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Kenyan Comedians Need To Learn From Americans, Time For Stale Jokes Is Over.

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American Comedian Dave Chapelle

Laughter they say is an incomparable medicine, comedy has been a source of that medicine but not anymore especially in Kenya. I’ve been watching a lot of American comedy as compared to Kenyan, actually, I can’t even remember the last time I say down to watch a Kenyan skit. Don’t get me wrong, I support local content but I’m not a fan of mediocrity so I’d rather spend my time counting sugar granules than sit my nini down to watch a boring, empty show in the name of comedy.

Pioneers like Mzee Ojwang, Othorongongo, Ondiek Nyuka Akwota amongst others gave us real comedy that we grew up with. Came the new phase of comics and not so much has really changed. They still tell the same old stale tribal jokes I mean can’t these people get their brains out of the skull and think beyond? Diversify?

Anyway, the reason I decided to write this is to talk about the lack of touch out artists in Kenya and specifically in this case out comedians are. Political consciousness, we’re living in difficult times with endless political intrigues, society is in turmoil with countless social shortcomings.

American comedians mostly from the minority like the blacks have been using art to address social issues like racism, extrajudicial killings, bad politics amongst other things. Art is a powerful tool in the society, rappers like 2Pac were more than just entertainers, they addressed the very issues that affected the societies they came from and this shaped a lot.

Today, comedians are using their stages to address a ray of topical issues, in his latest special on Netflix, Tamborine, one of my favorite comedians Chris Rock said, “I want to live with real equality. I want to live in a world where an equal amount of white kids are shot every month. I want to see white mothers on TV crying.” This was a satirical take on discriminatory killings of young black Americans who’ve been targets of police killings. He goes further to talk about gun control which is currently a topic of discussion in America following the mass shooting in Florida where 17 students were shot dead by a former schoolmate.
“Gun control? We need bullet control! I think every bullet should cost $5,000. Because if a bullet cost $5,000, we wouldn’t have any innocent bystanders.”

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Instead of being bystanders in a scandalous system, we’re seeing these comedians coming out and utilizing their stages for the social good. Political comedy is now the in thing, comedians are diversifying their content and becoming more conscious and in deep connection with their audience. These are things that affect them on daily basis. Dave Chappell, Noah Trevor, John Oliver amongst many other top American comedians are now more politically engaged than before.

You see being active on social issues springs you up from being a mere entertainer into something bigger like being an opinion shaper someone with a tangible, shaking influence. Kenyan comedians have left their audience malnourished with a strict diet of stale tribal jokes, a mimicry that will have you asleep seconds into the skits and you need serious tickling to laugh at the Sahara desert packed dry jokes.

Churchill Show, for example, has a large audience, the biggest in comedy I think that if only he used it right then I’d be ranking him high and he’d be a real opinion shaker. For relevance, one needs to be as dynamic as possible and content must be super rich. Our comedian needs to crawl out of their boring shells and be politically active. Corruption, killings and other vices continue to strangle Kenyans and we need real voices addressing these things. Instead, Churchill Show has been alleged to bring used in sanitizing corrupt officials.

I’m not saying our comedians should fold the carpets and go but hey if they can’t level up and diversify their content, get in touch with real issues then they should already be on their way out of the door. There has never been a better time to rise above ‘protecting my brand’ an excuse they’re using to shut when everything else is going wrong than now. When the police were mercilessly beating and killing opposition supporters, they remained tight-lipped. Corruption is affecting many lives of young people who’re supposed to make part of their audience by not talking about this, they’re not being helpful in any way. I give credits to Octopizzo and Juliani they dared to talk against police brutality, the rest remained silent for political correctness and for Statehouse gigs.

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‘Protecting my brand’ has had Kenyan artists remain silent as their fans undergo endless suffering all because they want to remain darlings of the system for gigs and other favors. They’re forgetting who the real bosses are; audience. I think we’re at a point where we should boycott sissy artists who’re not politically conscious. You don’t necessarily have to be affiliated with traditional political parties but be someone who’s in touch with real social issues. Our comedians and artists, in general, need to take a deep breath and rethink their strategies, think beyond gigs, money, and women. Think about how you’ll want to be remembered, be someone who dared to dream, took an unpopular stand and confronted societal bullies.

Until I start seeing a change in content, I won’t waste a coin going to attend stale jokes shows, I’d rather wipe my ass with that note and flash it down. Sorry but no sorry for the language I’m just sick and tired of mediocrity. I hope one of you comedians sees an opportunity in political comedy and run with it, I can promise you whoever will take it up will become one of the most powerful comedians and a voice to reckon with.

Until these comedians and artists generally rise above the mediocre bar and start using their influence to raise awareness around prevailing social and political issues affecting the society, they can miss me with the bullshit. Until they start realizing the real power of art and how it is a serious tool for shaping the society, I’ll not clap. And just to be clear, not everyone has to be politically conscious, they can continue with the mediocrity but we need to separate boys from men, lets have real sons and daughters of the soil rising and setting New standards.

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Otherwise, Kenya has no comedians but jokers.


Kenya Insights allows guest blogging, if you want to be published on Kenya’s most authoritative and accurate blog, have an expose, news, story angles, human interest stories, drop us an email on [email protected] or via Telegram

Kenya West is a trained investigative independent journalist and a socio-political commentator on matters Kenya and Africa. Send me tips to [[email protected]]

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NSFW: Kenya’s New Age Culture Of Transactional Sex Revealed On A BBC Documentary

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Vera Sidika, Kenyan socialite flaunting her body on Instagram for her fan base.

BBC have just released a digital series called’Sugar’ which looks at the rise of sugar daddy relationships in Kenya.

In Kenya and beyond, ‘sugar’ relationships have become mainstream. Transactional sex was once driven by poverty, but now, increasingly, it’s driven by vanity. More and more young women are using sugar daddies to fund a lifestyle worth posting on social media.

Older men have always used gifts, status, and influence to buy access to young women. The sugar daddy has probably been around, in every society, for as long as the prostitute. So you might ask: “Why even have a conversation about transactional sex in Africa?”

The answer is that in Kenya, and in some other African countries, “sugar” relationships seem to have become both more common and more visible: what once was hidden is now out in the open – on campuses, in bars, and all over Instagram.

Exactly when this happened is hard to say. It could’ve been in 2007 when Kim Kardashian’s infamous sex tape was leaked, or a little later when Facebook and Instagram took over the world, or perhaps when 3G internet hit Africa’s mobile phones.

But somehow, we have arrived at a point where having a “sponsor” or a “blesser” – the terms that millennials usually apply to their benefactors – has for many young people become an accepted, and even a glamorous lifestyle choice.

Until recently there was no data to indicate how many young Kenyan women are involved in sugar relationships. But this year the Busara Centre for Behavioural Economics conducted a study for BBC Africa in which they questioned 252 female university students between the ages of 18 and 24. They found that approximately 20% of the young women who participated in the research has or has had a “sponsor.”

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The sample size was small and the study was not fully randomised, so the results only give an indication of the possible numbers, they cannot be taken as definitive. Also, only a small percentage openly admitted to having a sugar daddy; the researchers were able to infer that a number were hiding the truth from answers they gave to other questions, using a technique called list randomisation.

Huddah, another Kenyan socialite flaunts her body on the popular network Instagram. These are the pioneers of the new age prostitution culture where young girls use such networks to sell their body.

But interestingly, when talking about others, not about themselves, the young women estimated on average that 24% of their peers had engaged in a transactional sexual relationship with an older man – a figure very close to that reached by the researchers.

Jane, a 20-year-old Kenyan undergraduate who readily admits to having two sponsors, sees nothing shameful in such relationships – they are just part of the everyday hustle that it takes to survive in Nairobi, she says.

She also insists that her relationships with Tom and Jeff, both married, involve friendship and intimacy as well as financial exchange.

“They help you sometimes, but it’s not always about sex. It’s like they just want company, they want someone to talk to,” she says.

She says that her religious parents brought her up with traditional values, but she has made her own choices. One of her motives, she says, is to be able to support her younger sisters, so they won’t need to rely on men for money. But she has also been inspired by Kenya’s celebrity “socialites” – women who have transformed sex appeal into wealth, becoming stars of social media.

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In the past, some of Kenya’s socialites have styled themselves as #SlayQueens, and have been quite upfront about the financial benefits that have come from dating tycoons. Having made it to the top, though, they often begin to cultivate a different image – presenting themselves as independent, self-made businesswomen and encouraging Kenyan girls to work hard and stay in school.

The millions of fans scrolling through their Instagram posts, though, are not blind. The sudden emphasis on entrepreneurship does not hide the fact that these women used their sex appeal to create opportunities in the first place. And many – quite understandably – are attempting to apply this methodology to their own lives.

http://www.youtube.com/watch?v=TNIbiprddHI&list=PLajyiGz4JeyOC8OldsVzqcYh45C9tQ3FK

These young women  have come of age in the last decade, bombarded since childhood with images of female status built on sex appeal. But according to Crystal Simeoni, an expert on gender and economic policy, Kenyan society encourages sugar relationships in other ways too.

If women have become more willing to profit financially from their youth and beauty, she says, it’s partly because of Kenya’s gross economic inequalities, lack of social mobility, and widespread corruption.

“The way things are constructed in this country makes it so much harder for a smaller person to make ends meet,” she argues. Hard work won’t get them anywhere. “They have to get a sponsor, rob a bank, or win a tender.”

Michael Soi, a well-known artist whose paintings satirise Kenya’s culture of transactional sex, takes a similar but more cynical view, attributing the phenomenon more to laziness and a get-rich-quick mentality than to structural injustice.

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The days of waking up early and working from morning to night are behind us, he says: “Right now the ass is the new brain, and this is what you use to get what you want.”

Dr Joyce Wamoyi from the National Institute for Medical Research in Tanzania says girls and young women between the ages of 15 and 24 have consistently been at higher risk of HIV infection than any other section of the population in sub-Saharan Africa.

Sugar relationships, she says, are contributing to these risks because the women who engage in them do not have the power to insist on the use of condoms. “With sex work, men are more likely to use condoms because it’s more explicit that this is selling and buying.”

For many young Kenyans, the values espoused in families, schools, and churches simply do not align with the economic realities of the country, or cannot compete with the material temptations that, in the age of reality TV and social media, are everywhere visible.

Even within the family, most Kenyan girls have it drummed into them from an early age that they must marry a rich man, not a poor one. It’s taken for granted in these conversations that men will provide the money on which women will survive. So for some it’s only a small step to visualising the same transaction outside marriage.

“What is wrong about sex anyway?” asks Jane. “People just make it sound wrong. But sometimes, it ain’t wrong at all.”

Adopted from BBC


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Arts & Culture

Kamene Goro From A TV Darling To A Ratchet Slay Queen At NRG Radio

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Kamene Goro

Kamene Goro is all the way on a downspiral, one a darling of the TV when she debuted on Ebru as an anchor, the cool, sassy Kamene is gone, like Sean Carter said, good girl gone bad the city is filled with them, that line fits like nonsense on this case.

Now a radio presenter on NRG Radio which is curving out a niche as one of the biggest urban radio stations, Kamene has come out of her shell and gone plainly ratchet.

Kamene during her TV days, decent and composed before somebody let the dogs out.

She has a breakfast show that goes along with our boy Kibe(Big up Kibe by the way, only real nigga in these streets). If you’ve listened to the show then you should spare a minute for it, like the rest of many, highly sexual but it’s a relief from the same old Maina stale show with his shambas in ukambani.

Anyway, back to the story at hand, the voluptuous presenter is not who you used to, for those only knowing her on radio. She’s as ratchet as a [email protected]$*(saying it like Kibe would). Have you seen her Instagram page? She makes your favorite socialites look like amateurs.

Talking Of ratchetness, in a recent show with Kibe and rapper Prezzo involving a drinking the game, the 26-year-old Kamene, after several shots, was asked by the two men to reveal how many guys she has been with under the sheets.

Kamene And Kibe At NRG Radio.

“And please, don’t judge me,” said the curvy presenter in the video before answering.

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“We are not here to judge you, we are just here to get the facts and fictions,” Prezzo retorted.

“My body count…Body count is the number of people I have slept with my whole life. My body count currently stands as we speak at 27. Twenty seven d****,” she said.

You don’t go on radio saying such kind of shit, your head gotta be out of normalcy. She’s now a hardened street chic. But I have a feeling much of it has to do with the stations policies. You know sex sells, coz most of you after reading this article will head to her IG page and probably listen to the station so I suppose they have to keep it dirty to get all you perverts on board.

Bonus photo of Kamene.

But how sustainable is this strategy? We’ve had more controversial shows come and die just like the sexual act itself. But you know what whey say, whatever works for you, NRG keep at it and by the way I’m waiting for my cheque over this free publicity. I wonder how longer we’ll have to wait to get celebrities with more than big booty to sell to the youths.


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Arts & Culture

Ethic Group Famed For Lamba Lolo Dumps Manager Who Brought Them Up And Rapper Juliani Has An Advice

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Members of the Ethic Group in performance.

I’m not such a big fan of local music save for a few conscious artists like Juliani whom I listen to their art but nothing in the music industry will pass without my knowledge. So in the past few months, a group made of few kids from Kayole have been running the airwaves.

Known and Ethic Group, the five boys are behind what’s arguably the biggest song in the country this year ‘lamba lolo’ which loosely translates to go to hell. The explicit song that started off a joke on YouTube has gained big traction and probably the most watched clip on Kenya’s YouTube community. The song made the group popular and elevated the crew to stardom.

And ever since their star started shining, it has never gone off. From radio to tv interviews, shows to beaches, this had been the go to group and most sort after. Position is their latest hot song that they did with Kansoul and currently doing great in the charts.

With all these successes, the acts behind are never mentioned. Nothing happens by chance but design. There’s no successful artist who ever made it without a manager. Talent management is a core part of the growth. Teleh Mani of Hype Group Limited took up the group when their first song was gaining momentum on YouTube and became their manager until recently.

He opens up,”lot of industry guys told me to stay away from Ethic and it was gonna be rough. Nothing repaired me for the fuckery today. I was wrong and I shoulda listened.”

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Narrating his ordeal, the manager explains what really happened leading to the break out, “Ethic are extremely talented. They can make hits. They have another 2-4 hits in them. However greed will be their ultimate downfall. Mark my words. That ‘ghetto’ mentality is toxic.”

“So basically, I hit these guys up when ‘Lamba Lolo’ had a ka small buzz. Before 100k views around June. At the time all I wanted was to pay for a new ‘polished’ video. However, I realized that one of the reasons the video even trended was because of how raw and real it was. So I get back to Nairobi and me and the boys meet. I specifically ask how they feel I can help them because Artist management is something I really hate but I wanna help them build their brand. They say help us record, shoot videos and get shows.”

He continues, “First of all, these guys weren’t a group. They just got together for that one song. So I suggested they try out the group thing for a year and if it doesn’t work, they can figure their shit out. They said cool. So after the dynamics of our work relationship were agreed upon ON PAPER we hit the ground running. Sent them to record ‘Saba’ at Pacho and to Madtraxx for ‘New Position’ Paid for everything from cab money for interviews that I put together to credit for these guys to keep their socials active.”

He then goes to where the cracks started forming, “Anyway, cracks start forming and one of the members says that he doesn’t like the idea of being under a label because he doesn’t understand why we have to take a percentage(in their favor) of all revenue. I explain that that’s the only way we can get our investment back. We hustle and get these guys gigs including my own Ofcourse while still trying to figure out the brand. We realize one of the boys has been booking his own shows where he goes solo with his close pals for 2k-4K Ma bucla. The group is unhappy esp since he’s the popular one(this one must be Mtoto wa Eunice).”

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Problem comes up after the group dropped their new song Position with Kansoul and the manager left the country leaving his colleagues behind to manage them. They started listening to outsiders as the manager notes, “That’s when everybody gets into somebody’s ear about ‘achana na hawa wasee wanawatumia’ ‘ata bookings zetu wamekataa’ ‘hawa wasee wana wawaste’. Now for context, if you’re 5 guys in a group (The 5th is their ‘road manager’ Imma) and have arguably two of the hottest songs out why would you want me to consider taking a booking of 20k? …like….seriously?”

It continues, “Either way, they had already set their rate which we all agreed on so you’d think that telling somebody with a smaller offer ‘afike bei’ would be understood. So that becomes a basis for their arguments as a collective. Like I said, I hate artist management and these guys I felt were diamonds in the rough which I still truly believe however I decided to part ways with them at that point. Almost 2 weeks ago. It was agreed that they’d pay me back my investments to that point and the bail money for getting reckless out of jail after beating up someone at 1824 through gigs that they do and other sources.”

On signing off, he puts it, “That said, these kids are talented, that I know. Their next video for Saba coming soon. However, if you’re of the industry, I wouldn’t touch those boys with a 10 foot pole.”

Many people are arguing that game got into the heads of these young artists, however, seasoned rapper and music mentor Juliani thinks deeper on the matter. In his view, they need deeper mentorship to build them up as artists given the fact that their fame came too fast and they’re too young. He preferred patience.

 

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Kenya Insights allows guest blogging, if you want to be published on Kenya’s most authoritative and accurate blog, have an expose, news, story angles, human interest stories, drop us an email on [email protected] or via Telegram
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