Recently I have been annoyed with pop star Rita Ora, star of ad campaigns such as Adidas, Samsung, Rimmel and DKNY – something which has provoked me to write this mini diatribe for a Blog From The Bog on Rita Ora and capitalism.
Since hitting fame in 2012 with pop cheese, R.I.P and How We Do, Rita Ora has been on the rise with nearly 5 million twitter followers, 3 number 1 singles (UK charts) and actress credits in Fifty Shades of Grey and Southpaw. However, after all of this success which no doubt bought her much money, all under the watchful eye of Jay Z, she insists on starring in multiple adverts, endorsing products, and for what gain?
As the late Bill Hicks once said, ‘Here’s the deal, folks. You do a commercial – you’re off the artistic roll call, forever…you are another whore at the capitalist gang bang’ (1). Now, first off, I am not suggesting here that Rita Ora has any artistic credit. The point is, Ora has enough money from her multiple media appearances which leads us to beg the question, why does she need to be selling these products? Does she love Samsung that much? The depressing thing is that the song that appears on her Samsung advert has become one of the most Shazamed this year (2) which suggests that advertising for popularity sake clearly works. The fact that Shazamed is becoming an actual word is also depressing.
Spin.com said this of the singer, ‘Rita Ora is, by all accounts, living a pop star’s life, except with one crucial exception: a pop star’s success’ (3), which I think really hits the nail on the head with why Ora’s endorsements really infuriate me. Yes, she has 3 number 1 singles but she is yet to crack America and I can count on 1 hand all her achievements. As Karl Marx wrote, ‘the rich will do anything for the poor but get off their backs’ (4), and having Ora shoved down our throats with mediocre appearances in music, film and TV adverts does, sorry, did not make a cultural icon. It seems as though times have changed.
Another example of Ora taking advantage of her fame is when she advertised for backing dances to work for free on a recent music video with the promise of being ‘part of her next big hit’ (5). Marx talks about ‘commodity fetishism’ (6) as transforming the subjective into the objective; real things that people believe have intrinsic value. According to the advert, she is kind of a big deal, using rhetoric such as ‘big hit’, so as to infer that she is already a big thing that will help your career as a dancer. However, who has determined this? Did the people say we want Ora or is it all part of a marketing strategy designed around her becoming a commodity?
An X Factor?
Then came the announcement that Ora would be jumping from a capitalist boat (TV show, The Voice) to a behemoth cruise liner of dreams and horrors, alongside disciple of money, Simon Cowell, on The X Factor. A show which exploits the hard work and dedication of the everyday folk to make money – much like a boss watching his minions work for low wages while he receives all the profit as depicted in a cartoon from 1911 below. The X Factor has no moral fibres and is itself just one big, long, advert of kitsch.
The irony of having Rita Ora (Cheryl Cole Fernandez-Versini Tweedy and Nicole Scherzinger also partake in the irony) starring as Judge of Talent is the fact that she herself has been manufactured to be a product pushing pop star who is now looking to create more manufactured singers on a manufactured show, in what I like to call INCEPTION MANUFACTURED – 21st Century capitalism, people. ‘The whole thing still remains the age-old activity of the conqueror who buys commodities from the conquered with the money he has stolen from them’ (8) wrote Marx on capitalists as a whole, and now we can watch Rita Ora, fresh from a Adidas advert, on The X Factor, purchasing the talent and dreams of contestants (the conquered) with the money made from viewers and past contestants, all the while using this as a platform to get her fair share, because she has not received enough money from her singing, acting and endorsing, I assume.
So why does Rita Ora agree to all these endorsements and appearances? Is she obsessed with fame? Greedy? Or is she just a good capitalist? With articles arising of industry outrage and her lack of true commercial success on a global scale, could Ora’s aura be nothing but hot air? After all, isn’t that just what advertising is? Hot air? It is true that she is not the only one in history to over use their face to gain more fame and money and in no way is this mini thing a bullying campaign towards her as an individual. If I was in her shoes, I’d probably try and get as much money as I could too, you’re not young and commercially wanted forever. My issue is with what she represents. In life there are winners and losers, clearly capitalism is winning, still.
Also, let me take this opportunity to say that this is not my confession as a Marxist or a Communist. I am simply saying, do not take us for fools, capitalists. Churchill spoke best when he said, ‘the inherent vice of capitalism is the unequal sharing of blessings; the inherent virtue of socialism is the equal sharing of miseries’ (9).
That pretty much shuts us all up, doesn’t it? Churchill, the last of the mavericks. And that is another blog from the bog from an arm chair philosophiser just looking to put the wrongs right through the use of ever reliable Wikipedia.
1 Bill Hicks Rant in E Minor
2 The Drum http://www.thedrum.com/news/2015/06/02/uk-top-shazamed-ads-charles-hamilton-and-rita-ora-earn-samsung-place-chart
3 spin.com http://www.spin.com/2015/01/why-does-everybody-hate-rita-ora-doing-it/
4 Karl Marx http://www.huffingtonpost.co.uk/john-wight/the-rich-will-do-anything_b_1538244.html
5 Rita Ora Video Shocker:Star demands extras work for FREE to win a chance to star in next hit http://www.mirror.co.uk/3am/celebrity-news/rita-ora-video-shocker-star-5695707
6 Commodity Fetishism https://en.wikipedia.org/wiki/Commodity_fetishism
7 Pyramid of Capitalist System from Industrial Worker 1911 https://en.wikipedia.org/wiki/Pyramid_of_Capitalist_System
8 Political Philosophy: All That Matters By Johanna Oksal published 2013
9 Winston Churchill “Demobilisation” speech in the House of Commons (1945-10-22)