The conundrum of Karrine Steffans is neatly encapsulated in the her book by the character of Damon Dash. Damon Dash is the first one to recognize that her story “means something,” but what does that actually entail? The first time she meets Dash, he’s falling over drunk off vodka at a video shoot. The next time he’s mentioned is as the entity that facilitated her book deal, cementing a new chapter in her life. What did Dash see in Steffans’ story? Was it the allure of the cold cash, the celebrity names that spilled out of her onto the page? Or was it her hardship, her warning tale of drug addiction and abuse?
In the end, of course, it’s all of these. And this is the hard truth every reader of Steffans’ autobiography has to face: there is an element of genuine struggle in her story, but it’s belied by an obsessive want for fame of the reality TV kind. She says at the end of Confessions of a Video Vixen that she’s content with her normal life, but then publishes an ebook (not even an actual dead-tree book) in February 2013 detailing her relationship with Lil Wayne. She shows us the blurring of the line between Video Vixen and reality star more intensely than any other figure, and exposes what parts of the grime of the industry makes us as cultural consumers most uncomfortable. If you want to read the whole story, you can buy her book here.
Sunday Book Review is a recurring feature devoted to bridging the gap between music fans and music books. We aim to give you a taste of new and classic books that dive deep into the psyches of musicians. Tweet requests @nmcalone.