By Chilee Agunanna
When I read Charles Novia’s critique of the “music” and movie careers of Tonto Dikeh, I actually felt some parts were a bit over the top. But watching her perform at AY LIVE last Sunday really made me reconsider my judgment of that piece.
Clad in white panties/bum shorts, a white shirt, a black bowtie and sneakers, she ascended the stage with a retinue of dancers. There was no real attempt at singing as she was busy trying to pull down the shorts which kept riding up her ass and smiling sheepishly at nothing in particular while the disasters of her songs, It’s Ova, Hi and Crazically Fit, belched from the speakers.
It was a really cringe-worthy affair and there was that embarrassing shamelessness of someone who doesn’t care about the public’s perception of her actions yet wants them to care about her and revere her.
While not the best actress in Nigeria, Tonto is not the worst. No, not by any means. She has also exhibited genuine strains of social responsibility and human empathy as she has donated towards a number of charitable causes in recent times. But why she has chosen to embarrass herself and her fans with a spurious music career is a continuum that has baffled sane people ever since it began.
It is not a case of ‘She who the gods want to kill, they first of all make mad.’ No god is involved in this embarrassing sequence. The almighty and benevolent God has already given her a talent which has made her a star in the movies and given her a beautiful space in the Nigerian star-sphere.
The problem seems to lie in the proliferation and liberalisation of file sharing, good speech as well as nonsense through the Social Media. Anyone with an internet connection on any device can download music and the number counted including the failed downloads. Then they can proceed to Twitter and with a simple mention reach their subject and massage their ego through base sycophancy.
One of such Twitter sycophants woke up one morning and declared that @TONTOLET would win a Grammy soon which she gladly retweeted knowing fully well that she can only win a Grammy awarded by her granny.
Then there are Social Media mercenaries who for a fee would keep mentioning a handle or hashtagging anything until it trends. They, like local marabouts, fete whatever is their object until it is lulled into a false sense of fame and acceptability.
One of such mercenaries who is on Tonto’s payroll is the persona of @TWEETORACLE – a Twitter character ready to fight into the gutters with some of the most rotten utterances you can encounter in a public place at the slightest provocation yet praise a paid product to the high heavens without either having experienced it – simply advertently misleading the public.
Massive download numbers are misleading as they did not tell Tonto the simple truth: ‘People are downloading your song because they want to laugh at you and many will be happy to watch you make a fool of yourself on a stage!’
Thus it happened that she was absent at what would have been her first performance at the Best of Nollywood Awards last year which didn’t bother people because a performance such as hers can only be appreciated in a show like AY LIVE where the excellent comedy situation has already aroused the ironic tendencies of the audience and they would gracefully accept it as the worst joke of the night.
Living in a world solely driven by sycophant social-media personas and commentators is the height of a celebrity’s irresponsibility.
Some even pay these people by themselves to praise them and term the slightest criticism bad belle or hate. Yet it has been discovered that the highest amount of hatred exhibited on the social media is by fellow celebrity colleagues who hide under ‘anonymous’ to comment hatred on any post of their ‘frenemies’ on blogs and websites.
Many have already lamented the tragedy of sacrificing a promising and decent acting career for a descent into musical lunacy but those fanning the embers of this disgrace are the Social Media sycophants who are not equipped to tell the truth.
People with one or two followers on Twitter who tweet false praise at celebrities in order to get a retweet or attract followership and the paid mercenaries who advertise bad products and make them to trend are those pushing this beautiful actress to her doom and from being a national embarrassment, she will soon go international.