Entertainment is generally acclaimed to be about showmanship and is also called ‘show business’. To this end, most entertainers, especially the ‘new school’ had always developed an alter ego of affluence, at least on camera. So from the jerry curls to the ‘gold’ chains, the fast cars to ‘dollar rain’ at the clubs amongst scantily clad ladies in most videos, many entertainers try to outdo one another in their quest to show the good life, since that is what most of their songs are about.

So, recently, when the news of the arrest of Nigerian pop artiste and ‘enterkraner’, Dammy Krane, filtered in on various online platforms, many thought it was a joke or PR stunt. It took a few days before it dawned on his fans and Nigerians that his ‘supposed’ misdemeanour may have been real. Although Dammy Krane and family released statements claiming that he was innocent of the charges of credit card fraud and identity theft charges and that it was his friend that was arrested with him, Ilochonwu Chukwuebuka, who paid for the jet flight using fake/stolen credit cards.

Before his arrest, Dammy had posted pictures on instagram of himself on a private jet, sipping champagne, apparently enjoying the good life. For this reason, it came as a shock that he was arrested days later on criminal charges. This fuelled the question among many who asked if indeed, his income from generally known career, music could pay for his lifestyle.

Dammy Krane, it is important to note, is only one of countless artistes accused of living fake lives thus the question, “Must one fake it to make it?” According to many who spoke to Friday Treat, the lifestyle of many Nigerian entertainers is actually quite questionable. Sani Hassan, a banker said, “You see an artiste who doesn’t have any hit track or headlining major shows post pictures online that he bought a N10 million Benz or claims of buying a house in Lekki. They post pictures in top hotels, private jets, wearing designer clothes and expensive jewellery etc. Even the ones that we rarely see on television or hear on radio are seen living the fast life and riding Range Rovers all over Lagos. Which work do they do? We know the bankable ones and we know most of their money comes from shows and endorsements. So, for the ones who are not patient to ‘blow’, they do everything to appear well to do’.

Akabue Martins, a real estate agent, in his opinion, is that quite a number of Nigerian entertainers use their entertainment practice as a front to perpetuate crime. He said, “When you see an ‘artiste’ spending millions on drinks at the club in one night, spraying thousands on the girls who flock around etc, you tend to suspect that the money may not be hard earned. The lifestyles of most of them are a façade. The likes of Wizkid, Ali Baba, Basket Mouth, P Square, Olamide, Funke Akindele etc are people generally known to have paid their dues in the industry and are successful in their own right, judging by the mouth-watering endorsements and shows they headline. Still, most are not seen to live flashy lifestyles and spend millions in clubs. They are invested in real estate etc.”

Another respondent, Sharon Adesina, an undergraduate, feels that entertainers are pressured to act rich, since entertainment is ‘show business’. “I cannot totally blame them. Their songs are basically about how affluent they are, among other things. After a while, they believe the lie and don’t want to be seen as not doing well. So, they start chartering cabs and buying expensive stuff. Note that in the entertainment world, a ‘successful artiste’ mustn’t repeat clothes. Remember that Wizkid, Skibii were once trolled online for repeating sneakers/clothes. In fact, most artistes are paid by show promoters based of how much hype or fakeness one can garner. This is made worse by the advent of social media where once you post yourself in attire, everyone knows what you are wearing and can track if you repeat it.  It is sad but most impatient or ones with low self esteem resort to online fraud or money laundering etc in order to make money.”

Veterans in the music and movie industry have also at different times, spoken against the fake fast lifestyles and wrong messages posed by new-day entertainers. In an interview, Yoruba movie actor Funsho Adeolu, who is one of the biggest Yoruba movie actors in the country, spoke about why he does not live a flashy lifestyle.

“Maybe because I’m just original; that’s why. I’m real and not a fake person. I live my life for myself and God not for any human being” he said.

However, he stated that most celebrities live fake lives and flaunt their wealth because it is a part of the business.

“All of them live fake lives, all of them that you see flaunting their wealth. Generally, it is a thing of the industry and you need to make people see you all the time especially so you can get brands to notice you. But when they see you flaunting cars and other things, you are endangering yourself and your family. Some people will see that and say, let me go and steal”, Funsho Adeolu said.

A comedian, Michael Chijindu, popularly known as ‘Grand Komanda’ has expressed concern that some celebrities are living fake lives capable of influencing the youth and society negatively. Chijindu told the News Agency of Nigeria (NAN) in Lagos recently that the fake lifestyle of these celebrities had a way of affecting their future.

“I do not subscribe to living a fake life under any circumstance, but you cannot stop people from doing what they like. “Maybe because it is called show business and some of the celebrities decided to outdo themselves by displaying things on social media. “So a couple of people do a lot of showing off to keep their fans out there talking about them,” he said. The comedian expressed the belief that the life of a celebrity should not be all about show off, adding that it was important that they teach people a lot of positive things through the media. “There should be some level of discipline as to what and how much they let the public know about their private lives.

“I have seen situations where people get into huge debts because of the craze and desire to live flashy lifestyle. “I strongly believe in investing the money being made no matter how little to enable one live stress free life later in life,” he said.

Jide Kosoko is an entertainer who many people have huge respect for.

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