This morning someone posted this on my wall: it’s an article from Revolva’s blog, where the contortionist was contacted by Oprah’s people to perform as a side act for the “Oprah’s The Life You Want Weekend” that would draw people from all over the country with its $99-$999 tickets. Only one caveat… they didn’t want to pay her. You can read the whole account here.
A few people commented that Revolva’s response was just a temper tantrum—a beat-scene avant garde complaining when the honor of performing for Oprah should have been enough. That this could have been a huge opportunity for her. That she was lucky to be contacted with such a huge queue of people dying to get in. That this article was simply because she felt slighted.
I saw red for a moment and then in a frenzy of rage-fueled justice I wrote this in reaction to the people who took Oprah’s side.
Revolva’s not “feeling slighted” by Oprah’s company and she makes a good point. This is about a billionaire empire that is trying to stiff a hardworking woman.
Did her booking agent get paid? Yes. Did the venue get paid? Yes. Did the roadies, the techies, the caterers, the marketers, the transport, the hair, the makeup, the wardrobe, and everyone else it took to make that show get paid? Would the show be the same if there was no one to light the stages, or put them up, or to coordinate everything? Of course not ! They’re valuable people.
So, don’t you think the people on those stages deserve the same professional courtesy as a roadie or a techie? Doesn’t she deserve to be able to pay her rent and buy food like everyone else?
She wasn’t “slighted” by OprahCorp. A billionaire wanted services from her and thought that her services were less important than her hair and makeup. That she was less important than the people who light the stage. That she was worthless, or at the most only worth the toll for the bay bridge.
That’s what it’s like to be an artist today. We’re always supposed to be grateful to be chosen. We’re supposed to feel lucky that we’re gifted. We’re supposed to share our gift with the world… only we’re not allowed to ask for money for it. The “glory” is supposed to be enough.
And there’s very little of that too.