “Creeper Obliteration” (for lack of a better phrase).

I think what worries/saddens me most (besides the threat to privacy and safety!) is they are so bloody cunning! They’re like super-ninja extra stealth Hannibal Lecter weirdos (again, total lack of a better word…Maybe). And the innocent people they silently (but, mostly they aren’t so silent) harass are completely unsuspecting and rather trusting. I don’t like sneaky insincere people. I don’t do liars. I hate trickery. While social media was seemingly created to bring us together, it also works to tear us apart (Did that sound as deep as I intended?). It is now so easy to find out the who what when where how and why’s about a person without ever leaving the comfort of our own homes. Gone are the days when stalkers sat on your front porch (Mostly…Mostly these days are gone, but not entirely); now they simply look you up and your whole life-story is at their disposal. That’s a sobering thought. So you creepy creeper stalkers, those of us that have been done wrong by you are TOTALLY calling you out on your bullshiggty (We see the tracking services on all our sites–We see the same ISP addresses from the same areas in alarming numbers all the time. So while you catch yourself trying to be sneaky, believe me, we can see you). <–I don’t even know why that sounds so dark, but, there you go.

Love (and happiness and light and peace in the New Year!)

Everyone here at BCM