The gap between social media influences and celebrities seems to be becoming more defined in recent months. While the boom in apps like Instagram and Twitter gifted platforms to people that they would have never been privy to before, it is becoming more and more apparent why some of these people are not regarded as actually stars or celebrities. While many of our favorite famous people have years of experience in their respective fields, bringing a level of professionalism and status, many of our favorite influences literally pop up overnight. They have no understanding of how to brand themselves or run a successful media company. Actress and television host LisaRaye McCoy discussed this topic while covering a story regarding Rihanna’s Savage x Fenty line, who recently had to fire an influencer this due to insensitive comments on social media.
Rihanna is a perfect example of someone operating through years of experience and growth. While many social media influences have tried their hand at clothing lines, few have had the success that she’s had in launching a clothing empire. This has a lot to do with her years of experience in branding and fashion. Rihanna understands that today’s kids are most connected to their favorite Instagram influencer, so she has employed many of them as ambassadors of her lingerie line. Unfortunately, this week Rihanna had to drop Ari Fletcher after the unprofessional “model” decided to disrespect woman who have been ‘victims’ of domestic disputes on her IG live. As we know, Rihanna famously suffered a similar situation during her relationship with Chris Brown.
Speaking on Ari being dropped, LisaRaye commended Rihanna for being an honest businesswoman and a stand-up individual. “Shoutout to Rihanna for being a woman of her word,” said LisaRaye, adding how important it is that she did not allow her brand to be “tarnished with foolishness.” LisaRaye acknowledged the power these influencers wield, being the dominant figures in many young woman’s lives. However, she recognizes that a lot of these influencers cannot live up to the responsibility that they have to set good examples and feels this is a key difference between influencers and celebrities.
Vivica A. Fox chimed in, saying that real stars and celebrities have a morality clause and follow certain rules. LisaRaye piggybacked off of this, explaining that once you are in the spotlight, you have to understand the power of your words. Even more, she explains that real celebrities had to earn the right to speak on certain things and had to gain people’s trust before being able to talk about touchy topics.
“Even when you have your opinion, you have to wait till you get to a certain level to be heard,” LisaRaye explained.
LisaRaye and the panel over at FoxSoul know a thing or two about earning their spots. All the women there, which includes Claudia Jordan, Vivica A. Fox and Syleena Johnson come from an era where many of them were made to feel disposable and voiceless. Vivica A. Fox has talked extensively throughout her career on the fight she’s had to endure to survive in Hollywood.
LisaRaye has also gone through the same struggle, many times having to re-establish herself and pivot to ensure she can still work and do what she loves. These women did not have the luxury of social media to help keep their brands afloat. For these women all to be where they are now and able to discuss social media influencers vs. celebrities is a product of their respective journeys and struggles.
LeBron James recently did a post on social media seeming to discuss this very same thing. In the post, he quoted Russ’ song “Sheep,” saying, “I’m from the generation where it isn’t cool to be haters. You see, social media made everyone think they’re celebrities. But what have y’all done that’s worth celebratin’? And everybody got the same personality and identities The sheep just multiply, this sh*t is devastatin’ And embarrassin'” While it is not clear what prompted the post from James, it is obvious Russ has the same opinion as LisaRaye and co. Elsewhere in the record, he says, “This industry is high school. Grown men and women actin’ like they still in tenth grade.”
The good thing is people are becoming more and more aware that just because someone has a large following does not mean that is the person you should be taking advice from. Some of the comments on LisaRaye’s discussion echo this, with people saying, “These younger kids definitely Need to know the difference. They are really looking up to them because they think they are celebrities. A lot of these social media influencers are not pushing out anything worth really watching Or to be influenced by.” Another said, “Freedom of speech has consequences, especially when representing a brand. And sadly, [Ari Fletcher] won’t care.”