In the last year we’ve been inundated with stories and reports of celebrities leaving the public eye to pursue more fulfilling careers. From the likes of David Beckham who opted to pursue an acting career in Hollywood after leaving football, to Princess Diana who gave up her royal lifestyle to follow her passion for art – and eventually found success as an artist in Britain and Paris, from Justin Bieber who spent two years as a member of the British pop group Arctic Monkeys, to Britney Spears, who had the misfortune of being one of the most popular female singers of all time. But why, then, has there been such a big focus on celebrity deaths this year? Why have news and articles about the lives of these ‘celebs’ become so much more important than ever before? Why is it that the stories of celebrities are always considered important, even if they end up in the newspapers?
Firstly, the impact of entertainment news. This year marks the fiftieth year since the death of the legendary singer-songwriter Amy Winehouse, whose powerful, soaring voice defined the late eighties and early nineties. On her sixty-first birthday, the influence of Winehouse’s musical and creative legacy lives on through her lasting hits and legendary dance. And yet there was no television coverage, radio broadcasts, or newspaper stories devoted to the music legend’s passing.
Another interesting point to note about the lack of coverage of celebrity deaths in the past is that much of what was written about the musician was often sensationalist. It may be that the press saw Winehouse as a ‘goody two-shoes’, despite the fact that she had recently made a public intervention in an attempt to save her marriage with her husband Dave Stewart. The fact that Winehouse had been divorced four times, and had been involved in a nasty custody battle with one of her children are likely to have been lost in the mix. The real star of the story, therefore, was not the singer who had been battling her ex, but the divorce-court judge and his legal team.
In addition to these issues, some critics have argued that much of what we read and hear about entertainment news is the product of media gossip. Much of what is published has little or no basis in fact and often involves journalists speculating and interviewing unnamed people for their own amusement.
Still, despite the recent interest in entertainment news, there are still some reasons for readers to feel optimistic. It is certainly true that music continues to be an integral part of our culture, and music has always been seen by many as an integral part of our culture, whether it is the music of a famous singer like Amy Winehouse or that inspired a hit like the Spice Girls’ song ‘Hot Fuss’, or a new musical like ‘Wicked Game’.
We also live in a world where much of our entertainment is seen in terms of entertainment news and this helps us keep up to date with how popular culture is developing. This is why it is so important for us to read as much information as we can about the lives and careers of those we love, or at least be aware of them.