Fantasia Barrino

An Analysis of Fantasia’s “Without Me”

One of the most significant messages in Fantasia Barrino’s “Without Me,” a track from her latest album Side Effects of You (2013), is to never forget the important people in your life who helped you to achieve what you’ve accomplished.  In the lives of most successful people, there are individuals who were instrumental to their success.  When successful people begin to act “brand new” and fail to show gratitude to those who are largely responsible for their success, Fantasia asks a powerful rhetorical question in the song: “What would you be without me?”  While one may give himself or herself too much credit for a person’s success by saying, “I made you,” what “Without Me” communicates is you wouldn’t be the exact person you are today without me.  The song forces the listener to reflect on the people who have been significant in aiding him or her in the evolution of the person he or she is today.

In the opening verse, Fantasia sings, “You gonna make me expose you for exactly what you are, (you are).”  One can understand the frustration this verse conveys with those who have benefited from the help of someone, only to have to witness the person going around pretending like that assistance was not crucial to his or her current success.  When people begin to act like the things you did for them weren’t important, then you should, at some point, “expose” them for exactly “what” they are.  What’s ultimately responsible for a person acting “brand new” and ungrateful is reckless arrogance.  For example, you could have bought a guy the fancy house, clothes, shoes, car and etc. he has, but this same guy may start flossin’ like he bought those things and start looking down on you because you don’t have them and the lifestyle he has.  This type of person fails to pay homage to the sacrifices you made so that he or she can have those things and the lifestyle you made possible.  When you threaten to expose the person or actually expose him or her, the individual thinks you’ve done him or her wrong.

Fantasia Barrino(Photo Credit: Vibe)

Fantasia states, “And as hard as you try to hide reality, while we know the truth, so act brand new if you want to.”  A person who wants to sham like you didn’t play a tremendous part in their achievements doesn’t want you to expose him or her.  The individual prefers for you to leave the truth hidden.  The reckless arrogance that has consumed the person causes him or her to have resentment toward you because he or she knows the truth: without you he or she wouldn’t have many or most of the achievements he or she cherishes.

Although many will interpret Fantasia’s song as only applying to an intimate relationship between a male and female, this limited interpretation results in one missing its wider applicability.

Never take what people have done and do for you for granted.  Learn how to show people the gratitude they deserve.  Your unchecked ego may be leading you to try to hurt someone who is highly responsible for what you have accomplished simply because you don’t want to give him or her the proper credit that has been earned.

Be very careful about how you treat those who have been vital to your success—you never know when you’re going to need them.

Antonio Maurice Daniels

University of Wisconsin-Madison

The Significance of Simon Cowell’s Departure from American Idol

English: Simon Cowell at the National Televisi...

(Photo credit: Wikipedia)

American Idol is probably going to be terminated at some point in the near future. One of the core reasons why the show has been so immensely successful is the unapologetic candor of Simon Cowell, the show’s most popular candid judge. With this season being Simon’s last, I do not see how the show will be able to last much longer, considering the other judges are not able to offer the type of excitement Simon brings to the show. Although there will be a search for a replacement for Simon, I am not confident that the producers will be able to find any person who can fill Simon’s shoes. I am not sure that they can find a person who can even be able to come close to filling Simon’s shoes. The purpose of this article is to discuss the significance of Simon Cowell’s leaving of American Idol to the show’s future.

American Idol has not really been that good since Fantasia Barrino won, although I did like Carrie Underwood and Bo Bice.  There was a time when I was eager to get in front of my television and watch the show, but the show has had such mediocre talent since Carrie won that I have not really been as eager to watch it. Since Fantasia won, it seems like the show has concentrated its attention on the judges and not on the finding great talent. Even in the media, it seems that the focus has been on the judges—this may be a result of the media not being able to talk about any worthy talent on the show.

Just as in fashion you can be in today and out tomorrow, it is important for television shows to understand this. American Idol desperately needs to refocus its attention on its contestants and not on the judges. Nobody wants to hear people who cannot sing. The recent winners of on the show are really some jokes. These recent winners are not talented singers. While the judges continue to say that this is a signing competition, they are changing the show into a circus that is all about them.

If the show wants to increase its chances of survival, it is vital that it get Paula to come back. Without Paula, the show does not really have a chance at surviving at this point. Even with Simon on the show this past season, Paula’s absence was missed. She makes it possible for Simon to be fully himself. Although Paula’s analyses were not always coherent and relevant, she did bring a significant amount of attention to the actual contestants, which the show now lacks. Paula also brought a healthy enough attention to herself, which kept viewers coming back to see her show after show. We cannot forget that Paul was a very successful artist as well, so her expertise is greatly missed.

Although I really love Ellen, the selection of her to be a judge was really random. While she may have some insight about what the average American is thinking about the contestants, she simply does not have any real idea about what it takes to be a successful singer. I am not saying that the show needs to get rid of Ellen, but what it must do is find a judge who can have viewers coming back week after week to hear what he or she has to say. I really suggest that the show think outside of the box when selecting a replacement for Simon. The survival of show will depend on the producers’ ability to get Paula to return and on finding an effective replacement for Simon.

Antonio Maurice Daniels

University of Wisconsin-Madison