Ghanaian reggae dancehall sensation, Stonebwoy, has set social media ablaze with his recent remarks regarding the influence of creatives in shaping public policies. The “Into the Future” hitmaker asserted that individuals within the creative industry may not possess the authority to enact or significantly influence policies in the country. Instead, he emphasized that those occupying positions of power are the ones with the capacity to shape and decide upon policies that have a lasting impact on society.
Stonebwoy’s candid statements came as a response to a comment from a fan on his Snapchat account, who highlighted the tendency of celebrities to remain detached from national issues. The artist acknowledged the significance and appreciation that musicians and other public figures receive but stressed the importance of setting realistic expectations from the public regarding their role in the policy-making process.
This discourse gains particular relevance in light of the ongoing #OccupyJulorbiHouse protest in Ghana. Organized by the Democracy Hub, a group of young activists, this protest aims to draw attention to pressing economic challenges and corruption in the country. Despite facing an injunction from the Ghana Police, the protest proceeded as planned on Thursday, September 21, 2023.
The police’s handling of the #OccupyJulorbiHouse protest has been met with widespread criticism, primarily for what many perceive as an infringement on the constitutional right to protest and the alleged use of excessive force. Several protesters were arrested during the demonstration and taken to various police stations in the capital, Accra. These actions sparked outrage among fellow protesters and legal representatives, who have been working tirelessly to secure the release of those detained.
Stonebwoy’s remarks have ignited a crucial conversation about the role of celebrities, artists, and public figures in influencing national policies and addressing social issues. While these individuals undoubtedly possess substantial platforms and the ability to mobilize large audiences, Stonebwoy’s perspective underscores the limitations they face in the complex world of policymaking.
In Ghana, as in many countries, policymaking is a domain primarily reserved for elected officials and government institutions. The role of artists and celebrities often lies in advocacy, raising awareness, and using their influence to shine a spotlight on important issues. While they can be catalysts for change, as seen with the #OccupyJulorbiHouse protest, they may not wield direct decision-making power in the policy arena.
It is essential to strike a balance between expectations and realities when it comes to the role of public figures in effecting change. Their contributions should not be underestimated, but it is equally crucial for the public to recognize that the responsibility for enacting and influencing policies ultimately rests with those in authoritative positions.