by Seun Ajayi
Our very own Omotola ‘Omosexy’ Jalade Ekehinde was in the news last year for acquiring over a million fans on facebook, I mean she could very well be president of a small nation. This is an incredible attraction to those who admire them. The super fans, and upcoming acts who aspire to attain such levels of fame;…..
The entire online media galaxy can be likened to a large noisy classroom, where different individuals are clamoring for the most popular currency within the space; Attention! People want to be acknowledged, their in-built scale of self importance takes a higher reading with every retweet, new follower, mention in a popular blog, like on Facebook and Instagram comment. In our subconscious, these things say to us, I acknowledge you, I love you, I respect you, I envy you… etc. Don’t get me wrong, there is absolutely nothing wrong with social media platforms as a means of giving subliminal and direct compliments to people’s personalities, we need these things. That’s how we are emotionally wired; the problem however, could be in the control of this insatiable appetite for attention.
The entertainment and media space for example has some of the most influential personalities on social media, from the rockstars to TV show hosts, many people within this sphere command a large army of followers. Our very own Omotola ‘Omosexy’ Jalade-Ekehinde was in the news last year for acquiring over a million fans on Facebook, I mean she could very well be president of a small nation. This is an incredible attraction to those who admire them. The super fans, and upcoming acts who aspire to attain such levels of fame; which is a good thing but how do they channel their energies into achieving the set goal.
I once had this discussion with a senior colleague of mine, his advice to me as an upcoming actor was to create news around myself, do something outrageous that would catch the attention of the media. This lecture on the ‘art of the publicity stunt’ got me excited at the thought of ‘instant’ popularity. My name splashed all over the blogs and just generally having a ball; then the thought hit me; ‘so what would the reason for all this publicity be?’ The answer to this question is very important to talented individuals out there. What do you really want to be known for?
These are the days where people in the entertainment business are known more for their gimmicks and publicity stunts than the actual career that they supposedly have. Last year, the blogs were rife with reports on the Miley Cyrus ‘twerking and tongue-out selfie’ rampage. Most people who had never known the former Disney star’s name were introduced, those who knew her, were unpleasantly shocked. If Miley’s intention was to gain more popularity and attention, it downright worked like a charm forged by a group Nigeria’s finest jazz men (Native Doctors). The downside though, is that she became more popular for her bony rump shaking and nasty pictures than for her amazing acting, dancing and singing talent. Yes I said it, Miley Cyrus is actually a triple threat!!
There are some other people who are outside Miley’s category; they don’t even have actual talent to start with. This makes the gimmick a primary point of sale. Such so called ‘Celebrities’ float around on a bubble of cheaply earned popularity. If you listen to a song by Maheeda or see Cossy Orjiakor’s ‘sterling’ acting performance in a scene, this point of mine will be much clearer to you. It is like when a brand advertises excellently and spreads its name across the country but has products that really suck.
I will end this rant of mine by saying that ‘the publicity’ stunt for a celebrity is not all together a bad thing. Remember the Jay-Z false retirement? Diddy’s several rebranding efforts and one of my biggest favorites; Jim Iykes shorts at the AMVCAs. As a celeb persona there is nothing wrong with doing some hype, not at all, that is part of the business. You must however balance it out with reasonable levels of competence in your field. We need to stop putting the cart before the horse and get with the program. Seek ye first to sharpen your skills and be known for your competence as a great singer, rapper, fashion designer and all else (including popularity/attention on social media and beyond) will be added unto you. So on a final note, I ask, would you rather be known as the girl whose voice makes people weep (I mean in a good way) or the girl who flashes her goodies all over the ‘interwebs’?
Seun Ajayi is an actor, who is currently juggling the art and business of media. He is the founder of the Head of Talent at www.veestaonline.com. He tweets from @seun_Ajs.
Op-ed pieces and contributions are the opinions of the writers only and do not represent the opinions of Y!/YNaija.