By Arnold Asamoah-Baidoo
In the wake of the banter over my commentary on Shatta Wale being confused and inconsistent, based on certain pronouncements in his highly publicized ‘State of the Industry’ address against some of his earlier actions – opinions are obviously divided.
However, there’s one assertion that has come up and this claim confuses and irks me!
Some industry folks assert that, artistes work hard, they toil to project their careers and have built solid reputation, and so, it is wrong for radio/TV presenters, pundits, journalists and bloggers to talk ill or have negative opinions about them.
It is funny how such commentators believe it is only the artistes that work hard and have reputations to protect – very funny!
Others Work Hard Too
Musicians work hard, we know but other professionals work hard too. The radio and television presenters, the bloggers, the pundits all work hard too. They work their butts off too.
These artistes have reputation to project and protect, yes, we know that too but guess what, these other professionals also have reputations to project and protect.
These folks talk as though, in the ecosystem of show business, one group is overly important than every other grouping, sheepishly forgetting that every role player counts and without the players, there would be no industry.
They are delusional!
Reputations to Protect
Image is critical for the brand projection of the artiste and so, it is important they keep their reputation on a pedestal – we know this! Therefore, it is understandable to have artistes and their handlers do anything to protect such reputation.
However, it is also noteworthy that the image and reputation of other professionals like the radio presenters, TV hosts, pundits, journalists and bloggers are important too. They would also do everything to protect it.
So, it is t infuriating to grasp how artistes can abuse other professionals, lay invective on them at any point in time and that’s considered okay but when these pundits and presenters offer opinion on these artistes, it is considered sacrilegious?
So what? These other professional do not have blood in their veins? They don’t have feelings and emotions? Get serious!
No Room for Negativity
It is intriguing to note how these entertainers and some of their ill-informed followers keep mute when pundits shower them with accolades and plaudits when they achieve something meaningful in their respective careers. In such circumstances, the pundits are well informed, know their stuff and are well placed to offer opinions.
However, when these same pundits offer seemingly ‘negative’ commentary over these same entertainers, hell breaks loose. That’s when they spew invective at pundits for wanting to mess up with their careers – making it seem as though pundits are paid to alter and injure their careers.
These entertainers seem to be have the heart to accommodate positive feedback but obviously cannot countenance the opposite. Newsflash; pundits would continue to play their roles; offer their expert and candid opinions on related matters – be it ‘positive’ or ‘negative’ and this phenomenon would continue to pertain, so long as an industry exist.
Pundits among these other professionals face the severest criticism in the wake of the Shatta Wale conversation. Unfortunately, most of these naysayers are oblivious of the structure that pertains in the showbiz industry. Just like every sector, there are major players, stakeholders, policy makers, partners, corporate firms that are all engaged in the business and then there are hosts and presenters of various shows on radio, TV and podcasts that are dedicated to analyzing systems, happenings and everything that pertains to these players.
Most of these shows require pundits to offer their expert opinion on various related subjects connected to the industry.
Unbeknownst to many of the naysayers, every pundit has a primary expertise in the business, meaning, a pundit has his/her first calling within the industry before becoming a commentator or analyst on a show. So, there are pundits who are journalists, bloggers, event promoters, artist managers, music producers, event organizers, musicians, actors, directors, movie producers and other personnel with the industry.
These guys are called upon to be pundits on various shows by virtue of the fact that, they hold varied positions within the industry and are expected to express such expert opinions on such shows.
Appreciation of Roles
Within the ecosystem of the creative industry as it pertains in every space worldwide, there are the systems/structures, proceedings within the industry and the players such as the musicians, actors, and others – and of course, there are the portals, magazines/ newspapers, as well as TV and radio programming that are structured to discuss all the other elements within the ecosystem.
The role of the music/movie producer is appreciated, that of the musician or actor is well appreciated, the role of that TV or radio host is appreciated but the role of the pundits cannot be appreciated?
The fact is; punditry is part of every industry, from politics to sports and the role of pundits are highly recognized and respected elsewhere in the world, yet, in Ghana, some dullards have the conviction that pundits just get up from their beds, move to radio and TV stations and blurt out nonsense.