December 9, 2012 by Colin Kelly
Interesting that two of this year’s hottest music stars are seen smoking in the YouTube versions of their latest videos.
Of course the laws in this country prohibit music channels from playing videos depicting smoking so alternative ‘clean’ edits are shown on our television screens and Rihanna and Bruno Mars know they’d be hauled off if they dared to light up during an appearance on X Factor or The Graham Norton Show.
So why do it in the YouTube versions of their music videos? They know that’s where their young fans are more inclined to experience their work. Hook them in via a mainstream TV appearance where they appear ‘clean and family friendly’ then take them over to the unregulated internet where they can be ‘who they really are’.
But is that who they really are? And do Bruno Mars’ fans actually care if he smokes or not? This suggests they do.
There are only two possibilities. Either Rihanna and Bruno Mars have such passion for smoking and think it makes them look so incredibly good that they told their management and the directors of their music videos to include shots of them smoking. It follows then that they must feel incredibly reluctant and disappointed that they are not allowed to be shown smoking when they’re on mainstream TV and I’m surprised that they don’t talk more about how great smoking is in interviews.
OR…is it the case that the management told Rihanna and Bruno Mars that it would be ‘good for business’ if they were shown smoking in the YouTube versions of their latest videos? That they’re quite happy to portray ‘good clean fun’ before 9pm on ITV and the BBC and then be something a little bit different on their own YouTube channel. Anything to keep them relevant. Anything to milk some more cash out of the marketing juggernaut. To pay the wages of the football team’s worth of writers credited on their albums.
And if it’s the latter, then what does that really do for a music star’s image in the 21st Century? If it’s all about being cool and real, if it’s all about ‘being yourself and doing what you want, to hell with the consequences’, then can we really admire performers who’re so easily led?