Written by Osabutey Anny (PrampramFisherman), and edited by Oral Ofori
In a recent WhatsApp chatroom conversation, a friend asked a very simple question; what makes one a celebrity in Ghana? A person attempted an answer others agreed with. You must be “extremely insulting,” the person said.
Another person said you must be loud without even making sense. Then there were those who said a naked video on social media is all that it takes – you just post and wait for public reaction. But if the reaction is too overwhelming due to the impropriety of the content, then you come out and wave the apology flag.
The next step would be to come up with an excuse, it does not have to be sound; just anything to paper the cracks, even if it cannot achieve the desired results. They can probably say the phone was hacked and whoever did that was trying to blackmail them.
They will then hibernate for weeks but keep up with how well the video is doing in the trends. Once the coast is clear and no one appears to be watching, they will drop ‘hot’ photos in bikinis or shirtless, change their profile on social media accounts with the newfound celebrity or influencer label.
Their videos will soon begin to drop on WhatsApp gossip platforms. They will soon be inundated with friends’ requests. Their DMs will be heavy with traffic. Other videos will soon follow. A sleezy article about them will appear in the blogsphere.
The next phase is to find an existing argument between ‘celebrities’ or an issue, insert themselves in the thread by inheriting the ‘beef.’ Take a side and attack the other person with insults and wild claims. Show producers will begin to extend invitations onto their shows – a ‘celebrity’ is born.
Several definitions have been crafted to describe what constitute a celebrity, and the characters who fall within that frame. There is no one size fits all definition, but there are agreeable definition that such a person must be a popular figure.
An individual may attain a celebrity status from having great wealth, their participation in sports or the entertainment industry, their position as a political figure, or even from their connection to another celebrity.
In most advanced societies, there is more to the celebrity culture than prancing around with a label or going after each other on social media with insults, as it has become the trend in Ghana.
Our so-called celebrities are always verbally assaulting each other than using their ‘fame’ to advance the right things society require of them.
In the Akan language of Ghana, we would call them AKUTIABOR CELEBRITIES, which vaguely means celebrities that thrive on using insults or sarcasm as the word AKUTIA closely means sarcasm that is veiled in insults. Sadly, these are the ones that dominate news headlines.
On the contrary, Rocky Dawuni for instance, is a proper celebrity whose advocacy in climate change is admired by the global community, but his recent works have been overlooked by bloggers and other writers, who are fixated on sharing content roiled in the use of abusive language and attacks.
Rocky does not fit that profile, so they will rather overlook his exercise to save the environment.
The past few weeks have seen an increasing thread of ‘celebrity’ war on social media. From Accra to New York to London and back to Accra, these ‘AKUTIABOR CELEBRITIES’ are not only embarrassing themselves with insults but have dragged their own children into the madness.
They have either mocked and beat each other up over insults of childlessness and marital status; or argued about who has slept with which politician for money, cars, and travel trips to Europe or the U.S. It is such a disgusting spectacle of adults failing to recognise just how their so-called grudges impact the public wellbeing of their children.
Fame is corrosive and once it dispenses with you, even the most ardent fan treats you like a wastrel who never existed in their good books.
Written by Osabutey Anny (PrampramFisherman). He’s an avid country traveler, broadcast, journalist, writer, documentarian, amateur filmmaker/photographer and Co-founder of the Prampram Tourism Centre.