A celebrity is a famous individual seen to have proven himself or herself as worthy of being celebrated in a chosen career. Often times it is wondered how Fame can elevate you to a leader, however the status of being a celebrity reveals a fan/follower base that is highly influenced by a personality. In the words of John C. Maxwell “leadership is influence, nothing more, nothing less.” It is this evergreen dictum that renders strength to my stand on activism of celebrities. The music or movies by these celebrities are consumed by nationals and fans all over the world therefore putting them in a position of influence, the personality created by the creative is that of artistic expression, it is therefore no surprise that the same level of expression is anticipated when it matters. Many have argued and asked why the burden of leading protests and struggles should be forced on a fellow human when anyone can be a leader? The reason is simple, not anyone can command the respect of everyone because he is someone. Of importance is the music industry. The music you listen to that lifts your spirit and gets you through your daily lives would definitely make you curious about the creator of such sound, thereby elevating you from listener to Fan of an artiste. This influence should be cultivated well to reap positive change.
The current position of many Nigerian Youth is the ENDSARS clamour. Many celebrities have spoken against the police brutality which led to the massive online and offline protest out of concern because it is apparent that either one has had a terrible experience or he/she knows someone who did. Beautiful songs like Fela’s “Zombie” reminds on of how trigger happy uniformed men can be. Redemption song by Bob Marley, ‘Bella ciao’ against the fascist regime are songs of a great cause against oppression, reflective of the collective conscience of an oppressed people.
Sad but amusing was an incident which occurred yesterday 11th of October 2020 in Abuja where Davido and Segalinkjoined protesters on the streets. The Police were prepared as usual to fire tear gas at individuals as they have done in the previous days, until they noticed the presence of the two personalities. They knew fully well that any injury to Davidowould escalate the situation they are forcibly trying to control. Then it struck me that in struggles against a faulty system the people we would look up to are those who have the strongest influence on us as leadership gets imposed on them.
In the words of Martin Luther King Jr. “Injustice anywhere is a threat to justice everywhere. We are caught in an inescapable network of mutuality, tied in a single garment of destiny. Whatever affects one directly, affects all indirectly.” Therefore being in the spot light gives you the advantage of being the light of hope for the generations you lead and injustice to them affects you indirectly. A position of influence is granted by the people who listen to your music, listen to your words, buy your books, watch your movies, accept your sermons and prophetic visions, patronise your brand and believe you to be relevant. The least that could be done is to give back to those who have given unto you.