The Chris Brown factor and the craze for anything foreign

Chris Brown smoking weed

Last week as we continued with another week of unpardonable crises for water, gas and electricity, we found a little time to also bemoan the behaviour on our soil of somebody called Chris Brown.

We were not spared from news headlines which till today, continue as all manner of discussions on the controversial Chris Brown’s live concert at the Accra sports stadium held on the eve of 6th March rage on. The occasion which necessitated the coming down of the American R & B singer was a duo one. His concert was to celebrate the inauguration of rlg’s Hope City project as well as Ghana’s 56th independence anniversary.

The organisers and the sponsors must have agreed to bring Chris Brown down at all cost because as a talented musician, they must have believed the American star was going to be able to pull a crowd and electrify the atmosphere. Ghanaians perhaps needed that kind of atmosphere to cool down in these times of crises but he ended up raising more temperatures with his untoward distraction.

Chris Brown’s alleged behaviour on stage some one hour into his show was somewhat unacceptable and offensive to our laws on drugs. He pulled a surprise on the crowd when he is said to have suddenly rolled out marijuana, lighted it and began smoking. He then asked the live audience to do same as he puffed the smoke through his nose. For all that insults in one night’s performance, he is speculated to have pocketed a whooping $1 million.

But why are Ghanaians crying and heaping insults on Mr. Brown, if I may ask? If we take delight in promoting others over and above our own, what else do we expect? We are a typical case of “no prophet is acceptable in his own home”. We have first class musical talents in this country but in our mind, nothing Ghanaian passes the test no matter how good. That is the ridicule we have created for ourselves. Yet the same foreigners are in love with the country Ghana.

With all the talented musicians that Ghana can boast of, are the organisers and the sponsors of the Chris Brown live concert telling us that within Ghana or at worse, within Africa and for the sake of Osagyefo Dr Kwame Nkrumah’s African Unity, we could not have produced the equivalent of what Chris Brown gave his audience?

We have Ghanaian and African stars who have and continue to make it to international stages. All we have to do is to promote them. Just last week, Charles Amoah, the musician and record producer, with the assistance of Goethe Institute was in Kumasi to organise training sessions to help Ghanaian musicians to market their music internationally.

Over the week-end, Efya, one of my favourite young talented songstresses was going international when she was selected alongside some of Africa’s best to perform at the Africa Magic Awards held in Lagos. Unfortunately, I do not have a DStv so I missed the show but I have no doubt that the Ghanaian young budding star did not fail to shine to her audience in Lagos.

Chris Brown came and showed disrespect for our culture and our laws and everyone seems to be asking why. It should not take the young American R&B singer to show us that disrespect before we realise the harm we have been doing to ourselves as Ghanaians when we fail to recognise and applaud our own.

It is not only in the world of music that we put the foreigner or a foreign product over and above what we have. We are doing it all the time, consciously and unconsciously. With the connivance of Ghanaians, foreigners have been able to penetrate into our forest belts and are busy, illegally prospecting for gold, seriously destroying our environment as a result and polluting our rivers in the end.

Okaishie, one of Accra’s busy commercial centres has been overtaken by foreigners even though our laws do not permit foreigners to venture into petty trading. Yet on television cameras, one sees our very own Ghanaians proudly pleading for the foreigners to be allowed to stay in the market because their retail pricing is better than local retail prices. We do not seem to get the trick they play on us.

We have local manufacturing companies giving employment to our sons and daughters and paying heavy taxes and duties to government to help amenities reach our people. Yet, we allow sub-standard products to come in to compete with products of local manufacturers at undercut prices thus killing local production. Why? Is it because we are infatuated with anything foreign?

Amazingly, while we do not appreciate our own, some of the foreigners who come in, have high regard for Ghana. They love our country and given the choice, they would make Ghana their second home. In their heart of hearts, Ghana is the place to be. So why are we so hard on ourselves to the point of sometimes looking down on what we have in preference to what others have?

Chris Brown, perhaps, like some other foreigners who come into the country with little or no respect for our culture and laws must be schooled in our cultural and legal dos and don’ts even before they touch down on our soil. Other hosts do that beautifully by giving their foreign guests a list of our cultural sensitivities, what is acceptable and what is not. In our culture for example, the shaking of hands is a common way of expressing love, appreciation or respect but it is not necessarily the norm in other countries.

We have had foreigners come in to take advantage of our relaxed laws and sometimes our people too but they are able to walk away because they are aided and encouraged on by Ghanaians. Right in bustling Osu, we had a restaurant and club which boldly displayed “For whites only” and for some time they continued their apartheid business in Osu. Ghanaians looked on until one day somebody blew the lid off.

The Chris Brown factor is a disease in us and not until we cure it, it would continue to re-surface. We must make conscious effort to appreciate our own and encourage our people and our own home made products rather than look down on them.

Source: Daily Graphic

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