R&B singer Ashanti has taken her controversially violent music video, featuring an aggrieved woman murdering her lover, to the next level. Fans can now send friends or enemies "gotchagrams," which pose as newscasts forecasting the recipient's imminent murder, which is inspired by Ashanti's video. Check out the graphic video that came with my "copycat" threat.
If you're on the receiving end, you get the video delivered in a pretty personal email from "Detective James Nicholas," who urges you to contact him (via an actual phone number) immediately because your life may be in danger. I followed up with the detective and was greeted with a message from Ashanti. I then proceeded to get a followup text message that said: "Join my mob so I can text you later."
Ashanti's video and its freakishly realistic promotional tool seem to me like a senseless promotion of violence. But, perhaps it's just art and should be thought of as a reflection and not a cause of society's problems. Even so, I would hope that legitimate artistic expression has some level of sophistication that goes beyond a murder hoax. What do you think? Are you laughing?