Her name is Melanie. Melanie Brown. You should recognize her, because believe it or not, in only a few years, she has become one of the most visible women in the world. If you measure pure, uncut, naked fame, the kind of insane popularity that make papparazzi follow you around the globe, and consider that she is a woman of color, Melanie Brown is up there among a very select few.
She is the one called "Scary Spice" or "Mel B" in the hype machine called The Spice Girls. Yes, the Spice Girls.
(This page was originally created in 1998, when the Spice Girls were red hot. It was a lot of damn work, so I'm leaving it, with some minor modifications for the time that has passed. As it was then, the general idea was to be a spotlight on Melanie Brown.
The Spice Girls are a group of female performers that were created by an ambitious busineesman who held massive auditions and pulled together five (which is now four) women. Each member was active in the British arts scene previously. He assigned them personalities, roles that were to be part of the hook in marketing the group. We've seen this done before with "The Monkess", and who can forget the ultimate example of this method gone too far in the fraudulent reign of "Milli-Vanilli". Music was shoved in front of the girls and the game has "afoot". They were still more than two years away from stardom when they rebelled, fired their creator/manager, moved into a house together and toiled in obscurity, trying to find and perfect a signature style. I have heard them described as a Village People of the 90's, and that may be true on the surface. We knew the Village People were a cartoon-like image. They were 99% costumes and camp. That was the 70's. From the start, these women seemed to take themselves very seriously, in the both the music and the hype that accompanied them. The extent to which this "Girl Power" theme they promoted clashed with the feminists' ideals will not be debated here. Fame is fame, and none of us can say for sure that we could look millions of dollars in the face and turn it down. The group "Brick" said it best..."aint gonna hurt nobody...we're just dancing yall...". The manager-less group landed a contract with Virgin Records, then landed former Eurythmics singer Annie Lennox's big league manager, and released the "Wannabe" single in the summer of 1996. The rest is history. They have their most solid base of fans in the pre-teens to early twenties. The U.S. does not hold a candle to the idol status they command internationally, so as much as we can snicker at the integrity of their music, they could have don't quite well with the U.S. But forget the judgements placed on their pop music. Forget the whole "girl power" thing. These are grown women. You can't get women in provocative outfits, bouncing around on stage without some adult appeal, and yes by that I mean adult male appeal. After all, isn't the spectacle that is Professional Wrestling in this country helped along by the women they have prancing around in the ring? From the first time I saw the Spice Girls, Melanie Brown stood out of course as the calculated visual element of ethnicity. I know it is hard to reconcile that so many children are taking them on as role models. Role models should be parents, teachers, people who enrich our lives beyond singing, dancing and playing sports. I am sure they did not set out to relate only to children. But fame is strange that way. It's similar to this: Many young kids idolize Janet.But Janet also has adult fans...hell, JanJan is in her mid 30s! "I Want You Now", and other songs drip with sexuality, and believe me, I am NOT complaining. Yet Janet can still visit elementary schools with Colin Powell and be considered a role model to the smallest children. It's strange how some celebrities can play both ends of the spectrum. I remember little girls walking around singing Madonna's "Like a Virgin" years ago. It's a strange world we live in. Melanie Brown is playing a character when she "Spices it up", but she has wild personality that dominates the scene wherever she goes. And she can't be held to a "G-rating" all the time....
The reason I am writing any of this? Honestly? It's a free web site, and two years ago, I was desperate for something to fill it with. But I'm glad I picked Melanie Brown because it's my opinion that a person of color "represents", when they are out in the public eye. They represent the culture and the race(s). No one wants to hear that old "you're a credit to your race" line. But we are always representing. When they flash dark faces up as "Wanted" suspects it "represents." So much so, that sometimes when I hear of a horrendous crime in the news, and I hate to admit it, but I am just hoping it's just not a black suspect. We have done enough representing in that category. People of color "represent" every time they appear on millions of TV sets in millions of homes, in front of millions of people, many of whom rely on those images as their sole insight to the people and the culture. These same people then sit on juries, and they put on law enforcement badges, they make job hiring judgements that affect lives.
Well, Melanie Brown is young, rich, attractive, and at the group's peak, highly visible. There's nothing silly about that. She has used this exposure to be vocal about racism and even if she didn't...if all she did was thrill millions of kids then I give her props for not using it to fantasize about "cappin' niggas wit my nine..." Damn right Melanie Brown is representing. I think her potential is unlimited.
In the little that I have heard of her voice, it sounds adequate, but there is so little to go on when she was sharing singing with three others, and when most of the "live" events let them lip-synch. There is some music she recorded with artist Missy "Misdemeanor" Elliot on a soundtrack a few years ago, but that didn't raise much noise. Tough competition too. Again, its just my opinion but there is only one woman at the very top of the female artists field, with the vocal chords that dreams are made of. She throws her head back and wails with a range that is unbelieveable. No, not Bobby's baby's momma:
Lisa Nicole Carson,
tearing up the big and small screen in E.R., Eve's Bayou, Love Jones, Jason's Lyric, and the red-hot Ally Mc Beal, has a variation of this as her signature hair style. Yes, this shot was another low-cut bosom photo, but I cropped it as I scanned it, because really, as spectacular as they are, haven't we seen enough of Lisa's cleavage? No? Okay, let's see if you can resist the urge to click on her photo for the full length cover photo.
So I don't know if Janet or Lisa is copying Melanie...it is the hairdressers to the stars that set the trends. Here's another set of pics of Melanie Brown...and OK, I give up...this must be a fan page!! I can't say I am very familiar with the songs...I just watch Melanie Brown move, and tolerate the present stuation that she is in, like I do when Halle Berry is in something ridiculous like "BAPS". What if it was played more like a black version of "Clueless", with Karen Parsons, the actress that played Hillary Banks on "The Fresh Prince" TV series. That is closer to the true definiton of the term. With Robert Townsend involved in it's direction, it had potential for much more. Instead, it's as though he made the same picture that he complained about in "Hollywood Shuffle". Besides, the whole concept was done 12 or so years earlier with The Fat Boys in "Disorderlies".
During the Spice Girls concerts, they have numbers where each singer has a male dancer to do routines with. In the pics below, the dancer that pairs up with Melanie Brown on stage, Jimmy Gulzar from Amsterdam, also hit the lottery by becoming her boyfriend, then husband-to-be. Holmes has to be nervous.... he has gone from deep obscurity to the glaring spotlight of world-wide fame instantly, even quicker than Melanie. The international tabloids went to work on him immediately, trying to uncover anything they could. The latest news is that a baby is on the way for the two of them, as well as for another "Girl", Victoria (Posh Spice) Adams.
As the stories go, Melanie craved motherhood, and had tried with her former love, some Belgian guy that was in many of those topless papparazzi photos of Melanie a while back. (Come on, I have some discretion!!...Find them yourselves out on the Net!) The media buzz says that Jimmy and Melanie have plans for marriage, and ever the shrewd business woman, sista is having him sign a Trump-like pre-nuptial. (maybe Trump-like is not so good, since both of his have been contested...) But that's only business. I am sure there's no problems with that. (Check out the latest nuptials update at the end of this page) Melanie Brown is unaffected by any of the insanity that surrounds her life. When you are personally worth about 25 to 30 million dollars (or more), you certainly don't have to fear anything or anyone. That's right, with record sales, concerts, all promotional, and merchandising considerations, the entire group is worth about $100 million. You can write the group off as silly, but Barney, Beanie Babies, Teletubbies, and Furbys are proving that silly means BANK! For "Scary Spice", I look at this as just the beginning. She is holding up her part of the bargain to ride this money train as long as the track holds out. With this new music on the soundtrack of "Why Do Fools Fall In Love", maybe Melanie will get her own unique personality out front.
I am just waiting to see this lady take the stage in total creative control one day. Madonna was laughed at during her "Borderline" and "Holiday" days, as was Janet in her "Fame" acting venture and her first two albums. Melanie Brown deserves more credit than she has been getting. She loves to and CAN dance, with the passion of the club fiend she is. She welcomes the world-wide media circus atmosphere. Most of her battles are won. HEY!! I almost forgot...the tongue piercing!! Oh man! How could I forget that?
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