By Arnold Asamoah-Baidoo
United Television (UTV) is arguably the most watched television station in Ghana, especially on Saturdays, thanks to Nana Ama McBrown’s ‘United Showbiz’ show – and last Saturday’s episode was the most-watched since the inception of the show. In fact, it was the most watched show on any television in Ghana in the last month or thus far in the year, thanks to the appearance of Shatta Wale.
United Showbiz has been a hit show since its commencement last year. Almost every eyeball is fixated on the show every Saturday night. The popularity of the show is indisputable.
So, it came as no surprise that, one of the most influential artistes in the country, Shatta Wale, requested to be on the show over the weekend and clearly, with his level of influence and everything else going on around him, it was a sure bet for the producers of the show to oblige.
Who refuses a Shatta Wale an interview anyway?
The producers of the show, in their wisdom decided to construct an interesting panel to assist the host; the legendary Abeiku Santana, Nana Asiamah Hanson (Bulldog), Manager for Shatta Wale and myself.
For UTV, they did the usual – produce artworks to promote Shatta Wale’s appearance and for some reason(s), other blogs, entertainment portals, the Shatta Movement (SM) and avid viewers of the show took it a higher notch.
The artworks and promotional drive for the episode was at a fever pitch.
The hype for the show was extremely intense, it almost looked like it a promotional drive for a Shatta Wale concert.
The anticipation was high! Nobody was going to miss it – and not even an attempt by TV3 to take some shine on the Saturday evening with Steve Harvey’s ‘Family Feud’ could draw away attention from Shatta Wale on UTV.
‘Arnold Go Chop Slap’
As SM fans and observers were busily sharing the artwork of Shatta’s epic appearance on social media, one thing struck me – the statement, ‘Arnold go chop slap’!
On every social media platform, from Facebook to Twitter to Instagram, commentators expressed their varied opinions on their excitement and expectations for that episode, and one thing that kept recurring on these platforms, was the comment, ‘Arnold go chop slap’.
‘Arnold go chop slap’ was resounding it almost became a hashtag; the only thing missing was the hashtag sign.
Why would I chop slap? I mused.
I don’t have any related issue(s) with Shatta Wale, so why would anybody think I would take a slap. Then it hit me on why some would figure I may have my cheek bruised during or after the show.
- 1. I usually ‘win’ the banter (usually heated) with Bulldog on the show (I love you Bull, lol) so, a Shatta Wale addition could trigger some confrontation which may not end well for me.
- 2. By now, everybody who follows me is privy to the fact that, I speak my mind, I speak the truth with no shred of fear or favour and hardly stands down on my conviction and a stand-off with Shatta Wale, who is also strong on his stance, a bit confrontational and temperamental – could not end well for me.
- 3. I could just ‘chop’ a slap for ‘sh3g33’ reasons – all because I give Bulldog a tough time on the show. Shatta is here to save his Manager’s ‘ass’ ( I still love you, Bull)
In days leading to the memorable episode, I had mixed feelings – intriguingly. One side of me was all prepped up, buoyant and expectant of the episode, as I always do.
One part of my brain told me, there was no frickin’ way I was going to ‘chop’ any slap. No way!
Then the other part of my brain was trying to mess me up – “You could actually chop a slap”, I heard that effing part of the brain tell me.
The incessant commentary by persons, ‘Arnold go chop slap’ was ricocheting in my mind. Anytime I think of the show, I see and hear, ‘Arnold go chop slap’. That almost fucked up my psyche but I had to shrug it off and try as much possible and be me.
Night of the Show
I am usually the first to get on the show, even earlier than the host and that was not going to change for this episode.
I was there, 30 minutes earlier than everybody else, got ‘mic’ed’ and all – got seated to acclimatize with the ambience of the studio before the commencement of the show.
Just few minutes to show, Shatta Wale walked in, with Bulldog in tow, paving the way and ushering him to his seat.
He exchanged pleasantries with Nana Ama and producers of the show, then he saw me seated, he greeted me warmly, as always and this ensued;
Shatta Wale: I come worry you today
My mind: Maybe the slap go happen
As I looked across the studio, I saw a battalion of SM folks, label members, bodyguards and hangers-on. Any media person who has witnessed and be present at any Shatta Wale interview knows this intimidating spectacle.
Then I saw Kwabena Awuku, the official photographer for Shatta Wale. This is the same guy who slapped blogger, Kobby Kyei at an event. Apparently, the slap was said to be debilitating, it affected not only Kobby’s spectacles but his eye too.
My mind: Maybe this guy is the one to deliver the slap and get away with it, again?
The atmosphere was super tensed but still, I had to try and do me!
It was a good show, generally!
You can still go online and watch it again.
The numbers were high, the best thus far and the reviews were good.
Thankfully, there was no slap! There was never going to be a slap. Bulldog is a gentleman, a friend and a brother. Shatta Wale is sane, respectable and a professional. They are no beasts!
With minutes to end the show, Nana Ama announced that the Shiphouse (home of Despite Media) has been ‘besieged’ by fans of Shatta Wale.
After the show, it was evident that it was going to be a struggle to make my way through such a crowd to get to my car. Even Shatta Wale and his posse floundered to get through to their cars.
There were a few back and forth with Shatta and Bulldog on the show, and maybe, just maybe one or two of these overzealous fans may not have liked it.
My mind: Maybe one of these disgruntled fans would deliver the slap
I waited for Shatta and his entourage to leave, still waited for almost an hour until I decided to make my way through too. As I attempted to step out, I heard a fan bellow, ‘Hey Arnold, Hey Arnold.”
Well, the ‘Hey Arnold’ could have been a friendly one but damn it, I was not going to take chances. I retreated to the studio and waited again.
After getting tired of waiting and with the crowd sparsely dispersed, I boldly, yeah, boldly made my way to my car.
The moment I opened the door, I felt a tap on my shoulder and froze a little, just a little, then the fellow remarked – “Charlie, Arnold, I feel you, you do all.”
I smiled, gave him a tip and drove off, got home safely with my cheeks intact, no slap!
Pictures courtesy : Kwabena Awuku Photography