The authoress is to the rap/hip-hop world what Pamela Des Barres was in the rock world. Des Barres was a groupie and a would-be girlfriend to a lot of famous people. She participated, indulged, and then wrote about it. Steffans, it appears, was a part of the money-driven circus as well, hanging out with the rich and powerful and keeping mental notes about everyone she met, how she met them, and where.
As someone who was never able to really carve out a name for herself on purely creative grounds, she realized her sole entree into the world she was being denied was to write about it. In so doing, she comes across as a self-indulgent and self-absorbed fly-on-the-wall who somehow believes talking about the exploits, successes, and failures of someone else means as much as being involved in the exploits, enjoying the successes, and enduring the failures, yourself.
But there is some fun trash here, and though the writing is a trifle sophomoric and uninspired, Steffans was a piece of the House of Bling Blues, and she sings about:
Teddy Penderggrass: "I thought Teddy would be a harmless long-distance acquaintance, of which I have many. But when he asked me to be his guest at two separate functions just a week apart, I began to second-guess his motives."
These three observations sum up perfectly the writer's surface understanding of the world she was populating.
Tyra Banks: "As part of my media tour, I appeared on the Tyra Banks Show. It was not a good experience."
Bill Maher: "Bill and I are obviously very different people. He is nearly twice my age and extremely politically conscious, and a Cornell graduate, he can be quite the intellectual snob."
What did she think Pendergrass wanted from her? Someone to help him finish the crossword puzzle?
Certainly she knew Tyra Banks was never going to allow another attractive black woman to outshine her on her own show. Did she believe Banks was going to welcome her with open arms?
She's just described Maher as a graduate from one of the finest schools in the country. She's seen his show. Did she think he was not going to be an intellectual snob?
It is impossible not to treat her views, and the entire book, without some little sarcasm. At the book's close, where she has apparently gained the wisdom and release that's come with writing down all these memories, the reader is left with these insights (culled from the final few pages):
"After years outside the music industry, somehow I have found myself right back in. I spent many years of long nights in smoky studios and trips on the road in a tour bus, backstage at concerts and hotel rooms, state to state. There is something about th is life that draws me to it when I am in search of myself. All of a sudden, quiet dinners at the Four Seasons and spa day sjust aren't enough anymore: I want to taste that hip-hop l ife again and live on the wild side a bit - but do it smarter than I had before.
In other words, it doesn't sound like she's learned anything, and you can certainly expect at least one more book from her. In her first book, Confessions Of A Video Vixen, she talked her work as an extra in the videos of hip-hop stars and about how terribly she was treated. In The Vixen Diaries, she's all about getting in touch with her human side and leaving all the drugs and nastiness behind.
"I told myself years ago that I would never set foot back into this world. But maybe it's such a part of who I am that I can never be completely free from it. And even though it is treacherous terrain, I am better equipped now to travel through it and make it out on the other side, all right. Or so I hope."
It sounds like the dark side is winning. Wait for Installment Three.