Pin It

There’s nothing new about musicians resorting to gimmicks in order to sell albums. From fake beefs, to sex tapes, to fortuitous arrests, the creation of spectacle has a long and storied tradition in the music industry.

Acts that lack talent often resort to publicity stunts in order to generate interest. The less talent, the bigger the stunts. But what if you took that to the extreme? Could you take talent completely out of the equation and build an act 100% out of gimmicks?

Pink Grenade thinks you can.

Pink Grenade is not a band as much as it’s a sociological experiment designed to determine how stupid music consumers really are. If you’ve seen this group, it’s probably not because you wanted to hear their music, but because they tricked you into looking.

Don’t feel bad they have good tricks.

Look, we’re snorting coke off of a pregnant woman’s stomach!

Look, we’re dissing Kim Kardashian!

Look, I’m slapping a black man in the face with a dildo!

Look, Johnny Depp is in our band! (Yes, that Johnny Depp).

If you research Pink Grenade, the only person mentioned by name right now is Bim Fernandez. Why? The paradoxical response given by Pink Grenade producer, Jonathan Hay, is that “all the members, with the exception of Bim, are initially staying anonymous with costumes and masks, because it’s about the team first, not the individual.”

But if it’s about the team, not the individual, why isn’t Bim wearing a mask? What’s so special about her? Nothing. Except that she’s Nigerian, and her dad is rich – very, very rich.

Antonio Deinde Fernandez

Bim’s father, Antonio Deinde Fernandez, is one of the wealthiest men in Africa, a “gemstone tycoon” with a fortune estimated at around 8.7 billion dollars. The source of his wealth is commonly attributed to business ventures in oil, gold, and diamonds. But, for someone with so much money, there is surprisingly little information available about him or his companies online.

His political career is fairly well documented: Tribal Chief, UN representative for many African countries. Friends with Mandela. First name basis with world leaders like Bush Sr. Lots of names and dates. But information about his businesses and how he made his fortune is a black hole.

There are rumors. His daughter said he had gold and diamond mines in the Central African Republic. If you Google “Diamonds” and “Central African Republic”, it doesn’t take long before you are inundated with articles about blood diamonds and how they are used to finance the wars in Africa

She said that her father made his first million by helping Congolese rebels during a coup, trading food for oil, although she quickly added, “I don’t know if that’s legal, so if it’s not, don’t quote me.” There is a story about how he tried to buy Swaziland. And on African discussion forums, there are repeated allegations that his fortune was made by “dealing in weapons, crude oil, gold, diamonds.”

However, it’s all hearsay. There’s no proof. The only thing well documented about Deinde Fernandez is his extreme wealth and his lavish lifestyle. He is known to buy out entire restaurants so he doesn’t have to dine with commoners. He owns multiple mansions, numerous private jets, priceless works of art, and his signature swag is… a Pink Rolls Royce.

Interesting choice of color.

Pink Grenade

It’s easy to think of Pink Grenade as a toy that Bim’s dad got her for a present. Unfortunately, Pink Grenade doesn’t know it. They see themselves in a much different light.

Their About Us page says they are “a Wu-Tang like pop group of recording artists, songwriters, producers and musicians” And that would be true if Wu-Tang were made up of rich white guys, spoiled rich kids, and women.

Their first album is called Fear of a Pink Planet, an homage to the seminal album by Public Enemy. Why did they choose that name?

Jonathan Hay: The title is obviously influenced by Public Enemy’s Fear of a Black Planet. Hopefully, Chuck D doesn’t get mad about it and make me his public enemy number one, as I truly love the guy…

Bim: Who is Chuck D?

Only an extreme sense of entitlement can explain how she didn’t know the name of the guy she was borrowing from. Yet, that sense of superiority and entitlement permeates the entire group:

Mike Smith: …this album title for me represents that the World seems to be unwilling to let go of the things that makes us all unhealthy. This includes judgment, ego, unhealthy living, fear, greed, pollution, bigotry, and on and on.

Billy Rassel (SMH Records Executive): …All the members of Pink Grenade bring about what you humans have been missing for so long.

Ren Zo: That’s just it. Pink Grenade consists of nothing but meaning. That seems to be running thin in the industry, but, that’s just my opinion dude.

Those are some lofty claims. Does the message come out in the music? Here are some of the lyrics to their latest track. Behold what humans have been missing, a song that consists of nothing but meaning:

Lipstick

[Hook]

I know you want my lipstick on your dipstick

My lipstick on your dipstick

[Verse 1]

You know I do it better than your stupid hoes

Mac on my face, I’m rockin’ diamonds on my toes

Cause I’m rich, little bitch, now you’re playing with the pros

I want you swinging hard with your garden hose

Your last girl must have been a tease (she got nothing)

The way I turn you on with my big ‘ol double D’s

I heard you got a long joystick (what you got boy)

So gimme, gimme joy with your big fat d*ck

[Hook]

I know you want my lipstick on your dipstick

My lipstick on your dipstick

Jonathan Hay

If anyone is to blame, it is Jonathan Hay. Hay is not only a producer for Pink Grenade; he is also the co-founder of SMH records, their label.  More importantly, Hay is a former publicist who worked with clients such as Rihanna. If you look at it from a PR perspective, Pink Grenade is actually a very carefully constructed publicity machine.

The game plan seems to be straightforward… generate controversy while buying legitimacy. And, it just might work. Jonathan Hay successfully generated the rumor that Rihanna was sleeping with Jay Z, a rumor that helped gain Rihanna widespread notoriety. And, he’s using the same tricks to gain exposure for Pink Grenade.

Consider the video for Lipstick. Ashlee Holmes is a nobody. Why put her in there? Publicity. Her mom was in a reality show, the Real Housewives of New Jersey. Crappy blogs will write about that, bigger blogs will pick it up.

Why dis Kim Kardashian? Does that help the world let go of “ego, unhealthy living and fear?” No. But it’s exactly the kind of fodder that entertainment media feeds on. It’s the kind of thing that can start a back and forth war of words. And, if Jonathan gets really lucky, it’s the kind of thing that gets Kanye to step in and make Pink Grenade famous.

And don’t forget about Johnny Depp. You think he’s in the band because of his musical talent? He’s just PR insurance. If things start slowing down, they can always play the Depp card and get things revved up again. Whether or not Depp will thank his nephew, Pink Grenade band member Billy Rassel, for getting him into this, remains to be seen.

But that’s just the controversy. The scarier part is how they are buying legitimacy.

Hip Hop For Sale

Pink Grenade’s videos are already featured on all the big hip-hop blogs, from Worldstar to 2DB. That’s because they have the money to buy placements. These blogs don’t care one bit about hip-hop culture. What they care about are page views and dollar signs.

But how many views are they really generating? The video for “Let’s take it Naked” is listed at over 7 million views on Worldstar. But, the video only has 500 comments, a suspiciously low number for a video with that many views. And, most of the comments are negative:

Noneya Bizness
2 white dudes say “we have a record label”… then proceed to convince a young black woman to put on make-up and act like a whore… typical

Sofakingsweet

This is the dumbest thing I have ever seen stop what ever this is suppose to be.

The song “Gold Blooded” is the same. It has over 2 million views on Worldstar. And yet, on YouTube, it has only 848 views at the time of publishing this story, even with Johnny Depp’s name in the title. Huge difference.

Is the number of views being artificially inflated? Maybe. But if they are, it is strictly a short-term strategy; manipulating stats doesn’t generate an audience. What is more worrying is their long-term plan. Why build an audience or a reputation if you can rent one from someone else?

When asked whom they would like to work with, Pink Grenade named a pantheon of hip-hop greats, including Chuck D, Big Daddy Kane, and Rakim. They already have a feature from Royce Da 5’9 and have secured a partnership with Crooked I. These are all legit artists, with both reputations and audiences.

In that light, even Ashlee Holmes and Johnny Depp start to make sense.

Will it succeed? Maybe. But if it does, it will be a sign that something far greater has failed.

 

10 Responses

  1. harveywilkinson

    Ha ha ha you think there are “rich white guys” associated with this group? That’s hilarious. If anyone associated with this group had any money, they wouldn’t be puking out amateur music videos that were shot for about $5 each. They would have at least hired professionals to shoot their videos.

    This writer should have done some basic research first. There are no “rich white guys” associated with Pink Grenade. Mike Smith is a well-known scam artist with no assets. Anyone can search his “business” names at the NC Secretary of State websites and see that his businesses are deep in debt and have no assets, they’re all leased. He doesn’t even own the copying machines. Also, he is constantly getting sued for fraud and breaking contracts. Jonathan Hay is desperately trying to sell “consulting” services to strangers over the internet in case you have a “PR emergency,” and yes, he takes credit cards. These guys are a joke with no experience producing music, and they certainly don’t have any money.

    Likewise, there’s no “documented” evidence that Diende Fernandez is actually a billionaire, just rumors planted by Jonathan Hay trying to set up Bim as some kind of African Paris Hilton. It’s hilarious that the writer is trying to cut through the BS spin machine of Jonathan Hay but obviously fell for it hook line and sinker.

    Finally, the author didn’t even bother to mention that Bim has already tried to break into the music business once under the name “Madame Lux” and failed miserably. She has no talent so no one cared then, and no one cares now, even if Jonathan Hay gives her a different name and tries to cook up some beef with Kimye and ropes in some lame celebutards from some trashy reality show no one cares about and shoots a video in a broom closet for $5.

    Also, the writer failed to mention that Hay and Smith already got smacked down by Kanye’s legal team for false representation for trying to use their name and likeness for a fake charity auction. The cease-and-desist letter is on the internet for everyone to see — Hay and Smith backed down pretty quick or they would have had new ones torn by actual professionals with brains. That is what’s behind the video bashing on them. Honestly this writer should have done at least a little research first and he could have written a more interesting and funny article about how lame and desperate these wannabes actually are.

    Reply
    • Eileen LA County

      hello “harvey wilkinson” you are so butt sore from mike smith. you follow his every move. you comment on every post. you are so obsessed with him. i know who you are though. i’m going to expose your fucking ass.

      Reply
      • harveywilkinson

        Thank you for not trying to deny that every single thing I said is true. Of course, it would be hard to deny because it’s all easy to verify. You keep mouthing off and I’ll start posting actual links. Hey, next time you see Mikey, ask him if the credit collectors and process servers are making it hard to shoot his goofy little videos. Maybe that’s why he’s hiding in a pink mask in his own videos!

      • Seal It With A Kiss

        Pink Grenade has more color in it than a rainbow.

      • Justin Saverin

        I’m sorry Mikey for calling you out here. We all hide. You hide in a pink ski mask, just like I hide behind the name Harvey Wilkinson. Forgive me Mikey! I love you and I watch your every move. I’m a fan.

    • Justin Saverin

      No more Harvey. I’ve decided to come clean. My name is Justin Saverin and I post as the name “Harvey Wilkinson”. I used my false name so I could be anonymous and comment on all the articles about Mike Smith and SMH Records. The problem is too many are popping up now. As Mike gets more successful, I get more jealous. I hate him. I’m jut being honest here. I was supposed to get into the entertainment business with Castle Hill Holdings LLC but I have failed. I have failed at everything. Nobody loves me, not even my own dad.

      Reply
      • harveywilkinson

        Hello Mike or Hay or whoever this is — sorry but this is my real name. I have no idea who this Justin Severin guy is but for your sake I hope he doesn’t see this and doesn’t have a lawyer. I don’t know anyone associated with Pink Grenade personally, I just enjoy watching delusional ego maniacs make fools of themselves on the internet. For instance, Mike Smith tries to launch his own music career and then takes down all his music videos, because they are embarrassing. Which is sad, I used to watch them with my friends when we wanted to crack up. Jonathan Hay brags they will be “the biggest act in music” by July, here they are something like #200,000 on the amazon sales chart. Again, just sad. Almost as sad as them pretending like they’re working with Kanye on a fake charity auction and then pretend like they have a beef with Kim after they get told to shut up by Kanye’s lawyer.

        Listen guys, keep up your pathetic attempts to get attention, lemme know when the sex tape comes out…I just hope it doesn’t star Hay and Smith!

  2. Seal It With A Kiss

    pink grenade has more color in it than a rainbow. Not just rich white kids.

    Reply
  3. Justin Saverin

    I’ve decided to come clean. My name is Justin Saverin and I post as the name “Harvey Wilkinson”. I used my false name so I could be anonymous and comment on all the articles about Mike Smith and SMH Records. The problem is too many are popping up now. As Mike gets more successful, I get more jealous. I hate him. I’m jut being honest here. I was supposed to get into the entertainment business but I have failed. I have failed at everything. Nobody loves me, not even my own dad.

    Reply

Leave a Reply

Your email address will not be published.