Whether singing, modeling, sports or media, show business often tends to attract youngsters in the pursuit of stardom. It’s not all rosy for all who attain fame. However, as some go through the experience emotionally unscathed, but others are not as fortunate.
American star, Macaulay Culkin, found fame when he was just nine years-old, on starring in festive family movie, Home Alone. Despite Culkin appearing to be living the Hollywood dream in the eyes of any child or young teenager at the time, his life outside of the screen didn’t as not as perfect.
When he was just 14, the Hollywood actor announced that he was planning to quit acting, a decision that was admittedly triggered by his desire to spite his father, after moving the entire family from a one-bedroom apartment to a townhouse in New York with Culkin’s earnings.
He later on began his downward spiral into drug use, eventually getting arrested in 2004 for possession of controlled substances including Xanax and marijuana.
However, unlike Culkin, childhood stars such as Jodie Foster, Natalie Portman, and Brooke Shields eased their transition from childhood to a healthy adulthood by attending college before returning to show business.
Because of the risks that come with fame at a very young age, many parents often deprive their children of the opportunity.
Prince William, Duke of Cambridge, in 2016 revealed that they’re a “normal family” and his son, Prince George will learn about his place as third in line to the British throne when it’s appropriate.
What his parents would like for him, is they have a wonderful, fulfilling and private childhood in a place which is secure.
Babu launched his music career at the age of 16. He says popularity is two sided and youngsters choose what they want. Net.
Is popularity for youngsters healthy?
Lilian Muhoza, a mother of two believes that putting young kids into the limelight of fame carries a high degree of risk for their long-term well-being.
“No matter how much money your child is or how precocious they are, the older they get, the greater pressure there is on them to advance their fame or notoriety in spite of the age-driven loss of “cuteness” factor and the novelty of whatever got them noticed in the first place,” she says.
She adds that fame tends to create a distorted and self-centered worldview and requires a lot of the parents’ efforts to maintain at least some kind of a normal childhood.
John Muyenzi II best known for his stage name Babu joined Comedy Night as the youngest performer, at the age of 16.
Despite being a high school student then, he says that starting out his comedy career has been a great experience for him and is quick to add that fame followed him and not the other way round.
“Persistence is a good thing and many young people are dying to be in the limelight, but I didn’t want to be in the limelight of showbiz. I met fame at a young age and it has been following me up to now,” he says.
He adds that being in the limelight for young people is not entirely a bad thing, as many would assume. For him, it’s all about the choices that the youngster in question chooses to make, even in random situations.
“I don’t blame the effects of showbiz on the industry but on the person who’s experiencing the effects. It’s just like alcohol. Alcohol is not the problem but the person drinking it, if you drink too much then you will be violent.”
For Pascal Sebagenzi, a father of three, youngsters can pursue a successful showbiz career if the parents do what is in the best interest of the child’s development and well-being.
“Money and fame can be enticing but parents should encourage their children to finish their studies first before they enter show business. Usually, once a person starts earning money, they never get around to completing their studies. It’s a pity when youngsters are deprived of growing up in a normal environment,” he says.
Fast rising singer, Weya Viatora, discovered her talent at the age of 16 while in high school. Given the popularity she earned, she could have chosen to launch her career then but she instead chose to release her first single once completed high school.
She explains why: “I didn’t want music to interfere with my studies while in secondary school but I chose to pursue it at University because then I knew that I was mature enough to juggle books and music.”
She is however quick to add that starting out a career at a younger age is an advantage for anyone interested in showbiz, as it allows them room to learn from older peers and excel when they grow up.
17-year-old Ange Rita Kagaju’s talent is destined for greatness. Some people believe that parents should help young people nurture their talent. Net photo.
Balancing fame and normal life
Grace Akazuba, a mother of one, believes that young people deserve to fulfill their dreams and know if that is what they want to do in future.
“If they’ve got a talent, it’s worth nurturing it. Everyone wants the best for their children,” she says.
Lionel Karangwa, another youngster known as Lil G, made a name for himself, when he first launched his music at the age of thirteen. Despite the hurdles of dealing with fame at a young age, he was able to complete his studies. He is currently juggling his formal job with his music career.
“Being a high school student and doing music, I was not living a free life but I appreciate the fact that music exposed me to so many experiences like meeting many people, traveling and maturing in mind,” he says.
Looking back, he believes he made the right choice because “when you are earning, I don’t think you are making a bad choice.”
Viatora, however, advises young people with talent to prioritize and have life goals before they take on a showbiz because being in the limelight can sweep one away to the wrong direction because of the choices that showbiz presents.
Babu on the other hand, says being the youngest member of the Comedy Night crew, other members set a good example for him. He believes that all celebrities should do the same as so many youngsters are watching them.
He adds that young people should be really careful with their careers and should create a balance. With the celebrity world presenting both its glory and its downsides, they should focus on making the former more present.
“To keep myself balanced I try to remain true to myself. I have lots of friends but I have a very small circle of friends that I stay close to who keep me on the right path because to them I am not a star. They tell me when they know I’m going wrong,” he says.