The next edition of the NBA All-Star Game arrives this Sunday, and one person who almost certainly will not be at Bankers Life Fieldhouse in Indianapolis, Indiana is Fergie.
The singer-rapper-model-actress-businesswoman sung the national anthem at the 2018 NBA All-Star Game, staged in her home state of California, and her music/entertainment career never recovered.
However, she still thriving as an entrepreneur these days, and we’ll cover it all here.
First let’s clear up any potentially. Fergie” typically refers to Stacy Ann Ferguson, an American singer and member of the Black Eyed Peas, rather than Sir Alex Ferguson, the former manager of Manchester United.
After all, this site is heavy in MUFC content.
I’ve actually met and spoke with both (Sir Alex was at a 2011 press conference in Chicago) Fergies. True story: Stacy “Fergie” Ferguson once hand-delivered dessert to me! It was 1997, and she was in a pop group called Wild Orchid, with Renee Sandstrom and Stephanie Riddell.
This was the summer I worked backstage security at the World Music Theatre in Tinley Park, IL. Wild Orchid was part of B96 Summer Fest, a daylong festival featuring more than a dozen acts who fit the genres of R&B, Rap, Pop etc.
Wild Orchid was not a hugely successful, or popular act, and hence they were relegated to Dressing Rooms D&E at The World. D&E were only utilized for major festival shows, where the number of acts performing was high, and thus additional accommodations were needed.
In other words, it was the more distant, remote corridor, and to be stuck with this assignment was to basically (proverbially) draw the shortest straw in the backstage security squad.
So when it was your turn in D&E, you were laughed at by the rest of your squad. But on this day, I had the last laugh on my squad mates.
All three members of Wild Orchid were super nice and friendly to me. And they obviously felt sorry for me that I was stuck in this remote, dark corridor alone.
After their set was complete, Wild Orchid went to their post show picnic, and it was there that Fergie gathered sandwiches, cookies, fresh fruit etc. which she then brought back to me.
When you work a 14-hour shift on concert days like this, all nourishment is very much appreciated.
So I must have made a really positive impression on them. The best part was when Wild Orchid enthusiastically said goodbye to me- in full view of the rest of my squad!
Now who had the last laugh on being stuck in D&E!
After leaving Wild Orchid in 2001, Fergie joined the Black Eyed Peas, totally blew up like C4 with them (“I Gotta Feeling” and “Let’s Get It Started” are tunes that have been inescapable for the past 20 years), and then pursued various solo projects and ventures.
Fergie released her debut solo album, “The Dutchess,” in 2006. The album was a commercial success, spawning hits such as “London Bridge,” “Glamorous,” and “Big Girls Don’t Cry.”
Fergie then ventured into acting and appeared in several films and television shows. She had roles in movies like “Nine” (2009) and “Poseidon” (2006), as well as guest appearances on television series like “Entourage” and “Charlie Brown’s Christmas Tales.”
So she was A-List…
…until the 2018 NBA All-Star Game at Staples Center in Los Angeles. Fergie’s performance of F. Scott Key’s “Star-Spangled Banner” garnered a major backlash due to her unique rendition, which included a jazz-lounge inspired interpretation.
While it was creative and it showcased her vocal abilities, many criticized her performance for being overly theatrical or not in line with traditional renditions of the anthem.
And as we have learned, over and over again (just ask Rosanne Barr or Colin Kaepernick) you just do not mess with the Star-Spangled Banner.
After all…MERICA! Or if you will MURRICA! Watch videos of this moment from the 2018 NBA All-Star Game, and you can see the body language of the players during this rendition.
It’s cringeworthy. It’s like the NBA version of Jim Halpert face from The Office.
After this, Fergie never recovered as an entertainer. She admitted in an interview that although she tried to be creative and unique, her rendition just didn’t strike the right chord.
Her music career circled the drains from there. Fergie hosted the first season of the singing competition show “The Four: Battle for Stardom” on Fox. The show featured aspiring singers competing for a record deal with music industry experts serving as judges.
And it wasn’t until four years later that any of her performances would be televised (in this era of 7,000 TV channels). Jack Harlow sampled her in “First Class,” clipping one of her lyrics from “Glamorous” and his single blew up like nitro.
Fergie then joined him to perform at the 2022 MTV Music video awards, and overall it was critically acclaimed.
While she’s hasn’t been relevant, musically, for at least six years, Fergie has been involved in the fashion industry and launched her footwear line, Fergie Footwear, in collaboration with Brown Shoe Company.
She also ventured into fragrance lines, make-up and eye-liner products other fashion-related initiatives. Fergie has also been busy with her Dad’s Ferguson winery line.
While she hasn’t released a full solo album since “The Dutchess,” close to 20 years ago, she has been featured on singles here and there and worked on various music projects.
So while she hasn’t been super visible for the past half decade, Fergie has been striving and thriving in the business world. Something to remember this NBA All-Star Game as the event approaches and (insert performer here) is set to perform the Star-Spangled Banner.
Paul M. Banks is the Founding Editor of The Sports Bank. He’s also the author of “Transatlantic Passage: How the English Premier League Redefined Soccer in America,” and “No, I Can’t Get You Free Tickets: Lessons Learned From a Life in the Sports Media Industry.”
He currently contributes to Ravens Wire, part of the USA Today SMG’s NFL Wire Network. His past bylines include the New York Daily News, Sports Illustrated, Chicago Tribune and the Washington Times. You can follow him on Twitter.