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Of fame, mental health and public figures

Takura Shonha

Of fame, mental health and public figures

By Shingirirai Muchena

On Friday the 16th of February 2024 one of Zimbabwe’s prominent musicians Takura Shonhai shocked the music world by announcing that he is quitting music.

This revelation by “Mr Okay Okay” caught every music-loving fan by surprise as he was one of the most loved artists of the last few years and was consistently on top of the game dropping hit after hit much to the delight of his fans and no one was prepared for this bombshell that was to come two days after Valentine’s day.

What Takura lamented as the reason why he is dropping music is something that has been impacting many public figures over the years! Mental health issues.

The mental health aspect of celebrities is one area that most people are not well informed about as a lot goes into the face and appearance of the person whom we see on the television or listen to on the radio and read about in the daily newspapers and tabloids and this at times takes its toll on them ending up causing mental health problems which negatively affect their lives.

The assumption by the general public that celebrities live picture-perfect lives generally affects their lives as by trying to live up to societal expectations they tend to overdo it and end up on the wrong side of societal wrath and harsh reactions.

In as much they try to shield their lives away from the public sphere at some point the tabloids always have an edge over them and sometimes to the extent of leading them to do things that would haunt them.

Another example of failure to handle fame is Zimdancehall artist, Dobba Don who has struggled with the fame and public scrutiny that comes with being famous as he has been fighting drug and substance abuse.

The “mudendere” hitmaker rose to stardom in 2016 with the chart-topping hit and he was supposed to kick-start his career from there but it has been an up and down trajectory for him as he is in and out of rehabilitation facilities for rehabilitation thereby hampering a once-promising career.

Forbes.com reports that reasons why celebrities struggle with fame is because of high amounts of scrutiny and pressure and this leads to a diminished sense of being free and independent because everyone’s expectations of doing well will be fixed on you as a celebrity and this wears down the mental strength of one and thereby affecting their ability to perform to the best of their abilities.

It is however not all doom and gloom for celebrities and public figures who have struggled with mental health issues that come with being popular. Acknowledgment of the existence of a problem is the first step towards overcoming the scourge.

This necessitates the need to call for help before the problem gets out of hand because usually if help does not come in time effects like drug and substance abuse and sometimes this cascades down to performances as was the case with Christian Pulisic the American soccer star.

Captain America as he is affectionately known struggled to cope with changes and this challenged his mental health status but fortunately for him, he realized earlier that he had to dig deep and seek help.

“It took me a while to realize that to speak up feels strong,” he said. This came in handy for him as he soon got back to his feet and started enjoying his game once again bringing out the old self once more.

Pulisic and England defender Tyrone Mings who struggled with performing to the best of his ability due to fan criticism (allfootballapp.com) were fortunate enough to get back on their feet but with others the case was different.

Adriano the once popular star at Inter Milan resorted to drinking after the death of his father and this affected his career and he was never the same again. So close was he to his father that after his death the poster boy of Brazilian football never got back to pick up the pieces.

There is however light at the end of the tunnel as attributed by Dr Adiele Hoffman who says by sharing their experiences, celebrities sharing their experiences is one way to improve awareness and general education on specific health conditions which in turn helps reduce the effects of public scrutiny and how it impacts their lives in various facets.

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