In the wake of the exploits chalked by Abraham Attah of “Beasts of No Nation” fame, for which we are all proud, there have been innuendos cast at so-called local stars and statements made to the effect that Abraham is an example of a real celebrity. A friend of mine has categorically stated, perhaps sebitically, that there is only one celebrity in Ghana. No prize for who his pick was.
This feeds into the oft-debated question of who really a celebrity is. The dictionary definition is that such a person is well-known or famous. The follow-up question is within what domain or space should the person be known to qualify as a celebrity?
That second question is my main focus. Does Abraham qualify to be a celebrity only because he went to Hollywood? Does that stage give him more clout than a Ghanaian stage? Is the domain called Ghana enough to make someone a celebrity because he is famous in Ghana? Do we need external validation to confirm internal qualifications?
My answer is that we have to create our own stages such that our stars can shine and be celebrated as such. At home. Abraham is no more a celebrity than Wiyaala or Amakye Dede or Yvonne Nelson is. Until we come to that point where we don’t demote the priest who used to serve our needs to junk status just because a new priest has come to town, all our priests will skip town. Indeed, in many ways, we have spread this attitude across various facets of our social construct. We used to call a footballer a “professional” only when he played overseas. Note that I didn’t say “abroad”. It means that playing in Togo didn’t count!
We don’t need to dim the lights of our home-based stars for Attah’s light to shine. Let’s celebrate all we have: both locally celebrated or externally-eulogised.
Nsempiisms. My mouth has fallen.