By Arnold Asamoah-Baidoo
It has been a busy week for the Ghana Police Service and the entertainment industry. In an unprecedented move, the Police swooped in and arrested three popular entertainers within a week causing such a stir.
Actor/Comedian Funny Face was first to be arrested for threatening to harm other individuals, then Shatta Wale handed himself over to the Police after the unit announced that it was looking for him. He would later be arrested and remanded over charges of causing fear and panic – and then Rapper Medikal would also be accosted for unlawful brandishing of a weapon.
No other news dominated the conversation other than the fact that, three showbiz stars have been incarcerated for varied breaches of the law.
The wave of arrests of personalities in the creative space has raised eyebrows, considering the fact that, it is a never-seen-move by the security apparatus and the court system to prosecute more than one person in the industry in a spate of a week.
Critics tout that this may be a deliberate attempt by the Police to target persons in the entertainment industry and their argument is that; the purported infringements committed by the likes of Shatta Wale and Medikal have been committed by many other people who are walking free.
Yes, some others may have committed similar offenses and were not apprehended but it also doesn’t take away the fact that the entertainers, via their actions, did not contravene any law (s).
Is the Police really targeting the creative industry? That’s a lousy assumption that has no grounding. The security service makes several arrests in a day, in a week, many of which may come from the same industry. The only reason so much attention has been given to arrests made in the last week is because the persons are public figures from the showbiz fraternity.
For many, this wave of arrests by the Police may seem unprecedented and awkward but elsewhere, entertainers or celebrities having brushes with the law is a normal phenomenon.
In the USA for example, entertainers are arrested every day for various offences ranging from DUI, possession of firearms and tax evasion among many other misdemeanour and felony charges.
Firstly, these entertainers are citizens and just like any other citizen, they must comply with the laws of the land. A breach of the law by any individual, celebrity or not – the repercussions are there to apply.
Entertainers in Ghana have also be arrested in the past by Police for various offenses, so, this is nothing new, however, the recent arrests and their accompanying charges would serve as an eye-opener considering the fact that, entertainers are now privy to the fact that, they are not above the law and are likely to face the law when they over-step, even in the line of duty.
With the arrest of these entertainers, especially, Shatta Wale and Medikal, many have wondered how such moments would impact on their careers.
The point is; the artistes are not likely to suffer any damage to their respective brands and career-positioning. They are rather likely to experience career elevation by virtue of all the attention and mentions they have garnered over the period.
In 1993, Rapper Shakur was convicted of first-degree sexual abuse and sentenced to prison. After his release, he saw unprecedented success with the release of his album, ‘All Eyez on Me’, which debuted at No. 1 on the Billboard 200, selling 566,000 copies in the first week, as well as movie roles in ‘Bullet’, ‘Gridlock’d’, and ‘Gang Related’
In March 2008, Hip Hop artiste Remy Ma was convicted of assault, illegal weapon possession and attempted coercion. Upon release on August 1, 2014, she quickly got back into the swing of things, making waves again with “All The Way Up,” her collaboration with Fat Joe, her scathing diss against Nicki Minaj (“Shether”), and her star-turn as a cast member on Love & Hip Hop: New York.
In 2014, rapper Kwaw Kese was charged with unlawful use of substances suspected to be Indian hemp (weed). After several weeks on remand and a day imprisonment, Kwaw returned to the music scene, releasing ‘bangers’ and staying relevant in a very competitive industry.
With such strong fan base, quality songs and laudable initiatives, Shatta Wale and Medikal are not likely to face any disruption in their respective careers when they are released,
Time for Reformation
Prison, as widely projected, is firstly to put people who break the law away and also to reform those before being released but to put it candidly, these entertainers need reformation in their daily endeavors.
For the purposes of show business, most of these entertainers act as though they are above the law. For the sake of hype and publicity stunts, some of these entertainers behave as though there are no laws in the country.
Although it is not appropriate to gloat over the downfall of another, it is also refreshing to note that, somebody is watching and ever ready to crack the whip.
It is such a wholesome wake-up call that would instill sanity and discipline in the system!