Did you know, Jessie J’s album is called Who You Are. Think about it: Who. You. Are. WHO YOU BLOODY ARE – the inverse of that big life question, WHO THE HELL ARE WE? It’s “deep”. It’s sort of fundamental – not just to us, but to Jessie J’s whole Ting. Twenty-four year-old Jessie J is all about inner strength (voice muscles), being proud (talking loudly over Will.I.Am), overcoming difficulties (gammy legs, etc)… she’s the human equivalent of a self-help section in Waterstones set to radio-friendly R&B. She is promoting IDENTITY, innit? She burst onto the scene in 2010 so sure of her identity (Mystic Meg goes cagefighting in Pineapple Dance Studio) and she wanted you to be sure of yours too (by buying her records, aka Descartes for the MP3 generation).
And yet, last week the chink in Jessie J’s invincible identity armour was exposed; Jessie J had initially declared herself “bisexual”, her unofficial biographer outed her as “100 % lesbian” and Jessie then retaliated by declaring this utter lies (she’s blates “110% lesbian” like, it’s her girlfriend I feel sorry for). The press felt duped. WHO WAS JESSIE J? Nobody knew any more. She must have lied to us because she certainly hadn’t had a stroke (RECENTLY) like that guy who “WOKE UP GAY” on BBC4 so how could things have changed? SHE WAS JUST NOT WHO SHE SAID SHE WAS (at least, 50% or 45% or 70% - who knows – of her was now up for debate… let’s do a pie chart to keep track of where we’re at with Jessie J’s Damian Lewis:Courtney Love fancying probability ratio).
Thing is though, the uncertainty of Jessie J’s sexual orientation is not really the problem here – the problem is that Jessie J has just never been that interesting. Let’s get something straight (LOL): Jessie J is not for me. She is not your average popstar… she’s the average popstar. Jessica Cornish (the “J”, anybody?) has a voice that’s pure transatlanticism, her melodies make nice adverts, her vocabulary is textspeak cliché, her statement pop is meaningless (anyone know what SUGASUGASUGA’ has to do with “Doing It Like A Dude”? What is “MANDEM”?), her look and behaviour is designed to be inoffensive and “edgy”, which is the most offensive of all… She is ultra earnest and highly pleased with herself like some sort of careerist goth Maria Von Trapp babysitter, holding our hand through life with an uplifting, singalong manifesto, “Just wanna make the wurrrrld dance/Forget about the prooiiice tag” (which, by the way, is 0.99p in iTunes… “k-chang k-chang”).
She likely considers herself the People’s Popstar – able to empathise with our every problem (were you not paying attention when I told you the one before about how she had gammy legs… WAKE UP). She’s bloody patronising is what she is. Jessie J is supposed to be “deep”. But she’s so deep yeah, that to be honest, in my experience generally, I’m 100% positive that she is totally like shallow? So THANK GOD there are trivial, throwaway labels like “bisexual” which exist to help us make her seem more than “just another popstar”… However sincere Jessie herself comes across, everything around her feels disingenuous (when I considered running a poll called “Does Anyone Actually Like Jessie J” I thought twice because making fun of her actually seems cruel). Given the level of hollow vacuousness (“realtalk”) to her whole act, all this hoo-ha about what Jessie should be labelled and how that should define her is not only undermining her and undermining the concept of sexual orientation, it’s undermining the human race. IT’S UNDERMINING WHO THE REST OF US ARE.
Because Jessie J is not as interesting as say Bjork, her label, the press and subsequently everyone have been passing her sexuality around like a football just to sell records and pimp out her so-called “identity”. The fact that Jessie “GAY” (tabloid ROFLs) had been told by her label to “act bisexual” because that’s “trendy” is belittling to her, it’s insulting to bisexuals who are being commodified and diminished to a fad, it’s insulting to non-bisexuals who are all of a sudden not as cool as bisexuals and have to live with that… It’s also just totally wrong. Bisexuality is SO NOT A BIG DEAL ANYMORE (Rihanna's just been on her first date in two years with a chick, everyone's doing it). It was happening when I was in school (every week! news in third period maths: A NEW BISEXUAL!), like before Skins was even a thought. And on an advisory note, I’ll tell you what’s more popular right now: being Jewish. If Jessie’s Record label had really been doing their homework like me (watching Homeland, listening to Drake, iPlayering Two Jews On A Cruise and eating in Mishkin’s) they’d have realised that, for now, jew trumps bisexual. Every time. GET JESSIE J IN A SYNAGOGUE WITH A BAT MITZVAH SECURED BY AGENTS FROM MOSSAD AND NOW WE’RE TALKING.
But joking aside… Previously on The World, you will have noted that everyone is obsessed with labels: labels for our sexuality, gender, religion, lifestyle… all those singular, umbrella adjectives used to describe people before we actually describe people. It’s replacing the real heart of who we are with vast sweeping name tags that often say very little. (And while we’re here I have a job title and I honestly don’t even know what it means so email me if you know, please. Ta xxx.) Because WHO YOU ARE is complicated. Cheapening that with labels (true or false or exaggerated) makes us all look like wankers running around the set of The Apprentice.
Labels make people sexy (make snores sound more interesting), help us find our niche (limit our place in society), allow us to describe ourselves in three words (simplify who we are); all to help us “market ourselves” in a job interview, on The Voice, in a music magazine. And I guess I found it funny to be reminded that Jessie J – LIFE GURU (who even ordered this, by the way? cos I prefer my Messiahs in Spider-Man costumes) – is just Jessica Cornish who we don’t know anything about because we don’t KNOW (“LITERALLY” know) her at all. I was amused that Jessie J’s over-sincere philosophising on WHO YOU ARE and who she is (which *truthbomb* we don’t REALLY know) was kinda “called into question” by the nothing-y air she’s tried to be a voice on because she doesn’t in the end have much to say.
EVERYBODY LISTEN UP, we are more than just labelled packets of Pot Noodle. We are sophisticated creatures. Let’s not have endless debate about Jessie J’s “sexuality”. Let’s not base Jessie J’s career on whether she is “straight” “gay” “lesbian” “bi” or “high”. It’s insulting. And from experience of how “Jessie J” works, I regret to say that I don’t think we’ll learn much. I want people to know who I am but I know I haven’t even begun to work it out yet (awkward). Perhaps Jessie J is still figuring it out too and perhaps she should get back to us all once she’s done (or not). But until then, Jessie J is a certain kind of popstar and you might as well just occupy your time listening to her album Who You Are… you know, if you like.