"Elesha Edmonds: Grammy award-winning hard-core hip-hop and gangsta rap artist."
Welcome, my friends, to my wild imagination. An imagination jam-packed with secret obsessions and dance routines that are sadly restricted to the privacy of my own home. Sometimes my family is fortunate enough to witness my "dish-washing rap" or wild "baking break dance". But no one else, I repeat no one else, will ever have the opportunity to witness such monumental performances.
"Why?" you ask with a twinge of disappointment. Well wannabe-fans, it's because I'm not exactly cool enough to make it as a celebrity rapper. I'm not cool enough to mix and mingle with Eminem and his crew, I've never suited snapbacks and I definitely don't own gold chains. I'm just an average kiwi girl in her twenties, who is not a hip-hop artist and definitely not celebrity material.
Famous for being famous
It's funny how easy it is to pity yourself when you realise you're just an average normal person. I'm just one of millions of people who will never be classed as a celebrity (unless my plan to marry Jake Gyllenhaal works out), I don't command a great deal of public attention and the only strangers that recognise me in public are customers from my waitressing days.
It is easy to pity ourselves when we live in a culture where fame is more important than heroism, where fortune is more important than honest accomplishments and where a Kardashian's love life is more important than fighting in Syria. We idolise celebrities who dominate our media; the people who are famous for being famous, rather than the people who lead our societies. No wonder we get focused, fixated and concerned with these people and then pity ourselves for not being one of them.
Christian Celebrity Culture
In our Christian bubble we have created our own celebrity culture. We make religious pilgrimages to Parachute every year, where we relentlessly stalk our favourite bands, line up for autographs, buy the t-shirts and spread rumours that we are dating one of the headline band members. What's worse is that we get sucked into this celebrity culture by believing these people are greater or more Christian than us.
Now don't get me wrong, there is nothing necessarily wrong with valuing people. God gifts people to an extent that we should admire them for who they are and what they contribute to society. However, I think the line is crossed when we idolise the person rather than appreciate their god-gifted talents. An example is when we start idolising Hillsong United for the good looking guitarist rather than appreciating the fact he had to have musical abilities to make it into the band.
Marrying an illusion
One of the perks of working for the media is getting a media pass at concerts. At the Parachute music festival this year I was fortunate enough to take photos from in front of the stage. I walked into the security pit, in front of a screaming mosh pit held back by safety barriers, when I noticed one girl holding a sign saying, "[So-and-so] I'm your future wife!" I thought it was funny until the girl looked at me with this sneer and said to her friend, "Oh my gosh, she must be his girlfriend! Can you believe she looks like that?!"
Honestly, I was stoked she had made such an assumption. However I also was saddened by the fact that this girl obviously knew nothing about this guy but was still willing to hold a sign saying she was his future wife. She had deceived herself into believing that she had developed a sense of familiarity and intimacy with him.
The media, particularly social media, helps this by creating an illusion that we have a relationship of sorts with celebrities. The problem is that the media is very selective in the way in which they portray celebrities. The media doesn't show us what these people eat for breakfast, their marks in high school or how they treat their parents. Therefore we can only develop a representation of a celebrity from the small and selective proportion of information that media presents us.
Picked from the crowd
I nearly hyperventilated at an All Blacks parade after being a million per cent sure Richie Macaw looked at me and waved. It didn't matter that I was standing six rows behind the safety barriers with a truckload of other 'average people' trying to get his attention. It wasn't like we had gone to the parade to see the All Blacks. No, we wanted the All Blacks to notice us and to pick us out of the crowd.
There is something obviously ingrained in all of us that longs for ourselves to be picked out of a crowd. Like that girl holding the sign, we want something to choose us and make us feel significant out of all the other 'average' people. We want to be wanted, chosen and recognised by someone of importance. However society has gone off course when it comes to choosing the people of importance.
Our biggest fan
Mark de Jong, CEO of the Parachute Music Festival, made the point that, "as Christians we know that the only real celebrity is God." It seems simple, but if that mind-set was ever put into practise then we would see the biggest revolt when it comes to the way appreciate celebrities. I have found myself challenged to look at who I admire and ask myself whether I realise that God is the only one that will meet my desire to be picked from the crowd.
I've realised that I'm not just presented with a media influenced representation of God. Instead I am given the entire picture. God is the only celebrity where I can really develop familiarity, intimacy and relationship. For that reason God can see my sign and wave at me standing in a crowd. Our creator is our biggest fan and he desires that his people find significance in his arms, not anyone else's.
Since the creator of this universe is my biggest fan, then maybe that means I'm cool enough to start my career as a hip-hop artist. Feel free to send me fan mail.
Elesha Edmonds is sad to announce the death of her thirteen-year-old pet fish who passed away whilst she was in Europe training to be a foreign correspondent journalist. In lieu of flowers, please feel free to follow @eleshaedmonds on Twitter.
Elesha Edmonds' previous articles may be viewed at www.pressserviceinternational.org/elesha-edmonds.html