It is no secret that the American people love to follow the lives and careers of the famous and wealthy, in a sense living vicariously through them, or simply through fascination, given how different many celebrities’ lives tend to be than those of others.A whole industry exists around this interest: celebrity gossip, urban news, entertainment news, and following the latest Hollywood developments together make up a considerable portion of the media, from print magazines to television shows and radio. How can a person keep track of the latest Hollywood buzz and know what his or her favorite celebrities are doing? And what are some trends and milestones that celebrities have set or reached in recent years?
Celeb News and Business
Following celebrities, and their endorsements, can be big business, and given the huge popularity of celebrities in general, this is bound to be true well into the future. For example, when a celebrity openly supports a cause, this affects younger Americans aged 18-36 the most, or 27% of that demographic. By contrast, among those aged 68 and over, only about 10% will do the same; that is, support a cause because a celebrity openly did so. Similarly, the Harvard Business School conducted a study in 2011 and found out that when a big name endorser signs on for a product, that company’s sales grow roughly $10 million per year, and a 0.25% increase in stock returns can be expected. Overall, the celebrity gossip industry reaches at least $3 billion every year.
African Americans and Fame
In recent decades, African Americans have risen to prominence in talk shows, movie and TV show acting, and the music industry, and many of them are among the top earners or performers in their fields. Oprah Winfrey is a prominent example. From 1986 to 2011, The Oprah Winfrey Show ran for 25 seasons, and it was shown on over 120 channels and reached an audience of some 10 million people. At the end of its first year, the show grossed some $125 million, $30 million of which went to Winfrey herself. Meanwhile, in film, actor Will Smith his highly successful and is one of Hollywood’s highest paid performers, and every one of his films has made at least $100 million. More broadly, today’s African Americans can view Black Entertainment Television, or BET, which is in fact viewed by nearly 90 million homes around the world, and by 2010, it was the most prominent TV network targeting young African Americans for culture and entertainment.
The latest Hollywood gossip scene can also find plenty to talk about with blacks in music. Some artists, such as Beyonce and Jay-Z, are hugely popular worldwide, and the genres of hip-hop and RandB, largely created by blacks, enjoy success everywhere today. In fact, in a period of 12 months leading up to the spring of 2008, an estimated 6.94 million people in the United States had attended RandB or rap/hip-hop concerts. On social media, another hub for Hollywood news and the latest celebrity talk, these genres are huge. In July 2011, for example, among college students the Facebook page for the hip-hop genre accumulated 314,540 “likes,” the most of any musical genre. And in terms of economics, it is believed that every year, the spending power that hip-hop demographics contributes is around $500 billion, a considerable amount.