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Celebrity Slam (11/08/2017)

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What’s in a name?

One of the baseline truths of our celebrity culture is that a person’s name is valuable. Oftentimes, that name is the most powerful currency a famous person has. Simply by lending their name to a project or product or cause, they can generate massive amounts of attention which can then often be translated in to monetary gain.

Some famous people spend their entire careers methodically building their brand, finding ways to elevate the value attached to their names. It’s playing the long game, but it generally tends to prove quite effective.

But then there are others who adopt new monikers willy-nilly, trying on and casting aside new identities as easily as you or I might try on a pair of shoes. This inability to settle on a name or title should be damaging to that perceived value – and usually it is.

Unless you’re Sean Combs.

Combs – whose list of aliases includes Diddy, P. Diddy, Puffy, Puff Daddy and probably a whole wealth of other names with which I lack familiarity – recently took to the internet to add yet another name to the list. He told the world via a video uploaded to Twitter that he would now like to be called Love (aka Brother Love, because of course he needs an alias to go with his alias because it’s aliases all the way down with this guy). Diddy claimed that he needed the name change to adapt to his ever-evolving persona, which is exactly the kind of bullcrap nonsense you’d expect.

As you can imagine, the internet took great delight in telling P. Diddy just what they thought of the whole situation. Plenty of people had plenty to say, though the most amusing take has to be the one coming from the WWE cohort taking Puffy to task for stealing the name of pro wrestling legend Bruce Prichard, whose Brother Love character was known for – among other things – being the Undertaker’s first manager.

(You’ll always learn something new here at Celebrity Slam.)

After a weekend-long deluge of attention, Puff Daddy walked back his name change claims, this time with a video posted to Instagram, because it’s clear that no one is interested in any part of this debacle being the least bit consistent. He said it was all just a joke and that he wasn’t really changing his name.

Of course, he also added that he’d happily answer to Love if you called him that, adding it to the laundry list of names one can use when addressing him, so who the hell knows?

This right here – this is good Slam.

The love this space has for names is well-documented; there are plenty of weeks where it’s little more than a clearinghouse for celebrity relationship portmanteaus and it’s glorious. Names are important in the celebrity sphere, but few have been able to mold and manipulate those naming conventions quite like Diddy.

Seriously, use whichever collection of vaguely-related syllables you like – P. Diddy, Puffy, Puff Daddy – and literally millions of people will know who you are talking about. That’s pretty remarkable, when you think about it.

All this means that when P. Diddy decided to throw Brother Love into the mix, everyone was prepared to take him at his word. Of course we were. This is what he does; if anything, we were overdue for an additional identity. Frankly, it’s a little disingenuous for him to act like we should have all known he was just joking; this is a man who in all seriousness told us to call him Puff Daddy. We’re beyond the benefit of the doubt here, Puffy – when it comes to names, you’re clearly capable of anything.

(All this leaves aside the fact that Brother Love breaks the standard pattern in a pretty jarring way. There’s no Ps or Ds anywhere – it’s off-brand in a way that seems poorly considered. For someone who’s usually so on-point with these moves, it comes off as a misfire. Just saying.)

All that’s left is for us to look forward to whatever project this name change was intended to generate attention for. So we say good luck to Sean “Puff Daddy/Puffy/P. Diddy/Diddy/Love/Brother Love” Combs in all his future endeavors. And we eagerly anticipate whatever bizarre made-up name is coming next, because it’s clear that all bets are off.

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