By Kwame Okoampa-Ahoofe, Jr., Ph.D.
I am not into the Ghanaian entertainment business as I used to be some twenty-seven odd years ago, when I was, myself, a regularly featured poet at Anokyekrom of the Ghana National Cultural Center, Kumasi, and on several occasions, a featured performer on the programs of the Accra Arts Center and GBC-2. Lately, though, I have come to largely envisage the Ghanaian entertainment scene as being almost wholly composed of second-rate and imitative hip-hoppers. Indeed, about the only progressive and nurturing aspect of the national entertainment scene inheres in the realm of gospel music. The Ghollywood scene, as far as I have been able to size up from my clinically detached perch abroad, is intrinsically ersatz and dispiritingly amateurish – and I grew up around the quite remarkable artists of Legon’s erstwhile School of Music and Drama, presently called the School for the Performing Arts, at a time when the Nigerians looked up to Ghanaians for technical direction. And so, at least, I reckon myself to be one who is endowed with a reasonably well-cultivated sense of dramatic and theatrical artistry.
Anyway, this story is about the alleged “textual” and sexual harassment of an artist called Slim Busterr, a local Ghanaian act, by an unnamed gay man who insists on having a romantic relationship with the former, a self-described divorcé with three children (See “Gay Chases Slim Busterr” Spyghana.com 2/9/12). The artist, who had reportedly voluntarily offered his cell-phone number to “Mr. Gay” after a public performance by Slim Busterr – a quite routine practice on the entertainment circuit, to be certain – has, so far, declined to reveal the identity of his unwanted suitor. Neither has Slim Busterr released the phone contact number of “Mr. Gay” to the media. Instead, the artist prefers to laugh off the entire running episode as a joke, while insisting on his immutable heterosexuality and the decided impossibility of him forging a romantic homosexual relationship with another man. “There’s no way [that] I would want a man for a partner. No way! I am not asexual, but I am not bisexual. I am straight [and strictly] for the opposite sex,” Slim Busterr reportedly told a journalist recently.
Well, Sir Busterr had better take matters seriously before the anonymous Mr. Gay gets frustrated and starts obsessively stalking the artist, by which time it may be almost too late to seek protection from Ghana’s woefully underpaid, underworked and indescribably corrupt police service. Then also, Sir Busterr (or is it Sir Slim?) appears to be rather too naïve for his own good. In the brief news report which inspired this commentary, the entertainer is quoted to be saying that he looks forward to meeting with his supposedly unwanted gay lover so as to try to sexually reorient him. Well, I simply am not quite certain that such thinking is either savvy or morally productive, being that some authoritative scientists tell us that, by and large, human sexuality is genetically determined. And so unless Sir Slim, or Busterr, is, somehow, entertaining the idea of engaging in, perhaps, a once-in-a-lifetime bout of gay sex, he had better stay as far away from his unwanted gay lover as is physically and geographically possible.
Indeed, it is quite understandable that as an entertainer, Slim Busterr appears to be “Oprah Winfreyistically” tolerant and even appreciative of his fans. On the other hand, the young artist also needs to bear in mind the fact that quite a remarkable number of such star-obsession, as clearly exhibited by “Mr. Would-Be-Gay-Lover,” has from time to time ended in a vicious display of deadly force, with the victim invariably being the subject of such morbid obsession. The fact that this may be a virtually unknown phenomenon in present-day Ghana, does not mean that its possible occurrence is any farther removed from reality.
Anyway, by way of a friendly and brotherly advice, what Slim Busterr needs to promptly do is warn Mr. Would-Be-Gay-Lover to cease and desist from his “textual” acts of harassment or find himself in police custody and the slammer; and then make sure that he actually carries out his threat, should the harasser persist with his importunate demands. Of course, giving up the use of his current cell-phone number is the first most intelligent line of action to take. As a celebrity,though, naturally, it probably would not be extremely difficult for the harasser to secure Slim Busterr’s new phone number.
In the end, if he is smart and even half self-protective in a culture with a decidedly pathological animosity towards gay, lesbian and transsexual existence, the alleged harasser would, by now, be in the process of putting the kibosh on his unwanted text messages, even as the country’s inquisitive and gossip-prone media appears to be fast closing in on him.
*Kwame Okoampa-Ahoofe, Jr., Ph.D., is Associate Professor of English, Journalism and Creative Writing at Nassau Community College of the State University of New York, Garden City. He is Director of The Sintim-Aboagye Center for Politics and Culture and author of “Ama Sefa: Unrequited Love” (iUniverse.com, 2004). E-mail: firstname.lastname@example.org.