I suffer from delusions of grandeur. There is no apparent cure for my affliction. The “beast” thrives on a steady dose of unrealistic reality shows, like my favorite, Style Network’s Kimora: Life in the Fab Lane, featuring the urban fashion mogul, Kimora Lee Simmons.
In my mind, I am all that I aspire to be: wealthy, powerful and well cared for. And for me, it’s not if my dreams will come true but when. Who better than me to keep hope alive?Sometimes, I allow myself to dwell in the “What if?” of it all. What kind of life will I have if I ever got all that I wanted, if not what I needed?
Grammy Award-nominated R&B singer Keyshia Cole is living the dream with all of its messy complications. A part of that life is being played out before our eyes in the BET docudrama, Keyshia Cole: The Way It Is which concludes its second season tonight with at one hour finale at 10 p.m. EST.To say that the Oakland, CA native, Cole, 26, is a product of a broken home is an understatement — “shattered” is more like it. Her mother is a crack addict and she visits her at California prison at the conclusion of last season. Her sister, Neffe, 27, has three small children and another on the way. Her sister is volatile and prone to excessive drinking due in part to the dissolution of her 10-year marriage.
Cole, “made it” in spite of her family having been adopted by her foster parents at age 2 who clearly instilled in her a sense of self respect, love of God, and a fierce work ethic. And it’s readily apparent that if she is not careful, Cole might lose it all because of her biological family. Instead of a celebratory tale, hers may become a cautionary one.
It’s not like we haven’t seen this possible scenario before. Boy/girl from the rough side of town beats the odds to become the next new thing. He/she shares the rather tenuous wealth with less financially solvent friends and family — keeping his/her promise never to forget from where and from whom he/she came. He/She spends more money than what he/she earns and by the time the discovery is made it’s too late, the downward spiral has begun. Names like rapper MC Hammer and former boxer Mike Tyson come to mind.
In the case of Cole, this spiral may have begun. In a recent episode, her manager cautions Cole about spending money to fly her friends and family to her tour locations. He advises her to give a post tour party instead. And he says that buying her mother and sister an Atlanta condo/townhouse is not the best use of her resources. The manager recommends that Cole create an expense line for her family and friends and stay within the budgeted allocation. One wonders if she will say no, when its necessary or prudent, or if she will she succumb to guilt believing herself not to be a good daughter or friend if pulls in the financial reins.
In so many ways, I can’t even begin to imagine a life like Cole’s before the fame or now. I come from a stable middle class family and have been taught fiscal prudence, although I have not always followed what I now know to be my parents’ sage advice. As for friends, I have few and none that I would feel obligated to share my success with in such an intimate way. And my relatives would rather gouge out their eyes before ever recognizing my success, let alone wanting to partake in the spoils of it.
America loves the rags to riches story as unrealistic, unattainable and unsustainable it may be. Most people get to the top of the mountain and remain there by a combination of sustained focused effort, fortune opportunities seized upon, and excellent management of resources — this being the most difficult to accomplish without a family history/knowledge in this area or trustworthy wise council. How often do you hear of famous people being “taken” by some deceptive “business manager” who placed the celebrities’ money in investments netting poor or no returns or who neglected to pay federal/state income taxes? Far too often.
In spite of the terrible odds against her, I am somewhat hopeful that Keyshia Cole will show us not only the way it is but also the way it can be.
If you miss tonight’s season finale and/or want to watch the season from the beginning, here’s the schedule:
Tuesday, December 11 10 p.m. EST Season Finale
Friday, December 14 10 p.m. EST Season Finale
Saturday, December 15 9 p.m. EST Season Finale
Sunday, December 16 See it from the Beginning with Episode 1 6:30 p.m. EST