Lizzo Apology

For me, keeping up with celebrity and influencer news is everything. Not in the sense that I am completely involved in their lives like reality TV but in the sense that I am intrigued by what they’re doing and how their choices or actions change public perception of them. Lizzo (Melissa Jefferson) has been a champion for body positivity and has been a welcome face in the music industry. Ever since her first hit Truth Hurts, she has skyrocketed in her fame. Recently Jefferson has come under fire for a lawsuit that was served to her by former dancers who worked with the singer. The lawsuit covers allegations of sexual assault and harassment, religious harassment, the creation of a hostile work environment, body-shaming, and many other allegations that painted the singer in a very negative light. The internet, mainly TikTok from what I witnessed ran with the story with many people reading over and explaining the lawsuits, restating accounts of the dancers who served the lawsuit, and people generally shaming Jefferson for her hypocrisy.

After the news was released Aug 1, 2023 Jefferson released a statement to her official Instagram account on August 3, 2023. The statement is a gallery-style post with multiple slides with text on them. The statement attempts to do three things: Displace blame from Jefferson onto her former employees, blame her employees for their own ‘unprofessional’ behavior, and overshadow this controversy by trying to invoke her previous good work. Jefferson’s apology was only posted to Instagram and no official press release or statement was made by her PR team. The apology was not received particularly well by the jury of public opinion, nor was the apology well written by any means. There were strategic points to release a statement after the official lawsuit was released, but the apology did entirely fall flat because of the attempts to displace Jefferson’s blame onto the Plaintiffs. Overall, Jefferson’s response was in general ill taste, and she did not actually provide an apology for the allegations set before her.

Pop Punk Public Relations, or Lack Thereof

Philadelphia-based pop-punk band Grayscale announced on April 25th that they would be touring with All Time Low, Gym Class Heroes, and Lauran Hibberd. This announcement caused the band to face immense backlash from fans and casual listeners of Grayscale due to some heavy allegations made against All Time Low.

In short and to keep it light, All Time Low are currently involved in investigations against their lead guitarist, Jack Barakat. While the allegations have not been proven true, there are such a large number of them that it would be hard to prove all of them false. A majority of the pop-punk fanbase, myself included, have ceased listening to All Time Low, as well as anyone who shows any support for the band. Grayscale has subsequently become the next band to be part of this.

After the announcement of the upcoming fall tour, devoted fans of Grayscale have decided to stop supporting them because of their apparent lack of care and love for assault and abuse victims. Being one of these devoted fans, I have been torn on whether to keep supporting them. I flew to the Midwest this past weekend to attend two of their shows at the House of Blues in Chicago and The Rave / Eagles Club in Milwaukee, and since I had booked the flight and bought concert tickets a month before the announcement was made, I went through with the plans and got on an airplane to go see my favorite band.

What tears me apart the most is the lack of public relations in regard to this situation. After Grayscale broadcasted that they would be touring with a band of potential criminals, there has not been one word out of any of their mouths about it, from either the band members’ personal accounts or the band’s account. Fans continue daily to comment on their social media to try and change their mind about the tour. Many believe that dropping off the tour and going on a headline tour of their own would not only make them more money but invite a load of their fans back into the fanbase.

In my opinion, a little bit more openness to hearing their fans’ thoughts and a show of genuine consideration would benefit Grayscale greatly. As someone with knowledge of public relations and knowledge of how pop-punk fanbases work, any kind of statement from the band would help the situation greatly, even if it is just something like, “We hear you, we will do better.” I believe that the lack of statements from the band makes it seem like they do not care about what their fans are saying in regard to the tour. It makes them come across as ignorant and insensitive, and the more silence they let their fans endure, the more fans they lose.

Implementing public relations and specifically designating someone to manage their crisis would absolutely help to save Grayscale’s image, reputation, and career.

Public Relations and the Music Industry

Public relations is vital to the music industry in many ways. It allows for the music artists put out to be shared with more people. Public relations in music allows for music to thrive. Public relations in the music industry creates a buzz for the artist. With fewer outlets covering up-and-coming artists, Public relations is vital for newer artists to get a footing in the industry. With changing technology and new media sites, a social media presence is essential for artists and bands to get their voices and music out.

Music also relies on Public relations for planning ahead in changing trends. It keeps ahead of live performances and releases from these artists. With the increased use of social media, music Public relations has grown in importance since social media presence is key for musicians to get and keep a following. When smaller sites shut down, Public relations is key for musicians to either rebuild or keep their following.

Public relations also provides extra job opportunities for those who want to be in the music industry but don’t feel like they can be a recording artist or producer. Due to the demand for public relations aspects in the music industry, artists having someone who is knowledgeable and skilled in that area is key for a growing and very demanding industry. Public relations is also a very diverse field within the music industry. There are a variety of publicists that someone can be within the music industry such as for tours and music releases. Each area of publication also has a director that goes with it. This creates a vast and expanding job field for people who love music but don’t want to be the face behind the music. Public relations ultimately is one of the most vital areas of the music industry because without it, artists eventually fade from public eye with time, but PR allows for music to thrive.

How J. Cole Has Finally Begun to Embrace Social Media

Not known for being on social media as often as his other musical counterparts, Grammy-award winning rapper J. Cole has used the year 2021 to connect with his fans more often than he has ever done before. Whether it be through his Twitter account or on Instagram, Cole has almost made as many announcements online this year alone as he has in the last couple of years all together. About a decade ago, Cole and his production team were known for their “Dollar and a Dream” tours, where they promote $1 dollar concerts through word of mouth across several cities worldwide, but things are way different now. Much of this can be attributed to the changing times that society has undergone with the global pandemic as a result of COVID-19, but more than that, it appears that Cole has truly begun to embrace his ability to have a big platform to keep fans updated on his future endeavors.

It started with his first post of the year on January 21st, where he humorously admits in his tweet that he “forgot how to use Twitter”, before going on to promote his new signature sneakers with popular shoe company Puma. After this announcement, Cole again took his usual hiatus from social media. Four months later, however, he shocked fans with the announcement of a new album on the way titled, “The Off-Season.” Right away, this sent fans across all platforms into a frenzy waiting for the album to be released, and in the meantime, Cole would stay active on Twitter giving continuous updates on the album and promoting his latest sneakers.

After the release of the album, he would send links on his account to his newest music videos and to where fans could purchase tickets to see him on tour. This led to more social media outlets other being used by Cole, including YouTube and the website of his music label, Dreamville.com. In fact, he has used YouTube to release his newest song, “Heaven’s EP”, and the song is only able to be listened to on there and no other streaming services. Besides this, he has continued to be online selling merchandise and promoting other artists on his label.

Recently, Cole postponed his Philadelphia concert from its previously scheduled date on September 29th to October 27th. He announced the sudden news to fans on his personal Instagram account, stating that logistical issues were the cause of the rescheduling. He stated, “While the show is amazing, we didn’t account for the fact that it takes way longer to load [the lights] into the house, so we’re experiencing delays in opening the doors to get people in.”

Ultimately, J. Cole is another artist that has taken advantage of this new social media era to display his work on a variety of platforms. Although it took him a little longer to accept than other rappers, he has fully utilized how it keeps his fans in the know of his otherwise private lifestyle.

other rappers, he has fully utilized how it keeps his fans in the know of his otherwise private lifestyle

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