Music

The Curious Case Of Anti-Social Entertainers

If you suspect to be an anti-social entertainer, then you are probably in the wrong business and I say this with good reason.

Very recently, Nigerian musician Burna Boy suffered vicious attacks from the #KOT (Kenyans On Twitter) fraternity as well as revelers, for what they termed as a poor performance at a club in Westlands, Nairobi. Turns out that Burna Boy was only making a club appearance and not a show, but the fact that he turned up on stage at 3 am to perform for only an hour or so, thoroughly angered those who had paid to watch him perform.

The said club has since clarified and given their own version of what truly transpired. Apparently, Burna Boy had been stuck in traffic for about an hour and a half and the club’s previous decision to charge an affordable price for the tickets, had seen large numbers turn up. So the club had to be forced not to let other revelers in which of course didn’t sit well with those particular revelers. Okay, I’m really trying to understand which massive traffic was this in the early morning hours of Nairobi, that Burna Boy was stuck in, but I will keep my opinions to myself on that, this time round.

Anyways, I’m more concerned with how the musician chose to react to the situation. The heat must have been too much for him because Burna Boy ended up blocking most of his Kenyan Twitter followers and at some point mentioned angrily that Kenyans were peasants. Now, now Burna Boy, I understand that the #KOT family can be unnecessarily harsh at times and as a normal human being, it is totally in order to show negative emotion when you feel unfairly attacked. However, being an entertainer, I think you kind of have an idea what the price of fame entails.

There are people out there who will attack you for nothing or something just because they are so used to seeing your face, being in the public eye and all, and now they assume that they know you personally. How you choose to react to such kinds of scenarios speaks a lot about you as an entertainer. Are you the divalicious* entertainer whose fame has got into his head or the entertainer whose sole mission, is to deliver to his fans and understands that sometimes he can come under fire from those same fans.

In my opinion, Burna Boy falls in the former. Why in the world would he even think of calling a section of the consumers of his music, peasants, just because he felt attacked by those same consumers?? There is actually no justification for his reaction to all that hullabaloo. And if those so called consumers, were not that interested in Burna Boy as an entertainer, then they wouldn’t have turned up in large numbers, just for a club appearance of his and eventually felt offended when they felt he under delivered. Burna Boy was actually being too petty and immature as an entertainer with his reaction.

Burna Boy. Photo Courtesy of Google Images

However, it’s not the first time that a musician from a different country has shown up on our Kenyan soil and proceeded to misbehave. Yet another Nigerian musician, Davido came to Kenya sometime in 2015 and went ahead to totally act uninterested and rude on The Trend Show hosted by NTV’s Larry Madowo. He walked out before the Interview was concluded. The concert he was headlining in the country, was nothing to write home about with disappointed revelers complaining on Social media of a mediocre 30 minutes performance and an entertainer who appeared drunk.

Congolese maestro, Koffi Olomide would be another musician who would land on Kenyan soil and proceed to attack a female dancer of his at the airport, throwing a kick at her in 2016, while oblivious to the fact that it had been caught on camera. He was so confident that he was going to still perform in the country after the incident, that he appeared on Citizen TV only to be arrested soon after and was eventually deported.

So incidents of entertainers exhibiting anti-social behaviors is not entirely new to us. It is disheartening though to realize, that some of these entertainers tend to quickly forget that those same fans they have since taken to disregarding, are the ones who made them what they currently are. Those fans in turn, expect the entertainer to deliver and will not hesitate in expressing their displeasure, whenever they feel taken for granted.

Burna Boy and all those musicians who turn up in Kenya and proceed to act in unsavory ways, should know that some of those tickets to their concerts that Kenyans pay for, equal someone’s rent for a month or two. I doubt a mere peasant would afford to pay a ticket for something, akin to a club appearance from a musician who is totally convinced that his fans “owe” him for his time.

They should know that their music is given enough airplay on Kenyan radio stations sometimes at the expense of Kenyan music. That should be reason enough for them to at least show some respect to their Kenyan fans. Burna Boy should have waited for temperatures to cool down, before offering a formal statement just as any normal, wise, level headed entertainer who values his fans’ opinion of him would.

But of course in this era where vanity surpasses logic reasoning, such entertainers of the above description are becoming increasingly rare. Perhaps it is time that the Kenyan market started to look within and appreciate the talent we have in the country before looking across borders for entertainers who probably, have no interest in respecting the Kenyan market. Entertainers who selfishly pocket our money, then prance out of our country in a show of disdain and arrogance.

The Bongo Phenomenon: Alikiba and Diamond Platinumz

I was born into a fairly small family. The second and last born of two daughters with a 9 year age gap between us siblings. Which meant that most of the time, my elder sister was away at school while I remained behind. To while away the time, I began developing an interest in music at a young age.

My tastes in music were influenced by my sister who had been a huge fan of the 90s RnB hits from the US and my parent’s love for Rhumba and Soukous. Mum and dad would sometimes listen to loud Rhumba and Soukous music from the DRC on those weekends when they were both home. For a long time, the Kenyan market consumed the RnB hits from the US, before we decided to begin appreciating our Kenyan artistes and playing more and more of their music.

By the age of 10, I knew most of the 90s RnB thanks to my sister by heart, in addition to the new pop ones that came out. I couldn’t quite sing the Rhumba because most of it was in Lingala with a mix of French which I didn’t speak then. But I could identify the ones I liked at that age. I remember my mum once wondering aloud, where I had learnt the music lyrics to many of the songs I sang along to. As you can tell by now, I was gifted in something else (writing), but listening to music was more of a favorite hobby and still is.

Sometime in 2002, Kenyans started being introduced to a lot of Bongo Flava from our neighboring country, Tanzania. At the time, I listened to the likes of TID, Professor Jay, Mr. Nice, Lady Jaydee, Matonya… It was a fresh kind of music that these Tanzanians crooned in the most fluent Kiswahili. It also proved to many, that you could pass strong messages through music. Like I previously mentioned, it took a long time before we began appreciating our own Kenyan artistes. So for a while, Bongo Flava ruled the airwaves together with foreign artistes from the West.

Alikiba and Diamond Platinumz would come a bit later into the Bongo Flava music scene. By then, I was a high school kid and by my estimation, I think these two guys began making hits at about the same time or slightly later for the younger, Diamond. Over time, Alikiba and the then Diamond, who had began with humble music videos, have evolved into two major acts not only in East Africa, but the rest of Africa as well.

Tanzanian Crooner Alikiba. Photo courtesy of Google Images.

Tanzanian Crooner Alikiba. Photo courtesy of Google Images.

I remember us being introduced to a young Ali Kiba singing the single, Cinderella back then. He was a pretty simple guy obviously trying to make it in music.

He would later on go on to produce a few more hit singles before disappearing for a while from the music scene altogether. When he next showed up, it was obvious that Alikiba was a changed man!

In came a polished, more sculpted Ali Kiba, with high quality music videos and even greater music. It wasn’t long before I decided that I really liked Ali Kiba as a musician. I mean, it was hard not to miss those abs in his music videos. His voice was equally a component of his music that I admired. Being signed to Sony Music Entertainment Africa eventually, went a long way in elevating Ali Kiba’s career.

As for the then Diamond, I remember him for Mbagala. It was the first song that introduced me, in particular, to this guy.

Tanzanian Crooner, Diamond Platinumz. Photo Courtesy of Google Images

Tanzanian Crooner, Diamond Platinumz. Photo Courtesy of Google Images

He seemed like just a normal next door guy and I didn’t really like his choice of shooting the song’s video, in the middle of an obvious rubbish dump. He looked nothing then like the polished Diamond Platinumz of today. But like Ali Kiba, he possessed the most beautiful of voices, a bit more mellow than the former’s and it wasn’t long before Kenyans took notice.

I once walked into our hostel’s kitchen while in campus, to find one of the lady caretakers who was an elderly woman,watching one of Diamond’s music videos with a mesmerized look on her face. She quickly pointed out to me that she liked the guy and how he sang. Recently, my own mum would seem highly interested in the Salome hit remake of Diamond’s featuring Rayvanny. She went on to ask me incredulously, how I could miss that beautiful voice.

Indeed, Alikiba and Diamond are the kind of crooners, who can reach all age groups with their music. However, in recent times, Diamond Platinumz is touted as the biggest act of the two.

Going by his personal life, he has got a pretty socialite and savvy businesswoman who is older than him in his life and who has already borne him two children. Plus his PR Team seem to really know what they are doing. Definitely, these things have kept him relevant in addition to his consistency, collabos with numerous African artistes and obvious talent.

There equally happens to be a rivalry feud between Diamond Platinumz and Ali Kiba in the Tanzanian music scene. Some of these feuds in the music industry according to my reasoning, are fueled by the comparison fact and especially if you are in the same genre of music.

Diamond and Ali Kiba happen to be two music artistes who have constantly been compared to each other. For sometime in the past, Ali Kiba did not seem to be getting it right but Diamond was the quicker of the two in revamping his image. Plus these guys were a kind of representation of the Bongo Flava evolvement. If TID had still been active in the music scene he could as well have been compared to Diamond and Alikiba. It is something that sadly, the two have none been the wiser on how to handle.

However, the direction that Ali Kiba’s music has since taken in recent times, was pretty smart on his part. I also consider the consistency of these two guys to be amazing. It’s something any aspiring musician can look up to and try to emulate.