Adding to the drama and excitement of his life, Kanye West may now be facing felony attempted robbery charges after being involved in an altercation with a member of the paparazzi at LAX this week. The rapper, who recently became a dad, was approached at the airport by a photographer and, while exactly what happened next is unclear, the photographer is now pressing charges against Kanye for allegedly trying to remove the camera from his possession. Kanye has demonstrated impatience with paparazzi in the past, recently putting up his hand and saying, "I appreciate it, but don't talk. Don't talk to me." And he seemed particularly ruffled after accidentally bumping his head trying to avoid the paparazzi back in May.
Kanye is certainly not the first celebrity to lose his cool when faced with the sometimes aggressive paparazzi, and it seems that everyone becomes more sensitive surrounding various occasions, like the birth of a baby or a wedding. That makes sense because that is when people are especially protective of their privacy. But it’s a quandary because those are also exactly the occasions that the press and the public are eager to know about. We get so used to hearing about stars’ everyday lives through Twitter and other social media outlets, why wouldn’t the public want to be in on it? The challenge is finding that middle ground so the press can behave respectfully when covering these occasions, but it is equally important for the celebrity to be respectful. So how can that be done?
Instead of Kanye’s telling the paparazzi not to talk to him, which interferes with their being able to do their job as well as freedom of the press, he might try to say something more along the lines of, “Thank you for your interest. I’m not going to share my story today, but you will get it at some point soon.” Rather than being combative and looking to completely avoid interacting with the reporters and photographers, pick and choose your own timing so you can stay in control. Brad and Angelina did that with the birth of their twins, choosing when they were going to release the information and to whom.
The core of the issue is control. Kanye was trying to take control of the situation, but went about it by losing control. It is really a matter of being able to stay calm by making the choice of how you are going to behave and handle yourself. This is true for anyone - you certainly don’t have to be a celebrity to feel your private space is intruded upon. You might not be stopped at the airport to be asked about your newborn, but you might be interrupted twenty times by a spouse or a child who is demanding your attention when you are trying to meet a deadline or even just get through the newspaper in the morning. That constant badgering can get to anybody and make them feel annoyed. Your goal is the same as any celebrity, to remain in control of yourself rather than losing it. Instead of blowing up, let that person know that you will answer them, talk to them, make a cheese sandwich for them – whatever they are asking of you – once you have had a chance to finish what you’re doing. If you have an idea of how much time you will need, you can tell them that as well so they can know what to expect. Often when people know that you will meet their needs, and when you might do it, it will help them be more patient. Work to preserve your personal space and your own comfort, instead of being reactive and ruining the moment for everyone.
When setting boundaries – whether you are a celebrity or not – keep in mind that it is about telling people what you are going to do, rather than telling them what to do or not to do. The more respect you give, the more respect you are likely to get in return.
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