I’ve always ‘envied’ western celebrities for one reason and that is, despite the huge amount of cash they have, they never really pay for anything—mostly, people offer them certain luxuries like free hotel accommodation, flights, designer wears and even exotic holidays.
My envy springs from the fact that, they never really have to pay for anything even though they are stinking rich. However, ordinary Kojos and Arabas like me with not much sitting in our bank accounts have to pay for everything. Who actually needs freebies? The broke individuals or the millionaires…? But that is the world we live in!
Interestingly and probably unknown to many of our Ghanaian Celebrities that most of their western counterparts do not pay for their ‘exorbitant lifestyles’, our celebrities have plunged themselves into this sort of class race—sitting in Accra and wanting to live like Kim Kardashian or Jay-Z.
Prior to Lupita Nyongo’s recent Oscar appearance, it emerged that several of the world’s expensive gown designers flooded her with their dresses for free—hoping she will just choose to wear their brands to the prestigious awards. At the end of the day, she rocked a stunning sky blue Prada dress and I will not be shocked if on top of it being a freebie, Prada even paid her to wear the dress.
Meanwhile, back home in Ghana, upon seeing Lupita’s freely acquired beautiful dress, some of our celebrities will be scheming through different means and tunnels, so to wear Prada or repeat the Oscar de la Renta that Halle Berry recently wore for one of our red carpet events.
I’ve come across Kim Kardashian and some western celebrities occasionally showing off a watch, a hotel they stayed in, a gym and sometimes even a drink. The hidden truth behind most of these social media exhibitions is that, Kim Kardashian, Justin Bieber, Chris Brown, Rihanna and the rest who engage in these activities are mostly PAID to do so—subtle advertisement for these brands. Though such conducts are regarded as unethical with UK advertising regulators recently requesting that celebrities who engage in these promotions should let their fans understand they’ve received some sort of compensation for their tweets, Instagram or facebook posts, some of the celebrities continue to ignore this requirement.
Once again, visit the Instagram page of a Ghanaian celebrity and you will be shocked by the sort of free promo the person gives to some fake designer watch purchased from Mainland China, a Cambodia LV bag or British Airways on the false premise that, he or she is ‘balling’ and repeating exactly the high class lifestyle of the western celebrities.
When these western celebrities are getting paid to do something, you are rather spending your borrowed or little cash on replicas—and putting them on display for free, to engrain the self-pity that you are on the same pedestal with them…
The validity of a person’s celebrity status very much depends on his or her actions and the number of freebies his/her personality can fetch in the world of the big brands, a friend once said.
Usually, I ask myself this simple question; how come our Ghanaian celebrities only seem to know of the Kim Kardashian approach to marketing and branding, when in fact, the Denzel Washington’s approach and brand is probably the greatest, untouched and well respected. Denzel is reported to have said in an interview that he does not even have a Twitter account, let alone to show off cheap fake products. Of course our celebrities will not be interested in his style; they will be hooked on the Kardashian pill when they cannot even afford it. Eventually, they end up taking a Chinese version of the pill with long running unpleasant consequence.
Even if the western celebrities do not get most of their high class lifestyle bills discounted or cancelled by virtue of their status, they have enough in the bank to afford that lifestyle.
There is a hazy consensus out there that most of our Ghanaian Celebrities who bombard us with their so called high class lifestyles cannot afford them—in reality, the likes of Kojo Antwi and the rest who can afford them are probably not interested and won’t even flaunt them.
The question worth asking at this stage is this; who is actually paying for First Class Travel, Expensive Bags, Exotic Holidays, Designer Wears and the out of budget lifestyles that our celebrities want us to believe they are living?