There’s a scene in one of my favorite films, A Bronx Tale, when the main character, Calogero, asks his Mafioso mentor Sonny if it’s better to be loved or feared.
Sonny laments, “It’s nice to be both, but it’s difficult. But if I had my choice…I would rather be feared. Fear lasts longer than love.”
While Sonny may be right in the underworld-mafia sense, a similar question came to mind recently when I was watching the VH1 show, Love & Hip-Hop.
If you missed the show, you can catch up here. But to briefly recap, the Love & Hip-Hop peals back the layers of the rap industry to take a look at the way women navigate the business. Two women, Chrissy and Emily B., are in relationships with rappers (Jim Jones and Fabolous respectively) with commitment issues, while two other women, Olivia and Somaya Reece, are trying to kick-start their careers.
Each of the women is struggling to be loved and respected either in the business world or in their relationships.
In the first episode Somaya, a beautiful and very curvy rapper, is trying to make a name for herself in the industry by working with Jim Jones. However, her overtly sexy image and song, “Mira Mi Pum Pum,” is not being taken seriously by Jim’s girlfriend Chrissy. As a matter of fact, Chrissy is not happy Somaya is working with Jim at all, I presume, because she’s (Somaya) sexy. There seems to be no other reason why the women can’t get along, other than the fact that Chrissy doesn’t want Somaya working with Jim because of the way she looks. I wonder, if Chrissy would have a problem with Jim working with an upstart male rapper—probably not. On the other hand, had their relationship started on better terms, Somaya could possibly use Chrissy as an ally to build her career.
In the end, both women seem to lack respect for each other’s position, but in a business built on who you know, Somaya’s career aspirations could be hurt if she can’t build the right connections and garner respect from her peers in the industry.
So what do you think Clutchettes and Gents? As you climb the career ladder, would you rather people love you or respect your work? Sound off!