The world of celebrity may be fickle, superficial and vapid at times, but it’s become a guilty pleasure of mine and something that I have developed into a full-time, paid job that I do enjoy.
However, the problem I have with a lot of showbiz journalism nowadays is that it relies heavily on being catty, negative and insulting. Fortunately, I currently write for a publication that focuses on positive news stories and not bashing women’s body shapes, style choices or latest relationships. But this isn’t the case for a number of magazines, websites or blogs, which is why I feel the need to shine some light on a recent speech made by American blogger and entrepreneur Necole Bitchie.
I’ve been visiting necolebitchie.com for a few years now and the reason I consistently check in with her stories is because they are always written from a positive (and reliable) angle. The news posts praise women’s fashion, celebrate their love lives and clear up dodgy rumours that are lazily reported elsewhere. And she’s even rebranded the word ‘bitchy’ to encompass all things fierce, sassy and powerful.
Necole’s Black Weblog Awards Blogger Of The Year speech touches on the reason behind her encouraging presence online…
Having previously been teased about her Southern accent at university, Necole admits that she understands what it’s like to have people speak negatively about you and pick out your flaws to the point where you inhibit your own aspirations. Hence why this soft form of bullying via blogging can be such an issue.
“It’s crazy how one person can say something that kills your dream,” Necole says. “You really have to be careful with the way your words affect people and I think as celebrity gossip and entertainment bloggers, we don’t really realise how one thing we may say about a celebrity can really affect their dream. And I don’t want to be that person.”
Neither do I.
I’ll admit, I can be a bitchy and judgemental person, but I’ve been working on that for a while now. My Twitter profile used to be full of “angry” and depressing tweets – as someone once pointed out to me – and I am now making a conscious effort to change my online output, so that I don’t come across as a bitter and hateful person, because I’m not at all! What you put out into the universe, the blogosphere, the Internet etc, is what you will receive. Negativity breeds more negativity and it’s not healthy or helpful for anyone involved.
When I first began writing online (before I started my Masters in Magazine Journalism), I contributed to a UK gossip website that was focused on ripping celebrities apart and bitching about anything they could find. And I’m embarrassed to say that I enjoyed partaking in that. I found it funny to slate women’s terrible outfits and to laugh at their poor taste in men. I’d go through celebrities’ mentions on Twitter to find the juiciest and most incriminating tweets I could and then feel some silly sense of satisfaction when I wrote a news post based on what I discovered. I thought I was being bold and making a name for myself as a writer to watch out for, but what I almost ended up doing was tarnishing my name and being perceived as an unserious journalist that was more concerned with making fun of peoples’ lives than uplifting and informing readers.
Over a year after leaving my position as a contributor for this site and since moving on to write proper music and celebrity news for other websites and publications, I am in a much better place – career wise and personally – and I believe this has a lot to do with the fact that I stopped focusing on negative news and started writing from a positive angle. I wasn’t really that ferocious online before, but I definitely have changed the way in which I write and report celebrity gossip and entertainment. My career is going from strength to strength and now I actually have people wanting to listen to my opinions on music and more serious matters – as well what I think of the Kardashians and when Miley Cyrus will put her tongue back in her mouth!
Lesson learnt and always learning: be positive in everything you do.
“I’m trying to figure out a powerful way to use my voice other than celebrity gossip…” – Necole Bitchie.