Why it's time for black celebs to ditch the entourage

OPINION - The issue lies in the fact that they usually have no honest supportive role in the vision businessmen and corporations have for an upcoming or established artist...

We’re all familiar with that one friend or family member that you love to death, but wish would just go away every now and again. In the world of entertainment, this feeling has to be quadrupled.

For many upcoming stars, the friends and family they keep around are just as important as the way they speak and present themselves publicly. Making the choice to keep a group of your friends and family close for the ride can be a detrimental factor to success. Just as they’re the first to support, they’re also known to be the first to possibly damage the stability of mountains of hard work.

Hip-hop has become synonymous with entourages. They’ve been present with rising rappers since the ‘70s and have reached such a plateau of presence amongst the public that they’ve been replicated and parodied continuously. Its most popular comedic portrayal today has been seen through Tracy Morgan’s support characters on 30 Rock — Grizz and Dot Com. Malibu’s Most Wanted became an instant classic based upon a similar theme, and even Eminem’s semi-autobiographical story in 8 Mile solidifies the strength of the power the entourage has on the rising star.

[youtubevid http://youtube.com/watch?v=c8yp5_1yZj8]

The feud between R&B’s re-emerging prince, Chris Brown, and genre-free new crooner Frank Ocean went from a silly battle of ‘the best insult in 140-characters’ to a pathetic fail in 6 days. While Ocean is steadily gaining respect following the release of his album-turned-mixtape Nostalgia/Ultra, Brown is still very much on the chopping block in terms of his public persona.

Odd Future, the art collective belonging to Ocean and nine others, clashed with Brown when what was supposedly a complimentary tweet led to a retaliatory tweet by Ocean. “I [expletive] with Frank Ocean! Reminds me of a young James Fauntleroy or Kevin Cossum,” wrote Brown. “I [expletive] with chris brown, reminds me of a young sisqo or ike turner,” responded Ocean — a strong sting, but no physical harm done.

Yet, the internet virally exploded early Thursday morning when a quick 35-second clip filmed an annoyed Ocean followed in his car by three taunting “men.” Claiming to be the cousins of Brown, they can be seen pulling up alongside Ocean towards a stoplight while yelling “Catch the fade!” Odd Future’s leader, Tyler the Creator, later took to Twitter to end the feud following another near-physical altercation between parties. Brown agreed: “it’s stupid.”Entourages have their cons and pros. But more times than naught, they’re referred to as “goons” for a reason — to intimidate. They’re to serve as protection on two accounts: first as a physical barrier; second as a “root” or “grounding” from home; to juxtapose any amount of acquired fame. They’re known to be the most loyal and dedicated. The issue lies in the fact that they usually have no honest supportive role in the vision businessmen and corporations have for an upcoming or established artist.

In the same light of negativity, hip-hop’s hopeful new favorite white girl may be in the same line of trouble when it comes to her Mob Crew. Kreayshawn, who recently blew up in a matter of weeks following the success of her “Gucci, Gucci” YouTube video, has had more articles written on her friend, V-Nasty, than her inked deal with Columbia Records. Hailing from Oakland, California, the director sparked attention as a white female rapper, which ironically became the bulk of her recent criticism.

The pot initially began to boil after Kreayshawn dropped the n-word on Twitter referring to a DMX lyric. Following the remark, she retorted with the excuse that it was simply a quote from a song: “I never said it in any of my music,” she stated in an interview. But her friend V-Nasty, whom she refers to as her sister, has been filmed dropping the n-bomb religiously. Once a video surfaced showcasing the side-kick using the word constantly in a freestyle, complaints piled in and the video has since been removed.

With the already heavily debated n-word amongst the African-American community, V-Nasty could be damaging her friend’s career that has yet to fully begin. And for Chris Brown… well, he may be crippling any chances of regaining respect…again. The purpose of an entourage is to have someone around who is familiar to you and who may help you on your climb to the top. Maybe it’s time to do like the olden days and simply send money home… lest we forget Cheddar Bob (from 8 Mile) mistakenly shot himself in his own foot…