The first time I watched comedienne Jacinta Ocansey, popularly known as Heiress Jacinta, perform live on stage was two years ago at the Conquerors Chapel church in Dansoman.
After performing for about an hour, she left the stage to high applauds from the congregation. Inviting her alone to perform in a church was innovative, but for a comedienne to be able to wow a religious crowd is a different thing altogether. That demands more than just innovation from the performer.
Yet, Jacinta managed to get into the minds of her audience and put up one of the most amazing stand-up comedy performances I have ever witnessed. In the end, you could feel the impression she had created on the audience. They loved it. They laughed out. They wished for more.
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But two years down the line, I realise all the applause and eulogy she got that day was nothing but an underestimation of her prowess. She has been underrated for far too long and that must change. Most people clap for her whenever she steps on the stage to perform, but does everyone acknowledge her rightful place in the Ghana comedy industry?
Jacinta is not one of the old guards in the comedy industry, but she has been around long enough to warrant more adulation, more eulogy and much more press coverage than she currently gets.
Maybe it’s because she comes across as a Nigerian lady looking to make a breakthrough in Ghana. Her accent might sound Nigerian, but Jacinta has earned the right to be considered a Ghanaian. Most often when she’s asked which country she represents, she prefers to play it safe by saying she’s a “Ghagerian”, literally a Ghanaian-Nigerian. But what is wrong if she’s both Ghanaian and Nigerian?
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She is a performer based in Ghana and has dedicated so much of her career to helping grow Ghana’s comedy industry. For an industry that has very few females, Jacinta is one that has strived to stand among the men. She is, without contest, the queen of Ghana comedy.
Recently at the first Glo Laffta Fest held at the Fantasy Dome, there were numerous reports about how most of the Ghanaian comedians flopped on stage. But one bright spot on that night was Jacinta’s performance. Obviously, and quiet predictable, the media failed to give her the needed mileage her performance deserved. No one mentioned it!
I’m not comparing her to any of the Ghanaian comedians, but it is frustrating to see a lady pushing so hard in a struggling industry, yet getting little support for her efforts.
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Comedy is a tedious job. If you doubt this, then try to create jokes to yourself and see how many minutes you can sustain it for. But often the concentration is on music and movies alone. Recently when some Zylofon Media artistes were given hostile receptions at an event in Nigeria, there were many calls for Ghanaians to “support your own”.
Likewise, comedians and comediennes also need all the help they can get. The comedy industry is currently struggling, but with people like Jacinta making an effort to move the industry to the next level, the media and the public should also do their bit by supporting.
Jacinta remains one of few persons in the Ghana comedy industry who readily grace shows, no matter how small the profile is. It is not because she doesn’t feel big; it is only because she feels the need to contribute her quota to the industry in every small way she can.
Such a talent doesn’t deserve to be underrated, what she needs is to be pushed to reach higher heights. Because she deserves it!