Friday, February 16, 2007

Who exactly cares about Anna Nicole?

At midnight on Valentine’s Day, the music stopped inside Club Onyx on Old Pineville Road. Ten dancers walked out onto the stage and gave each other perplexed looks.

The announcer explained: Last week, Anna Nicole Smith passed away, he began.

“And?” someone said.

The announcer continued, explaining that Smith used to dance at Rick’s Cabaret, which owns Club Onyx in Houston. (In fact, that’s where she met her late husband.) So at midnight, all of the Rick’s Cabarets around the country were saluting Smith. At each club, the dancers were expected to come out on stage at midnight and blow her a kiss.

In Charlotte, the dancers bowed their heads for a brief moment of silence. Then the music started, and the dancers marched off-stage indifferent to what had just happened.

Their nonchalance struck me as curious. It seemed like Smith’s rise to fame would appeal to the dancers, but it didn’t. I interviewed a few, who didn’t care much about her.

Nya had the most to say: “She’s a dancer. A lot of people have this misconception about her. Everybody has to eat somehow.”

The evening reminded me of a conversation I had earlier with Kitch. He said black people don’t care about Smith. I thought he was trippin’, and argued that blacks and whites were both interested. I said everyone wants to know what’s going to happen body, who’s the father of her child, and who would raise her kid. Kitch argued that if it was Lil’ Kim, blacks would pay more attention.

After going to Onyx on Wednesday, I wonder if he’s right. Is there a cultural difference in interest about Smith, and if so, why? Post your response below.