On Whitney: When ‘The Bubble’ Bursts
Watched a snippet of Whitney — the TV movie — this weekend. The one directed by Angela Bassett.
The fact that I only watched a snippet is the only “review” you need. It was just too Lifetime for me.
Parts did ring true, though. The coke handoff at her birthday party, for one. I have friends who knew Whitney back when she was modeling. And they told me that sweet young petticoated thing singin’ about wanting to dance with somebody had some pretty nasty “habits” long before “Bobby B.”
Mostly, it reminded me of why I got out of the celebrity fast lane so many years ago, to keep from skidding out of control like Whitney and other famous friends.
Bill Maher always talks about the “bubble” some rabid conservatives live in, where they can make up a fantasy about Obama or anyone else and never be challenged or questioned no matter how bat shit crazy that fantasy may be.
Celebrities are the original “bubble people.” Whitney was trapped in one. As if to prove that, one of her best friends looked Piers Morgan in the eye a few weeks after her death and said that because he’d never seen Whitney do drugs:”Whitney didn’t do drugs.”
I know he needed to cling to that. I bet he still does.
I always tell up and coming feature writers who will be dealing with celebrities, especially musicians, how the bubble is created. I knew lots of bands before they became icons. And every single time, I saw the same pattern.
At first, I was one o’ the boys. I could walk into their rooms, backstage wherever I wanted with ease. In fact, they were insulted if I didn’t “do the hang.”
It’s a heady time, when they’re full of hope and frustration that it’s taking so long. And they need someone with a keen eye and ear to help them tweak things a bit — and to help carry equipment and wardrobe.
As the first sign of serious “buzz,” they hire a real publicist and/or manager to take over from the old friend, wife or other family member. Reporters for major dailies and big name mags still get tickets and passes. Free lancers and writers for “lesser” publications may not.
When the “buzz” becomes serious bidness, the new manager hires a road manager along with newer and bigger bodyguards. And when they have their first real bona fide hit, the road manager and bodyguards will become very, very picky about who gets “access.”
This is not necessarily for security’s sake. It is done because the new staff fears that old friends who know the band well may be a threat to their status. So the band is usually unaware that this is happening, and may be truly perplexed by the “disappearance” of those early friends.
But the absence of those old friends will be neatly explained by the “bubble builders.” And the stars that fall for those stories soon find themselves surrounded by sycophants who see, hear and speak no evil, ever.
Until the star dies or begins to fade. At which time those same sycophants will speak all manner of evil about the celeb to anyone…