I’m sure you’ve heard about singer August Alsina cursing out on of BET’s 106 & Park hosts yesterday (April 15) after she asked him about his “beef” with fellow singer Trey Songz. It was apparent that that subject was agreed upon to be off-limits between then, yet she asked about it live anyway.
Be clear, I’m not condoning Alsina’s language, but he actually had a valid reason to be mad about the blatant disrespect that the host, Keisha Chante, showed him. Too many reporters now are trying to take the Wendy Williams route trying to bully artists into answering questions because it’s being recorded live. It’s about time somebody put these interviewers in their place. Alsina’s label spent good money on 106 promoting his album the past seven days with 3 minute mini-profiles of him. So to do this on the day his album dropped is just shameful.
People criticizing August for “not being professional,” yet the one really being unprofessional was Keisha Chante. It’s a 99% chance that his publicist told them beforehand what not to ask. The host went ahead and disrespectfully asked him not once, but twice, even after he was clearly agitated. An artist doesn’t have to answer every question, especially when it’s just gossip. It’s the same way an artist isn’t obliged to give every autograph and take every picture. Even if you have financially supported them, you supported them as a music artist and that doesn’t give anyone an all-access pass to their personal space and life.
It’s funny that last week I was listening to one of New York’s Hot 97’s Juan Epstein podcasts from last year where the station’s general manager, Ebro, was schooling one of his on-air personalites for going into an interview blind without knowing any of the questions and, consequently, being hit with prodding question after question about their rivals, Power 105’s The Breakfast Club. Here’s what he had to say:
“We live in a world where everyone thinks they’re entitled . “I have a blog” and “I have a Twitter so I should get an interview.” No you shouldn’t! Who the f___ are you!? When the New York Times emails me about a interview: send me your questions. I don’t know you. You’re trying to do your job. I don’t know what you got planned for me. And I know your job as a journalist is to get me on the phone and to get me off my game. Or to say something to poke and pry. Send me your questions, I’ll give you some good stuff so you have a compelling interview. I don’t want you to NOT have a compelling interview. I’m just not going to let you control the interview. YOU NEVER LET A INTERVIEWER CONTROL YOU! We’re in this business. Mutha_____s out here trying to make a name for themselves, that’s what they do. That’s what they’re supposed to be doing. When you go into a interview, you gotta know what you’re dealing with and not over talk.”