A few months ago, I wrote here why it is so difficult to sell hard work to the youth. I opined that the rise of socialites has provided the youth with a virtual reality that is characterised by luxury and lifestyles that are way out of reach for many fresh college graduates and start-up business owners.
I dare add today that Kenyan celebrities are fast becoming prone to the temptation living a lie on social media. They go to extreme lengths to look like they have their socio-economic lives all figured out, complete with luxury cars and expensively furnished apartments. Do not get me wrong; many of them can actually afford the extravagant lives they portray. Others, however, live lives on the fast lanes on social media while in reality, they can barely put food on the table.
Social media platforms have often been awash with stories of famous personalities seeking help after being too broke to afford basic amenities. Many of their financial choices are influenced by the need to impress their fans and prove a point to their nemeses. In the process, they forget to invest their earnings and instead splash money on expensive vacations and hired vehicles for Instagram pictures.
During a chat with some of my students, they explained the importance of a ‘good’ background when a celebrity goes live on Instagram. The type of interior décor in one’s house can say a lot about their financial status and, therefore, many give priority to expensive couches, big TV screens and other expensive tastes that are likely to further their online personas. They are all show and no business.
Unfortunately, the showbiz industry is highly dynamic with cut-throat competition for attention. Every year, thousands of new talents are born and it takes a clearly defined strategy for many celebrities to remain relevant. Without proper financial decisions and smart investment choices, it only takes one newer, more popular artiste to send a hitherto famous personality into oblivion.
Dear celebrity, you do not owe us a seemingly extravagant life. We are your fans but do not care for you; we care for the good times your craft (or misery) gives us. We are always on the lookout for ‘the next big thing’ and will turn our attention away from you, sending you into obscurity faster than you can ever imagine. We are selfishly concerned about the ‘show’ part of ‘showbiz’. To us, you are a source of entertainment, whether you are performing or embroiled in a love triangle or rent dispute.
So, quit engaging in self-destruction to impress us. Make choices for yourself and your loved ones. Unless you can truly afford that expensive tastes, buy what is cost-friendly to you. Get a financial advisor to help you invest your money while your cheques are still big because if they start shrinking, it will be too late to afford the attention of any advisor worth their salt. Take advantage of the limited time you have on stage because soon, your time to take to the backstage or exit altogether, will come. When you can no longer make enough money from your craft, your other investments will sustain you.
Dr. Kalangi Kiambati is a communication trainer and consultant, Kenyatta University