Power Of The Showbizzer – By Kwame Dadzie

People in the creative arts and entertainment or show business(I call them showbizers) are the most influential personalities in the world,as regards their ability to cause change in the life of  a society.

It is conceived of showbizers by many as scatterbrains and worthless individuals who are either drug addicts, womanizers, debauchees, hooligans or crooks. Despite these brutish descriptions of showbizers, which many however consider misconceptions, it is a well established fact and a reality that musicians, actors,  fashion designers, footballers, painters, writers and other creative artists are powerful to the extent that their the ramifications of their actions could be even stronger than that of a politician or the clergy.

Showbizers the world over, have influenced how people dress. An artiste appears on stage in a particular costume and in no time it becomes the dress code of the moment. Let a TV presenter appear on screen with an outlandish hairstyle, I mean one that may be considered abnormal, and the next day,it is the latest hairstyle in town. Hip hop and its variant genres have become so strong that it is seen as a veritable culture of some sort. They have their way of dressing and speaking,and many people from all walks of life copy their lifestyle.

Fashion designers like Mawuli Okudzeto,Kofi Ansah and others have contributed to the dressing culture of this country. Is it not interesting how entertainment doyen KOD(with the help of his fashion-inclined wife)would create and design his own clothing and people would yearn to have same design? A  few years ago, wearing suits on top of jeans trousers was slovenly and unbecoming for formal occasions but artistes have within a short time made this dress code acceptable.

Someone would like to have a tattoo on his body just because his favourite actor,singer or footballer also has tattoo on some part(s) of his body.

Showbizers or creative artistes are one of the few groups of people whose names are used by their fans to christen their children. In fact,fans do not care whether these celebrity names they are adopting for their kids are created or have always be in existence let alone their meanings. The just bask in the fact that they are naming their children after stars. For example,some people have named their kids after Black Stars player,Michael Essien, Ghanaian music colossus Kojo Antwi and others.

Lyrics of a song can be inspirational,derogatory,suggestive,leering or insinuating. Testimonies abound from people whose lives, upon listening to certain songs have transformed for the better. Others also have engaged in unscrupulous activities after listening to some particular songs. Political parties employ the services of musicians to convey their campaign messages through music and the impact has always been phenomenal.

This case is no different from movies. Movies more often than,not epitomize the culture of a people. Any adoption of cultural practices of a people into another would bring a change in the lives of the inhabitants of the latter. A case in point is the current use of explicit sex scenes in Ghanaian movies; something that jars with the indigenous culture of Ghanaians. Our filmmakers are gradually using films to influence the way we think and behave as a people. We see whatever they preach in their movies as good and thus practise accordingly.

It could also be said of creative writers like William Shakespeare, Efua Sutherland and Chinua Achebe as very powerful and influential personalities because they used their literary works to affect society. While Shakespeare’s English was deferred to and used by his contemporaries, Chinua Achebe used satire to critcise people in power in Nigeria. Efua Sutherland would also be remembered for authoring books that portrayed and projected the Ghanaian culture. Now,have you thought about how bad or good writers(like me) can influence your life? Have you ever mussed over the power of the print-journalist? The pen is as powerful as the tongue so the growth,change or otherwise of a society partly rests on writers like us. The words of a writer can bring about peace or war,love or hate,divorce or re-union. Some people’s marriages have collapsed because of  careless utterances and reportage by journalists.

One other power that showbizers have is changing language as well as making those less popular very popular. Remember Barima’s ‘Apuskeleke’ song? ‘Abuskeleke’ was a word that supposedly originated from the Western Region of Ghana,meaning a lady who is kittenish and promiscuous.It was made popular by Barima and this was later used to refer to ladies who are indecently dressed and  has since become part of the lexicon of Ghanaian languages. Latest is the catch-phrase “shashee-wowo” used by hiplife artiste Stay Jay,which also describe a man or woman who is promiscuous.

Do you know why people call polythene bags 24th? It is a term from Kaakyire Kwame Appiah’s hit X’mas song 24th. In the song,he says when it gets to the crunch one would pack their things into a polythene bag and travel to their hometown to celebrate Christmas.

‘Bye bye’ is an English world used to bid people farewell. Until recently there had not been a Twi version for it. Not even professors of Linguistics could help Twi speakers out. But it took Dr. Duncan of XFM to couch ‘ekyire’ to be the Twi version for ‘bye bye’. Up till now,’ekyire’ has become part of Twi vocabulary to mean ‘bye bye’. Most of our radio presenters are transforming the ‘life’ of Ghanaians,both negatively and positively. Blakk Rasta would not stop criticising politicians,advocating the legalisation of marijuana and propagating Rastafarianism. And interestingly,he has a lot of fans who are more or less ‘converted’ by his anti-christiano-islami sermons on radio. Most people believe everything a radio presenter says on air, even more than their own parents.That’s the power of show business.

So with all these, why should we let the politician take us for granted? It’s NO ARTS, NO VOTE!