As a member of staff and part-time photographer under professional photographers in a showbiz and entertainment company, I have had the chance to meet and see a number of celebrities. Ranging from on-screen/on-air personalities to recording artistes and actors etc. I have even had direct contact with some of them, but more importantly I’ve been able to observe them behind the scenes and back stage. On a particular occasion while doing a video coverage for a comedy show, I was forced to focus and catch every single act that occurred on stage through the lens of our camera; as the show went on I saw many acts and performances but one struck my heart to the point that I felt it physically. A teenager (from my assessment) was called up as the next act. Her first appearance made me think I was viewing a seminude masquerade of poster colours. She came out and of course began to chant about what most artistes sing and rap about “love, affection”etc. Midway into her song (which had to be cut, as is the legislation of events organizers for most up and coming acts) she went to pull out the MC and in a bid to thrill the crowd began holding and rubbing off on him in a very sensually explicit manner. Of course he yielded because it had to be a complete act. There was an uproar in anxiety from the crowd coupled with ecstatic endorsement from them. But I stood there aghast and sorry for her. I suddenly felt like I was looking at an entertainment slave who would do anything silly for the applause.
At the end of her, permit me to say “manifestation” and performance, she went off stage.
For some reasons my boss allowed me a recess that same time (after her performance), and as I walked back stage, I saw her sitting quietly on a low stool, looking on. She was everything opposite of the personality she portrayed on stage. She sat calmly and sober she was everything I would call a wailing widow except that there was no wailing and physical tears.
The look on her face was “oh God what have I done or what am I doing? “.
I wished to really reach out to her right there, but the atmosphere was all wrong. No privacy. I felt she was slaving away her dignity. I think she was so sorry for what she felt she had to do but felt there was no choice. In a flash I could see the struggles of a neglected or love-starved teenager trying to do almost anything to be relevant. I believed that it won’t be a hard choice to make to quit music if she had a different offer even if just to work as a waitress with good pay.
What scarred me personally asides my failure to minister to her was that she traded so much of what meant a lot to her a before a crowd that would hardly remember her after the show and obviously her fame lasted only a few minutes. It meant a lot to her forever, but meant so little afterwards to the crowd. It meant torture to me because I have a sister and would one day have daughters. I want to use this medium to plead with every reader, the price to make a living should never be written in the ink of your dignity or blood. It is never worth it to give away your values for fame. The conscience of every man has boundary around set of permitted actions, don’t go beyond it. God did not design that the birthing of your beautiful destiny should be by hurting yourself. Your destiny is in Christ. Designed by him sustained by His might and love.
To every female singer and model out there, my heart goes out to you and I understand the humiliation some of you face while on set or doing your craft, I want you to know that there is a way up that doesn’t involve going “down”. The industry may be laced with seemingly impossible limits and “exploitative handlers” but please know this one thing, Elohim is your Father and He provides the Spirit for might and exploits. Don’t do what your conscience doesn’t permit, because that hurts and lacerates your conscience and invariably bleeding conscience leads to the death of conscience, hence a calcification and hardening of the seat of personal ethical judgment. Avoid hurting yourself lest you wake up one day on the couch of regrets cuddled firmly in the hands of pain. You are a great person, our generation can’t ignore that; and there is remedy for you in Christ if you’ve made the wrong choices.
Simeon Sodeinde aka Old-Rugged is a 24year old Christian who is a Microbiologist by profession, he graduated from the first and the best University of Ibadan and is presently a youth Corp member serving in Jigawa. He is also a graphics artist, writer, teacher, drummer to mention just a few. Other write ups from him can be read on http://www.oldruggedredemption.wordpress.com.
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