Steffans, Karrine. Confessions of a Video Vixen. Amistad, 2006. ISBN 978-0060892487 224 pp. $
I grabbed this one when I heard it was on the Quick Picks List. Confessions of a Video Vixen is an abused woman’s account of how low self-esteem plus a smoking hot 100 pound body led her to a life of prostituting herself with hip hop icons (and the occasional NBA superstar and rock god, to boot) for attention and gifts.
In this tell-all, laden with juicy sensory details, Karrine details poverty of her youth, an absent father, sisters of different paternity than she, a hellcat strumpet of a mama, a rape in high school and discovering the power of sex stripping with a boyfriend’s mother at age sixteen. After struggling through a physically and emotionally abusive relationship with a rapper ten years her senior who fathers her child then tries to smother it, she finally escapes and starts living the good life, dancing in videos (instead of on laps and tables) to the tune of $3,000 an day (2 day minimum written into her contract).
Steffans claims to have written this tale to warn other young girls against a similar fate. Getting the sordid details of her life amidst name dropping, club-hopping and designer label frenzy could meet teen developmental assets as an example of how NOT to gain positive adult role models, abstain from sex and drugs, and develop positive self-identity.
More information about how Steffan extricated herself from this mess of a life (whether through sheer dumb luck, God or therapy) would be a redeeming quality. The writing quality isn’t too bad, and on the whole, the book was riveting. After awhile, the shock value of the sexual details diminshes considerably. If you choose to purchase for the teen audience who wants to read about how heroes fall, your safest bet is to catalog it with adult biographies, but leave it lying around and watch the circs go up (if it doesn’t disappear!).
Incidentally, I wonder what the men whose names she drops had to say about her allegations.