[For this week's installment of Monologue Madness, let's visit Boyz of All Nationz: The Rise and Fall of a Multi-Ethnic Boy Band (2002), which had its world premiere at the now-defunct ASIA Theatre in Arlington, Virginia, just a hop, skip, and a jump from Washington, DC. In Act Two, Hal Hampton, the head of a powerful record company, wants to sign the band to his label. But first, he informs the boys' hapless manager, Jerry, that some drastic changes need to be made before the deal is to go forward. The time is 1994.]
HAL: You're gonna get your record deal. But we gotta work on your image a little.
I'm going to assign you and your boys a wardrobe assistant, a hairstylist, a publicist, and a boy band etiquette coach. Everything you need to get the look and attitude down. Records aren't bought and sold because of the radio anymore. They're bought and sold on TV. Music videos. You go to these clubs, with the kids, they've got these videos playing along with the music. The videos, the band, they've got to look good. I feel sorry for ugly musicians, I really do. My heart goes out to them. There was a time, before this VH-1, before this MTV crap, that it didn't matter what you looked like. I mean, some of the bands of the '70s, it’s amazing how they ever became so popular, knowing how God-awful ugly they were. ELO, anyone? I mean, they had all those top ten singles. But you look at 'em, the guys in the band, and they looked like the Symbionese Liberation Army, for Christ's sake. But it didn't matter. They put out songs people could sing along with, relate to. But that's not enough anymore. Nowadays, you can't be ugly. And nowadays, it would be helpful if you're good looking. You got me?
The only thing you got going against you right now, and, don't take this the wrong way, is that all your band members aren't white. Color doesn't sell, Jerry. Sure, the blacks have made some strides, but do we wanna make a statement or do we wanna make some money?
JERRY: ...With all due respect, sir, hip-hop artists are selling a ton of records. And most of them are black.
HAL: Give it a few more years, Jerry, and that won't be the case. The white kids will take it over.