I was the type of kid that wanted to do everything perfectly — spelling bees, getting good grades, doing my hair. Not surprising given my birth order (I’m a firstborn control freak, y’all). And my ever-wise mother knew how to get my goat whenever I would have a meltdown over not making first honor roll. She would sing a Kenny Rogers classic:
You’ve gotta know when to hold ’em,
Know when to fold ’em,
Know when to walk away,
Know when to run…
“The Gambler” always confused me as a child, but as an adult it has never made more sense. There are times when you just need to step back, assess what you are doing and make your moves accordingly. In the entertainment business, and in music in particular, it seems that artists who need to just rest their situations seem to skip right over knowing when to hold ’em, glide past knowing when to fold ’em, and only get to running when they are chased out of town. Every other day there seems to be some musician that needs to have a seat, or a performer that needs to have some quiet time in a corner based on how they are showing out. Everyone needs a respite from the spotlight. The game needs an exit plan — someplace artists can head to discreetly when the sh-t starts to hit the fan.
Never is this more clear than in the case of Chris Brown, who after beating the brakes off of Rihanna a few years back couldn’t figure out how to exit stage left. It seemed every few months he would show all of his saffron-colored, Tappahanock ass in fresh, exciting ways, further infuriating the public he so desperately wants the attention of. Now he’s on social media beefing over and dissing on a woman whose face he made look like ground beef. Really though, Creep Breezy?
Exhibit B in the needs-to-take-a-seat category? North Carolina’s own Fantasia Barrino. Fanny has really overcame a lot in her life, but she has yet to learn to free herself from the dramas of baby-mamahood. After her very public love triangle with a cell phone salesman and bearing this married man’s child, she burst back on the scene in an ill-advised catsuit on American Idol last week and got stunted on by a 59-year-old Chaka Khan wearing the same outfit. I’m sorry. If I ever get that bad, someone please pull me to the side and tell me about myself. Please. For the love of Ray J. Stories like these are a dime a dozen, unfortunately. Some folks need to step away from the spotlight before it burns them alive. Or before they turn into YouTube “sensation” Sean Fury, the king of thinking he’s doing something other than look and sound like a damn fool.
There is absolutely nothing wrong with taking time away from the spotlight to recalibrate. A lot of people in the music industry become so addicted to the glitz, glamour, money and power that come from being the center of the universe that they don’t realize that reality is slowly slipping away.
While I’m on the topic of exits, this is my last entry for SoulBounce, and I want to thank all the readers who have made the past year absolutely amazing for me as a writer. I would also like to send a special shout out to Butta for giving me an opportunity to grow and for always keeping it 100 with me. For further updates you can find me on Tumblr or Twitter. Keep bouncin’!