Bobbi Kristina Brown has attained a new level of fame since the untimely passing of her mother Whitney Houston. No longer her pop star mom’s ever present sidekick, she is now a media sensation in her own right. Bobbi Kristina has blown minds by saying she wants to change her name to Kristina Houston and allegedly dating her informally adopted brother. And the public follows her every move.
Despite this shocking conduct, Bobbi Kristina told Oprah Winfrey that she wants to sing, dance and act like her parents — on the heels of the revelation that she is the sole heir to Houston’s estate. Given the budding starlet’s well-publicized encounters with fame’s dark side (such as naughty drug pics and rumored stints in rehab), what can Bobbi do to ensure that she properly manages her inherited legacy?
Kevin Noble Maillard, associate professor of law at Syracuse University, thinks that Bobbi Kristina is in a good place financially because of the nature of her trust fund. Whitney stipulated that Bobbi will not receive a lump sum, giving her a chance to grow into her wealth responsibly.
Bobbi Kristina can also gain access to additional funds for special occurrences like a wedding or a home purchase. “The trust structure is entirely appropriate for Bobbi Kristina,” Maillard said. “Her trustees, who are also her relatives, will be able to place limits on her spending. If she needs treatment, they can dig into the trust principal in order to cover expenses. And if she is doing quite well, they can support and reward her within limits of the written trust.”
Elayne Fluker, executive editor of digital media for Black Enterprise, questions whether relatives make the best support team. “I will say this about covering celebrity finances and their businesses,” Fluker told theGrio, “From those in front of the camera like Tasha Smith and Beverly Johnson to those behind the scenes like Chris Lighty and Cortez Bryant, there is one key factor that seems imperative to an entertainer’s success and longevity: a solid, quality, trustworthy team. And the ‘best’ team isn’t necessarily going to be one made up of your family and best friends.”
Fluker adds, “You want people who are the most qualified to move you, your career, and your business ahead. Who’s the best accountant to handle your finances? Does your manager share your vision for your career and how you will position yourself? Who can you trust on your team to tell you NO when you need to hear it? These are the kinds of questions Bobbi Kristina, and any entertainer starting out, needs to ask.”
Tianna Robinson of PR Noir based in New York City believes that overcoming her bad girl reputation will be paramount. “She should work on cleaning up her image, prove her talent and perfect her craft, instead of riding the coattails of her parents and their name,” this public relations professional — who has worked for Robin Thicke — told theGrio. “She needs to define herself and her celebrity around her individuality. What is her special talent that makes people want to pay attention? She unfortunately has the task of cleaning up a somewhat tarnished name.”
“The entertainment world can be a scary place, with lots of negative influences and it unfortunately it can change people for the worst, especially younger misguided people,” Robinson said. Her advice? “Stand true to your core values and don’t sell your soul for a quick dollar or fame. Seek a trusted mentor who has braved the entertainment world before you. Have fun, but know and adhere to what your limits are.”