“I have a radio program, three television shows, a shoe shop and my own brand of mackerel. I am just raking in the money and I have no children. So what do I do? I shop and I dress up. I dress up for YOU to enjoy watching ME. We’ll be right back after this commercial break.”
These are just some of the outrageous things that Deloris Frimpong Manso – known in the entertainment industry by her nick name, Delay – says on a pretty regular basis. I absolutely LOVE it! Bordering on arrogance, she exudes a level of confidence that compels you to be charmed. Delay is a completely open book, but she still manages to hold an aura of mystery. She’s a flame and we’re all her little moths getting singed in the wake of her existence.
After a particularly hard day of anything (work, writing, kids, traffic, anything) my new favorite thing to do is to get on YouTube and watch all any episodes of The Delay Show that have been published. Delay is Ghana’s girl next door. Whereas as in America, the ‘girl next door’ is all sweetness and apple pie, clad in denim shorts and pigtails, Ghana’s girl next door is aggressive, opinionated and well-loved. She is a fierce protector and advocate. She helps you chase away boys who take liberties with your body. She is the big sister on the block, and she looks JUST like Delay.
What fascinates me most about Delay is how she got on television in the first place. It’s a cruel irony when it becomes “groundbreaking” for a Ghanaian to look like a Ghanaian in the spotlight of entertainment. When it comes to beauty standards, Ghanaians are notoriously and willingly chained to Anglo ideas of what makes a woman attractive. The ideal television presenter would have toasted almond brown skin, a modest weave or perm and speak English with just enough of an accent to prove that she’s been abroad but is still very much in touch with her roots. Delay is none of these things.
She’s dark, got a gap tooth, wears all 48” of her weave and does her show in Twi (or Twi-glish for her guests who aren’t native speakers).
The ideal television presenter would also have some sort of respectable side enterprise to pad her income; something like a fashion label or a clothing store. Delay has her of brand of canned fish.
Not everyone has to wear a high end label, but everyone has to eat! And Ghanaians love their canned fish.
As far as I know, Delay’s format is the first of its kind on Ghanaian television. What Europeans, Asians and Americans take for granted in terms of programming is that ALL of the pop culture shows aired on public access television are done in the native language of their respective countries. You wouldn’t go to China and expect Chen Lu Yu (also known as China’s Oprah) to conduct her talk show exclusively in English. It would be absurd, because the base she reaches is broad in age and primarily Chinese speaking. However in Ghana, (unless this has changed recently) the only time programs are conducted in one of our local languages is if it’s one of those dull “adult education” sets where a panel sits awkwardly on a sound stage and drones on and on about the weather or rice or whatever. Again, because we’re so enslaved/chained to colonial norms in our thinking, there has long been the idea that business and quality entertainment must be presented in English. I love Delay for challenging that!
This is the essence of the girl next store persona I was talking about. You can’t properly tell someone off or barter for a lower price on beef in English. You will be scoffed at and cheated! Speaking in her native tongue only adds to Delay’s appeal. (I might be partial to this trait because one of the characters I wrote in Lover of Her Sole stubbornly refuses to speak in any other language but Twi, despite the fact that she’s a wealthy, university educated woman. She forces the world to conform to the Ghanaian in her, rather than the other way round!)
The other thing about Delay that puts me at ease is that she is no Oprah and is not even pretending like she’s trying to be. I have yet to see/hear her tackle a topic that is going to shatter the earth yet. Here’s a sampling of some of the questions she’s asked guests on recent shows:
Are you a virgin?
-Delay to Yvonne Okoro
Would you say you have emotional constipation?
-Delay to Yvonne Nelson
You insulted Kaakie’s womanhood, and as a woman, I am offended. (With a sneer) Will you please remove your sunglasses in my presence so that I can see your eyes?
-Delay to Shatta Wale
Dumelo means ‘Town Crocodile’? Why that name? Are you a crocodile?
-Delay to John Dumelo
And then she has the audacity to look her guest dead in the face and wait for an answer, as though she’s asked a serious question. What kind of question is “are you a crocodile?” Hahahahhahaaaa!! Ohhhh and the interview with Yvonne Okoro was so cringe worthy. No matter how she tried to dodge the question, Delay kept dragging her back into the ring and pushing her on the ropes. And 8 excruciating minutes later, we all found out Yvonne Okoro has indeed been sexually active at some point in her past.
Did knowing this alter a paradigm or add to this list of things humanity needed to know to ensure its survival? No! But it was fun to watch and that’s why I love her and her show. She’s funny without intending to be. Delay takes herself very seriously.
At so young, she’s achieved enormous success. She has a dozen or more people on her payroll, she has become a brand in her own right, and she did it without slwhoring around for favors. The last part is huge, because in Ghana (like much of African society), people are very quick to ridicule and reduce a woman’s success if it was predicated by the marked assistance of a man. That’s okay though. Ghanaians are also quick to reduce the success of men by alleging said success is predicated on the sale of cocaine or weed. The folly of our society is that we don’t understand what it means to work both hard and smart. After all:
“There was a time in Ghana when being a TV presenter meant you could come on air, do your job and go about living your normal life like a regular person. And then someone named Deloris Frimpong Manso came along and made being a TV presenter something to aspire to. We’ll be back after this commercial break.”
Sitting there talking about herself oooo…In the third person. You know you’ve made it when you talk about yourself in the third person!
Haters and appreciators! How do you feel about Delay? Is she real deal or nah? And if you’re like “Who the heck is Delay” go to YouTube and type in her name. See one of us for translations if needed. Discuss! ↓