Constructive Criticism or Just HatePosted on Thursday, February 21st, 2013 at 12:30 PM
By Joy Isi Bewaji
Reason dictates that when you make a mistake, there’s always a bunch of people on the side-line who will get on your case and try as much as they can to put you in check. Sometimes it’s your mother, other times your friends; but if it’s anybody else out of this circle then the person is just a hater.
My first introduction to the existence of haters was in rap music. There’s the gloated rapper with a gold tooth, gold chain and golden hallucination on what he thinks of himself, and all the people who never thought he’d make it out of the hood. Indeed, nobody thought he would, since he was a gun-slinging cocaine-selling jailbird; but now he has a song on radio and it is the best opportunity to spit right in the faces of everyone who shook their heads when they saw him smoke weed first thing in the morning for the last eight years.
Now the word “hate” has gone beyond just a few neighbours who think little of you. With the help of social media and the revelation of everything under the sun, hate is the new middle name for anybody who breaks a sentence with the word – “but…”.
‘Your music is good…BUT all the songs sound the same.‘
‘Your dress is lovely…BUT isn’t it rather short?‘
‘Yes I love her charisma…BUT she should ditch that accent.‘
If you cannot applaud or concur, if your response does not correspond with what everyone else is saying, I’m sorry to inform you…BUT you are a hater!
In today’s society with the immense assistance of social media, life should be easy. Why criticize Tonto Dikeh’s talent, at least she is pretty, has a booty and has money – what do you have? How dare you question Ayo Oritsejafor’s jet acquisition – do you want God to strike you dead? How can you say she is a poor actor, or he is a bad manager, or she is a terrible TV host – you are just a hater!
Especially on twitter, you have all these exaggerations just for a morsel of bread – in this case a re-tweet!
Understandably, criticism on a public forum should be taken with a pinch of salt; we really shouldn’t conform to the judgement of others, but neither should we be blinded by our own defects and be so deluded to think that anyone who opposes or questions our talent or actions is just out to demean our worth and thereby is a jealous raving hater!
But it is true – Halima Abubakar’s sense of style is horrid, today’s brand of music is becoming exceedingly trite, and some OAPs should drop their screeching tone and bad accent! It is not hate, it is a truth.
We are a growing generation of zombies, we find it hard to truly express how we feel about anything; the fear of being called a bloody hater hangs like a garrotte around our neck. We don’t want to be choked so we nod and agree: “yes, you are a fantastic actress!” When in reality she is nothing close to being fantastic.
So how do we improve as a people? How do we strive for excellence when, as a matter of fact, people get celebrated for being wack, uninspiring and unexceptional? How do we deliver better TV series, better movie scripts, better presenters, and even better shows or events?
Of course, there are many extremes. It’s unfair to call-out Banky W’s size of head, or tease the perceived size of Wande Coal’s manhood (based on a picture that went viral a few years back). These examples are noxious and unpardonable. But when there’s a simple comment that disagrees with, may be, Dbanj’s lip-syncing incident, or questions a celebrity’s claim to fame, it shouldn’t come with the hate tag.
Trust Nigerians, as usual, we take it to another high. Sometimes I feel we pay too much attention to a group of haters who only exist in our heads. These days, celebrities hire online team strictly to counter any opinion that is not in their favour. Celebrity “voltrons” have their fangs up and ready to attack anyone who disagrees with what they perceive their idol to be. Too much sweat for nothing, if you ask me.
As long as we continue to applaud the ordinary, seeking friends and followers rather than speak or accept our truths so as to improve our crafts and ultimately improve society then we are still a long way from lala land.
Photo Credit: Google Images.
Joy Isi Bewaji is the author of Eko Dialogue, a collection of short stories on the intrigues of Lagos, interpreted on stage by The Crown Troupe of Nigeria. She is a writer and columnist in respected media platforms. She is a 2006 winner of LEAP Africa Awards. She presently engages in celebrity PR.
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