The average celebrity lives for the cameras. Fact. Most people who follow the media want to know what’s up with their favourite celebrities per time. Fact. The media – print, broadcast, web, social or new media – is the natural point of convergence and venting for both sides of the equation. Hence, the media’s role is more than a job, it is a duty. Ultimate fact.
Unfortunately, a number of celebrities have over time found the same media an easy target for vitriols whenever certain aspects of their lives become a matter of public scrutiny or attacks. With all due respect to these celebrities and the brands they have become, we make bold to say that the media is never to blame.
We can substantiate. While it is admissible to some extent that celebrities are not obliged to be role models, since they, like everyone else have a right to be whatever they chose to be per time, such thinking cannot however stand the test of responsibility that comes with societal and corporate expectations from the brands they have become. This is because of the fact that at the core of all actions of celebrities is a desire for fame and the ancillary benefits it brings such as awards, endorsements, appointments and general relevance. It will therefore be hypocritical for any celebrity to expect these without some modicum of appreciation of the need to reciprocate via his or her lifestyle. The media is not the problem
This opinion has become a necessary intervention because of the rate at which a number of A-list celebrities have taken on and called out the media over reportage of unpleasant activities surrounding their brands. Still fresh in memory is Davido’s threat to sue Punch for how much, 60 billion Naira? Not to mention the myriad times others like Timaya, Halima Abubakar, Wizkid and more recently upstarts like Rosy Meurer, and a host of others have found it very convenient to vent their frustration with public commentary on their lives on the media. And then there was the case of the altercation between comedian Alibaba and Greennews over a supposed satire that backfired. That has to stop.
Admittedly, there will always be that allowable margin of error in reporting stories. As in all professions too, there will also always be some bad eggs, but these are a tiny minority whose work should never be used as yardstick for judging the media. Unfortunately, some celebrities cannot understand the difference. Too bad.
Rather than make a habit of blaming the media, the Nigerian celebrity must come to terms with the reality that he or she is a public figure who carries a burden of practicing what they preach. We cannot fault society’s expectations in this regard. The ultimate ideal is for the media to be objective, but more often than not, in the cases of glaring shortcomings and aberrant behaviour, the media is constrained to have an opinion on a story as it has a duty to set the right agenda for the society. At all times, our work is more than a job.
Sadly, reporting scandals is part of the job. But it is not our duty to clean up after celebrities who deliberately try to leverage on the concept of selling their brand through controversy and then try playing the victim or making the media their fall guy. That is cheap. Moreover, much of the misunderstanding on the part of the celebrities wouldn’t even exist in the first place if many of them subscribed to proper PR and social media management. No, they believe having a handle is all they need to relate with the public.That has to stop.
In the final analysis, while the motivation here is not necessarily to throw up the polemics of who needs who most between the media and the celebrity, we are fully aware of the sacred duty we must perform and the immense power at our disposal. Our sense of relevance is never in doubt. Like American-Senegalese singer, Akon, we will take the blame if we have to. But not all the time. Enough.