Blame it on the alter ego? - Made-up personas created to take the hit for artistes
An alter ego is defined in popular culture as an alternate personality.
From Beyoncé (Sasha Fierce) to Nicki Minaj (Barbie, Roman) to local artistes like Spice (Grace Hamilton), some of the most popular music personalities across the world have birthed alter egos.
Usually, the personality is the complete opposite of the creator, but entertainers are increasingly blurring the lines between their ‘characters’ and who they are in real life.
At least one dancehall artiste believes that alter egos are being used as an excuse to carry out wrongdoings without facing the consequences for one’s actions.
Patrick ‘Curly Lox’ Gaynor, of dancehall duo Twin of Twins, says that while alter egos are a necessary part of entertainment, these personas cannot be separated from their hosts.
“People are defined by how they present themselves whether they want to or not. You do not get to separate yourself from the consequences of your actions by creating an alter ego and keeping it as a separate entity so that it becomes an excuse for you to do what you feel like doing without the moral consequences,” he said. “The need for you to create an alter ego in the first place is because of the reality that the consciousness forbade certain things naturally. Whenever something happens, some artistes always try explain it away by saying it’s their alter ego, and people supposed to understand that it is entertainment, but people are defined by how they present themselves.”
Should be held accountable
Artiste manager Cara Vickers believes so that some artistes create alter egos just so they can get away with wrongdoings.
“An alter ego has bravado, extra confidence, and, maybe, a wild side, but consciously, they are the same human and they should be held accountable. This is real life, not fiction. That’s the problem with our world today. we have too many illusionists and not enough realists,” she said.
But public relations director and media consultant Janice Young explained that while alter egos should not be a reason for artistes to explain away certain things, they should be allowed some leeway to live their best lives.
“I’m saying an alter ego is necessary as a coping mechanism. It’s necessary for you as a recording artiste to be able to do ‘x, y, z’, but as a father, or mother, or daughter, or son, those actions would not be a norm for you. You should be able as an entertainer to say. ‘ this is my life, and it is different from my artiste persona’,” she said. “At the end of the day, you want to live a normal life, and an alter ego helps you to live that life. It doesn’t mean that you’re going to commit a crime as the alter ego and expect that you as the person won’t be affected by it because that’s an extreme.”
Young reasoned that when Spice is home with her children, she’s Grace Hamilton, and there are things that she does on the stage that don’t have a place in her home.
“It’s not for us to try to explain to people the separation because you’ve only been presented with one person as the public. You are not a part of the artiste’s private life, and so you cannot separate the artiste’s alter ego from who they are in reality because you don’t know them in reality,” she said. “People who know the artistes prior to fame will know the person, and so they will be better able to tell you if the person you see on stage is the same as the person in real life.”