By Arnold Asamoah-Baidoo
Last week, musician, Coded of the defunct music group, 4X4 and Entertainment Journalist/Blogger, Eugene Osafo Nkansah, who owns the blog ‘Nkonkonsa’ – were involved in a spat in the studios of Neat 100.9FM.
The argument hinged on the complaints of the artiste, primarily on the Journalist/Blogger’s refusal or reluctance to promote the artiste and his works. That dispute spiraled with the artiste mishandling studio equipment and it had to take others in the studio to calm nerves.
The melee that transpired is not a concern to me; stuff like that happens in the industry and would still happen, especially when as humans, we would always have disagreements. The destructive nature of the artiste to the equipment in the studio is a matter of concern but that’s for the Management of Despite Media to deal with.
My concern is with the reaction from the public when the video of the impasse went viral.
The public castigated the journalist/blogger, with many hurling all sort of invective at him. They were outraged with what he called, disrespect exhibited to the artiste by the journalist. They snarled at Eugene’s audacity to have an argument with Coded – stating that, the artiste has been in the industry for a longtime, has achieved a lot and the journalist is in no capacity to disrespect him.
Incredibly, some even questioned the pedigree and credentials of Eugene Osafo Nkansah, prodding him on when he started in this industry.
Too Many Ignoramuses
The episode of Coded and Eugene and the reaction it elicited from the public triggered memories of some of the reaction I got after my argument with musicians, Guru and Shatta Wale went viral.
After my squabble with Guru in the studios of Peace 104.3FM went viral, a large section of the public questioned my credentials and status and wondered what I have done in the industry to hold any form of banter with an artiste like Guru. The spectacle with Shatta Wale on UTV drew the same kind of backlash – with some querying my positioning in the industry and my grounding to hold the artiste to a debate.
What was most infuriating, nauseating and heart wrenching was having industry folks, who are supposed to know better, join the cause of critics.
What these ignoramuses are oblivious of, is that the likes of Eugene have earned their stripes as major players in this industry. They have been in this industry for many years, worked their butts off to get to where they are now – and remain influential and relevant.
Their contribution to this industry cannot be underestimated and by virtue of that fact, they can hold their own and commandeer any form of argument with other players in the same industry including artistes.
It is sheer foolhardiness for anybody to question my ability to have a row with a Guru or a Shatta Wale – without checking my credentials, without researching to find out that, as a role player who has been in this industry even before most of these acts found their feet – I have every right to hold my own.
It is sheer idiocy for anybody to question Eugene’s stance in engaging in an argument with any artiste when the fellow fails to check and recognize the credentials of the journalist.
The Artistes Must Act Right
Eugene Osafo Nkansah is a journalist/blogger, who has written for some of the major entertainment newspapers, way before an artiste like Coded had his break. He has contributed to the elevation of most of these artistes by his varied reports, promotional pieces and critique.
In fact, he saw the come-up of Coded and 4X4, witnessed their rise and saw their demise too. Like many other journalists, Eugene and myself, in the midst of all the hardwork, contributing to the industry in mixt ways – we also saw these guys in their ‘underground’ days, their pinnacle and their decline and guess what, we are still here. Go Figure!
Coded, in all sincerity, knows Eugene and how far he (Eugene) has come as a journalist, how grand his contributions have been to his (Coded’s) career and to the industry as a whole.
Guru was privy to my credentials as a journalist but in a banter, he wanted to be accorded respect but was not ready to offer same. He wanted me to acknowledge his positioning as an artiste who has produced hit songs and sold thousands of records but he was not willing to appreciate my positioning as that journalist who has also contributed enormously to the industry for many years, way before he had his breakthrough.
They blatantly refuse to show respect to the journalist as a major role player in this ecosystem called a creative industry. In their fickle minds, there should be no way that journalists ought to utter their opinions in their faces or offer them brazen criticism of their actions and works.
In their delusional thoughts, they flounder to accept how other major role players like the journalist, blogger or pundit can offer their unbridled opinions especially in their presence – funnily!
Appreciation of Roles
Within the ecosystem of the creative industry as it pertains in every other space worldwide, there are the systems/structures, proceedings within the industry and the players such as the musicians, actors, and journalists, bloggers and others.
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 journalist cannot be appreciated?
The job of the entertainment journalist is basically to bridge the gap between the intricacies of the creative industry to the average person. They project the works of entertainers/celebrities, events and proceedings of the industry. They put some shape to the industry by critiquing works of the entertainers, policies, entities as well as happenings of the industry.
Entertainment journalism may get a bad reputation in the eyes of some of these artistes and their followers, but at this time where more people can name the cast members of United Showbiz on UTV than the Ministers of State – it depicts that entertainment news may be more important and have more journalistic quality than ever before.
The artistes, their handlers and their teeming followers must appreciate the work of the journalists/bloggers and others. The followers must appreciate the role of journalists in elevating the artistes and the dynamics of the industry.
Image is critical for the brand projection of the artiste, 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.
It is also noteworthy that the image and reputation of journalists and bloggers are important too, so, they would also do everything to protect it. It is exasperating to grasp how artistes can abuse other professionals, issue diatribe on them at any point in time and that’s considered okay but when these journalists and bloggers stand up to them in any form of banter, it is considered sacrilegious by the public.
Do you blame the public for looking down on the journalists/bloggers?
On that food chain of the Ghanaian creative industry, the journalist lies at the bottom – a level of no respect, abysmal working condition and paltry remuneration. The journalist is not respected, less recognized and appreciated the least.
If the artiste, the label honchos, the policy maker and everybody else in the industry offer the journalist/blogger with pedigree the least respect, how do you expect that ordinary Ghanaian to offer any?