By Arnold Asamoah-Baidoo
Gospel Minister, Sonnie Badu, took center stage on not just social media trends but also on the radar of traditional media over the last week. There’s scrutiny on entertainers or celebrities but for some reason, the level of examination on the Minister of the gospel is intriguingly high. Here is a man who is scolded for the very little things like sending a congratulatory message to Kuami Eugene for winning the VGMA Artiste of the Year.
The trolling and ‘dragging of Sonnie Badu on social media could be tagged as a normal phenomenon in this digital age but there’s a looming danger that could mess up the reputation, relationships and most importantly the psyche of those involved if not checked; the penchant of Ghanaians always in a rush to lay judgment without any checks. Ghanaians are quick to lynch you on social media the moment any random person yelps ‘Thief, Thief,” without they finding out what the fellow stole.
The other danger that looms is the alacrity with which traditional media picks trending stories from social media without any proper checks and splatter them for consumption.
What Went Wrong?
The crux of the controversy was the fact that, the gospel artiste had attained 3 different degrees in a spate of 4 months and interestingly, the news was projected as though it was the artiste and Minister of the gospel who has touted such feat.
The fact is; a random person on social media by name, Manuel Mensah, was intrigued by a photo of Sonnie Badu posted on the latter’s social media and decided to do checks to ascertain the veracity of such certificates.
According to him, he was motivated to do the digging because he was befuddled with Sonnie Badu showcasing his certificates on social media. His unsolicited investigations led him to the US Council for Higher Education Accreditation and the response he got was that, the firm was not aware of having any connection with the Institution that offered the degrees to Sonnie.
Without hesitation, Manuel jumped on social media to share his research achievement with the rest of the world. Not only did he share his research findings, he passed such scathing judgement – claiming that, the certificate-issuing Institution doesn’t exist, which means the degrees were fake.
After the expose’, social media was awash with severe backlash of Sonnie Badu, with persons calling him out and scathing him without mercy. He was heavily ‘dragged’ on social media, with even fellow entertainers, debasing him.
What was most disturbing was how traditional media outlets, as seen in recent times, picked the story from social media and run with it – without subjecting the story to any requisite checks, allowing further abuse of the gospel artiste.
There came some of the most ridiculous headlines; “Sonnie Badu Busted,” “Sonnie Badu Caught In A Lie,”, “Sonnie Badu’s School Doesn’t Exist” and ‘Sonnie Badu’s Degrees Are Fake” etc.
He’s a Talkative
There are some commentators who opined that Sonnie Badu’s responses to his critics exacerbated the issue. His response of ‘Lions Don’t Respond to Frogs’ was directed to Manuel, the guy who went digging but of course, it was blown out of proportion and used to lambast him further.
Yes, his responses to some of his critics did elongate the matter but the fact is, some of these celebrities are built differently; they are exposed, opinionated, engaging and they don’t hesitate to ‘clap back’.
The likes of Yvonne Nelson, Lydia Forson, DKB, Nana Aba Anamoah and Sonnie Badu among others are built that way, they speak their minds and would not be bullied by trolls. Sonnie is not a talkative, he knows his rights, speaks his wisdom and won’t allow himself to be trolled unnecessarily.
Energy Never the Same
Days after the rhubarb over the degrees commenced, Trinity University, the institution that offered Sonnie the degrees issued a statement, an account that sought to bring some sane closure to the confusion.
In the report, it was realized that the school does exist, accredited to Commission of Christian Education Institution, legally recognized and that the degrees and credits earned are those in Christian Service. It also stated that, Sonnie did not attain the degrees in a spate of 4 months.
Interestingly, when the statement from the school was released, almost all the critics went quiet, they lost the energy they utilized in bashing the Gospel Minister. The energy was never the same; it has never been. The same energy they use in criticizing is always not the same when the truth comes out.
Mindset of Ghanaians
In another leg of vitriol against Sonnie, a video of him explaining the reasons he is not staying in Ghana was under scrutiny. According to him, he is not residing in Ghana because of the mindset of its people – their attitude of being overly negative and not wanting the best for each other.
What is wrong with his resolution?
There are countless number of Ghanaians residing overseas who have varied reasons for not wanting to stay in Ghana. Reasons that vary from economic hardship to social injustice to job search to the negative mindset etc.
In fact, there are now social media sensations who have made it part of their branding to compare the living standards with the foreign countries they presently reside in to Ghana and they are being hailed.
Stop the Showcase?
The silliest of all the criticisms I heard over Sonnie Badu was that, he should stop showcasing his stuff on social media. This is laughable!
How does anybody projecting their personal stuff on their social media platforms affect your ability to eat and ease yourself? How does it affect your ability to sleep well at night and wake up soundly? How does Sonnie Badu splattering his certificates on his social media pages affect your fuel gauge in your car? How?
For the many that are encouraged by such exhibition of achievements and strides made in his life, they do not complain, instead, they are emboldened.
It is social media, everybody can have a platform, what you choose to do with yours is solely your business, so long as it doesn’t infringe on another’s rights, doesn’t affect anybody’s sensibilities and is not criminal.