Ghanaians are generally too stiff for arts or creative works and it’s time we change the memo and reap the benefits that comes from intellectual property (IP).
Some years back, I argued that the importation of Nigerian comedians to Ghana to perform at the expense of our own is the bane to the growth of our comedy industry – but I’ve gradually changed my stand based on my observation of my own people.
Ghanaians are simply too stiff for arts! We make our creative art gems suffer artistic license – making many of them lose confidence in themselves. In the end, some weak ones fall off and retire their talents.
A Nigerian comedian will come to Ghana and use any dignitary or any serious issue around us to crack a joke and Ghanaians will laugh out slap happily. Let a Ghanaian comedian do same and the very Ghanaians will chide the fellow.
In extreme cases, we force the fellow to apologize. Ghanaian award winning comedian, DKB, has been forced to apologize on a number of occasions – he respectfully and fearfully did apologize; though I felt it was unnecessary!
When it’s ours, we stiffen the marking scheme, when it’s foreigners, we loosen up and have fun. I remember how Ghanaians condemned veteran actor/filmmaker, Bob Smith Jnr (Diabolo Man), for using midgets to shoot movies in the late 90s.
Entering the new millennium, Nigerian filmmakers started using same characters in the persons of Aki and Pawpaw. I should presume their movies sold more copies in Ghana than Nigeria. They were big in Ghana! At some point, some Ghanaian filmmakers casted them and flew them to Ghana to act.
When it comes to music, I recall how some Ghanaian artists would not use ‘Pidgin’ or ‘broken’ English to compose songs – because Ghanaians would be marking grammar, tenses, syntax, lexis and structure, name the rest.
Nigerians used (and still using) their own ‘Pidgin’ English for music – Ghanaian musicians jumped unto it and always sound like Nigerians. When it comes to performance, event patrons who buy VIP tickets will sit at front rows and get stitched to their chairs.
They won’t move, dance, clap, or exclaim! If you don’t want to have fun, why attend the event or go for VIP seat? As for our fashion world, I doubt if we can go anywhere with it. If it does not follow the traditional fashion sense, you are demon to introduce or start it as a Ghanaian fashion designer.
Arts or showbiz is about craziness, nudity, adventure, daringness, controversy, loudness, etc. There’s no other discipline in this world that employs the aforementioned! We should respect and live within the confines of our laws, but let’s allow creative minds on our soil some liberality!
Let’s allow for fluidity in our arts world! Let’s loosen up for showbiz! Arts does not thrive in rigidity! Strictness does not bring out the best in art minds – it stymies creativity! Art is largely about fun/entertainment. If you are too ‘serious’ then arts should not be your thing – don’t pay attention or follow it!
For instance, many don’t pay attention to poetry because it’s too stiff; arguably, the stiffest form of art. The smart ones are now making it more entertaining with beats, painting, drama, etc. and they are getting positive results.
I’ve seen Ghanaian Poet Rhyme Sonny uses a professional painter to paint a character whilst he does his thing – Nana Asaase, another promising Ghanaian Poet, uses traditional percussion when performing.
One Mutombo Da Poet and Ur Nenebi have actually turned poetry into music and have album to their credit. Even when an art work is meant to be informative or educating, it’s still the entertainment bit of it that carries the message across for attention.
It’s time for us to loosen up and enjoy arts. Wish all Ghanaian creative minds, comedians especially; DKB, Foster Romanus, Comedian Khemikal, OB Amponsah, Comedian David Aglah, and Nino GH well in their chosen field – I mean the ‘fooling’ trade. Until then…..Motwum!!!