By Arnold Asamoah-Baidoo
Venerated Ghanaian musician, Stonebwoy, after such an impressive World Tour, returned to Ghana and sat down with Hitz FM’s Andy Dosty to discuss a myriad of issues and one of such matters stood out.
On the issue of lack of recognition for our legends, the Reggae/Dancehall/Afrobeats singer, emphasized that, the celebration of our legends go beyond media mentions and fans’ appreciation.
He stressed on the need to have something monumental, a ‘Hall of Fame’ edifice to celebrate our legends – spanning from areas of sports, arts and entertainment,
Where is the Recognition for Our Legends?
So many entertainers and stakeholders contributed half of their lifetime to the creative industry. Many paved the way for a deluge of others, many were impactful, influential and so many elevated the industry to such heights.
Unfortunately, they are not recognized, not celebrated and hardly mentioned and for those who are dead, they were buried with whatever legacy they had.
Ghana has nothing when it comes to the celebration of legends, especially in the field of creative industry. No museums to display these legends and their works, no ‘Wall or Walk of Fame’ and no exhibition centers to depict the legacies of these luminaries, dead or alive.
After 7 years of renovation, The National Museum & Monuments Board failed to offer any specialized ‘Hall of Fame’ structure at the refurbished National Museum.
From the fields of music, film, theater, arts, production and others, Ghana has over the period produced such outstanding characters who have contributed immensely to the industry. From E.T Mensah, Bob Cole, Faisal Helwani, Ablade Glover, Essiebons, Grace Omaboe, Grace Nortey, Ewurama Badu, Professor Owusu, Amankwa Ampofo, Mike Eghan and so many others.
The list of legends that splatter all the divides of the industry is enormous and the value of impact is inestimable, sadly, there is nothing out there represents a testament of their works – absolutely nothing!
For those legends who passed this year, the likes of Nana Ampadu, A.B Crenstil and Prince Yawson (Waakye), what it means is that – they died and would be buried with all their glory and every memory they created with their works.
No Celebration, No Recognition
Presently, you cannot walk into any museum in Ghana and see the works of Osibisa or the exploits of both the ‘Obra’ and ‘Osofo Dadzie’ drama troupes. There’s no Exhibition Center that showcases the trumpet used by Mac Tontoh or the piano used by Kiki Gyan. There’s no edifice that depicts the works of Faisal Helwani and the many others. And of course, without any dedicated museum for the arts and no center to exhibit the legacies of our legends, there’s also nothing like a ‘Walk of Fame’.
Again, aside the 5minutes slot on the Vodafone Ghana Music Awards (VGMA) accorded to celebrate our legends, there is no dedicated day or special occasion in our entertainment calendar for the celebration of our legends.
Walk of Fame
The Hollywood ‘Walk of Fame’, the answer to having anything close to ‘Hall of Fame’ – is the most popular celebratory structure in the world for luminaries within the entertainment industry.
It comprises more than 2,690 five-pointed terrazzo and brass stars embedded in the sidewalks along 15 blocks of Hollywood Boulevard and three blocks of Vine Street in Hollywood, California.
The stars are permanent public monuments to achievement in the entertainment industry, bearing the names of a mix of musicians, actors, directors, producers, musical and theatrical groups, fictional characters, and others.
Of all the stars on the ‘Walk’ to date, 47% have been awarded in the motion pictures category, 24% in television, 17% in audio recording, 10% in radio, and fewer than 2% in the live performance category. According to the Hollywood Chamber of Commerce, approximately 20 new stars are added to the Walk each year.
Clearly, we have been sleeping on a gold mine – losing out on lots of revenue that could be generated by the establishment of a museum for the arts, an Exhibition Center or a ‘Walk of Fame’ through tourism.
According to a 2003 report by the market research firm NPO Plog Research, the Hollywood Walk of Fame attracts about 10 million visitors annually—more than the Sunset Strip, the TCL Chinese Theatre (formerly Grauman’s), the Queen Mary, and the Los Angeles County Museum of Art combined—and has played an important role in making tourism the largest industry in Los Angeles County.
We are ‘sleeping’!
It does not have to be on government every time issues of development of the arts come up. Whether it is a large seating capacity theatre, a museum, an exhibition center or a walk of fame, private companies can also take the mantle and establish such.
The Microsoft Theater in Los Angeles, one of the large seating theaters in USA is not owned by government. It is owned by the Anschutz Entertainment Group (AEG) (also known as AEG Worldwide) is an American worldwide sporting and music entertainment presenter and a subsidiary of The Anschutz Corporation the Anschutz Corporation is an American private holding company.
Another huge seating capacity venue in the US, the MGM Grand is not owned by government. It is owned by MGM Growth Properties and The Blackstone Group, both private entities.
The Walk of Fame in Hollywood is administered by the Hollywood Chamber of Commerce and maintained by the self-financing Hollywood Historic Trust.