Who is a celebrity? While there is no one exact definition to define this concept, one James Allen gives his own thoughts about this in a way that is both witty and uncanny: “A celebrity: a person who puts his or her life on the line to achieve fame and then wears dark glasses to avoid being recognised.”
So well, this definition might not be so straightforward and without its own cloak of bias, it still goes quite a long way to both convey the tedious process of being that person everyone is very familiar with on the outside and the throes that just as well come with being in the public’s eyes.
One thing that is also very clear is the fact that being a celebrity especially in a country like Nigeria does not come by chance or sheer luck. It is a product of talent, grit and the drilling exercise of staying relevant.
By means of having a special ability to sing, act, write, talk or enact some unconventional form of entertainment, one is bound to attract enough attention to be an actress, singer and the likes. Building on these abilities and making it into a brand, a unique signature is what makes one a celebrity.
Now, Nigeria is replete with a lot of these celebrities who are very much present in the music industry, in Nollywood and in other entertainment circles. While James Allen might have opined that attaining this level of fame might create a sort of uneasiness for the celebrities, there are also a lot of benefits to being famous.
Choosing to focus on the beauty and benefits of being a celebrity in Nigeria, here are a few of the many advantages of possessing the celebrity status.
Unarguably, being a celebrity in Nigeria is tantamount to having a lot of money to throw around. While actresses, musicians, comedians, stylists and other such categories of celebrities can get rich from simply doing their professional jobs, the bulk of their money is known to actually come from the other bids that go alongside with being famous.
Talk of concert performances which are known to attract a lot of their fans all to one location, brand ambassadorial roles, other business ventures established in the names of the celebrities, gifts and material nods gotten from those who look up to them.
Now, it should be noted that having money is not equivalent to having wealth as being wealthy means more than just having the cash to spend, it also entails having quite a lot that may not get to be used in any way.
Hence, while all celebrities can have money enough to spend for all their daily and future expenditures, not all of them may be wealthy.
Another good thing that comes with being a celebrity in Nigeria is that it gives one the ability to influence the decisions and opinions of others. Most celebrities in Nigeria are known to enjoy this privilege.
They get to influence the decisions of people when it comes to fashion, lifestyle, politics, dancing, almost anything. Dance steps like Shaku shaku, Kupe, Azonto, Yahooze and so much more were made popular by musicians who incorporated the moves into their songs.
Even more, due to the evolution of social media and the revolution that emerged from it, celebrities are now more of influencers than anything else. In this sense, many fashion trends have evolved out of the attires worn by celebrities just as the endorsed candidates of some well known dignitaries go a long way to influence who electorates eventually vote for.
While there are good influences, they can also be bad ones. Many a times, a lot of controversies have surrounded a number of celebrities due to a particular advice they dish on their social media pages.
The reason for the arising issues that emerge from their simple advice come from the realisation that whatever they say can go a long way to influence a lot of others who look up to them.
3. Change advocates
Beyond being just passive influencers that make people aspire to change, celebrities also have the benefits of being change agents. What this means is that they can actually make things happen. A situation gone sour can be restored to propriety because of them.
For many celebrities in Nigeria, being change agents come in the form of founding charity organisations or being at the helm of creating awareness about a negative social trend, an ailment of sort or the lack of a societal need.
Presently, the education of girl children is being promoted by one such celebrity just as several charity projects founded and managed by many others are scattered all over the country. Realising the gift life has given them, these celebrities count it a privilege to give back.
Just being a celebrity means one gets to be showered with undying love from fans. These supporters who see excelling actresses, musicians and the likes as people whose feet should be kissed and not be made to touch bare floor normally show extreme support and affection.
Most of them make their celebrities feel special by taking photos of them anywhere they find them or by simply screaming their lungs out. No doubt, celebrities in Nigeria are usually flushed from lots of love shown to them.
It is a typical sight for the fans of actresses like Adesua Etomi, Jim Iyke, Rita Dominic, Omotola Jalade, Genevieve Nnaji, or musicians like Wizkid, 2Baba, Davido,Tiwa Savage, Simi to almost tear the roofs of the buildings where they find these celebrities. These Nigerian celebrities return this intense show of affection by rewarding their fans with their presence and smiles always.
Often times, celebrities get recognised for their excellent acts in the entertainment industry. Elaborate award nights and events are usually organised just to give accolades to the outstanding ones amongst these world famous people.
Many of the celebrities are always gratified when they receive these awards as it is usually an endorsement of their hard work.
Furthermore, academic institutions and settings also recognise these celebrities by giving them doctorate degrees. The likes of Mo Abudu, 2Baba, Linda Ikeji, Chimamanda Adichie, Oge Okoye, BBNaija’s Anto have all been privileged to be called doctors due to the degrees they have received from universities.
6. Travel and fun
Yet another benefit of being a celebrity is that it attracts a lot of fun to the lives of these individuals. Having to travel a lot to places all over the world can be very exciting as one gets to meet new people, eat different kinds of food, wear several traditional outfits and generally see exotic sights.
Well, many of these Nigerian celebrities are exposed to this and more. The evidence of their awesome rendezvous and adventures are usually splattered all over their social media handles.
In truth, being a celebrity in Nigeria is very much a blessing. Although it can take quite a lot of hard work and although it also connotes what is normally called ashes in beauty, it is always well worth it. This is because a celebrity, any celebrity is seen as an emblem of all that is possible in the world.