When Rashida, the self-proclaimed “Black Beauty”, recorded a video of herself rebuking her unfaithful ex-boyfriend and his new found-love, little did she know that she had just taken her first step onto fame and popularity on the Ghanaian social media space. But her “malafaka” video has gone on to spawn a music video and an interview with a popular TV station and the Jigwe award for most popular viral video of the year. Rashida also has high ambitions after this. She would like to go into acting. This writer hopes she achieves her dreams. Fame on Ghanaian social media has been known to translate into actual help or improvement and it would be wonderful if it helps Rashida achieve her dreams. There are problems however with the whole process.
rashida-1Rashida, whose age is unconfirmed and recently graduated from Junior High School, has achieved instant fame because of the profanity of her video. While this is not as blatantly deliberate as Lord Paper’s quasi-porn music video that went viral just a few weeks ago, they both basically follow the same principle: gaining popularity based on their crudeness. While this may seem a really quick method of gaining fame, it’s also one that is very wrong. Not only has this whole exercise been one immense adulation for immorality, it is entirely possible that the whole country has been having fun at the expense of the sexual and relationship exploits of a minor! Rashida herself has admitted to being exposed to sex at a very early age but nobody has bothered to take a moment to consider how just plain wrong this whole situation is.
Rashida can barely speak English and has no known talents or qualifications. It is easy to read this as snobbish. It isn’t. Fluency in spoken English, proof of talent and educational qualifications are not sure ladders to success but the lack of these is a disadvantage that very few people are able to overcome. In the entertainment industry of which she hopes to have her breakthrough, all of these, coupled with her obvious naiveté put her at the risk of being taken advantage of. Her instant fame may seem to have justified the means as most of her defenders and fans of have been keen to express. Some have even gone ahead to use the infamous Kim Kardashian sex tape that shot her into fame and fortune as a justifiable precedent. What these people forget is that the fact that a lot of people are doing something wrong doesn’t suddenly make it right. The number of people supporting an act is no justification for its rightness. This, in part, is why her nomination and eventual victory in the 2016 Jigwe Awards was particularly disappointing. Jigwe Awards may claim to be a parody or spoof award body but their nomination of Rashida’s video was an endorsement of its vulgarity and profanity.
Rashida is not a celebrity but neither is she a villain in this story either. In factrashida-2, she’s a victim; a victim of our worsening morality, our poor public educational system and maybe even poor parenting. This writer hopes that Rashida is not let down again by people who should know better. Her education needs to become the priority of the slew of advisers who would be sure to associate themselves with her newfound fame while any opportunities for her to achieve her dream of being an actress should be encouraged. Moving forward, we need to reflect on how low our morality as a nation has become. Teenage pregnancy rates are high, immorality and promiscuity are increasingly becoming acts of public domain and commonplace and sadly, they are not restricted to adults any longer. Minors are increasingly becoming exposed to romantic and sexual relationships at very young ages and Rashida Black Beauty’s video and fame will do nothing to curb this tide.
WRITER-Ferdinand Senam Hassan- threesixtyGh writer/contributor