Any announcement without proof is fake news until some sort of proof is supplied.
One of the most important rules of the show business is to create a specific image for fans to perceive, believe and interact with.
That’s why Adekunle Gold looks like your best friend, and Davido is everyone’s favorite Sugar Daddy. D’banj is the energy-exuding superstar, and Runtown…erm, well, Runtown is Runtown.
It’s mostly a carefully created image, with strategic elements designed and thrown into the brand to foster and create a persona. There are companies and professionals whose only job is to ensure that this part of the brand is successfully developed and managed.
For the most parts it’s cool. When an artist gets this right, their celebrity increases, and the music becomes only a soundtrack to their personalities. The art that they create becomes an accessory to their brand and what they represent. Rather than being the main ingredient, it becomes another dimension of that celebrity.
That’s why D’banj can be relevant without a number one single. It’s the reason why Davido can still be at the top of the game without dropping new music. Wizkid did it in 2016, utilising Drake’s ‘One Dance’ as the focal point of his year, and cleaning every award on the continent.
But there’s a dark side to this. With the advent of technology and the internet, the rules regarding this aspect of the industry changed. Fans had more access to the stars, and social media platforms have created a hyper-information flow that reduces attention span of fans. The news come and go in an instant, and celebrities who want to hold on to relevance are forced to share more, do more, be more and announce more.
That’s when things get scary…and a lot more false.
There are no rules to this. Nobody regulates this aspect, and so every musician is their law. They can decide to prop up the image with lies, or seek relevance by changing their story to a grander version to appear more relevant than they are.
That’s why Tekno can announce “4 million dollars” as the advance fee of his ‘Pana’ affiliation with Columbia Records. Or Phyno can allow the narrative of Pia Mia stealing his song to fly unchecked. Or worse, many artists can wake up and declare untruths for fans to consume and believe.
It all smells different these days.
As fans who want the best for these artists. We can all get emotional when our favorite star declares a new victory. A deal signed, a car bought, engagements, money earned. We tend to run with it.
But we need to protect ourselves from being used and lied to. We need to. Nobody loves to discover that a musician lied to them for PR points. It isn’t only unfair, it also makes us all feel stupid.
That’s why you need to take steps to protect yourself. A true fan is a cynic. Any announcement without proof is fake news until some sort of proof is supplied. When an artist makes a bold claim, if it isn’t corroborated by a document or tangible evidence that it exists outside social media, then it is fake news.
If enough fans do this, musicians will be encouraged to be truthful, to operate within the boundaries of facts. And only then can we have a truthful celebrity culture.
Stay woke. Nonsense smells different these days.