In what could so far be the most robust and passionate defence in response to disputations that the Gambia has celebrities, Xmylz, a music promoter lashed out at campaigns to measure Gambians stars short. “To those of us thinking that there isn’t much love out there for our celebrities, then I take it you haven’t seen the overexcited, screaming and crying fans or the packed venues at events,” he says. Read more:
I’ll begin this piece with a question.
Raise your hand if you know a Chinese celebrity? I’m sure the most likely answers will be Bruce Lee, Jackie Chan, Yao Ming… Yeah… Who else? … See… That’s what I thought. Not too many to count right? Okay away from China and its billion people, tell me how many celebrities you know from Luxembourg, Finland or Japan. None? A few maybe?
You see, the point I’m trying to make has nothing to do with these places because I know for a fact that every country has some celebrated individuals in the arts, sports and other arenas. But because we’ve never heard of them or their accomplishments doesn’t change the fact that that they are celebrities within their environment. In the same light, The Gambia might not have some world famous celebrities but we have people worth celebrating nonetheless.
Now why am I writing about this?
Well, I have seen countless discussions/debates on Gambian social media centered on the title subject and I’ll admit that at some point I belonged to the faction who believed that there were few (if any) Gambian celebrities. Why? My perception was hinged on the notion that an individual had to be super rich from whatever it is that they’re known for, to qualify as a celebrity. I think it’s a fair point still but I’ve come to realize that (although it counts a lot) wealth is not the yardstick by which a person acquires celebrity status. The very definitions of the term ‘celebrity’ focus more on being famous than anything else.
Below are two definitions of Celebrity according to Google.
A famous person, especially in entertainment or sport.
The state of being well known.
So going by the definitions above, is Bai Babu a celebrity? Are Gee, ST. Blackashine or Sista Njie celebrities? How about Modou Barrow and countless other football players most of whom have gotten the three C’s (cash, cars and cribs) doing what they love?
To those of us thinking that there isn’t much love out there for our celebrities, then I take it you haven’t seen the overexcited, screaming and crying fans or the packed venues at events. I’ve witnessed some fan-mania moments that would completely blow you away.
The confusion though, is partly fueled by the ease of social media access which has blurred the line between virtual celebrities and real life stars with actual followings; that however doesn’t mean we should downplay the efforts of our talented sisters and brothers who, with our support and motivation can get on the biggest platforms and represent for the 220.
Everything else aside, I think one of our deterrents going forward is that we have aced the art of shooting down the very people we should be supporting for some reason or another. We find it fairly easy to overlook their triumphs and successes like it was nothing. Just like how we start rolling out some loud a** “boudi ndeys” to our football players when Gambia’s on the losing end of a game. As a fan, I understand the frustrations we go through but damn, we make it almost impossible to represent the country with a pressure-free frame of mind.
Fact is, we have a lot of people worth celebrating so instead of demeaning their efforts, the least we can do is acknowledge them. Let’s give them our support and make it worthwhile. On a closing note Limaa waxh nii nak, bolleh wuma si nyu munut dara. Some people just need to fold it and stop making their peers look bad.