Ghana, and most African countries, at large, are made up of some greedy shams who only know nothing about the office they hold, but skilled in taking advantage of the destitute populace to satisfy their personal needs.
The arts and entertainment industry is no different from our socio-political environment, where people are exploited by the powerful few.
In the showbiz arena, countless allegations have been made by would-be stars and stars alike (mainly females) in their hustle to stardom – the chronicles of how they are taken advantage of, (either on monetary and/or sensual grounds) by some producers, directors, managers etc. always come to light. This permeates all areas of the industry, and include, but not limited to movie, music, beauty and fashion.
Coming across a story on veteran Ghanaian actress Belinda Naa Ode Oku popularly known as Adwoa Smart who admit she owns no house and no car, it is worth noting that this is pathetic! Why? Until recently, she had been very active in the movie/drama industry since the mid-1980s and she is still not better off; she has failed to acquire for herself at least a car and house.
The helpless Adwoa, 45 years, is reported to have told Nana Romeo, host of Accra 100.5 FM‘s ‘Ayekoo Ayekoo’ programme that she owns none of the aforementioned properties and would be very elated to own one.
“I really need help. As we speak now, if someone calls to say he or she is gifting me a house, I will gladly accept it because I don’t have one. I have never built a house but I know at the appropriate time, God will do it for me. The same way, if somebody gives me a car, I will take it because I don’t have one,” AccraFM.com reported.
The report also added that “but I must emphasise that I am not chasing after these things or begging for those things. I know at the right time, God will do it. God can touch somebody’s heart to gift me these things I need and so if they come why not, I will accept them.”
Adwoa rose to fame after she auditioned for a role in the hit TV drama series ‘Obra’ around 1984 after Grace Omaboe sighted some acting prowess in her. She later featured in movies, drama series and cameo in music videos like “Yaa Asantewaa”, “Judgment Day”, “Its Too Late”, “Black Star”, “Efiewura”, “Kaalu” and many more.
Considering her story as a case study, it is fair to assert that she has over the years been either exploited monetarily by her employers or she got carried away by her passion for acting.
Although she has a place she stays (which is not hers), as an actress of her caliber, and one who has toiled for these number of years in the art, certainly, this shouldn’t have been her story, but this is the life the one time sought-after actress has to deal with.
Most often, the passion some people have for what they do extremely surpasses what he/she earns (decent pay) in the end and this give superiors the opportunity to exploit subordinates. Interestingly, we have also created an ‘entertainment-sphere’ where people you render service(s) for, sometimes perceive it to be a favour. This is mere hypocrisy, joke!
Unlike the Western world (i.e. the people we try to emulate), our local stars hardly reveal, among others, how much they earn from whatever venture they go into. However, they paint a picture, which depicts that everything seems alright in their life, but in the end, the media becomes their final resort.
In our setting, one can’t go about daily activities without employing what we term the “human face” in some dealings, thereby forgoing the cash involved sometimes, but this must not continue all the time because it has a high tendency of breeding exploitation.
As stars, it is worth noting that your relevance in the industry will not remain forever because of competition and introduction of equally good or better acts. As a result, the necessary steps ought to be taken so you can to be pleased as punch even when you become irrelevant in the industry. Among other things, the properties you acquire will also give you joy, when you hark back your immense contribution to the art. Definitely, these properties are acquired by the hard-earned cash from your talent and not your passion or respect you have for people.
One person I hold in high esteem with regards to this is celebrated Ghanaian dancehall musician Shatta Wale. He is not a hypocrite and I don’t think he would ever be. For the ‘Taking Over’ hitmaker, he has made it clear that showbiz is business and not about running a charity organisation.
To conclude, if you are in the industry and only interested in exhibiting your talent and not concerned about equally earning a descent pay, its better you shun away from that. Let the world know that you are good at what you do, you need money to invest in it to make it better or else you may die poor. In other words, learn how to monetize your talent which is driven by passion. A word to the wise…