For the past weeks or so since I joined GhanaCelebrities.Com as a contributor, I have been asking myself over and over again if we really have celebrities here in Ghana or rather let me put it this way, if we have real celebrities in Ghana.
Now, let me explicate my point here before I get the hit. There have always been this school of thought that; to every real thing there is also a fake which is true in every sense of the word.
This brings me to the case of whether we have real celebrities in Ghana. I have always believed that the word celebrity like other words such as ‘gargantuan’ and ‘unprecedented’ has been hackneyed by Ghanaians.
So many people including some supposed “celebrities” are mystified by this word and what it stands for. Don’t get me wrong I am not in any way saying there are no real celebrities in Ghana but it seems the wannabes/fake/desperados are rather parading themselves as celebrities.
The true mission of my piece is to help tell the real deals from the fakes and also give people the true meaning and sense of who a celebrity is. At this point, let me tell you what a celebrity is widely defined as;
A celebrity is a person who has a prominent profile and commands a great degree of public fascination and influence in day-to-day media. The term is synonymous with wealth (commonly denoted as a person with fame and fortune), implied with great popular appeal, prominence in a particular field, and is easily recognized by the general public.
Various careers within the fields of sports and entertainment are commonly associated with celebrity status. These fields have produced prominent figures within these two industries. That makes sports figures like Tiger Woods, Muhammad Ali, Michael Jordan, super “uber” models like Gisele Bündchen, Tyra Banks, TV personalities like Oprah Winfrey, Larry King, artistes like Rihanna, Lady Gaga, Drake, Chris Brown, actors like Brad Pitt, Tom Cruise, Jessica Alba, authors like Stephanie Meyer and J.K Rowling, Talk show hosts like Ellen Degeneres, Jay Leno and many others celebrities.
If you have realized I have touched almost all the various careers in the sporting and entertainment world (which gives us a broad spectrum of celebrities in these fields of endeavor).
Let me put this across, the tag celebrity does not come cheap as some people may think. Celebrities are not just individuals but brands who sell themselves as such. This status comes with its own responsibilities and privileges and I guess this is where many people fall short of.
Now, let’s try to break that definition down and see if Ghanaians in the field of sports and entertainment have these attributes. For starters, I would say few and I say “few” with so much stress and convictions, few celebrities have a public hold or influence on the Ghanaian people. I guess, this is partly because these privileged few have been able to publicize themselves very well and have caught the attention of the media.
Several others do not have this public hold? So do we call this split group of people in these fields “celebrities” or not?
Let me play the devil’s advocate here, the question I asked is, what stops these people from publicizing themselves like their colleagues? Are they are too stingy or not popular enough to get that needed publicity they so seek? Or do they not care at all? I guess, these questions can best be answered by them.
The next point I want to raise is the issue of wealth. Now, if this word celebrity is synonymous with wealth then I guess so many of these Ghanaian celebrities fall short of it (well, maybe not sports personalities like Michael Essien, Asamoah Gyan and the likes). I say this because I do not see any Ghanaian celebrity’s name on the list of richest men or women in Ghana or the Forbes Richest men and women in Africa.
So what do we say for these celebrities who don’t make the list? Do we call them celebrities or not? I would not lay the blame at the doorstep of these people since the industry they find themselves in does not remunerate them well.
Then again there is the issue of recognition by the general public. Recognition is a very key feature in being tagged a celebrity and like I said it is only the privileged few that get initiated into this hall of fame.
It is also believed that for one to join this elite group of people he/she will have to pay his or her dues in society.
A friend of mine once said for one to be considered as a celebrity he/she will have to be celebrated. The assertion does have an accurate undertone to it. But have Ghanaian celebrities paid their dues? Have they done enough to be celebrated?
I guess these few points speak for themselves, so the next time you want to tell the real deals from the fakes just remember what makes a person a celebrity and I am sure you will be able to identify the chaff from the seeds.