Charles Nii Armah Mensah Jnr, popularly known in showbiz circles as Shatta Wale is undoubtedly one of the most successful artistes to ever grace Ghana’s music landscape. He possesses a humongous dose of talent which capacitates him to consistently treat Ghanaians to a host of scintillating tunes. There are however aspects of his attitude that must not escape the exercise of reasonable critique.
Shatta is noted to be habitually highlighting attitudes he perceives to be condemnable about his fellow artistes/public figures and purports to advise them publicly in that regard. A relevant question to answer here is that – Is Shatta Wale actually clothed with the moral right to make such disclosures about his fellow celebrities on air? Let us consider a few examples to make this ascertainment;
Earlier this year, Shatta Wale castigated famous social media figure, Archipalago for making some statements about him in public. Shatta Wale further stated that if Archipalago had any advice for him, he could have conveyed it to him privately. Now, rapper Sarkodie is Shatta Wale’s friend right? When Sark was disrespected at the One Africa Music Fest in Dubai in November 2017, did we not see Shatta Wale on Twitter seeking to advise Sarkodie to accord his brand with more respect? He could have offered this advice to Sarkodie privately right?
Also, in a recent interview with Andy Dosty on Hitz FM, Shatta Wale descended on Sarkodie for failing to make efforts to shoot videos for the hit joints the duo recorded a few years ago. Shatta Wale publicly claimed he felt disrespected by Sarkodie’s inability to make inputs for the video shoots. Meanwhile, rapper Gemini Orleans has revealed that Shatta Wale failed to show up for the video shoot for a song he recorded with him some time ago. Gemini also disclosed that the 2014 VGMA Artiste of the Year has uttered similar treatments to many other artistes.
From the foregoing, do we see a perfect synchronization of what Shatta Wale ‘preaches’ and what he practices? Definitely not. This is abject hypocrisy! From my viewpoint, what he seeks to achieve with such statements is to denigrate the impression the public has of his fellow artistes, and render him immaculate among his fellows. A consequence of those expressions he makes on air is that it sets the grounds for divisions to thrive among artistes. Through his actions, he exposes his ineligibility to exercise the moral right to embark on his advocacies for unity in the industry. Such a perpetration should not be architected by a person who staunchly advocates for unity in the music industry.
Further, an attestation will be made by any ardent follower of the music industry that Shatta Wale engages in some despicable acts sometimes mainly to fulfill his personal interests. A few months ago, Shatta Wale and a friend were apparently seen enjoying a blowjob escapade captured in a video that he purportedly posted on Snapchat. He hastily came out to deny his involvement in the escapade and the release of its video. Well, in my view, it will not come as a surprise to me if he was actually involved in the act. Remember he recorded a song that disrespected mothers’ genitalia (WMT) for public consumption? This is an artiste who has an inordinate desire for regularly dominating the headlines. He astronomically prioritizes the acquisition of mass attention. He cares less about the mode of gaining the attention – he doesn’t care even if the mode is morally repugnant or legally improper.
When he apparently wanted to make inroads into the Nigerian market, he activated a vituperative mode, with Wizkid, Patoranking, and Timaya becoming victims of his vituperations. Did Sarkodie resort to such a medium to make waves in Nigeria? Sarkodie rather established a good rapport with their artistes & industry stakeholders, collaborated with them, among others to establish his impact on them. He has managed to pick awards in Nigeria without attacking any Nigerian artiste. Did VVIP and R2Bees attack any Nigerian artiste to make their impact in Nigeria? So Shatta can take a cue from them, right? Clearly, he shows that he is miles apart with maturity. He must work towards gaining proximity with maturity. Shatta must vacate the tangent he has subscribed to. He may end up suffering dire damage to his brand, which he would struggle to repair should he continue resorting to those despicable acts. He is even lucky to be an inhabitant of a jurisdiction that treats some issues lightly. He would have lost some brand endorsement deals in another jurisdiction by now.
Yes, I am privy to the school of thought which posits that negativity sells. I believe that there is some validity in that school of thought. This is the reason why sometimes creative persons will perpetrate stunts or engage in morally improper acts just to make headlines or sustain their relevance. But these gains can be made through more matured and legitimate means right? For Shatta Wale, his brand is established and fortified enough to earn him his desires. He is fortunate to be blessed with a very formidable and loyal fan base. Fans have become linchpins in the contemporary template of the music business. They play a very essential role in their icons. Their indispensability in accelerating an artiste’s ascension to the mainstream scene and sustaining same cannot be doubted. Shatta Movement has the propensity to augment the work of the professional media by politely and decently promoting Shatta’s projects. This is not a task beyond their strengths – their repertoire proves this.
I, therefore, find it unnecessary and nauseating for Shatta Wale to resort to vituperative and farcical means to promote his works if that is indeed the justification for this tomfoolery. Engaging in acts which make him vulnerable to be perceived as a crackpot is condemnable. His fans must direct him unto the matured path and not be automatic agents of his tomfoolery.
Let me conclude by stating that it is unfortunate that most media personnel develop some timidity anytime a Shatta Wale issue worthy of criticism emerges. This is obviously due to the fear of attack by Shatta and/or his fans. Some journalists/bloggers are sycophants/puppets hovering around Shatta Wale so they are not expected to criticize him. Electing to write celebrities as a blogger or journalist is not an absolutely rosy job. It comes with its hazards – being attacked or victimized for even criticizing constructively is definitely one of the hazards. It’s inevitable. Journalists/Bloggers must therefore not be scared about the attacks – they must muster the courage to criticize constructively when the necessity arises.
By Seth Mireku