Ghanaian A-List Movie Stars Are Still Not Being Paid for Some Movie Roles?

5 min

Jackie Appiah
Jackie Appiah

Though I struggle to sometimes come to terms with the concept of fame and how it translates into real money in our part of the world, I think every reasonable person would admit, that the reward of labour is salary—as such, we must place value on our services and talents.

I regularly throw stones at most of our celebrities for wearing the ‘FAKIES’ and trying so hard to parade a lifestyle which their circumstances cannot sustain but deep down, I genuinely feel sorry for some of these people, who continue to trade their time and talent for worthless fame.

I recently got into a long conversation with a certain Ghana actress. I wouldn’t call her an “A-lister” but surely a “B-lister” (That reminds me, I need to complete a page to place our Ghanaian entertainers under A, B, C and Z list).

Despite the fact that I am aware some of these “wannabe” stars work for free, enduring all sorts of abuse and contempt, I was shocked when the actress mentioned how much she is mostly paid for a movie role. And the fact that she does not even get paid sometimes by some of the long standing production houses nearly broke my heart.

“If an A-lister is starring in the movie for free, who are you to be getting paid”; this is something she has been told several times—and that, begging for your payment after you have finished working is a well accepted practice in today’s Ghana Movie Industry.

I understand things are hard but does the hardship not demand that a person must be paid for work done so he or she can have something to fall on?

According to this movie star, most of her colleagues including herself are mostly ticked on 1,000 GHS and when things are better, some of the A-listers are given 3,000 GHS per movie. Even with this, you would have to go to the church to thank God if the cheque clears—and that means, the pastor will take his share too.

“The money is very bad and that is why some of these girls have to find other ways to live the high life they desperately want” she added. I do understand where she is coming from with this but I wouldn’t accept that as a prudent alternative even in my intoxicated state.

Over the years, I have realized Ghanaians find it increasingly difficult to pay for things they cannot see with their eyes or touch —and that includes paying for services, no matter how valuable that service is to their business or operations. They want it for FREE and this is the bigger umbrella some of our movie stars are living under with those who hire their services.

No reasonable person would waste his or her time providing any real service for free, especially when that service will fetch someone money in the long run—but many of our movie stars are doing this, having bought into the vaguely placed notion of “you will become famous” by working for free… How long are you going to be working for free?

The truth is, these movie makers are not handing over their VCDs or Movie Rights for free, so why should any person who places value on his or her acting career be working for them for free—and then, continue to struggle to the extent that, another woman’s husband has to become the Messiah…

Then again, most of these people we call actors/actresses do not have any valid worth, so why should anyone pay for a “worthless talent”?

Most of these actors/actresses do not place any value on themselves, their talents and have not invested a dime on their career. Therefore, there is nothing worth paying for when you decide to use them in a movie. Instead of being assets by making you money, they become liabilities, fetching you a bank debt.

There is a limit on how far you can fake your value and with time, the holes begin to show. Those who have invested in building a real value will continue winning, to the shock and aversion of those without any real value/talent but take pride in being called actors.

Of course some cheap movie makers may call a bluff on those with worthy talents when they demand to be paid their worth but like a fine metal, those with real value will live to see the return of the master, ready to pay more for their worth.

It is indeed sad that after all these years, some of our top actors/actresses continue to WORK for free—not by choice but by virtue of the situations they find themselves.

But it is far depressing to know that these same actors/actresses have not improved themselves/skills or talents all these years—riding on the same wheels that brought them into the industry…How many have bothered to take a single class?

Let your worth, work and talent fetch you the pay you desire. And since we cannot bridge the gap between fame and real money in our corner of the world, fame should always be an opportunity cost to getting paid—for those who can see beyond.

Chris-Vincent Agyapong Febiri, Founding Editor
Chris-Vincent Agyapong Febiri is the Founding Editor of GhanaCelebrities.Com , a Film Critic and a Human Rights Advocate; he holds 2 masters degrees in Law; International Human Rights Law (LL.M) and Legal Practice Course (LL.M) from University of Leicester and Nottingham Law School--and also a degree in Law (LL.B) from University of East London. He's a Professional Truth Sayer and he is the author of the popular eBook “Success is a Right, Not A Privilege.” He currently works at Adukus Solicitors in London--where he uses his legal brains to kick real ass, for the good of clients and humanity. Contact: [email protected]


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  1. Now, will you blame most of them flooding to Nigeria for movie roles? When they get there, they start charging what they receive a whole year in Ghana, for a movie role. A friend of mine once contacted Jackie for a shoot and they agreed on 3,000 GHC. And this guy is just starting a production, they never knew. Go to Nigeria as an upcoming producer and contact the likes of Ine Edo. She won’t agree to be part of it and even if she does agree, you have to dip your hand to the bottom of your pocket to afford her. You have no movie market here in Ghana. That’s the major problem. This producers are also business men and women. They need their returns too.

      1. Yes my dear, it is. I shouldn’t remind you that Nigeria has a population of over 170 million and most supports Nollywood. We have close to 20 cinemas in Nigeria – If not more than – and you have about 3 in Ghana? Nollywood is growing because people are investing and getting their returns. Mercy Johnson charges equivalent of more than 40,000 GHC for a movie and she’s still one of the busiest Nollywood actors-which means she’s being hired and the producers and making their money back. I was contemplating of producing in Ghana but looking at the support the movie industry here gets, I was discouraged. We support our own down there in Nigeria. Until you start doing same, it will be static. Americans are not coming to Ghana to buy your products.

        I’m not trying to start a debate about which country is better or not. But, having followed both industries for many years, I should be able to state the fact. #Peace

        1. Some of them are not paid well.hmmmm the only people who get a lot of money are the likes of john dumelo, jackie appiah, yvonne nelson, majid and lydia forson.i know jackie was taking something around 10000 or above that last year, and Jd was taking something around 8000…one producer came on the radio and said they charge too high and that makes it difficult for some producers to use them….

    1. I dont know about jackie agreeing to 3000 because a friend of our neighbours work for a production company back in ghana and said jackie doesnt charge less than 8000 and even with that it depends

  2. Is anyone even making movies in Ghana these days? These actors are not actors. They are actors because we don’t have good actors. But it is sad to work for free. They must want the fame for something else what is the point? They will attract their sugar daddies by working for free in the movies I guess. So at the end they win some how lol

  3. How can they get profit to pay them when Youtube and all these websites views them for free? The pirate is becoming too much, they should try hard and secure their VCD. Their market is so down which is very bad now, Now all these actresses has turned themselves into producers so none of them don’t even care to work under someone else.