Aloha?  What's Aloha?

Commentary by W. Knox Richardson

            Over the past few weeks, mainland celebrity management folks have demonstrated downright disrespect for local Honolulu media -- be it the "Oahu Island News," the "Honolulu Star-Bulletin," the "Honolulu Weekly" or even the local network television affiliates.  Off-island public relations and artist's management people just don't get it.  Don't want it.  And can't figure it out.  I am writing about the Aloha Spirit. 

            The word "rude" doesn't quite describe the attitude shown us poor local yokels who know absolutely nothing from nothing.  We're just Pacific hicks who haven't been anywhere or done anything.

            In September, musician Jake Shimabukuro signed with the William Morris Agency, one of the three biggest celebrity management firms in the world.  Congratulations, Jake. Since then, Jake's people reneged on agreements with local media and basically misrepresented him so as to present a new albeit plastic image of the local ukulele virtuoso.  Jake wants to rock out.  Okay, go for it.  But don't expect us to stand up and cheer because Jake wants worldwide adulation at the expense of those who helped him along this far.

In October, amateur golf phenom and legal minor Michelle Wie also "signed" with the Morris agency and announced at age 15 she is turning professional.   Many local media, including the "Oahu Island News," were turned away from the press conference.  Apparently, local media are not worthy of covering the great Ms. Wie.  Fine.  From now on she will be treated just like any other sports professional.  We wish her better luck in her career than in her choice of media representation.

We shouldn't overlook the mainland people from ABC-TV who handle national media relations for "LOST."   At a recent event, they managed to insult dozens of local working journalists on Oahu, earning an article on their hubris in the normally thick-skinned "Honolulu Weekly."

This isn't sour grapes.  We don't wish anyone ill will.  Nor is this an example of the "A'ama Crab Syndrome," trying to pull down someone fleeing the bucket.  No, we just don't want to be the little crabs stepped on when a big one escapes.  Everyone wants Jake, Michelle and anyone else with world-class talent to go as far and as fast as their God-given talents can take them.  We just question the choice of devils they're employing to guide them along the way. 

            Aloha is something too precious to leave behind, and yet it is something much too delicate to be left in the custody of those who just don't get it.


W. Knox Richardson, B.S.L., J.D.,  is the editor and publisher of the Oahu Island News.  He practiced national public relations for major American corporations for more than 20 years before moving to Hawaii.