Not a funky moment for Funke Akindele, by Bamidele Johnson

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I won’t rule out the possibility that celebrities in entertainment and sports are unaware that celebrity capital is not readily exchangeable for political capital, a situation that provokes derision when declaring political deals. But this is not exclusive to people in their line of work and makes the widespread assumption that entertainment celebrities are uneducated about politics and unjust society, as many are passionate about the subject and want to see the right changes made. .

Chances are I don’t know what I’m talking about here and it happens quite often. I’m not ashamed to say that I talk a lot about BS. But I think even when accompanied by a strong cocktail of alcohol, there’s no way I’m saying Funke Akindele has anything like political capital. For now, at least.

My assessment of the actress, celebrity, and series brand ambassador rests on my view of her as having had no sort of presence on the political circuit before, let alone a manly structure behind her. She may have had some involvement here and there before now, but that is not known to me and, I presume, many others. As such, when the streets began naming her as the running mate of the Lagos State People’s Democratic Party (PDP) gubernatorial candidate, I put the rumor in the same category as transfer chatter from soccer.

Well, it wasn’t. She was, a few days ago, announced as the candidate’s running mate and, in addition, to instant and vicious derision. A few weeks before she appeared in the critics’ viewfinder, her professional colleague, Tonto Dikeh, had been the sitting duck. Like Akindele, Dikeh’s political fingerprints were, if they existed, unimportant, at least not as much as the X-rated details of his romantic liaisons, which provided critics with a cache of ammunition to shoot him.

What Dikeh got was no match for what is happening now for Akindele, with no signs of letting up. I think it’s because she’s a point or two behind Akindele on the celebrity charts and she’s on a platform that’s no higher than a footstool at best. Akindele is on the list of the main opposition party and her victory will put her a hair’s breadth away from the governorship of a state which is, economically, one of the crown jewels of the country.

Many entertainers in and out of politics have the same level of education or more than their mockers, who seem to think that the lucky full-time, self-employed with money and minimal qualifications are more qualified. Many artists have also seen more of the world than, say, successful board sellers with the rudest minds.

It’s a safe bet that Dikeh is relieved that Akindele deflected bullets from her and that the two women would have compared notes. Akindele’s near-fresh marital collapse, complete with allegations of sexual infidelity by both parties in the marriage, sends oven-level heat in his direction. Funke, right now, doesn’t feel funk and, most likely, in a funk.

The two women provide stark clues about how the public views entertainment (and sports) celebrities, who stray into politics. Musicians and actors, though outwardly more sympathetic than traditional politicians, find it difficult to convince the public that they are qualified to do politics. Women find it much more difficult and I think it’s not hard to find out why. Artists have been and still are in politics, some of them achieving success as lawmakers. The public, however, is not convinced that he is qualified for leadership positions for reasons that are logically obscure, I must say.

Many entertainers in and out of politics have the same level of education or more than their mockers, who seem to think that the lucky full-time, self-employed with money and minimal qualifications are more qualified. Many artists have also seen more of the world than, say, successful board sellers with the rudest minds. In addition, they have the skills required in and outside of their fields (including building/running a successful business venture), as well as courage.

I think the bleak view of entertainment celebrities’ involvement in politics is a product of how values ​​are assigned from one field to another. If entertainment was a must, I don’t think those on the pitch would have people paying to watch them play, all the while oohing and aahing.

There is a general belief that something as serious as politics is beyond the reach of artists, who are wrongly advised to stick to what they know best. I think success in any field, be it law, medicine, engineering, literary/visual arts, administration and others, should recommend anyone for political office – s’ he has the courage.

But that doesn’t seem like enough for those in entertainment. Women in entertainment, as noted earlier, are the biggest casualties in a country mile. They are, almost by default, perceived as devoid of moral value, cultural capital and seen as excessively bodily. Their celebrity status tends to be viewed as a product of luck or sexually transmitted, rather than skill and hard work. I suspect that even with her doctorate, Helen Paul, the popular comedian, will get a generous dose of sarcasticity if she wanders into the political arena. Ali Baba and Gbenga Adeyinka 1er will be rejected as cartoon characters, despite their diplomas and their success as professionals. But the dismissal will be considerably less because of their gender. I think the bleak view of entertainment celebrities’ involvement in politics is a product of how values ​​are assigned from one field to another. If entertainment was a must, I don’t think those on the pitch would have people paying to watch them play, all the while oohing and aahing.

I won’t rule out the possibility that celebrities in entertainment and sports are unaware that celebrity capital is not readily exchangeable for political capital, a situation that provokes derision when declaring political deals. But this is not exclusive to people in their line of work and makes the widespread assumption that entertainment celebrities are uneducated about politics and unjust society, as many are passionate about the subject and want to see the right changes made. .

We certainly need to be cured of this disease. Urgently.

Bamidele Johnson writes from Lagos.


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