Hip-Hop Wives’ Lives Put On Blast In Platinum
I attended the glitzy book release party for Aliya S. King‘s Platinum (shouts to publicist Christina Rice) where the author (pictured above, in the middle of Tashera Simmons and Mashonda Tifrere) welcomed praise from industry peers for a spectacular debut novel.
Platinum, based on King’s article “The Secret Lives of Rappers Wives” (VIBE, 2006) has so many twists and turns that, as the reader, you’re constantly trying to separate fact from fiction. King has described it as being like an episode of Law & Order, where real-life events inspire fabricated stories. The book left me with so many questions. Did King ghostwrite Karrine Steffans‘s best-selling memoir, Confessions Of A Video Vixen? If Platinum‘s journalist character Alex Maxwell is “loosely based” on King herself (as she’s admitted) it would seem so, as Maxwell is tasked with writing Steffans’s doppelganger Cleopatra Wright‘s similar tell-all. Are fashion designer Josephine Bennett and her big-time producer husband Ras Bennett loosely based on Rachel Roy and Damon Dash? Or Wyclef and Claudinette Jean, perhaps? Are crack-addicted rapper “Z” Saddlebrook and his long suffering wife Beth reflective of Tashera and Earl “DMX” Simmons, with Beth depicted as a white woman from West Virginia as a decoy? And is superstar Kipenzi Hill and her rapper/record label president husband Jake our favorite real-life power couple Jay-Z and Beyoncé, even though Jay’s name is also mentioned in the book (most likely as a distraction). According to King, the younger characters of Bunny Clifton, an island girl with a big voice who’s coming for Kipenzi’s crown and has a violent, tumultuous relationship with young star Zander Saddlebrook, were created before Rihanna and Chris Brown‘s dramas, but the story rings way too true for their to be no inspiration there.
King was recently on Sirius/XM radio with Angela Yee discussing the novel, revealing juicy tidbits like characters such as Kipenzi are definitely a “compilation” of people (like Beyoncé and Aaliyah, perhaps?) and that she’s already signed up for a sequel, tentatively titled Diamond Life, which she says is due August 11, 2011. She’s also currently working on Tashera Simmons and Timbaland‘s memoirs.
If you haven’t tired of the tabloidization of hip-hop in recent years (yes, I made that word up) and love a juicy novel, Platinum is a must-read. It features a very detailed breakdown of just how much of a rollercoaster ride the hip-hop industry is, and how fragile the relationships are within it. Each page offers insight into a world very few know but so many are intrigued by; even as a seasoned music journalist, I raised an eyebrow on more than one occasion at the situations presented. Just like the colorful people and lifestyle it’s based on, Platinum is one hell of a ride.
Platinum, $24.99, is available now through Touchstone Hardcover/Simon & Schuster.
Main Image: The YBF.com