So the other day I was talking with my mum (my number 1 inspiration) about Ghana and our so-called celebrities. We came to the obvious, yet painful conclusion that besides team members of the Black Stars, no one else comes under the celebrity status tag in Ghana.
Think about it, where do Ghanaian celebrities hang out? Where do they go to eat? Where do they shop? Where to the live? Do we have a community that’s the preserve of our stars. Say, Trassaco Valley? Wouldn’t that be an awesome place for all the hiplife artists? Naa man, even the producers/promoters are all “straiggling”. In Ghana, most artists live in the studios of their producers. Not because they are waiting for a sudden and an unplanned outburst of creativity in the middle of the night, it’s simply because they have no where else to be. They only come out during events and shows and try to pretend to be all starry, when we know that they are merely shattered pieces glass that glisten in the sun’s rays. Were we to do the Ghanaian version of MTV Cribs for our stars, excluding our Black Stars, we may not have enough worthy enough homes for 10 episodes.
One might ask, what about our movie stars? Surely they must have it good, seeing as they act endlessly in 10-part movies. They should be able to afford half a million dollar homes and more. Nay, I tell ya, a big NAY! They are probably the worst of them all. Who is Nadia Buari? Who is Jackie Appiah or Van Vicker? I can assure you that it’ll take them twelve lifetimes to reach the star status of Angelina Jolie, Julia Roberts or Denzel Washington. Make-up artists and stage prompters in Hollywood make better money per movie than our highest ranked stars. So don’t you go “kyere-ing” your skin on me and telling me that you are a star. Chances are that I make more money than you, I live in a better house and I most likely eat better. If I go to Aunty Muni, I can bet my last pesewa that I can see at least 3 stars coming in to buy waakye or even sitting down to eat on the benches like the rest of us. Not because they want to mingle with the common folk, it is because they are just a common a folk like every other common folk!
I’ve seen models, tv and radio presenters there on countless occasions. It’s the truth guys. What’s in a star if you’re wherever the common man is? Like the stars up above, there are only 2 ways to get to them; 1. I must become one of them. 2. I must have enough money to go into space and then perhaps I can be within 100 feet or more from one.
So my advice to them, is that until they can pay for the latest Lambourgini in cash, or live in a million dollar home, they should all get off their high horses and get their heads seriously in the game. Until Ghanaians find the need to create a celebrity inspired shopping arcade, or a celebrity inspired hair salon, where it cost $100 and over for a hair cut/do; until there’s a restaurant so pricey that each meal could pay for your rent; until we get paparazzi who follow our camouflaged stars from place to place, then please forget it.
I’m sure Essien and his buddies don’t feel that buzz that comes along with being a celebrity the moment they step through Kotoka International. Ghana has a way of stripping you off your star status. Tell me, which of our stars would you die to have an autograph of? Which of them would you step out in the rain to catch a glimpse of?
Most of the faces on our TVs sit with us in trotros, drive decade old cars and shop from Gap like the rest of us. If Rihanna were to step in one of Accra’s clubs right now, you’ll see the crowd around her. If MzBel stepped right next door in Togo or Burkina Faso, they’ll only take note of her ‘cos she might not be wearing the traditional outfit of the Burkinabes. Apart from that, she’s as common a person as the dirt in the sand to them. While I’m on that topic, please, and I really mean it, please, let’s refrain from referring to Ghanaian songstresses as DIVAs.
Definition of DIVA
n., pl., -vas, or -ve (-vā).
- An operatic prima donna.
- A very successful singer of nonoperatic music: a jazz diva)
Examples are Anastacia, Whoopi Goldberg, Beyonce, Mary J. Blige, Toni Braxton, Sarah Brightman, Mariah Carey, Belinda Carlisle, Cher, Natalie Cole, Deborah Cox, Céline Dion, Judy Garland, Kathryn Grayson, Kathy Griffin, Deborah Harry, Billie Holiday, Gloria Estefan, Lena Horne, Whitney Houston, Chaka Khan, Gladys Knight, Jennifer Lopez, Patti LuPone, Madonna, Liza Minnelli, Kylie Minogue, Dolly Parton, Diana Ross, Dalida, Donna Summer, Tina Turner, Vanessa Williams, TAFKA Ally and a few others.
According to the above stated definition, the only Ghanaian songstress I know who comes close to Diva is Bibie Brew. I think people like Patti Labelle, Anita Baker, Barbara Streissand, Aaliyah, would have a fit if you put them in the same category as MzBel and Mimi. I’ll leave it there for now.
Off the cuff, name any Ghanaian who can step into almost any country and perform in front of a teeming crowd. And I’m not talking about the Ghanaian community in that country.
If you think you are a star and walk around in Ghana acting all star-like, remember that you’re simply a well-known, under paid entertainer. Take this from me, if you walk around with a chip on your shoulder because people see you and recognize you, clip off those wings. The journey to a fully fledged entertainment industry is one of a million miles. And we are barely 5 steps into it. I don’t care what anyone says, until our artistes wear $20,000 outfits per performance and not repeat Accra shada at shows in Kumasi or Takoradi I still maintain that there are no stars in Ghana, only entertainers. M’aka m’aka!