The Gospel Artiste and “Branding”

gospel artistes

There has been a long winding debate about the adornment of today’s gospel artistes. It has never been a conclusive debate in that many have their own set minds on the topic.

It has often ended in people framing their own theories and trying to make a relation to what scripture says. The trends and road continue to get blurrier and murkier as the years roll because of the inconclusive nature of this topic.

It is not too strange to find a Gospel Artiste in today’s industry competing with secular artistes on their fashion choices. Some have argued that like the Great Apostle Paul, they need to be like “them” to win some. The question is how many have they won ever since they started trying to be like them in order to win them?

One thing Christian Artistes should not forget is that there is an identity that comes with one being first a Christian and secondly being a carrier of a certain message. Any attempt to jumble these two important issues will definitely lead to a false balance.

We have often seen many Gospel artistes in their attempt to appeal to their audiences go way overboard even to puking limits. There has always been the question about who defines what is overboard or otherwise.

I very much remember the Gifty Osei incident during the 2012 Ghana Music Awards festival where her attire became the center of attraction and discussion amongst music lovers here in this country. Her response and subsequent apology could have been avoided if she had carefully juxtaposed her message with her personality and branding.

For me, as a Christian media person, one key factor that drives me on has always been about being modest. Sometimes our Gospel Artistes focus so much on their outward appearance to the point that their outlook grossly contradicts their message.

In media studies there is a theory which was propounded by a Communications expert, Marshall McLuhan. He said in this theory which has been the basis of much media studies that, “the medium produces a message.”

The theory sought to suggest that a medium chosen can have an effect on how one’s message is perceived. Predictably, Henry Marshall McLuhan’s uses and effect theory of communication has a direct link with the discussions above.

One’s outlook which we can for the purposes of the discussion, say is the medium, through theory suggests that one’s outlook can have an effect on one’s delivery and content.

Yes, people have mentioned that God rather looks at what is inside and that what appears on the outside is inconsequential to one’s progress as a Christian. I have a simple question for all such persons, how will you feel if you found the President of Ghana in tattered clothes walking down the banks of the Korle lagoon?

Doing an audit of some of our Gospel Artistes on varying headlines, I got the signal that the trend is such that, Christian Artistes are getting all the media attention for all the wrong reasons.

I was once caught up in an activity at home but had my TV on one of the Television stations. With one TV’s advantages being the ability to catch audiences’ attention even when they are occupied doing other things I realized that a series of secular videos were being shown. All of a sudden I saw one Gospel Artiste’s video being played in the midst of the secular ones.

Just after the video of the Gospel Artiste was shown, the TV guys went back to their secular videos. Then something struck me! The video output, scene selection, dance moves, you name them, of this Gospel Music Video was just the same or even better than some of the secular ones so the editors jumbled them up. Food for thought!

I once also visited some twitter sites of some of our artistes, OMG, like KODA retorted, I was confused was that Shata Wale’s page or Bro Panyin’s page? Was he cursing his perceived detractors? Often you read a post by a Gospel Artiste and you are totally lost. Lord have Mercy!

Some things may be done subtly not knowing the rippling effects it brings but it feeds into reinforced ideologies.

Let us be mindful that we are carriers of a divine mandate. Let us not make our outlook and attempts to brand ourselves take us away from our message.

Let us keep the focus on the message rather than “carriers”. For the “carriers” are like flowers, they will quickly fade while the message LIVES ON!

I am looking forward to the day where Gospel artistes will be distinct from the secular guys. As it is now, like one of my friends will say “we have funtumfraed.”

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