Written by Elikem Akpakpo Kwabla
Today, living in obscurity is as painful to some youths as a chronic headache. Some are very hungry for fame and can’t let go of their appetites of being called celebrities in the shortest possible time. This hunger for fame has landed most of our young people in messy and clumsy situations and some have lost the direction of their lives. One thing that is being crucified on the cross of this shaky desire among the youth is the losing of one’s dignity and the end of one’s genuineness. In the bid to become famous as soon as possible, there arises the need to go in for that which is a shortcut to fame. These shortcuts which our modern world or if I may say, the influence and impact of some aspects of western civilization particularly arts and lifestyles brought into the world and its various and distinct cultures in most cases are those things that our traditional societies and our moral doctrines stand against.
Before our present day, becoming a celebrity implies being that musician who sells millions of records, being that actor who hits the screens in award winning movies or being one who excels in standing for only and only good causes in society and among others. Some people become famous because of their natural talents. These people might be famous for singing, acting, or doing a particular discipline of sports. Natural beauty also leads to becoming a famous supermodel one day. People become famous for the good they do. We celebrate people for the good they do. Down the 14th century the word “celebrity” was used to describe rite and celebrations. Around the 17th and the 18th century referring to a thing as “celebrity” became the state of being famous or talked about. Accordingly, celebrity tend to mean “a person who has a high degree of recognition by the general population; a famous person from the 19th century. This implies one can be famous for the wrong reason and one can be famous for the right cause.
But following trends of the order of our new world, some young people have got the whole concept of becoming celebrities wrong. Becoming a celebrity in our country now has to do not with anything morally right and genuine. It is very simple! If you are a lady, merely exposing part or whole of your body [private] in photographs and tagging them “nude pictures” and sharing them on social media will lift you to the zone of celebrities. It will! Yes, you will then be celebrated and in some cases be referred to as a public figure; yes, a public figure. Becoming a celebrity (female) is just about flaunting the sexual parts of your body. This is very alarming, and aside how morally wayward it is making the individual, it undermines our very sense of dignity found in our culture; the respect accorded to womanhood.
And because the celebrity status is often associated with wealth, some young people particular men in their quest to be known as celebrities seek to find wealth in devious ways and a major and commonest way to go through it is through ritual money or what is known as “sakawa”. Some of these young boys do not actually seek the wealth but that state of being recognized by society. And since we are people who recognize those with wealth than the others, “sakawa” becomes that which they believe will render them that which they want; that recognition they want from society. Even merely posting a video of oneself being silly that later goes viral makes one to be a celebrity, so a lot of the youth are on social media sharing videos of themselves doing this silly thing or the other just to gain recognition. Are we not actually living in a crazy world? A world where you become a celebrated personality by doing those things that we formally and morally raise our eyebrows at?
So pervasive has becoming a celebrity become in our contemporary world that we think genuineness only thrives in the dark. We are chasing not our dreams but fame. And aside religious teachings on the standards of becoming a celebrity in our world today which are leading to doom, we are gradually loosing our dignity, essence and values. The world’s standard of becoming a celebrity is leading us into doom. Let us not pursue fame for fame’s sake, let us pursue our dreams. If by our hard work and fate, fame comes and we are known to be celebrities, great! But if we become famous without our good dreams we face the consequence of living a miserable life at the presence of the whole world like on a stage. I may be short of reasons but have fun thinking about fame or becoming a celebrity in this day and age. Asking if the standards of the world is actually on a path worth not taking a second look at.