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The Kardashian Machine vs. The Black Reality Starlet Dilemma


Let’s start with GROUP A.

Melyssa Ford.  Karinne Stephans.  Esther Baxter.  Buffie “The Body”.  Angel.   Amber Rose.  Evelyn Lozada.  Toya Wright.  Joseline Hernandez.  Natalie Nunn.

Clearly enticing, alluring sex symbols, “urban” hip hop poster girls that reached the pinnacle of fame for black video, print media and reality television.  Recognized names, faces, trademarked bodies and solid fan bases with respected levels of popularity worth leveraging into expanded ventures- these women represent something.  I’ll come back to what that something is shortly.

On the other end of the spectrum, let’s look at GROUP B:

Kardashian Women.  Lauren Conrad.  Bethany Frankel.  Audrina Patridge.  Kendra. 

These are attractive white models/reality starlets.  Former Playboy Playmate Kendra Wilkinson earned about $2 million from her show and workout DVDs.   Audrina Patridge (former “The Hills” star) made about $3.5 million from endorsement deals with Carl’s Jr. and Bongo Jeans.    Bethany Frankel has written two bestselling nutrition books and sold her Skinnygirl Margarita line for a reported $120 million. Lauren Conrad used her clothing line for Kohl’s, books and endorsement deals to rake in a reported $5 million.  The Kardashian Machine earned over $60 million.   What do the personalities in Group B represent?  They were the highest paid reality television stars in 2011 with recognized branded lifestyles.

Now let’s go back to the mocha, caramel and banana cream goddesses of Group A.  Here’s the breakdown:

It’s safe to say that the top Hip Hop models are Melyssa Ford, Esther Baxter and Angel. 

The Top Public “Personalities” are: Karinne Stephans, Amber Rose and Evelyn Lozada.

Interesting up-and-comers: Natalie Nunn, Toya Wright and Joseline Hernandez.

But the major question about Group A is:

What brand lifestyles do they represent that are viable, commercial movements which could reach broad demographic audiences (particularly young females ages 12 – 18 of all races)? 

Can you picture Karinne Stephans exotic lipstick or designer pinky rings?

Can you imagine Amber Rose hair coloring and “mixed chick” hair products for girls?

Can you visualize Buffie “The Body” and Melyssa Ford at the peak of their fame cornering the market on Hip Models, dancers and even exotic entertainers the way Sofia Vergara is a partner at Latin World Entertainment, which began in 1988 and has evolved into a licensing and marketing agency that promotes Hispanic talent?  Picture all the top Hip Hop Models and vixen-like talent under one operation run by successful former models instead of what we have today:  free “thirsty” freelance amateur models willing to strip for free on social media, which undercuts the booking fee possibilities for professional models. 

Did you know that Buffie “The Body” never had an official manager?  What if she had one with the mindset of leveraging her prestige, what would have happened?

What if Evelyn Lozada had never threw a bottle or punch on television.  Can you picture her marketing a line of purses or clothing lines for girls in Latin America and Puerto Rico where there is a huge opportunity to reach girls 12 – 18? 

Instead of Joseline Hernandez walking around like a stray cat on a leash through regional strip clubs with the funniest pimp on the planet, what if she was positioned to market her own brand of Brazil infused dance music in Brazil, where there is a huge market for American women with her look or her own lingerie line through Frederick’s of Hollywood?

So back to the original question, what is the SOMETHING that the women of Group A represent? 

Undervalued, poorly positioned potential brands that have the potential to reach markets beyond the ‘hood mentality and outdated marketing approaches used by “handlers.”  It’s not that models and personalities of color can’t be branded to produce the same or even better revenue than their white counterparts. 

It’s that they sometimes sell themselves short and don’t think beyond limited ‘hood hustles.  The game is a marathon not a sprint

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