‘Live Beats,’ a musical programme on TV anchored by Cally Ikpe in the late 90s. The name has since metamorphosed to ‘Da New Live Beats.’ Tubaba must have realized now that the same media that was a source of pleasure was also a mine of pressure.
Celebrities are smiling but crying; laughing but frowning as such oxymoron describes their lifestyles so pardon my oxymoronic expressions. I wanted to juxtapose the pains with the gains of limelight but decided to separate them to deal explicitly with each of them. I want you to know first and foremost that the only difference between celebrities and regular people is that the jobs of celebrities are in the heart of the media unlike others. Celebrities are women regardless of gender and the media make passes at them but do they play hard-to-get? Maybe, maybe not!
They have their vulnerabilities, strengths, fears, fallacies and fantasies just like you and I. If a company decides to truncate the mouth-watering deal between it and a celeb, the media is awash with the news. Issues in their private lives are open secrets. If Shade in Mopa is sacked at her place of work Asabe in Minna is oblivious of it because the media lens isn’t after Shade so Asabe knew nothing about Shade. When marketers ‘ban’ some A-list actors some years back the media with its microscope, telescope captured the news and caricatured for us all.
The first time Tubaba saw himself in a newspaper or magazine I’m sure his heart had jumped up and punched the air in delight and he was likely to buy as many copies as possible and archived as many as probable – gifting family, friends, neighbours and relatives and telling them indirectly that he’s now a star! He must have told family and friends to watch him on
Because actors play Dangote in movies fans expect them to be in the class of the Tony Elumelus of this world but when they see them in true life situations some actually hiss at them while some shout ‘igi-owo’ depending on the socioeconomic status of the fan. Some had their homes pounded because robbers had thought they would have spoils in thousands of dollars. This false reality actually pushes some celebrities into crime to measure up. Some do drugs, Internet scam or date moneybags. Consequences? Scandal, defamation!
Some celebs lose their long-term significant others such as romantic partners, childhood friends even family and relatives because they believe their social status are now sky-high and before they dump them they will beat them to it. This particular situation could be very disheartening. A lady who just won a musical reality TV show might decide to call her childhood friend to share her joy but no response. Much to her chagrin she later discovered that her friend was no longer interested in her. We often think their lives are big, lively, interesting and engaging but they suffer boredom, loneliness and frustration sometimes more than Okiti pupa (fair-skinned Okiti) selling gorigo in Okitipupa for Yorubas hardly eat gorigo unlike Ebiras.
The make-believe world they depict in front of the camera they often transfer to real life because news is always looking for them like an excited but sexually-inexperienced groom sweating and searching for his genophobic (one that fears sex) wife on their wedding night. The 5’6 woman had become a spermatozoon in semen. Invisible! Fame and fortune, slum and squalor go hand-in-hand yes celebs and the media dine and wine like dates on Valentine’s Day, interesting they might cat and mouse before leaving the restaurant. Celebs have figures and features that media eyes can’t resist, same way men can’t desist from staring at women’s rear. Many times celebs are automatons because all eyes are on them – they want to displease critics and impress their fans 24/7. It’s a disease everyone wants to have but an incurable one because once a celebrity, always a celebrity. Does the name Tosin Jegede rings a bell? Celebs are marketers par excellence little wonder people queue to buy air from them. Tabloids with sensational stories about them sell fast, in fact, faster than the speed of light!
A renowned Nollywood actor x-rayed the many embarrassments he suffered at the morning of his career. Fans always embarrass him when they come across him in commercial buses. Don’t be surprised if they hear all these. “Chai, so actors dey enter yellow and black like us.” At another time, “Hey… I like your acting prowess, you guys are famous and rich but where’s your Cadillac?” Not done yet, “I like your style man. You don’t want armed robbers to start prowling after you. Those mansions in those choice cities around the world can’t be stolen after all.” For the umpteenth time, “Oga tell your producers to get you posh ride to run things … you be big boooooy now!” These events alone could inject anxieties into an actor’s flesh and forgetting to remove the syringe. The craze for wonders-on-wheels begins in earnest.
Many respect them many also disrespect them; many regard them, many also disregard them. Josephine loves Brad Pitt to pieces but Joseph dislikes him for Josephine (his fiancée) makes him feel inadequate. If celebrities wear the same clothes twice, they’re broke if they boast of intimidating wardrobes they’re too flamboyant, if they bling they’re extravagant and their mounting bills like nemesis will catch-up with them forcing them to honeymoon with insolvency and finally moving from Osborne Foreshore Estate, Ikoyi to Ajao Estate, Isolo. The fact that they ‘must’ not wear an item of clothing twice makes them desperate to live up to expectations after all nobody wants to be perceived as cash-strapped.
About twelve years ago a man used perhaps a whole page in a Nigerian daily to woo a celebrated body-enhancement therapist but if this was on national TV Danladi the millet farmer would have heard same with Cypher the advertising executive and it would have made news across Nigeria and perhaps the world. What a stressor it would have been for the socialite and the man in consequence. Maybe not!
For the celeb-spinsters in their 30s and 40s the society knows they’re single and that’s stress on its own yet it puts them under biting pressures. Pushing and pulling at the same time till they cheetah into marriage yet they crucify them when they divorce! Many desire to date them to sky their profile even if they have no honest intentions. They see them as silverwares, status symbols and long to date and bed them in order to add them to their CVs. How do you differentiate these ones from the genuine ones? Big palaver!
Any celebrity that falls into the hands of such would likely regret at the end of the day because these people don’t care about their hearts and feelings more than they care about their public profile. Let Rihanna marry one of them and move down to Toko-Taya Street in Ikorodu, Lagos believe me their marriage will crash like a pack of cards. That’s not to say celebs don’t have their faults in crashed relationships.
If a female celeb goes to buy roasted plantain with groundnut down her street, she’s broke. Meanwhile she just wanted to release, relief herself while she enjoy the tantalizing evening breeze and have a feel of what Bimpe the hairstylist enjoys uninterrupted but what Bimpe takes for granted is luxury to her. At the plantain stall two male adults and a teenage girl were chatting. To spite her, the teenage girl said, “Funke Akindele is too rich to be eating roasted plantain,” and the three burst into an uproarious laughter. But she was smart for she laughed heartily with them. They felt embarrassed; alas the hunters had been hunted! While in her apartment she would feel the pangs of the embarrassment.
He was a renowned star and while driving along the street another motorist hit him at the rear. Of course he knew the driver would pay for the damages but when the altercation was going out of hand he let go for he fears the press. No sooner had he entered his car than street urchins vultured demanding for 50K otherwise he would pass the night in their den. He was almost late for his appointment but all he had on him was 20k. After delaying him for twenty minutes they collected the money and absconded. Time is running out!
He finally drove into the facility of the appointment but a fan blocked his way, hugged and screamed his name but he was unimpressed. The next day the fan was on social media saying he was a big snob and he now loves those who dislike him. He concludes, “My problem in life is that I don’t know how to unlearn in the game of love. Once in Love, Always and Permanently in Love!” This fan in question had tarnished the image of his favourite star though he wanted to remain his fan. Haba!
Celebs are robotics with electrical signals flowing in them not blood so they’re aliens not humans. They shouldn’t have challenges, when they’re insulted they should see it as privilege; security agents … shouldn’t demand for ‘something for the boys’ before they’re tipped after all celebs have minting machines in their bedrooms…. (Continues next week)
In this new era of political dispensation and beyond I implore our present and future leaders to be objective, proactive and creative. From personal experience, I’ll advice you all to listen to the sermons of pastors on prosperity to be motivated and inspired in order to take the country to the Promised Land and listen to waasi (sermons) of imams on the vanity of life – this will make you take life so simple that you’ll detest corruption like plague. And live everyday as if it were your last you’ll embrace humility seamlessly and see everybody as equal before God, before you and the law.
•Olayemi J Ogunojo is the digital-age relationship cum life coach, public and motivational speaker and freelance journalist.