What does it take for one to become a celebrity? Does it take having lots of money, a talent that is unmatched such as that shown by football maestro, Ronaldhino, or being the heir to a multi-billion dollar corporation such as Rockefeller or the Hilton group of hotels?
While all that is debatable, one thing is certain; celebrities have and always will continue to influence us. The truth of the matter is that at one point or the other, we all have someone that we look up to and admire, secretly wishing to be just like them.
It makes no difference whether we look up to either Brad Pitt, Tom Cruise, or Will Smith for tips on how to groom ourselves in being a hunk or at Shakira, Beyonce and Megan Fox for a model on how a vivacious woman should be. We simply are at the whims of celebrity figures in our lives as we try to dress, act and be like them in almost every way!
But with so many celebrities cooing for us to follow them, there is a need to be able to make informed choices about celebrity figures in this modern era. No wonder why the Good Book wisely admonishes us to always “separate the wheat from the chaff”.
There are some genuine celebrities out to make a difference in people’s lives, not the happy go lucky fellows who just seem to grab our attention for exactly the wrong reasons.
Increasingly, one must admit that the lives of celebrities nowadays has been less than inspiring to say the least, begging for one to rethink what being a celebrity in the 21st century is all about. One would probably not be too far from the truth when pointing out that celebrities have evolved and are no longer what they used to be back in the old days.
Controversy is their middle name! Equally true, fans have also evolved looking to using the scale of controversy as the yardstick to awarding celebrity status.
Controversy is the in-thing nowadays. Period.
Take, for example, the controversial Lady Gaga (real name Stefani Germanota) who rose to global stardom after proclaiming that she was, “both a she and a he”, a hermaphrodite. This, of course, was juicy news for the entertainment industry as they braced themselves to have a hermaphrodite on the music stage. From thereon, Lady Gaga’s career has been catapulted by controversy after controversy with the latest storm brewing over a concert held in New York were Lady Gaga was reportedly “thrilled” at receiving news that two men in the audience had sex during her live performance on stage.
While Lady Gaga is a celebrity, largely for the gay community around the world, one cannot help but wonder the extent issues of respect and morality are overshadowed by these lewd acts, endorsed by a celebrity figure. Should fans think it alright to cast off their inhibitions and romp it off anywhere because their celebrity has said she is “thrilled”?
Surely, real celebrities ought to have a better message to spread to their devotees in these days of HIV/AIDS and encourage better sex practices. Is that not what being a celeb is all about, being the voice of reason to the people? Or take the case of hip hop artist, The Game, who in a concert in South Africa last year brought a 9-year old on stage who was attending the show and had him sing one of his explicit songs. The Game out of ‘awe’ of the lyrical verbiage of this kid removed his chain worth US$250 000 and gave it to the young boy.
Really, there is more that celebrities can do to help 9-year-olds than giving them gold chains for singing vulgar music. Whatever happened to celebrities seeking to inspire followers to become better people and to be suitable role models for young people?
If one is not beating up their girlfriend like Chris Brown did to Rihanna earlier this year, or taking killer medication like Michael Jackson with the hope of immortality then, most probably, they are being sent off to jail for possessing unlicensed firearms like American rap artist T.I.
Enough with the controversial approach to stardom, a bit of positive influence would be a welcome change. The world is in desperate need of it, so can the real celebrities please stand up!