Fantasia Barrino is certainly a survivor and now she’s faced with discussing her current trials and tribulations as she returns to the music world to promote her new album, ‘Back To Me.’
The question remains: Is Fantasia returning to the limelight too soon?
Just two weeks ago, the ‘American Idol’ winner attempted suicide and overdosed on a bottle of aspirin — allegedly shortly after reading a complaint filed by her rumored lover Antwuan Cook‘s wife, Paula Cook, which she says included information she had never seen.
In her first live sit-down with ‘Good Morning America’s’ Robin Roberts, the ‘Color Purple’ musical’s actress downplayed rumors that her man trouble was the reason for her highly publicized suicide attempt on Aug.10.
“I think everybody feels like I tried to harm myself over a man, but I’ve been in a lot of bad relationships,” she told Roberts.
“So, I think that had something to do with it, it was so heavy it was brand new information and I was already going through so much, but it was six years of holding it all in the inside.”
The eight-time Grammy Award nominee — who is a devout Christian who extols the virtues of the Lord via her gospel music performances — said the real reason she attempted suicide was that she’s been overwhelmed by the negative media attention she’s received over the years.
“I think I was just overloaded with everything, with carrying six years of so much. I always take a licking and keep on ticking. Everybody feels like I’m so strong, so tough, and it just became heavy for me to the point that I just wanted to be away from the noise,” she confessed.
But is it all too much, too soon?
Internet users on social media networks such as Facebook and Twitter have wondered — aloud — if this was all a ruse concocted by her haphazard handlers. Even industry pundits think so, too.
“Fantasia simply knows better,” Natasha Eubanks, the esteemed founder and editor of the top-rated black celebrity gossip blog Young, Black & Fabulous (TheYBF.com) told Blackvoices.com today. “We have all loved her since she sang her perm out the night she won ‘Idol.’ And we all know she knows that a man is still married even when he tells you he is ‘separated’. She got caught, felt embarrassed and hurt, and tried to regain the sympathy of her mainstream audience by pulling the old standby publicity stunt: a suicide attempt.”
“Most people in her position would be on their therapist’s couch days later, Eubanks added. “But Fanny? She’s on the ‘Good Morning America’ stage, VH1, and having a very public ‘secret’ heart to heart with the very man she tried to kill herself over.”
“From her suspiciously talkative manager to her convenient album release date to her uber quick bounce-back, I call publicity stunt,” she concluded.
Angelo A. Ellerbee of Double XXposure Media Relations, who in his 20-year old plus career in publicity has worked with the likes of Michael Jackson, Grace Jones, Mary J. Blige, DMX, Nina Simone and Lionel Richie, respectively, said he could see how someone could think all of the recent drama may have been engineered to help record sales. Yet, he believes that the High Point, North Carolina native’s story is not uncommon in the music business.
“As the manager for Ginuwine, who has gone through some of the same trials of depression as Fantasia, I had a chance to realize the realness of the story, the pressures. Embracing our young artists becomes very important to me,” Ellerbee told Blackvoices.com.
“This industry puts a lot on them, and I’ve always believed that this industry has always been an illusion – not real,” he added. “It’s also my thought as Michael Jackson went through the trials and tribulations and pressures of this industry – if only the community would’ve embraced him with love and conversation, we could still have Michael here today.”
Barrino noted that criticism she received while competing on ‘Idol,’ as well as the media attention surrounding her management switch-ups,home foreclosure, as well as “taking care of my whole family and no one taking care of me” as reasons that led her to take matters into her own hands.
“I always said when I seem to try and do the good things it doesn’t blow up like when the drama blows up,” she pointed out. “I got my high school diploma and I was really proud and it didn’t go anywhere. The first piece of drama that they could find it just blew up so much and I just got so tired of taking so many licks.”
She says she’s most grateful for the a nurse named Melanie who, while she was hospitalized brought her a copy of Jamie Foster Brown‘s popular Sister 2 Sister magazine, and pointed to a picture of the J Records artist and said “you gotta get out of here and go back to work.”
The 26 year-old single mother, who also performed her single ‘Bittersweet’ on Good Morning America, says that now she has a life coach who she says has “been teaching me some things.” It’s uncertain if Barrino has received any advice from industry figures in her trying time, but Ellerbee said that’s exactly what she needs.
“Artist development was created to prepare the artist for success, and today there is no preparation – it’s just instant fame with no instruction on how to cope and half-assed managers learning along with the artists,” he said.
“I pray on those executives that have a heart to implement, independent or major, the importance of artist development and giving the artist the who, what, where, when and why of the overall winning results of being an artist in these times.”