What is an average day in the 2013 life of Ms. Amanda Laura Bynes?
Here’s a likely scenario: She wakes up around 11. She goes to the gym. She might take a meeting about her fashion line(s). She (probably) goes to the gym again. She leaves her lawyer a seventeenth voicemail, detailing five more people she wants to sue. You know. Celebrity stuff.
Obviously, she tweets. And tweets. She sits at home, reading all the trash that tabloids print about her. She retweets some of the worst (or best, I still can’t decide) fan art the world has ever known. She deletes tweets she’s not proud of and denies their existence fervently. She constructs elaborate insults to fling at Courtney Love and model Chrissy Teigen. She scours the Internet for “embarrassing” photos of Perez Hilton. She calls a stylist and has her head shaved. She takes 15-20 mirror selfies on her phone and posts the “best” ones – ones that look the most like purported Drake muse Blac Chyna (she’s inviting the comparisons very much on purpose). And then, we again assume, she gets together whatever so-called (and thus far, invisible to the public) “friends” she has, and they party – though supposedly it’s a straightedge party because, after all, she’s “allergic to alcohol and drugs.” Lather, rinse, repeat. Over and over again – until the cops show up, of course. What a life.
This is all a roundabout way of saying: millionaire homegirl’s got way too much free time for someone who still acts – on a daily basis – as though she’s got something to prove. Which is why it would be so great if someone would please give this woman a recording contract already.
For completely understandable reasons, most readers who saw this headline either hateclicked on it or wrote it off entirely (and expectedly) as trolling. Or maybe they took a more measured approach, recognizing the potentially catastrophic dangers of someone as rich, privileged, white, and, errrr, whimsical as Bynes rapping – that is, making music that is so often appropriated, hijacked, mocked, and otherwise denigrated by people who shouldn’t be messing with music at all, let alone a genre whose culture is so vehemently rooted in authenticity and a truth-to-power narrative. These are very real concerns, concerns that folks from Paris Hilton to Macklemore to Donald “Childish Gambino” Glover to Lindsay Lohan to Mac Miller to Kitty Pryde have all, in the past, failed to avoid. There’s a really, really good chance that if she gets the kind of opportunity she wants, she will utterly – and tragically, for nearly all parties – mutilate and waste it.
There’s still a glimmering window of hope that might just make a rap career the best (and possibly only) thing a post-Hollywood Amanda Bynes could do for herself – if she does it well.
For starters, consider the incredible diss tracks. Take how much slander practically explodes from her fingers onto the Internet on a daily basis, and then consider the fact that, once dropped, no diss track could ever be eradicated or Photoshopped.
Consider that, in her 27 years on earth, this woman has evoked more bizarre characters than Nicki Minaj, Eminem, Odd Future, and Wu Tang combined. If even a third of those references appeared on a Mz. Bynes mixtape? And can you imagine the devastation that could come of an Old Amanda vs. New Amanda alter-ego breakdown?? (By the way, Amanda, please call your debut mixtape Mz. Bynes. Thanks in advance.)
Then consider the blessings she’s received (albeit not specifically in regards to music) from Gucci Mane, Waka Flocka Flame, and members of Odd Future. If acceptance from rap fans is what she’s looking for, she could probably get something like it through endorsements like these. (Alternately, if she decided to go the rock route instead, Courtney Love would probably rep her hard, even if Bynes hates her.)
Consider that Amanda Bynes is a lifelong, trained comedian, and when paired with the right producers (and, perhaps, songwriters), could give Lonely Island a run for their money if she really wanted (think Natalie Portman’s SNL rap, times twelve, or however many songs she wants to include on her album).
Consider the last time you actually heard Amanda Bynes speak, apart from the “yes, sir”s and “no sirs” she mumbled to the judge at her court hearing. I’m tired of simply reading her printed thoughts, to which I can assign whatever level of sanity I want in my own head. That’s too easy. It’s time to shout the Twitplus manifestos out loud.
Consider these dance moves:
Most of all, consider that, once upon a time – granted, a time that occurred before puberty, shame and a desire to be “hot” at any cost – Amanda Bynes didn’t take herself so seriously. She slammed her face into plates of spaghetti. She wore prosthetic armpit hair. She dressed in drag. She out-slapsticked the Three Stooges. Her on-screen unselfconsciousness was revelatory to kids who grew up watching her, and if she were to somehow rediscover that bravery onstage, can you imagine how great a concert that would make?
Amanda Bynes didn’t quit acting because she was done being worshipped; in fact, being left alone seems like the last thing she wants. If she’s done with Hollywood, she’s done with Hollywood (and at this point, who would insure her anyway?). She’s not an heiress party girl like Paris, and unlike the Olsens, she’s too little, too late to the yung mogul gang (her 2007 fashion line was discontinued after the company for which she designed it went bankrupt). If she’s not doing drugs like she adamantly swears, there’s no rehab that will magically and repeatedly reinvent her à la LiLo (and whatever is going on in her headspace otherwise is her own business, not ours). Simply put, she can’t afford to screw around on Twitter anymore – if she does, the tabloid-and-police swamp she’s mired in is liable to eat her alive – or at least sap what powers she has left. It’s time to make something. And if it’s music, then so be it.
In other words, a Bynes Rap Career doesn’t have to be a culture-aping clusterfuck. In a perfect world, it would be an identity reclamation unlike any paparazzi lawsuit has ever seen. She’d be clever, animated, exuberant, – and most of all, she’d once again become an idol worth worshipping. Who cares if it were mediocre, or even bad? Even if it bombed, she’d hardly be in a worse position than she is now. Even if they were the stupidest rhymes ever committed to ProTools, they would get her back where she belongs – in front of audiences, keeping busy as an art-producing entertainer, not as the pucker-lipped, tweeting trainwreck people see her as now.
But let’s get real. There’s probably little use in hoping Amanda will abandon her obsessive quest for acceptance as a 100-pound video-girl bad bitch, which means there’s almost none whatsoever in believing she will reclaim enough spirited individuality to pull something like this off. Nevertheless, I believe I speak for every fan art creator, as well as a whole host of fans who simply miss the girl they once admired for her fearless personality (instead of her hairdos and Twitpic sprees), when I say this:
Amanda, if you’re reading this, don’t fuck this up. If you’re going to do it, for the love of all things dimple-pierced, do it right.
Also, forget Drake. He doesn’t deserve you.
This article from the Village Voice Archive was posted on May 31, 2013