Rumor Control: Creambmp Skewers Celebrities
Raise your hand if you’ve ever shared any of the following (ahem) news links on social media:
(D) All of the above, plus you got into an impassioned debate about at least two of these.
Are you guilty as charged? Don’t feel too bad, since even some major news outlets have fallen for the banana in the tailpipe as presented by a man who goes by one name: Fred.
The somewhat mysterious South Carolina-based founder of http://creambmp.com/ is often in awe as mainstream media picks up the satirical articles he writes with the Black audience in mind. He claims to post only about a dozen times a month, but nets tens of millions of page views, and at least three times has gotten the targeted celebs to issue a statement in response to his writings.
Fred, a self-described former fashion and marketing major who dropped out of college to launch a clothing line about a decade ago, is so successful at his brand of tricknology that Keeping it 140 simply had to track him down.
We talked about a wide variety of topics, including his expertise in affiliate marketing, interest from some major comedy players and what he sees as the next phase of cream.bmp.
JET: Why is the site called cream.bmp?
Fred: Well, I had that name seven years ago when I quit my job and started Internet marketing. The first part stands for Cash Rules Everything Around Me and the second part is Black Media Properties.
JET: Yesssss, I’m a Wu-Tang fan. Makes perfect sense to me. Did you always write these parodies on cream.bmp? The first thing I can remember from your site that spread all over my Facebook timeline was Taye Diggs not wanting to be around any more Black women after shooting the “Best Man” sequel.
Fred: [laughs] Well, I actually started the satire and parody last year around August or September. I had the site name for a while, but didn’t do much with it.
JET: Why did you choose to write parodies?
Fred: At first, I was writing normal news about stars and I realized everybody did that and it was forced. I don’t actually care about celebrity lives. But people have always told me: “You’re real funny. You should do comedy.” I started doing standup, but I like to be in control of my own life. I don’t like situations where other people determine where I need to be. I wanted to combine comedy with the Internet, so I started doing some stuff on YouTube and it did very well. It was called creambmptv “Diary of a Young Black Asshole” Most of my comedy is on the edge. It’s not clean. But [YouTube] doesn’t pay as much money for the views, well at least not enough for the effort. So I started doing things on my site. I ended up doing an article about lacefront wigs being the leading cause of forehead cancer. It went really viral. Fast forward, two years later, which was last year, I did the article…. I think it was one about Miley Cyrus being pregnant by Juicy J.
JET: Oh, you “think” do you? That article was everywhere. I remember that one! A lot of people believed that, it seemed.
Fred: A lot of the real news that you see is kind of unbelievable. So I think the reason people fell for this one is because I always write something that people are already thinking. Miley Cyrus wants to be Black and she’s hanging around Black guys. It’s easy to say: Oh, she got pregnant by one of them. Sometimes people say: “You’re like The Onion.” I don’t agree. None of their articles seem believable, whereas mine sound like they could have happened.
JET: Can you remember the first time a celebrity responded to one of your posts?
Fred: It was the Miley Cyrus article. I have sites like Hollywood Life, Media Takeout, and bossip picking up my stuff. Bossip has reported multiple articles of mine, but they always say they don’t know if it’s real or fake. They go so viral and have so much social media influence. When the articles go viral, it becomes one of the number one searched articles, so they are going to put it up regardless even though they know it isn’t real.
JET: What happened with that Ja Rule article about him leaving his family for a fellow cellie? He didn’t seem to be too happy with your joke as it went pretty far and he ended up responding….
Fred: I spoke with him back and forth. They sent a cease-and-desist letter. I basically spoke with them myself. My site is protected. It does say satire, parody and entertainment news on the page. Parody is protected by freedom of speech. A lot of people take the title and retweet and by the time they realize it’s fake, they don’t care. None of the articles are malicious or mean-spirited. Ja Rule, I could see how they might not like it. It’s still all in fun.
JET: I just wonder how people think these are true stories. As you say, your site clearly says it’s a parody site.
Fred: I think people want it to be real so bad. They want their friends to know they found this stuff first so they don’t check it before they post it. Social media is all about discovery.
JET: Is there anything that is off limits?
Fred: Not really. If I can make it funny, I’ll do it. There’s no off limits to anything except for kids. I did something about Blue Ivy. I said that Memphis Bleek claimed Blue Ivy on his taxes. I made a sly joke about her hair, but not directly, it’s about what people say about her hair. I thought about it, but I wouldn’t do one on Lil Terio because I couldn’t find anything to say that wouldn’t directly mess with him. I do feel bad for him though.
JET: So is cream.bmp your day job?
Fred: Yep. I haven’t worked in 8 years. I was working at a gas station. I started a clothing line and sold it three years later, but I still needed money. I researched how you can make money for blogs, so I started a blog [Dobizo.com] teaching people how to start a clothing line. At the time, I worked at a gas station and they fired me for working on my project onsite. At that point, I said I would never work for anyone again. My site took off and I also did affiliate marketing.
JET: Do people send you suggestions for posts?
Fred: People send me ideas, but I never use them. I don’t want anyone to come after me for money because they think I used their idea. I tell you. Once, I tried having someone write for me so I could focus on building a sales team and our social media, but I couldn’t find anyone able to recreate and understand how to make them work.
JET: What’s next for the site?
Fred: I am actually in talks with the creators of Chappelle’s Show about creating skits for a TV show. It’s Neal Brennan, Dave’s former partner he got mad at. I am also thinking about developing a show. It’s funny. When people first visited the site they were mad and thought I was simply making up fake news. But then they saw: “Oh, this is satire, so there’s no reason to get mad.” Even the comments are changing on the site. People are becoming fans. My next step is to do merchandise and create a video platform, and that takes me from being a simple site to something much bigger. Already I write only about 15 articles a month and get comparable traffic, even surpass, sites like Necole Bitchie.
JET: I think readers might be surprised at how driven you are. To go from a gas station to a top, influential site that has celebrities scrambling to respond….that’s huge. What advice would you give someone who wants to make a splash online with their own concept?
Fred: You have to have determination. Determination beats failure 99 percent of the time. As long as you don’t give up, you will eventually succeed.
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About Kyra Kyles aka Keeping it 140
Kyra Kyles is JETmag.com’s Digital Managing Editor, plus our resident social media maven as “Keeping it 140.” Send her feedback or ask social media questions in comments or via firstname.lastname@example.org. You can follow her at @thekylesfiles.