Once you have a smartphone you are guaranteed to see things on your device that may leave you scratching your head.
In today’s world of catchphrases and gimmicks, literally, anything can generate enough attention to have a following.
In Jamaica, just think of ‘Cliftwang’, ‘Tutty Gran Rosie’, “Kissable lips Barbara” and more recently “Mackerel” and ‘Candy Bady”. All it took was one line that was dramatic or funny for their words to go viral and memes immortalised their faces forever.
The surprising thing is none of the aforementioned individuals initially imagined just how far-reaching their words would be, but once they became a confirmed staple on social media, they rode the wave of popularity better than the Wilmot kids on a surfboard.
Most hope to one day transition from just social media likes and shares to mainstream popularity which would mean booking gigs, getting endorsements and even commercial deals.
Most have some degree of success as Rosie ‘performed’ at Sting, Clifftwang got a onetime contract with LIME while recently Mackerel went on tour to Canada, the UK and Antigua among other interesting places declaring just how comfortable ‘people man’ was.
However, most of it is not sustainable as a ‘one-slogan’ or ‘catchphrase’ does not a career make, even though today, quite a bit of what passes for artistic expression is questionable. Many have had their thirty seconds of fame and have gone right back to everyday hustling and living.
Why? Because Jamaica does not operate like America does for the most part. In the United States, a hairstylist made a sex tape and it led to the long-running reality series ‘Keeping up with the Kardashians’. That would not happen on this island because we embarrass, not embolden people when they have their ‘oops’ moments.
Case in point: two local female television hosts who were caught in different compromising sexual situations. The response? Fire them and pretend that they no longer existed. If they were overseas, they would have been paid for an exposé story and given their own spin-off show.
The world of entertainment in Jamaica is very fickle. Today you are hot and hype, tomorrow people will say ‘who?’ It is very hard to sustain something as fleeting as fame if there was no real substance behind it.
If the individual is not a bonafide dancer, comedian, singer, artist, stylist or designer, the fame will be short-lived as they don’t have the requisite talent to back up the newfound popularity.
Indeed, even some with talent, our insta-famous stars have become ‘has-beens’ in no time, because social media is always ready to move on to the next sensation and allot them their thirty seconds to shine.