The Star Phenomenon of Will Smith

The Star Phenomenon of Will Smith

The star phenomenon is said to have begun in the 1820s, when “certain actors’ names” were printed in theatre advertisements (Branston and Stafford, 2003, 108). It was in the 1970s that study of stardom and celebrity status was included in the academic discourses. (Redmond and Holmes, Preface to Stardom and celebrity: A reader, 2007, 5). This was only after, “manufacturing and marketing of celebrities” had become a big industry itself. (Rein et. al., 1997, 1-2). The economic, historical and psychological aspects of celebrityhood have been discussed at length by many scholars since then.The economic angle produced observations like “the cultural industries …produce the famous for surplus profit” (Redmond and Holmes, Preface to Stardom and celebrity: A reader, 2007,4) and “the value of visibility has become a commodity in its own right quite independent from accomplishment, sacrifice, heroics” (Redmond and Holmes quoting Rein et. al., Preface to Stardom and celebrity: A reader, 2007, 5). The psychological angle can be explained by scholarly statements like “stars and celebrities are consumed and appropriated by fans in ways which have a profound effect on their identity, self-image and sense of belonging. “(Redmond and Holmes, Preface to Stardom and celebrity: A reader, 2007,6). The success myth (Dyer, 1998) that existed in human society since time immemorial is another explanation for star creation when viewed from a historical viewpoint.Will Smith had special talents and his high school teachers used to call him prince charming which inspired him to later take on the nickname fresh prince when he became a rapper. (Doeden, 2009, 13). So, the personality of a star or celebrity also matters a bit at least in the early period of his or her making.On May 29, 1990, Jefferson Graham (1990) quoted NBC Entertainment President Brandon Tartikoff in ‘USA Today’, commenting about Will Smith.

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