Debate: Does fame change people?

I don’t think so We’ve seen people rise from ashes to glory in split seconds; musicians, actors, sportsmen and politicians have been shoved into the spotlight for the wonderful and unique things they do.
Ivan Mugisha & Rachel Garuka
Ivan Mugisha & Rachel Garuka

I don’t think so

We’ve seen people rise from ashes to glory in split seconds; musicians, actors, sportsmen and politicians have been shoved into the spotlight for the wonderful and unique things they do.

But fame isn’t just for the talented; take a look at the infamous Big Brother show, where the most untalented people have turned their lives around to worldwide fame by simply exposing their nude bodies or even having sex on live camera for the whole world to see.

That said, I wouldn’t blame fame for the rampant use of drugs, alcohol and the sheer lack of control by some world renowned figures. Famous people are always in the spotlight for anything, therefore, are more susceptible to criticism than the rest of us ‘little-known’.

Although they are judged by what is in the media, famous people are still the same, it is the world that views them differently; if anyone was to put their feet in the shoes of a famous person, they would understand what I’m talking about.

Imagine you had no privacy whatsoever but still did the things you do; I’m quite certain that some of your deeds would shock even that one person who compares you to Mother Theresa. That is the kind of life that celebrities go through.

The fame they get exposes them to the vulture-like media; indeed, it is more like they sell their private lives to fame.

So when I hear that Whitney Houston was addicted to drugs, it doesn’t mean that fame turned her into a junky. It’s just that she made bad decisions, just like the other unknown junkies. When Michael Jackson turned his skin color, it doesn’t mean that the thought came to him when he became famous; it has to do with the way Michael was brought up and whether his parents made him appreciate his physical appearance.

Many celebrities love the fame and will do anything to be on TV and in the papers. There are also some who are really famous, but would rather avoid being noticed, take for example rock band Coldplay- the Kings of Rock.

The band has sold millions of copies of their albums across the world and are considered the modern day kings of rock, but still, its lead vocalist, Chris Martin, will not appear in any tabloid for matters unrelated to music.

Does that mean that Martin is more stable than, say, Rihanna or Kanye West? Of course not! For all we know, in the comfort of his private home, he could be up to something worse than just sniffing cocaine.

But because the news guys know so little about him, most people will be quick to think that he has managed to remain normal as opposed to his above mentioned counterparts.

Whatever the media says about someone is what the population will believe; that is why many celebrities try to do community outreach programs, just to save face before the public.

Fame does not turn people into who they are not; it only exposes them for who they really are. Those who have managed to avoid the prying eye of the camera enjoy comfortable lives and their secrets will remain unknown to the public.

However, those who are not careful enough will continue to be exposed- it doesn’t mean that they are any less or more respectable than before they turned famous.

@RushAfrican on Twitter

They become a nuisance!

I don’t know what it is about fame but what I do know is that it messes people up – royally! I know it’s not easy being yourself with paparazzi following you even to the bathroom but that doesn’t excuse some of the things celebrities do. For some reason, celebrities think that because they are famous they have the right to behave in any manner they wish.

Ugandan singers keep fighting left, right and centre. They always make it a point to inform us of who is richer or stronger. When Bebe Cool was shot, he instead bored us with how he is invincible and, therefore, no one can take his life! Chameleon jumped off a balcony then declared himself a heavy weight champion. Bobi Wine told us he was the president of some weed infested town and that he throws the hardest punches! Oh my God!

Rwanda has not yet been traumatised by such nonsensical characters and I can only assume that our great leadership has something to do with it. We don’t want people disturbing the peace; grow up, sing your songs and let us decide who is greater!

Internationally, the only thing worse than seeing Britney Spears shave off her own hair is seeing 19-year-old Hannah Montana (real name Miley Cyrus) light a cigarette. Hannah Montana is every little girl’s favourite star, so to see the face behind this phenomenon walking the streets puffing away is simply disgusting. 

Maybe she would have smoked cigarettes even if she wasn’t a star but the fact that she is changes everything. No sane parent wants a tobacco-smoking teenager as a role model for his or her kids!

I know there are junkies all over the world, famous and non-famous alike. What I don’t understand is why someone with so much talent and so much to offer the world would stoop so low as to poison their bodies with such substances. Take Whitney Houston for example. Sure her ex-husband, Bobby Brown was a bit of a loser but she should have taken some personal responsibility as well. All she had to do was use the same courage it took her to marry him, to say “no” to the drugs and leave. I know marital vows should be taken very seriously but when it comes to endangering one’s health, there are limits. That is not about ‘for poorer or for richer, in sickness and in health’. That is about sending me to my grave in the fastest time possible.

Amy Winehouse, Kurt Cobain, Anna Nicole Smith and so many others have lost their lives because of drugs. Maybe they think drugs will keep them at the top of their game just like athletes who take steroids to enhance their performance. American athlete, and steroid user, Marion Jones’s fall from grace shocked her country and the world.

I understand that because they make obscene amounts of money, it is only logical they spend it too. However, if spending brings them to that point when they are so low that they have to declare bankruptcy, then that’s a problem.  Michael Jackson, MC Hammer and Mike Tyson have all fallen victim to economic failure; this leaves one sad when one considers the tonnes of money they made during their careers.

Apparently, MC Hammer had a golden toilet. Of all the ridiculous things, I’ve heard this was the winner. What does it do, wipe you when you are done? What is wrong with a normal one, provided it flushes well and is super clean? Most of these celebrities make millions of dollars but spend like they make billions. It doesn’t work that way. Have you heard of upcoming stars that make some money after making just one record and then go on a spending spree as if they’ve been at it for years?

Fame is deadly, but it is up to an individual to use it the right way because it can bring you down harder than any force of nature. When people climb very high, they often forget where they came from and what it cost to get them there. We have heard of stories of celebrities who don’t speak to their parents or other family over issues that really shouldn’t really matter.

Some people think when you are rich and famous you don’t need anyone but that is wrong. It is those very people (the ones who raised you) who will be there when the world comes crumbling down. Had it not been for them, you wouldn’t even be on the planet. Fame makes people lose focus of what is important and all they care about is what to wear on the red carpet and looking fabulous just to go buy a loaf of bread…

I suppose that is the price you pay for fame…it’s a damn shame.

Twitter @Rgaruka


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