Lauer vs. Keys, Round 1 | Solid State
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Monday, April 21, 2008

Lauer vs. Keys, Round 1

Posted By on Mon, Apr 21, 2008 at 12:17 PM

click to enlarge bridgetburns_2.jpg

As part of my new "twenty-five and time to get my shit together" routine, I've been waking up an hour earlier each morning. It gives me a chance to fold some laundry, drink some coffee, and get a little work done on my biz-naz, all to the over-caffeinated background noise of Matt Lauer and the Today Show team. Or Diane with Good Morning America. Whichever has the more interesting guest.

This morning I chose Today, for an interview with Amy Poehler, and was then treated to the first of their "Summer Concert Series". Today's performance was by Alicia Keys, who busted Matt for calling it a "Summer Concert Series" when she had to be bundled in a parka to perform. I had to agree.

I'm not an Alicia Keys fan. I've listened to her songs at the gym without realizing I'm listening to her songs at the gym, but really the most I know about her is that she interrupts my coveted episodes of The Hills with something they call a "micro series". And it blows.

But this morning I felt akin to her.

After she banged out one piano power ballad, Matt joined her on stage to ask a few questions, the most notable of which was seeking clarification on the statements Keys allegedly made to Blender magazine in which she called Gangsta Rap "a ploy to convince black people to kill each other."

Googling the story on my laptop, I found that the alleged quotes, and Keys' claims that she had been misrepresented by the magazine, had already been beaten to death over a week go by a variety of news sources. So I could sympathize that Keys might be feeling frustrated with the continued attention on the negative.

Last Thursday I organized a benefit show for Michelle's Earth Foundation, the nonprofit established in memory of Michelle Gardner-Quinn. As a friend of Michelle's, the continued negative press about the upcoming trial has been hard to deal with. Especially knowing that there is so much good being done in Michelle's name that no one cares to cover. Because it's not what people want to hear about? I have a hard time believing that because I try to have faith in humanity, but that's what I'm sometimes told.

Anyway, Michelle's mom and I worked together to send press releases to all Vermont media, and I was thrilled when Fox 44 called to meet me outside the Monkey for an interview. And then immediately fell into a sweat thinking that the interviewer might dare to ask me about the murder or the trial or god forbid, Brian Rooney, and I would have to look him in the eye and tell him to shut the hell up. Not really the image my philanthropic label is going for.

Luckily the interviewer did no such thing, but later that night I was more than disappointed to watch my piece cut down to a three second clip, while Brian Rooney's trial took top slot. Coverage improved drastically on Thursday, but Wednesday night I left the Monkey in tears.

This morning on Today, Matt Lauer pulled a similar one on Keys when he immediately asked her about her comments to Blender magazine, while Keys had really come on the show to promote a variety of other things, including her documentary about the plight of the people of Africa.

You can watch a video clip of her response below - just skip ahead to around 1:12. Even with a mouth full of toothpaste, I gave her a little "woot" for it.

I really have no opinion on Keys' alleged comments. My only opinion is on the media's coverage of the scandal, and the media's coverage of all things negative, in and out of the music world. All news stories, good or bad, warrant coverage. But sometimes, when the horse is long dead, you just have to give the bad news a rest. Especially when there's plenty of good to replace it.

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