Ghanaians are largely hypocrites and any attempt to please them would make you miserable—that’s if you are lucky not to be pushed into a bottomless pool of depression.
Abraham Attah who is currently based in the US schooling and building his Hollywood résumé in a recent interview has said his biggest wish is to perfect his American accent and several Ghanaians have taken to social media to lambast him—claiming he’s so soon feeling inferior, despite the plausible reason he gave.
Abraham told,“Doreen Andoh that his biggest wish is to improve his American accent to near perfect levels to increase his suitability for roles.”
What’s wrong with this dream of a young man who was ridiculed in his own country, Ghana, for having a “local” accent just a few years ago?
This is why I say Ghanaians are largely hypocrites, perhaps even confused. When Abraham Attah was with us in Ghana and spoke in his natural accent, he was ridiculed—such that for weeks, he became the talk of the country.
And even if for nothing at all, this alone is enough for him to want to change his accent to sound more American—but that’s not even the reason why he has decided to work on his American accent.
Unless we want Abraham Attah to be type cast in Hollywood, maintaining his Ghanaian accent wouldn’t do his career any good. Hollywood is an industry with a primary language and to a large extent, a certain accent, which is the American accent.
If Abraham Attah wants to increase his chances of getting roles in such an industry, then perfecting his American accent is not an option, rather a necessity.
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Of course, I have heard the argument that he was discovered because of his indigenous Ghanaian accent and therefore seeking to ditch this for an American accent would take away his uniqueness in a highly saturated industry.
What those who mount this argument forget is that, Attah now lives in America and whether he likes it or not, at his age and based on his dealings, his Ghanaian accent will be diluted. Therefore, if Hollywood is looking for a Ghanaian or an African to play a movie role, he would automatically be out of the mark of indigenousness—and if he does not perfect his American accent, then he would be losing at that quarters too.
His best bet is to perfect his change of accent, which is inevitable to help position himself as an actor capable of playing a high number of roles in Hollywood and not box himself into a small corner, waiting to be cast for an African Zoombie film which hardly gets made.
A different layer to this conversation which may be happening behind the veil and probably another reason why Abraham Attah is adamant to perfect his American accent is how much of an obstacle his current accent has become to him effectively communicating in America.
Anyone who has lived and schooled abroad would appreciate the power of having the right accent—it’s even more important if you are a teen like Abraham Attah. From being laughed at by mates to people telling you they cannot understand you just because you sound different, it’s never pleasant to be that different child in a group or a class.
If Abraham Attah was old enough, then he wouldn’t have been much bothered about others ridiculing his accent or sometimes others making you feel as if you are speaking Zulu which they do not understand—when you are speaking English, just because your accent is different.
At his age, nothing is more important to his development and future than being accepted and being treated as a colleague, a friend or the teen next door—with language (accent) being a key deciding factor.
Abraham Attah belongs to a different part of the world now and he needs to adapt swiftly to fully integrate into his new environment–and spare us the lame Kofi Anane arguments which disregard important factors such as age and occupation or dreams.
Interestingly, Reggie Rockstone, a man who was born in the UK and lived in America and Ghana–and has lived through the “culture of accents” agrees with me on this…
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