Musical artist Joy Villa made a splash at last month’s Grammy Awards when she showed up to the red carpet in a Trump-themed dress. She was immediately lauded and shamed by both sides of the aisle. Her designer, Filipino immigrant Andre Soriano also “came out of the closet” as a Trump supporter that night, and the Twitter followers of both increased exponentially literally overnight.
As her album shot to number one on iTunes Villa doubled-down on her public declarations of support for Trump, as did Soriano. The two can be seen all over social media extolling the virtues of #MAGA.
It is clear that the taste of popularity has emboldened the once-unknown singer. She now has an audience and she’s playing directly to them. Soriano and Villa have (for the time being) tied their fate to a political movement.
If Villa means to have a lasting career as an artist this is a terrible mistake. If I’ve learned anything in my years as an advocate for the conservative movement it is that political consumers are fickle and will turn on a popular personality in a heartbeat. The same people who propel them to success also hold the fate of said person in their hands and can bring that person down just as easily. We are easily disappointed.
There are countless cases of conservative media darlings rising quickly and then falling from grace and popularity on the turn of a dime. Ben Carson, Sarah Palin, Milo Yiannopolous, Marco Rubio and even 13-year-old C.J. Pearson who was hailed as the future of conservatism until he acted like a 13-year-old and waffled on his convictions.
This is not to say that any or all of these people did not deserve to be outed as disappointments. All of that depends on where you stand on the issue of their utterances and actions. I only mention these people because at one time each one experienced a meteoric rise to fame in the conservative movement, only to be instantaneously undone by one statement or poor decision.
For the most part these are folks who work in the political industry. It is particularly dangerous for a creative artist such as Joy Villa to be throwing in her lot with that type of audience. While she may now enjoy a certain level of popularity and profit as a result of her politics, she has also drastically narrowed her audience, both present and future. This means her base won’t be diverse enough to sustain an upward trajectory when the inevitable fall from grace comes around.
Villa is particularly vulnerable because as it turns out, she is a Scientologist. After Leah Remini’s Scientology-busting show became a huge ratings success, many Americans – particularly conservative Americans – are more wary of the cult and their practices. Scientologists don’t enjoy much privacy anymore and they have some pretty disturbing world-views.
If Villa and Soriano continue to be as consistently political as they have been since the Grammy’s, it is only a matter of time before one of them says something or does something that conservatives and Trump-supporters find extremely distasteful. When that happens the audience she is aiming towards right now will evaporate, and so will her career gains.
I am not suggesting Villa pretend she doesn’t love Trump or hide her support. I enjoy her seeming exuberance and while she is a self-employed artist she is still a human being with opinions and thoughts. She is free to express those whenever and wherever she pleases, just like the rest of us.
I am, however suggesting that she take a moment (perhaps with a professional publicist) to consider her brand, her talent and the core audience she is working overtime to appeal to and develop a more strategized plan for longevity. If Villa wants true success, she absolutely must not depend on conservatives to give it to her.
By the way, this picture is adorable.
— Joy Villa (@Joy_Villa) March 6, 2017