The other day I was watching one of my favorite home improvement channels (my guilty obsession) and there he was, Vanilla Ice. But this time he wasn’t rapping his famous tune; he was renovating homes! What?! How did that happen? I’m sure some of you are wondering why this stopped me in my tracks and others are saying, don’t you still talk to him? To the latter, no! The last time I saw or spoke to the Ice Man (a.k.a. Robbie Van Winkle) was the early 90s when he was filming that critically acclaimed movie, “Cool As Ice.” I just don’t understand why the Academy passed it over for an Oscar nod.
To those with no idea what I’m talking about, during my days at the record company I worked for (SBK) I promoted none other than Vanilla Ice. Not only did I promote him to radio stations, but I also traveled on the road with him during the “To The Extreme” tour in 1991, tour jacket and all (and yes, I still have it!). Now I was never one who wore the Jewish American Princess badge with honor so what better way to dispel the myth than to travel with Vanilla Ice and his posse…for three months…on a bus…across the country…during winter. Yo, word to your mother. And yes, I know all the words…and no, Jack will not be learning these lyrics anytime soon.
You may recall that Vanilla Ice (Ice to his friends) was an overnight sensation with his white-boys-can-rap one-hit-wonder: Ice, Ice Baby. It was during this time in history that I worked with him. I remember one time in Los Angeles, after he was first signed to the record label I was assigned to drive him to the MTV Awards. He was none too pleased when I picked him up in my Honda Prelude. Well, as most of these stories go the more famous he got, the more the media dug into his past to poke holes in his story. By the time they were finished his story looked like Swiss cheese and he became a leading sketch on Saturday Night Live. Some of this had to do with bad timing because at the time of his up rise, Milli Vinilli had just been stripped of their Grammy due to lip-synching, and the media didn’t believe anyone anymore; especially a white rapper who just months earlier they were calling the next Elvis. That can never be a good thing. But I digress.
So now the Ice Man is renovating homes and has his own T.V. show, The Vanilla Ice Project (and a lot of tattoos!). Good for him. He refused to let his critics (and there were a lot of them) tear him down and reduce him to nothing just because his music career was no longer what it once was (if it ever was). I do hear that he still has gigs every now and then, however (why?!). This should really be a lesson for us all in that we should leverage our strengths for greatness, like renovating homes.
A recent post on Ice’s Facebook page said it best, “Always remember follow your dreams and never let negativity interfere with what you got to do – keep your head right, keep your game tight!” Do we have another hit song in the making? Why not, it worked for him with, “I’m stuck to you like white on rice,” and my all-time favorite, “Drop the zero and get with the hero!” Life lessons by Vanilla Ice – who knew?