A celebrity is an individual with popular appeal, prominence in a particular field, and is easily recognized by the general public within a particular society. The term celebrity is synonymous to wealth and mostly used within the fields of sports and entertainment.
However, when it comes to most of our Africa celebrities (Entertainers), the term ‘celebrity’ is identical to purely being ‘famous’ and substantially broke.
The reasons why most of our Africa celebrity entertainers fail to achieve the all important aspect of being a celebrity (wealth) will be considered in this piece. What are our celebrities doing wrong compared to western celebrities?
Becoming famous which is the first aspect of being a celebrity is not very difficult, the real work is being able to make a living or create some sort of wealth from the fame (popularity).
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For a person to be able to create wealth within any society, such a person must perfectly understand the market structures and the principles that control the market-forces and consumers.
Most of our Africa celebrity entertainers remain broke because they do not understand the market they find themselves within; they are buying into concepts and practices which make money in western markets but do not make anything in their own markets.
After years of following and extensively writing about both Africa and Western celebrities (If you care to know, I write on western celebrities at www.BeyondGossip.Com), it has become clear that, there are two main means by which celebrities obtain or create wealth.
The first model by which celebrity entertainers make sizeable financial gains is through branding. This money making model works perfectly well in both Western and African markets.
Celebrity entertainers all over the world are able to make returns by building a strong brand around themselves (personality branding) or make branded products to sell within their markets.
Personality branding brings in the various endorsement deals and corporate interests. Branded products like music, movies, etc can be sold for capital gains.
The second model by which celebrity entertainers make money is by using their fame. As I pointed out earlier, fame can be easily achieved-positively or negatively.
This is where Africa celebrity entertainers are getting it wrong. In the West, you can make money by simply being famous without any brand attachment.
Have you wondered how celebrities/socialites like Amber Rose and Jordan-Katie Price are able to make huge annual income just from being famous?
Fame or popularity sells in the West. In fact, it sells equally as brands do. It doesn’t matter how the fame is gained (negatively or positively), it sells out there.
By simply being famous in the West, a celebrity entertainer can secure paid interviews and appearances. I am talking about being paid thousands and millions of dollars for these interviews and appearances, simply because the person is famous.
When it comes to our Africa entertainment market, fame does not sell and it makes no or little money. How many people would be ready to pay any Africa celebrity entertainer thousands or millions of dollars for a TV, Magazine or Radio interview or an hour appearance at their daughters’ birthday gig?
Despite the fact that ‘fame or popularity’ does not sell within the Africa entertainment market, our celebrities spend almost all their time chasing fame, forgoing ‘Branding’ which rather sells.
Building a strong brand or branded products is difficult everywhere but it is the key to breaking away from being broke.
You can be the most famous African entertainer but our entertainment market does not have structures to allow any huge profits from being made out of ‘pure fame’ so you will remain broke.
This is why I laugh out loud anytime I hear people say ‘there is nothing like bad publicity’. That is a huge misconception.
In the West, there is nothing like bad publicity because both good and bad publicity bring fame (popularity) and you can cash in on being famous. But when it comes to Africa, since an entertainer cannot make earns meet solely from popularity, there is bad publicity.
As an entertainer, you need to have a brand to enjoy huge financial returns within the Africa market and bad publicity opposes that (branding).
The ordinary consumer and corporate bodies in the Africa entertainment market have little or no interest in mere popularity, they go for brands. It must be acknowledged that, there is a big disparity between fans and consumers. Whiles an entertainer can pull cash from the latter in the Africa market; it is not the same when it comes to the former.
So, until Africa celebrity entertainers begin to gravitate towards branding and give less relevance to gratuitous popularity, many will continue to be broke.