Wednesday, 5 January 2011

Grin or bear it?

A decade is a long time in pop music, as Toni Braxton knows only too well. Despite plugging away with her smoky vocals and dinner party R&B, it's a good ten years since she had much on impact on the charts. 

Two bankruptcies, angioplastic surgery and an autistic child have helped keep her on the cover of the trashy gossip magazines, but her musical output has been decidedly low key. Which is a shame, since many of her early hits are now considered pop/soul standards. 

But it's a different kind of magazine that wants now wants her splashed all over its front page, and not because of her acute angina. Although the reason sounds similar. 

Taking to everyone's favourite public forum yesterday, Toni tweeted that Playboy has been pursuing her to appear in a future issue of everyone's favourite one-handed reading material: "New Year, New opportunities. So I have been considering taking up Playboy's offer to feature me on their cover this year. What you think?" Given the financial fix she's in, it's hardly surprising that the offer is makin' her high.

She may claim that the shoot will be tastefully done, but she needs to consider America's puritanical view of nudity. After all, the producers of long-running police show NYPD Blue are still having to contend with legal proceedings for a flash of bum that took place when Toni was still a musical force to be reckoned with. 

Eight years ago, an episode of the show aired that featured the buttocks of actress Charlotte Ross. After six years of legal wrangling, the FCC slapped network ABC with a $1.4 million fine for the scene. Today, ABC managed to get the fine overturned by a federal appeals court. But the Parents Television Council watchdogs aren't happy at this "egregious example of legislating from the bench". 

When TV shows are filled with graphic scenes of violence and torture, groups like PTC are happy to look the other way. But when an actor or actress turns and bares their other cheeks, these activists are less willing to do the same.

Toni might dismiss her impending spread as "Just a lil T and A", but not everyone will see it that way.

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