By Arnold Asamoah-Baidoo
Socialite/actress, Akuapem Poloo, also known as Rosemond Brown, took all the attention over the week. She didn’t just take the attention within the entertainment industry as she may have anticipated, she actually inundated the entire space, from social to politics, with her infamous photograph that was taken, ostensibly to celebrate her son.
The fixation was so intense it got major institutions like the Child Rights International, the Ministry of Gender, Children and Social Protection, plus the CID of the Police Service to all issue statements over the head of Akuapem Poloo.
She faced such severe backlash she had to render two different apologies with some members of the public still calling for the law to deal with her.
In our rhubarb of that situation and what sort of punitive measure(s) should be meted on her, we fail, as a people to identify the biggest causative agent of all this mess – us!
The Power of the Audience
In the field of entertainment or show business, the element with the biggest clout, influence and impact is the audience, the fans or the patrons. Without this element, no brand, personality and entity would flourish.
The audience, with that life-saving, career-altering and destiny-changing trump card, has the biggest say on how well or bad any business does in this field.
Musicians having best-selling albums and singles, having the best and most lucrative endorsement deals, the movies having the best grossing figures, books getting best-seller tags and ventures scoring high figures in revenue are all dependent on the power of the fan.
That power of the audience is the sole reason every move or endeavor by the entertainer is done to win their attention and patronage, so, whether that entertainer is releasing a product, tweeting, posting a picture or commentary on social media – the ultimate aim is to grab the attention of the audience.
It Is an Attention-Driven Industry
For the umpteenth time, I need to reiterate that the entertainment industry is driven solely on attention. Any entertainer, brand and entity that doesn’t know this basic tenet in show business needs to re-orientate or find another trade.
One needs to get the attention of the patron in order to sell whatever product. It’s like advertising a product to gain attention in order for it to be patronized. The entertainer needs to direct that well-needed attention to his/her brand and product.
In the current dispensation as an industry, focusing only on the product is not enough. One cannot just release music or movie and go to sleep. The insatiability of the audience requires more, so, the entertainer must have something extra to gain or generate attention. It could be his/her fashion sense that instigates chatter, his/her activity on social media or his/her ability to be controversial or anything else to would get the eyeballs and the eardrums hooked.
Numbers have always been a factor in the how successful a product was/is in this industry. How many copies of the album, singles were sold or streamed, how many tickets were sold for the music tour, how many copies of the book were sold and how many people went to the cinemas etc.
The surge of social digital engagements has heralded the reliance on numbers too; how many clicked to watch, how many clicked to like, how many retweeted or how many commented etc.
Numbers count and every entertainer is willing to act a fool to get those numbers.
We Give That Attention
The audience hold the power of attention and these entertainers are aware.
Akuapem Poloo was privy to the fact that, the exposition of that photo would create some uproar, instigate talk and most importantly for her, she would get likes, comments and more followers to whatever social media account she controls.
She also knew that the blogging fraternity would have a good day, rebroadcasting and projecting the photo and adding all manner of spins to the photo. She was sure that the observers and commentators on social media would share the photo while feverishly lambasting her.
True to her expectations, we did all that; we spoke about it for days, we circulated the photo with such enthusiasm, we blogged about it with such vigour and we argued over it with such passion.
The point is this; an entertainer posting an obscene photo, a vulgar video or a controversial piece only gets wings to fly because we the general public accord such privilege. We are the engine and the fuel to the popularity of their insanity and obscenity.
We simply embolden them to do more and more because they are aware of our nature; our ability to like, share and speak about it for days. They know our weakness and the sorry part is – as a public, we know our weakness too but we succumb to the machinations of these guys all the time.
A Hypocritical Public?
Still using Akuapem Poloo as a case study; the backlash she received for making that post was intense. Almost everybody was on her case for her action with many calling for her to face the rigours of the law. Some commentators even said she is bipolar, has a mental problem and must be committed to an asylum. Some even called for jail time for her and others even suggested her kid be taken by social welfare.
The irony of this matter is; majority of Ghanaians gave her flak yet, the same majority also liked, shared and projected the infamous photo.
If the photo was as obnoxious as we all made it seem, why did we patronize it?
This attitude of the general public has been prevalent in our system as long as one can remember. We frown at the exhibition of obscene photos on Instagram by these socialites, video vixens and other celebrities, yet, we are the same bunch that like and share these images. We scowl at the level of vulgarity in our music, yet, when the artistes release such music, we are the same bunch that patronize and when we complain about the crudity in our movies, we still turn around and watch.
We, as a public are the problem!
When We Stop, They Stop
If you are involved in any venture or enterprise and the topmost priority is to get patronage in order to boost the business, why quell it when you are getting that backing? That is the mindset of these entertainers.
By supporting their insanity and obscenity, the message we send across to them is simple; we like it! When we support and project their shenanigans, all we do is inspire them to do more.
When an artiste releases a grotesque material and he/she gets no support in terms of patronage, airplay and reviews, he/she would have a re-think and not release such material again. If a socialite like Akuapem Poloo gets no likes and views for her photos and videos and gets no blogger and social media fanatic to share, she would definitely have a re-evaluation and would not come up with another.
We have the power as an audience to direct the narrative, let’s utilize that clout.