30.06.2023 Feature Article

In Praise of Yvonne Nelson

In Praise of Yvonne Nelson
30.06.2023 LISTEN

“Not many people in this country are bold enough to tell their story, warts and all! The result is that many people have gone to their graves with their stories untold, stories which could have molded character, inspired courage and fostered social development.”

I am not a fan of movies, particularly Ghanaian movies for that matter, but my fascination with the arts mean l don't hate them either. I watch them a few times for local humor. Consequently, l am quite familiar with some of our stars, whether for good or bad!

Yvonne Nelson, if you know her, is a strikingly pretty lady. I would not describe her as an out and out beauty for the only reason that beauty lies in the eyes of the beholder and my judgment of these matters are a bit more colloquial, and rather strict. Nevertheless, she is charming, known for her vibrancy of character, forthrightness, and the audacity of her convictions. These attributes are more valuable than beauty which is ephemeral and generally fleeting.

Several years ago, l worked for a company that hired Yvonne to do a commercial for television. That was the only time l saw her in the flesh and l wasn't disappointed by her vitalities at all. I thought she carried herself with vivid poise and stately elegance to match her frame.

To me, she is more beautiful off the screen than on it! Real beauty is not about wearing a designer face and hiding your lips in colorful paint all the time. It is the total measure of your character which inspires others and makes them comfortable around you. She left a positive mark on me since then, and some insight too about the pressures of celebrity life in our part of the world as l watched her rehearse her lines for the ad. I haven't seen a copy of her book yet, but social media being what it is, (socially talkative and immensely gossipy), l must have exhausted the labyrinth of her story in bits and pieces here and there since her story became public.

At first, I thought Yvonne is too young to do an autobiography midway in her career. But then l ask myself, "when would she be old enough to tell her story, if indeed, she has a story to tell? Is it when her career is over and the story becomes stale and meaningless to anyone, or it is best to strike while the iron is hot?

Yvonne would take a bull by its horns at any risk. Indeed, so didactic and detailed are the contents of her monologue that l am not surprised some people have tried to chide her for revealing too much about herself, claiming this could come back to haunt her at some point. But if her critics understand her motive behind the story, there would be no need to cry wolf. In this memoir, Yvonne doesn't really care about society's judgment of her behavior or actions, whether they are right or wrong! Her motive is not to court social praise as a heroine or a super model.

The young girl who sets out to find fulfillment in her career, who lives with doubts and misconceptions about her paternity, yet dreams of making something meaningful out of life is as vulnerable to the forces and trappings of this life like anyone else. She shows mental toughness where she is able, but would pick herself up, dust herself off, and confront the next challenge whenever she took a tumble. She is never daunted by the next hurdle, no matter how challenging it is, and that's how she succeeds in building her brand.

What makes her a heroine is the mistakes and regrets she freely narrates, the failures she recounts and the extent to which she is prepared to make amends in her next experience. For Yvonne Nelson whose trade is her name and whose name is her trade, it takes more than fantasy and an allure to heroism to publicly question the origins of that name in a manner that does not only draw our sympathy, but confounds us with the myth surrounding her dubious paternity.

Instead of chastising her for revealing too much about herself, our attention should rather be drawn to the social problems she sought to project in her free-talking style, for there are many other Yvonne Nelsons around us who deserve our support, understanding, and our praise for overcoming the odds.

Not many people in this country are bold enough to tell their story, warts and all! The result is that many people have gone to their graves with their stories untold, stories which could have molded character, inspired courage and fostered social development.

But Yvonne, (it is difficult to call you anything else now), has shown the way by which we inspire and model positive attitudes for the next generation. Our mistakes can help others overcome similar situations in their own lives. A story that is never told cannot inspire anyone. But a good story, well told, is better than bequeathing mountains of gold bars to society. Good stories are the building blocks of development and Yvonne has shown the way!

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