Vanilla Ice’s Official Bio Is Melting in Media Heat : Pop music: The hot-selling rap star, who appears in Anaheim on Dec. 29, admits he made up some of the colorful details about his background.
Vanilla Ice insists he’s a no Milli Vanilla.
Ice--the first white solo star in rap--admitted in a phone interview that he made up several of the colorful details about his background in his official SBK Records bio and in a series of media interviews in recent months to promote his best-selling album.
He also says the reason he didn’t reveal his real name in the interviews was to make it harder to check into his background.
But Ice, who is scheduled to headline Anaheim’s Celebrity Theatre on Dec. 29, strongly denied rumors that it’s not his voice on the album and that he’s lip-syncing on stage.
“I hate those guys,” he said, referring to the Milli Vanilli team of Rob Pilatus and Fab Morvan, who were stripped of a Grammy after admitting they didn’t sing on the best-selling Milli Vanilli album.
On the controversy about his own background, Ice said, “This wouldn’t be such big news if the media wasn’t nosing around looking for more cases of people not singing on their records. After my album got so big, I figured this stuff might come out, but it wouldn’t have been headlines and such a big deal on TV.”
The admitted fabrications included claims that Ice, who gives his age as 22, went to the same Miami high school as 2 Live Crew leader Luther Campbell, was a star for national championship Team Honda on the professional motocross circuit in the mid ‘80s, and that his mother was a music teacher at a university in Florida.
But all that was challenged by reporters in Miami and Dallas who checked into Ice’s background in recent weeks.
According to his New York publicist Elaine Schock, Ice’s background was exposed after he was tripped up by one of his tall tales.
Some of the kids in the Miami high school he supposedly attended couldn’t find him in any yearbooks. That conflict was printed, she said, in the Miami Herald and was later picked up by the Dallas Morning News, which investigated further.
Reporters discovered that Ice’s real name is Robert Van Winkle and that he didn’t go to school with Campbell. His mother does teach music, but at a small Miami college, not a university. They also learned that the rapper did not ride for Team Honda and even questioned whether he had done any professional motocross racing.
According to Schock, the rapper was apparently associated in motocross with Kawasaki. He was a motocross champion, but apparently only in the Texas region, she said.
There has been speculation in the pop world that one reason Ice came up with a false past was to hide an affluent childhood so that he would appear closer to the inner-city image of rap.
Despite suggestions in the Dallas investigation that Ice is from a well-to-do, white Dallas background, the rapper still maintained in the interview that he “grew up poor on the streets,” mainly in black neighborhoods.
“We lived in a lot of places in Miami and Dallas when I was growing up,” he said. “We didn’t have money. I remember I had this fancy car I bought with motocross money, but I couldn’t even afford gas. People may have thought I had money but I didn’t.”
How about his much publicized--and recently disputed--tale of being stabbed five times in a 1986 gang fight in Dallas? “That happened and I have the scars to prove it,” he said.
Why the deception about the other matters?
“I was trying to protect my privacy,” he said. “I didn’t want people to find out who I was. I twisted a couple of things in the bio so people couldn’t look me up. I was a bad kid growing up, always in trouble. My background is worse than I’ve said.
“I went to five different high schools. We had to move around because I was always getting into trouble. I’m supposed to be a role model for kids now. I didn’t want people to find out who I really was. And I also didn’t want my mother to be bothered by the media. But I didn’t count on this record getting so big and my life being in the national spotlight.”
Ice was scheduled to appear in concert with M. C. Hammer on Friday and Saturday at the Long Beach Arena, but he has cancelled the appearances, his publicist said.