I wish this letter would’ve been different— congratulating you on a new global milestone as an artiste or a step-by-step review on your #GOGalbum. Thankfully, this isn’t an obituary either.
Imagine being in the office reading through match stats to have another date with ‘Benjamin Whiteman’ only to hear from colleagues that Shatta Wale has been shot.
Immediately, I dismissed it and waited for a press statement from the police to authenticate the news. Seeing your Facebook post after the police launched investigations and a search for you, made it murky for me. A hoax orchestrated by yourself and sending the police on a wild goose chase is probably the most daring thing I have seen or heard you do.
Not Shatta wale’s team pulling a stunt that Wale has been shot just to trend cos a pastor predicted he will die today 🤦♂️
— Don Sarkcess 🐺 (@Kwesi_Picasso) October 18, 2021
So Shatta Wale go recover and then later release his album titled Gift of God after surviving the gun shot, then the album go blow
That negga ankasa he watch kumawood keep coss ah
— Bla Yaw✝🇬🇭 (@obrempong__) October 18, 2021
PR stunts in the entertainment industry are performed everywhere in the world. They are either designed to launch a product, promote an agenda or raise awareness about a cause. In Ghana, things are a bit different here. I’m not too sure if it is an issue of a lack of education or execution. There are a few examples that immediately come to mind with regards to this subject matter.
In 2015, Wisa Greid, a young, budding artiste exposed his genitals on stage whilst performing at Citi FM’s Decemba2Rememba concert. He admitted to showing his manhood during a cross-examination in one of the court hearings at an Accra Circuit Court, as an act to boost his popularity. He learnt his lessons and grew wiser after the laws of the land dealt with him. Not much can be said about his career though, after that.
Wendy Shay and the CEO of Rufftown Records– Bullet, who doubles as her manager, are no rookies to publicity stunts. The latest one I fondly remember was a ‘leaked’ audio recording that alleged Bullet and Wendy Shay had been caught sleeping with each other. It was later discovered that it was all part of a grand scheme to promote the release of her “The boy is mine” song.
I can go on and on about other instances in this country as far as my memory can serve me to buttress the point.
However, for you “Bra Charles,” you have bitten more than you can chew in this stunt game. The crime scene in the country as we speak is red-hot. In a dispensation where daylight robberies are on the rise and the media reportage on gun crimes is becoming prevalent, your stunt was definitely not a good idea. Not forgetting the Takoradi kidnapping and pregnancy hoax which is still fresh in the minds of Ghanaians, especially the police.
Section 208 of the CRIMINAL AND OFFENCES ACT 1960, ACT 29 reads:
PUBLICATION OF FALSE NEWS
(1) A person who publishes or reproduces a statement, rumour or report which is likely to cause fear and alarm to the public or to disturb the public peace knowing or having reason to believe that the statement, rumour or report is false commits a misdemeanour.
(2) It is not a defence to a charge under subsection (1) that the person charged did not know or did not have reason to believe that the statement, rumour or report was false, unless it is proved that, prior to the publication, that person took reasonable measures to verify the accuracy of the statement, rumour or report.
**A misdemeanour is an offence the punishment for which is imprisonment of not more than 3years **
The bones of this law may have become rotten because it hasn’t been activated in a while, in public cases as such. We may just see it come alive and fully fleshed up to live amongst us finally.
Turning yourself in will not absolve you from the full rigours of the law. The laws will work and you will be a perfect example to others. You will admit that you have gotten away with a lot of things. Lest you forget, you signed a bond to be of good behaviour after your VGMA incident with Stonebwoy. I wonder how that will also play out in this latest development.
I read in your lengthy Facebook post that you did this to lead the charge against false prophets and fake prophecies. First of all, you can’t fight fake prophecies. Whether you like it or not, fake prophecies will continue to be with us till the end of time. Also, calling the ‘prophecy’ fake negates every action you took.
As a Christian and believer of God’s word, the bible makes me understand that false prophets/prophecies will arise in the end-times(Matthew 24:24).
It’s not a fight you can win. If truly that’s the campaign you are on, then it has got to be the dumbest approach ever by an A-list artiste.
— AJR (@ajrghana) September 29, 2021
Must there be regulations and enforced laws to avoid public ‘prophecies of doom’ against prominent people in our society? I think so. The gift of prophecy is not to show off. It is also not to bring fear and panic. It is to uncover, foretell, bring direction and redemption to those that may be in trouble. That’s why wisdom is a crucial element attached to the gift. A typical example is Prophet Nathan’s approach when God told him to tell David, who was the King of Israel, about the calamity he had brought on himself.
However, in this case, how does one determine a ‘fake prophecy?’ Is it fake because of who said it? How it was said? Or it is fake because prayers went up, measures were taken and the danger was averted? We have witnessed a number of calamities happen to some of our celebrities and this country, only to see the videos of these same prophecies spring up after. The polysemantic nature of this subject alone can not be exhausted in one write-up. Surely, a topic for another day.
In your ‘apology’ of the same Facebook post, you blamed your actions on psychological and emotional trauma. Turning on ‘violence mode’ since that prophecy came out because no one cares is unwise. We live in a country governed by laws; you are not above it. Staging a gun attack to prove a point is like saying because robberies keep occurring in the banks, an individual will go to the bank and attempt to simulate a robbery just to wake the police or security agencies up.
If you are going through a traumatic experience, seek help. You are not above help. You are first of all a human being before a brand. There is no weakness in admitting you need help. It takes away the seriousness of what really requires attention. Imagine the number of people who heard the news and immediately opined that it was untrue. “It is Shatta Wale. He’s capable of doing that.” So what if it were true that you were indeed shot, “Bra. Charles?” This is what your legacy is stained with.
I am very disappointed in how you chose to go about this having no regard for your fans and the many Ghanaians who love you. To even hide behind the veil of psychological and emotional trauma to justify why you did, makes it even worse. Exercising freedom, because your name is Shatta Wale, to misbehave at the expense of disrupting public peace is wrong. Apart from causing fear and panic, this is such a gross disrespect to our intelligence.
If you felt threatened by the prophecy, you lodge a formal complaint to the police. Instead, you jokingly tweeted about measures you will take to ‘protect’ yourself and threw subtle shots at your then nemesis– Sadiq, of 3Music Networks.
Unknowingly, your mother is reported to have visited the said man of God to pray for you to avert the danger as well.
Admittedly, this isn’t the first. In 2018, you received a prophecy that you were going to die before December of that same year and you threatened to burn down churches. Your mother equally swore to go after the lives of the pastors who ‘threatened’ your life in the name of prophecies. ‘4lyf is 4lyf’ became the most commonly used term on the streets.
All things being equal, I am sure you know your unconventional ways, music, and position on certain matters in this industry have attracted a lot of enemies. It won’t be far-fetched to have ‘haters’ seeking your hurt. A revelation about you shouldn’t be a threat; it should only be a caution to check yourself and your surroundings.
How long will you continue to pull these stunts and ride on the wave of various conversations to keep you relevant? Is this the legacy you want to leave behind and be judged by posterity? You don’t need these gimmicks to stay relevant, Shatta. Give us the music. Give us more music. Enough of these antics that will gradually undo all the hard work you have put in to come this far.
As for your fans, let them know you are not above reproach. It is okay to be a fan of Shatta Wale and also stand for what is right. Just like the Sarkodie piece, I am writing this as a staunch fan of your music.
As you spend time in police custody, take a good look at yourself and reflect on everything. It seems to me you underestimate your influence and status as an artiste in this country. The media has been criticised ad nauseam for reporting negative news on our artistes but you don’t make the job any easier.
The BBC referred to you as a ‘fugitive’ in reporting your story. You probably may not care about that but your fans and colleagues care. Ghanaians care. The odds are constantly against us globally; we have to do more to prove to ourselves that we deserve a seat at the table of impact. A reportage like this sets us back.
— BBC News Africa (@BBCAfrica) October 20, 2021
In your maiden state of the industry address, you proposed a number of solutions you learned from your time abroad to advance the course of our ailing industry. I am interested to know which part of the stunt syllabus informed your decision to commit such a crime, in search of reform. Not even your idols across the world are stooping this low to do this.
When an artiste builds a brand known more for his antics rather than his craft(music), then it is very troubling and problematic.
Allow yourself to be managed. You are not an upcoming artiste. You are a globally known name in music, at least after that feature with Beyonce.
“…the musician’s collaboration with Beyoncé on her Lion King album expanded his fan base in Africa and in diaspora communities around the world” – BBC.
Focus on the music and hire people who are experts at the management of the music business. Pay them well to take care of the other things concerning you as an artiste. You have been doing this all on your own for a while and clearly, you lack the aptitude to manage all the areas of your career.
Find a PR team who will embark on a long-term project to start righting all the wrongs committed in your career. A thorough clean up that is. I can’t seem to think of any other thing you will pull after this. The only way is up for you now.
After a king’s palace burns, a more beautiful one is rebuilt. Come out of these ruins and let us embrace the beauty in the ashes.
Reshuffle the members of your team if you must. You can’t be a king of an ’empire’ or a movement and be surrounded with unwise counsel. The Contemporary English Version of Proverbs 15:22 put it best– “Without good advice, everything goes wrong–it takes careful planning for things to go right.”
Furthermore, I will leave you with the lesson on Rehoboam. He was the son of King Solomon and the grandson of David; he was anointed king after the death of his father Solomon and while he had the resources required to become a great king, he was a man who did not recognise wise counsel when he heard it and so he lost half the kingdom to another.
Make do with this information however you please. Remember, you are Shatta Wale today because of the music and not these type of gimmicks. After everything is said and done, it is the music– your work– that will speak for you.
In the meantime, we await the Gift of God album and it better be good for all this stress you have put us through. Can’t wait to see you back on our stages and jamming to your records back to back, as we all shout “paaah, paaah, paaah.”
December is around the corner, Onukpa! You know what to do.
The writer, Olele Salvador, is a columnist with citinewsroom.com and an on-air personality with CITI TV.