If you do yourself the injustice of releasing a wacky song or shoddy Nollywood flick after the long wait hoping to kill the bad reputation, it will only drag you further into oblivion.
Some stars follow the path of wisdom and restraint—building sustainable brands, getting credible endorsements, and engaging themselves with uplifting courses—others manage to rumba with controversy ever so often; they are stuck on the mud path, kicking up dust that messes up the ultimate perception they desire. Their lives always seem like one hand is dipped in boiling water and the other hand is forever trying to redeem/defend/fight-for-whatever-is left-of-their-worth that has been reduced to crumbs!
When it comes to re-building bad reputation, it would demand more than what it took to create it in the first place. But there’s hope. If Robert Downey Jr could do it, so can you!
Bad Behaviour 1: Sleeping around
It is just one of those extra-curricular activities that can make a mockery of all your hard work. It may sound self-righteous but really, don’t sleep-around! You are not trying to be perfect, but you are trying to earn some respect. The fastest way to earn respect is to keep your legs together OR your zippers up. If at all you think you deserve a notorious and active sex life (which I believe every adult who desires it is entitled to), take it away from your industry – date the banker, the Engineer, the doctor, NOT your colleagues; and definitely not a bunch of guys/girls who roll in your “clique”. The news will leave your circle and settle on our (the public) laps; and we (the public) will drag you into the septic tank! And no matter what you say on twitter; how you try to make us see that you are a good girl/guy and sweet and naïve, our noses will be stuck in the air. It’ll take a lifetime to get that image of you and the many sex partners we’ve heard of (real and imagined) out of our heads. There-on, all your efforts will be summarised in only a few words – “S/he must have slept her/his way to that endorsement or that show or that award…” Sex is good – but it is never that deep.
Fix it: When the rumours start to feast on your career, take a break – away from the public, away from twitter (you have nothing to prove, we can tell you are hurting even through those: “wow! My life is so good. Thank you Lord” tweets). Retreat into your shell; find some support from family and true friends. Take a year off, if you must. Do not honour any red-carpet events, do not force a smile on the pages of tabloids, just disappear…and re-appear with a damn good single and a smashing video, OR a good movie with one of your best performances ever, OR a perfect red carpet moment with a slimmer/more beautiful you – depending on the specific industry you represent. Our focus will be altered. As a rule, a better, more interesting incident devours the lesser one. From then on, do not stop – keep going. You’ll have to work really hard to keep up with your less controversial colleagues, that is your cross to carry – carry it with grace. In no time, your sexual romp will be one of those unintended mentions that never fit in – ever again. But be careful, your come-back has to come with a bang! If you do yourself the injustice of releasing a wacky song or shoddy Nollywood flick after the long wait hoping to kill the bad reputation, it will only drag you further into oblivion.
Bad Behaviour 2: Fighting the Press
It’s futile. You come out looking stupid – always. If you are hurt with what is being said about you it is still never a good idea to engage in a twitter back-and-forth rage with a journalist, blogger or writer. Your public persona will be mocked. The whole exercise will drain the life of you. Every journalist, like every actor/musician/comedian etc is looking for that one big hit – one story – that will make him the biggest business in town. Sometimes journalists stretch the truth, ignoring how much the exaggeration can damage a brand. But it happens everywhere in the world. My grouse is when a celebrity takes it deeper into the gutters. You are more likely to be hurt by it eventually even when it is difficult to ignore sometimes.
Fix it: There’s something reverential about silence. If someone is naked on the balcony screaming and throwing foul words at you and you disregard the brewing session, play the bigger person and walk away, the gratification that comes from such a reaction cannot be quantified! So my first fix-it measure would be to ignore the rant. If you have to speak then speak through your publicist. It’s more honourable and professional. But if it kills you deep inside, then go to court. But don’t be the toothless bulldog that spends so much time trying to prove a point on social network with no concrete plan on how to rectify the damage.
To be continued…