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The American celebrity now: A special report

American Celebrity2 web

–words and images by DeWayne Rogers

I had an epiphany a few days ago while reflecting over the increasingly convoluted state of the entertainment industry. As my team sat in our weekly creative meeting toiling over the criteria for upcoming rolling out cover subjects, I was struck by a rather innocuous question posed by a colleague:

“What does it even mean to be a celebrity anymore … I mean, it just seems like anybody can call themselves a celebrity nowadays. It kinda sucks, because I don’t know who is who anymore.”

And there it was.

With viral videos, one-hit wonders, and new reality shows now sprouting up faster than pimples on pubescent me circa 1994, it’s a wonder that any of us can sift through the noise to decipher what constitutes a celebrity anymore.

So as we sat there — for five hours, mind you — tossing out names of potential cover candidates, it became all too clear, that we, too, had no clue.  Unbeknownst to us, we had somehow been sucked into the matrix, and stripped of all sense of direction as it related to the modern-day celebrity. It was quite the startling revelation.

Finally, I advised the team to make a list of criteria for today’s celebrity. So I picked up a dry erase marker, walked over to the board, and began to gather input:

Was it appearing on TV (no matter how brief the occurrence)?

Was it their ability to amass a huge twitter following?

Was it having an album being sold on iTunes?

Was it the number of Oscar nominations?

Was it being married to someone rich?

Was it the number of likes on a single Instagram post?

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6 Comments

  1. Mirage on January 30, 2014 at 11:21 am

    It starts with Rolling Out no longer publicizing this garbage.

  2. Trey Young on January 30, 2014 at 12:18 pm

    Very True article & it does start with the media. I’m glad that you all brainstormed about it. Please change the expectations.

  3. Benjamin on January 30, 2014 at 2:29 pm

    Great article. And I hope that more media begins to take this honest look.

  4. Mimi on January 30, 2014 at 4:28 pm

    Agreed – but media and entertainment orgs are who sensationalizes and perpetuates this stuff. It has to stop from the top. You can’t get a record deal nowadays unless you have become a star in the streets…

  5. Kacalacko on January 31, 2014 at 4:26 am

    This is by far the best article I ever seen on this site. One way to specify who is and is not a celebrity is by publications like this one to STOP glorifying these fools. I see more unimportant and untalented people in all of the emails I get from rolling out.com. Its so much that I am extremely surprised to see this article was written by an editor from the same company that makes half of these nobodies look like they are doing something. Who cares about sociolites anyway? Who even came up with BS like that? Smh

  6. Jayda on January 31, 2014 at 1:01 pm

    The realist article I’ve read in a long time not only from Rolling Out but from all media outlets in general! Congratulations on your thirst and efforts for growth!! Everything has a process thankfully someone’s (brainstorming team in this case) has a found a clue in the middle of it.. Change is needed, focus is necessary. Giving the next generation something to look forward to..

    Thank you!