Opinion

How Long Will These Actors Continue To ‘Beg’ For Money?

In the last couple of months, Ghanaians are being drowned under a riptide of ‘begging’ by veteran actors who, albeit active, but caught up in one related issue from health to feeding to up-keep.

From the late Nii Odoi-Mensah to William Addo and now Abeiku Nyame (Jagger Pee) – it is becoming a worrying trend to see and hear veteran actors solicit for funds for their up-keep.

Ghanaians Being Held To ‘Ransom’:

There’s no denying the fact that, all these actors have paid their dues to the arts; they dedicated almost half of their lifetime to making sure that Ghanaians got to love their home-grown movies.

It is therefore okay, for the people to be called upon once in a while to help raise some funds for such actors who are caught up in some predicament, but, it is definitely not germane to hound the people constantly for support for one actor to the next.

Disturbingly, some Ghanaians can now not figure out the difference between the ordinary beggars on the street to the once highly-revered actors who are galloping from one media house to the other begging for money.

How Did We Get Here?

The Ghanaian film industry was extremely vibrant when these veteran actors were in their prime and it is expected, that considering how dynamic they were, they would have also stockpiled some wealth.

However, the argument often put across is that; these actors were not properly paid at the time and mostly did it for the sake of passion. Such a justification, I find it utterly flippant!

Mind you, these actors were highly educated at the time and quite outspoken too. They knew the business and wouldn’t roll over for some ill-treatment with regards to their payment and all.

Of course, it will be absurd to compare what the current crop of actors are making in terms of pay to what the veterans took, but what these ‘old’ actors got at the time was valuable.

The question is; what did they do with all that? How did they parlay their popularity, influence and influence into other business ventures?

Lack of Financial Management:

The failure of celebrities to manage their resources and finances well while in their time of relevance, culminating in their struggles – is a worldwide phenomenon.

For some queer reason, some of these popular folks figured that, they get to enjoy relevance forever and the revenue will keep pouring in, so, they blatantly failed to plan and also demurred to do proper investment with the ‘little’ they accumulated.

What is more disappointing is the fact that, most of these actors are learned and well-read. They knew, read and followed the sorry stories of other actors who were entangled in similar mess but the whirlwind of fame clouded their sense of judgment.

Weak Systems & Structures:

The reason we do not often get to read and watch stories of international veteran actors suffer similar fate as ours is that; they have a very good system made of up effective structure that protects and supports old actors.

Elsewhere, policies such as residuals, which are the royalties for actors, have been put in place by the various Screen Actors Guilds’, to supports these actors, even when they are incapacitated.

The often-fought-over blank levy has a certain part dedicated to actors but unfortunately, it is used for something called – capacity building.

Who needs capacity building when they do not even have money as transport fare to attend capacity building seminars which are never organized anyway?

Forced Into Early Retirement:

These veterans cannot be compared to the new generation of actors with regards to skills, no way!

The likes of Mawuli Semevor, Kwesi Koomson, Nat Banini, Victor Lutterodt, David Dontoh, Grace Nortey, Agnes Dapaah, Dzifa Gomashie, Dzifa Glipkoe, Grace Omaboe and many others were proficient on the job than this new crop, but, producers/directors have refused to star them in movies and TV series.

Most of these actors are very active and can fit into various roles in the newly-released movies but these producers prefer to alter the faces of young actors and make them play aging roles, thanks to magic of dreadful make-up.

 

Way Forward:

It is interesting to observe that for some time, we rarely hear aging musicians openly grouse over their problems in order to solicit for money. No kidding, these musicians are not better off than the actors but fortunately, they (musicians) have some succor – in the name of a certain welfare fund (AMWEF).

The AMWEF initiative, which was cleverly put together by the Bice Osei Kuffour administration at MUSIGA – has been mobilizing funds via some corporate sponsorship and via internally-generated funds to provide support for aging musicians.

These actors have the same if not more, of the popularity, influence and clout their musician counterparts commander, however, what they lack are unity, organization and ideas to put together similar initiatives. They should sit up and learn from MUSIGA!

In the absence of a Screen Actors Guild, the Ghana Actors’ Guild can develop structures that will ensure that aging actors get residuals/royalties from their works.

As for the refusal of producers to cast these aging actors; that issue would be tackled extensively in the coming weeks.

 

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