Pop Culture

Mariah? Now it’s ‘Mimi’

Mariah Carey has a message for fans: Call me Mimi!

The singer now joins the list of divas who’ve taken an alternative moniker, such as Jennifer Lopez (J.Lo) and Madonna (Esther). In fact, Carey’s new name will appear in the title her forthcoming album: "The Emancipation of Mimi."

“Mimi is a very personal nickname only used by those closest to me... just one of those little things that I’ve kept for myself in an attempt to have some delineation between a public persona and a private life,” Carey explains on her Web site.

By publicly adopting her private name, Carey explains, “I am letting my guard down and inviting my fans to be that much closer to me… Most importantly, I am celebrating the fact that I’ve grown into a person and artist who no longer feels imprisoned by my insecurities or compelled to try and live up to someone else’s vision of ‘Mariah Carey.’ I now feel I can honestly say ‘this is me, the real me, take it or leave it.’”

Some Carey fans found the Mimi revelation interesting for another reason: in “Bling,” a dishy roman à clef about the music industry released earlier this year, one character was widely believed to be based on Carey. Author Erica Kennedy — an insider in the music business who is the godmother to Russell and Kimora Lee Simmons’s daughter Ming — called the character “Mimi.”

Inside the Oscar horse race
Maybe there’s a reason for “The Passion of the Christ.” When the controversial film was screened before the Academy of Motion Picture Arts and Science crowd it provoked “the angriest audience response I’ve ever seen,” as well as “the most filthy cussing and swearing that’s ever been heard at an academy screening,” an insider told “Inside Track.”

In past years, the Web site has tracked and predicted various films’ chances of bagging prizes, but this year, it’s including gossip from those Oscar screenings — including one source’s claim that “ ‘I Heart Huckabee’ s’ is the first film I have ever seen that received absolutely no applause at the end credits. Academy members all just got up and left.”

And those insider tidbits are provoking outrage from some studios. “We printed that the reaction to the screening of the film version of ‘Phantom of the Opera’ was mixed,” Goldderby.com’s Tom O’Neil tells The Scoop. “Warner Bros. [the studio releasing the film] went ballistic and is denying it, but we have spies and we will continue to report what they tell us.”

Notes from all over

Frank Micelotta / Getty Images North America
MIAMI - AUGUST 29: Singer Beyonce Knowles and rapper Jay Z pose for a photo at the 2004 MTV Video Music Awards at the American Airlines Arena August 29, 2004 in Miami, Florida. (Photo by Frank Micelotta/Getty Images) *** Local Caption *** Beyonce Knowles;Jay Z

Beyoncé Knowles’ father apparently doesn’t want Jay-Z to be part of his child’s destiny. Matthew Knowles, who manages his bootylicious daughter’s career, doesn’t approve of Beyoncé’s long-time boyfriend. “I don’t care for him at all,” Matthew Knowles said, reports the London Mirror. “No, I’m not close to him. He is not somebody I like to spend time with.”  . . . Jamie Lee Curtis is still struggling with her sobriety. “There are days it’s hard,” Curtis told the December issue of Reader’s Digest. “When my mother was so ill, there was a bottle of liquid codeine that sat on her bathroom cabinet — don’t think I didn’t see it.  And believe me I’ve gone, ‘Mmm, okay, you’re not going to do that.’ Because I know I’m an addict, and I know I’m an alcoholic.”  . . .Bill Maher has written to New Mexico governor Bill Richardson, asking him to ban cockfighting in that state. “You want to see real bloodshed?” wrote the funnyman, who’s also a member of People for Ethical Treatment of Animals. “Put Ralph Nader and Ann Coulter in a room together. Now that’s entertainment.”

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