“We Really Do Prostitute Ourselves Out To The Liquor Industry,” Says Panelist at Cocktails & Music On Tuesday Evening…
Frank Ski, who interviews recording artists constantly, is also a former club owner and knows both spectrums of the music and alcohol arenas, which made him the perfect host for the evening. “Ciroc used to be a well liquor, the bottom of the barrel because it’s cheaply made. Then, Puff worked a deal with Diageo where he became part owner, and he would get a percentage of every bottle sold. So, imagine if a bottle that sold for $6 five years ago now sells for $35 five years later. Sales went to multi-million cases a year, so imagine how much he made off that deal. But, the liquor never changed.” said Ski.
Panelists also discussed why do black music artists endorse alcohol and reference alcohol in their lyrics and videos compared to their peers of other races. Kirsten Daniels said, “It started as a way to emulate a lifestyle that Black people did not initially have where we were seen pouring champagne on each other and being out in the club. It was a lifestyle that we didn’t grow up seeing. It made it easy for labels to say, I can cut you a deal with this liquor company or this beer company. We became a vehicle for this advertisement because we were trying to emulate a lifestyle that we just weren’t accustomed to seeing. From an artist perspective, it becomes easy to accept that money, and you don’t even realize how much damage you’re doing to the community where people become addicted. Now we have a responsibility that we don’t really accept anymore. White people aren’t putting people in the forefront and saying represent this or represent that. They aren’t organically talking about it like that. But, we [Black people] are putting it in your face and saying ‘hey drink this Hennessy or drink this Jack’. Artists are taking a check without realizing what it’s doing to our communities and our families.”
The guests were attentive and receptive to the panelists as the conversation was very broad while covering a variety of topics under the mantle of cocktails and music. “I see it all the time that Artists have to ‘get lit’ before they record or go on stage,” said Ski. “When I ask an artist what they need before a recording session, undoubtedly they ask for Hennessy and Ciroc,” said Bryan-Michael Cox. Overall the panelists agreed that artists often give their best while under the influence of alcohol.
The purpose of the conversation was to bring awareness to the power and influence of alcohol in the music industry and whether or not Black music artists are being used to ‘pimp’ their Black communities. “It’s a thin line. It’s called spirits for a reason. Art is created under some real craziness. The lines get blurred, and people are promoting liquor unnecessarily. Chris Brown made a whole song called liquor. I never incorporate or highlight music that’s about the promotion of liquor. Now the concept of liquor is merging into everyday R&B and urban music. Every record on the radio is about liquor.”
Host, Frank Ski asked the panel, “Why Are Black Artists Being Pimped So Bad?” “Artists have a short life span. It makes you feel that you have to take what comes your way. We really do prostitute ourselves out to the liquor industry. You don’t have longevity in this industry anymore,” says Kirsten Daniel. R&B Singer Jarvis Mays said, “It’s the exposure, plus you get a couple of dollars in your pocket. If you come from the projects, of course, you’re going to take it.”
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