The hush-hush contract
EVERYTHING is a secret to the average Nigerian celebrity. Unfortunately, this tends to colour or even distort information in a sector largely associated with glamour, fantasy and showmanship.
Our celebs hide under the guise that they have their private lives to live, forgetting that they have become the proverbial gold fish by the nature of their jobs.
It is not the fault of the entertainment reporter who seeks to know how a thespian or music star sleeps, wakes, eats, drinks and smokes, or even who he or she sleeps with because such a piece of information is not for personal consumption. A reporter is responsible to the public and a thousand fans out there, who want to know everything about their beloved stars.
Sometimes, while starving the reporter of useful information that could enhance his or her job, the average celeb subjects him or herself to speculations, which often times are either true or half-truth.
Perhaps, the only thing that is not sacred to some stars is a false account of how well their music or videos have sold. This crop of artistes like the hype, which they believe will up their profiles in the eyes of potential clients.
To a large extent, reports about troubled marriages of celebs, which the media have been castigated for, often turn out to be true when such marriages eventually hit the rocks. Indeed, there is no smoke without fire, but this is not making excuses for some junk journalists who have capitalized on the social media craze to publish falsehood.
However, the truth is, by concealing simple information, people give room for speculations. For a journalist who needs to turn in a particular story urgently, the page must be filled, whether or not the respondent is mum or decides to give a yes-or-no answer.
Some celebs would rather not say a word; some would even become hostile because they do not want to be quoted out of context. But the best thing to do is to come out as simple and clear as possible.
Let us leave the stars out for a moment and consider the same attitude from the corporate organizations which, expectedly, should know how best to manage public relations.
Have you observed that there is hardly any endorsement that comes with an official monetary figure? Telecommunications companies that now have several artistes in their repertoire have never revealed the amounts for which the artistes were engaged. So also are companies that engage artistes in road shows. Information in this regard is often classified.
Unfortunately, an artiste who is underpaid goes to town with a story of bumper harvest, when he or she can hardly fuel his or her car.
When a contract is not spelt out for all to see, there will be no basis for comparison and reviews. In other words, an industry can hardly know how well it is doing.
A friend said to me that the reason for this could be that the artistes don’t usually get the actual amounts, perhaps due to possible ‘settlement’ of the middlemen. But I think that should not be the reason the actual worth of a contract should not be declared. Whatever a brand ambassador decides to give the middleman in the name of bribe, kindness, agreement or remuneration is his or her choice.
There is so much pretence in the entertainment industry, and this can only continue to make the artistes unprofessional, while making the sector more of a craft than a profession.
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