CHRIS-VINCENT Writes: The Loquacious Gabby Okyere Darko and A Movie Industry of Slayers Who Blame Their Self-Woes Wholly On the Government

6 min

Moesha, Ghanaian actress

While having a late night dinner at Kempinski Hotel with a few friends in Accra yesterday, Fred Nuamah, the founder of Ghana Movie Awards walked in on me and soon after the usual pleasantries, the conversation fell on the recent Gabby Okyere Darko’s largely branded besmirching of the Ghanaian Movie Industry comment.

I’ve tried to stay away from commenting on this matter but the issue has become almost ubiquitous such that it managed to snail itself into unrelated late night dinner conversation with friends—as Fred briefly stopped by to ask what’s my honest take on what Gabby said and the subsequent rabid industry responses.

The Ghanaian Movie Industry is a fascinating one—perhaps it’s the only self-destructive community of ignorant and quasi-talented and educated bunch that I can point out in recent times, that almost wholly blames its puerile and laughable state on external actors, mainly the government of the day.

The argument has been and remains that, a certain government has not done anything or much to erect the needed systems and structures, capable of catapulting the industry to commendable standard—sometimes put as there is no government support.

Reasonably, the above suggests that should a government throw enough support behind the industry, it would suddenly ejaculate out of its deplorable state to become something great, probably an infant Hollywood.

But that’s not true: even if a government absurdly pumps billions of dollars into supporting, enacting legislation and erecting structures for the so called-Ghanaian Movie Industry where Moesha, Fella Makafui, Prince David Osei, Yvonne Nelson, and others are the best, it wouldn’t make any difference. It will be a fruitless venture, in fact pretty stupid, and that is why no government is ready to do it.

What’s the actual value of the industry actors, such that anyone should consciously invest and take risk with them? Have the actors invested in themselves? How do they place themselves?

I am not confident that there are even two actors in Ghana who when graciously uprooted and planted in Hollywood, a well-structured industry would survive or be able to make any worthy name.

What we call an industry regrettably is full of slayers and cotton-wool brains. People who claim to be actors but are lousy at acting, and have also failed to improve themselves over the years are those angry and leading the conversation.

Which actors or actresses, including those who have been here for over a decade, have sought any improvement in their craft—have prepared themselves and worked on their skills and are capable of being a Hollywood or a proper-Industry material?

Garbage is garbage, irrespective of where it’s placed.

It’s not just our productions that are sub-standard. The showrunners and their crew are jokers and grossly incompetent.

This is an industry where one of the so-called top actresses did not know what a Non-Disclosure Agreement (NDA) actually means, a film-maker told me this morning in a telephone conversation.

It’s painful to see delusion being paraded as confidence or ambition—and this is the web that glues together our wobbly Movie Industry.

Gabby Okyere Darko is a talkative and it’s highly probable he has not watched any 10 movies as he claims—but his assertion that there is something inherent or fundamentally wrong with the Ghanaian Movie Industry is undeniable. And the government is not the major solution, rather, the industry players who are somewhat more interested in slaying than improving themselves.

Almost every young woman or man in Ghana is an actor—that’s how cheap it has become. Moesha and now Fella Makafui probably get more movie roles, even if cameos, than everyone else—that’s not a government-to-solve problem.

Ask a Ghanaian, even an industry person about the sort of talents within the industry and quickly actor Adjetey Anang will be mentioned as a good actor–followed by film-makers Shirley Frimpong-Manso and Leila Djansi. These people are indisputably good at what they do and have invested substantially into what they have become.

Nevertheless, an industry is not built on the skills or talent of three good people. It’s beyond ludicrous for anyone to call on a government to pay serious attention to an industry that’s smugly reliant on mediocrity–that its key players have no self worth and cannot convincingly make a case for any returns on investment.

What would possibly be the returns on investment in a movie industry hijacked by Slay Queens and Kings, actors and actresses who do not even know what a monologue is–and people who think having a big ass or ridiculous thin waist is the true definition of a great actress? Think Princess Shyngles!

As already mentioned, the chances that Gabby Okyere Darko sat down to indeed watch 10 Ghanaian movies is highly infinitesimal. I would be amazed if he truly endured this self-inflicted torture of watching those wacky, abysmal and uninspiring productions that continue to flood the Ghanaian movie market. But his claim, even if gathered from secondary sources, is unfalsifiable.

For anyone to take you serious in life, you have to first take yourself serious and make a good case to be considered in that light. Ghana needs to invest in sectors that will yield both short and long-term returns–and the truth is, the movie industry has had no past, has no today or viable future in relation to GDP.

Another popular Ghanaian filmmaker told me “these actors and actresses do not even know what a monologue is” and yet they shout out the loudest, demanding the government to invest in their wilful ignorance and retrogressive industry.

And when such issues are raised, the immature industry players who are easily hurt pull out what they think is their most valuable card, albeit pitiful–that when the government or politicians come to them during elections, they will refuse to jump on their campaigns.

Instead of rebutting claims that the Movie Industry is useless with facts or figures because it’s truly worthless, those defending it stretch the arguments to how they will pay back their critics during elections and how the government has failed to invest in them when they have not invested a dime themselves in their dreams.

What we call a Movie Industry down here is a complete joke and until we accept this, we cannot find a befitting solution to it.

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]