Politics stalling GH showbiz progress—Santiago

By: Gifty Owusu-Amoah
Santiago politics stalling GH showbiz progress
Nana K. Acheampong, popularly known as Santiago

CELEBRITIES who publicly align themselves with political parties have complained about the backlash they suffer.

Musician, Mzbel, who is a known NDC supporter, revealed recently that she lost good deals because of her association with the party. The likes of actor John Dumelo and Highlife artiste, Kwabena Kwabena, who pitched camp with the NDC and NPP respectively, have shared similar stories.

While these celebrities may feel it’s within their right to endorse a political party of their choice, Kumawood producer, Nana K. Acheampong, popularly known as Santiago, said the practice must not be encouraged.

In an interview with Showbiz last Tuesday, Santiago said the entertainment industry was confronted with many challenges and division among players on political lines was inimical to its progress.

“We are in a time where people see things in the industry through a political lens and that’s not good for the industry; they will support or reject any policy based on where they belong and that has obviously affected the industry,” he said.

While stating that he wasn’t against industry players’ involvement in politics, Santiago said Ghana was still young in the practice of democracy and many people were not enlightened about political tolerance.

“We can’t run away from the truth, which is that many people see their political rivals as enemies and the same perception runs in the industry.

“For instance, everyone is complaining about the poor state of the movie industry but I can tell you that should a policy that would help us come up, some will rubbish it because it is probably not coming from the government he or she supports.

“While other creative artists from around the world are making good gains from their political involvement, ours is for personal interest and it has become the number one enemy to our progress,” he stated.

As a movie producer and actor, Santiago also spoke about how television stations gave their primetime slots to show telenovelas at the expense of local productions.

“I’m a producer and I know the television stations aren’t being fair to us. It appears their main agenda is to frustrate movie producers because they pay as low as GH¢50 to buy a production. How can I do a whole production and you want to buy for Gh¢50, is that not an insult?

“Even in situations when you have sponsors for a production, these same stations want a higher percentage of the revenue to be generated and all this is affecting movie productions because you invest a lot and get little in return,” he said.

Santiago disclosed that people should not blame movie producers alone for the poor patronage of local movies because many factors worked against them.

“These stations are so strict that they will tell you to delete scenes which they claim don’t represent the Ghanaian culture but the kissing and the explicit scenes in some of these foreign productions, do they portray the Ghanaian culture?

“If we come together and don’t allow politics to divide us, we can fight for a common good and end some of these practices contributing to the sorry state of the showbiz industry, particularly the movie sector,” he added.