In an interview with TheSource, Hay, a music biz veteran, discusses the role he played in helping skyrocket Rihanna—real name, Robyn Fenty—to superstardom, with some assistance from MTV, and more than a little luck of the Irish!
Back in early 2005, Rihanna was still a fledging artist, releasing her first single, Pon de Replay—one of three tracks she recorded for a demo tape to be sent out to record labels—ultimately landing her her first record deal, with Jay-Z's Def Jam.
As soon as he heard the song, Hay was instantly taken by the Barbadian beauty, jumping on board as her publicist, and playing the track for music big wig, Bruce Swedien—best known for his work on Michael Jackson’s Thriller, which still remains one of the best selling albums of all time.
Hay instantly received a thumbs up from the renown music engineer and producer, who declared that Pon de Replay had all the makings of a smash hit.
Convincing the press of RiRi’s musical prowess proved to be a much harder feat though—as Hay explains, his first Rihanna media pitch was turned down by practically ever journalist he reached out to.
It was Vineyard who took Hay’s press release and turned it into a two sentence blurb that scrolled across America’s TV screens on MTV news.
Now, this was back in the days when MTV was still (kinda. sorta) about the music—pre-Jersey Shore nonsense and non-stop reality programming—back in 2005, MTV still delivered a punch, and could make or break a fledging artist, just by mentioning their name.
Sure enough, Hay found that by simply adding the magic phrase “As Seen on MTV” to his press releases, music journos suddenly started sitting up and taking notice.
And, yeah, it was kind of a stretch, but, technically her name DID appear in (an albeit brief) blurb on the station, therefore, technically, she WAS seen on MTV!
Popdust included the stunt in our round-up of The Ten Greatest False Rumors In Pop History—and, whether you agree with the moral ethics of the stunt or not—it was a means to an end, and let’s face it, Rihanna (and Hay) have not looked back since.
During the ten years since, Rihanna has become one of the best-selling artists of all time—racking up over 150 million record sales worldwide.
Despite playing such a pivotal role in Fenty’s breakout into stardom, Hay refuses to take full credit, pointing out there were a slew of other factors at play.
“There have been mentions that I was the one who broke Rihanna’s career, but that is completely overstating the facts.” Hay tells TheSource..
“It took a lot of people [to break Rihanna’s career], but most importantly, Rihanna is a natural star and the truth is that she just out worked everybody else. She deserves the credit for where she is today.”
Breaking down the bias of comfort films.
With the constant onslaught of complicated news that 2020 has brought, sometimes you just want to be able to shut off your brain, relax, and feel happy.
Enter comfort films. These are the feel-good movies that feel like a warm hug when you finish them, the ones that allow you to escape for a short while. We often turn to these types of films in times of trouble or extreme stress, and when we're not sure what films of this nature we should watch, we turn to the Internet for options.
We know Ellis Ross is fun and has an offbeat style, but her hairstyle felt like a caricature, and one that was completely unnecessary because there are Black women who have the kind of hair she seemed to be trying to mimic.
Black hair is political.
It is still a radical act for Black people to wear our hair just as it grows out of our heads.
Just as Black people are diverse, Black hair is inclusive of a broad range of colors, textures, density, and porosity. Terms like 3B and 4C are commonly used to describe hair types. While some people still think of hair types as a grading scheme, much like the debate about having "good hair," we are learning more about how hair types have specific care needs. As we grow deeper in love with ourselves and our hair, Black people are looking for the best products on the market and are committed to supporting Black businesses.
When Tracee Ellis Ross announced the launch of Pattern Beauty, there was a lot of buzz and excitement. A Black woman we love and whose hair has always been an unapologetically overwhelming feature was going to respond to Black hair care needs. Sign us up! Now, however, with her Elle magazine cover, some Black women are wondering if Ross is taking up too much of the Black hair space.