When I recently asked one of my hippest colleagues if she'd write a review of Beyoncé Knowles's new album, I got back a puzzled look. "Who?" she asked straight out. You know the one. She played the big-haired Foxxy Cleopatra last year in "Austin Powers in Goldmember." She's also the frontwoman for the hip-hop girl band Destiny's Child.
In the time-honored manner of would-be divas, the release of Beyoncé's first solo album means she is hitting the TV circuit the way a seasoned politician hits the campaign trail. She's already been on NBC's "Today" show, performed at the "3rd Annual BET Awards Show," and was chosen to appear at this year's "Divas Duets" on VH1.
But there are some cautionary tales in the quest for "divadom," and if that's what Beyoncé is after, she'd be wise to create her own template.
Consider the travails of these megastars. Mariah Carey, the epitome of a pop diva, crashed and burned when she overextended herself with touring, recording, and a movie career (remember "Glitter"?). Céline Dion in a Cirque du Soleil-inspired Vegas show? The reviews came in. They weren't good. J. Lo now is proprietor of a restaurant, has starred in movies, and has created her own perfume and clothing line. The jury is still out, though, on whether she'll keep her seat at the throne. Her next movie, "Gigli," should provide some clues.
Aretha Franklin and Tina Turner managed to stay on top for a long time. And then there's Madonna, master of reinvention and, arguably, queen of all divas.
So the best advice for Beyoncé? Stick to the music. Let's hope we won't be smelling Beyoncé perfume or tasting a Destiny's Child burger anytime soon.