During the lockdown period due to Covid-19 crisis – all not lost
During the lockdown period due to the Covid-19 crisis, players in the showbiz industry are ingeniously sharing their experiences in their fields of operation as a way of preserving the history, writes MANUEL NTOYAI
With the Covid-19 pandemic continuing to hang like a dark cloud over every sector of the economy, the entertainment scene has been one of the hardest hit.
But it has presented a unique time for people to binge watch and catch up with those movies that you’ve always planned to watch, or a book that you ever wanted to read.
For the Kenyan entertainment scene though, it has been a blessing in disguise as Kenyans have been able to catch up with the industry’s untold tales and behind the scene.
Digital stalwart and former musician Richard Njau aka A-Star’s YouTube programme ‘Clearing The Airwaves’ (CTA) and Nonini’s recently launched the ‘Rhymes Na Nonini’ (RNN) have been one of the most outstanding virtual engagements during the lockdown period.
“With the Covid-19, we are in an era like never before and it may require doing things in ways we have never done before.
Visionaries, pioneers and leaders often have to switch off the noise and press on towards the goal. Don’t worry, in time the rest will catch on” says A-Star.
Through his channel, music lovers have been taken on a journey on how the urban pop culture has evolved over the years, among other topics.
From the legendary music producers Ted Josiah and Eric Musyoka, to singer Nameless celebrating more than 20 years in the game and the great journey of Collo turning his life around from his ‘bad boys’ lifestyle to seeing the light. CTA has been exhilaratingly entertaining and educative.
In his part, Nameless talks about the importance of market feedback and also making money away from the normal performance fees.
We are also introduced to the essentials of the industry with the likes of Fakii Liwali getting a mention and the importance they play in the industry. Nonini also offers advice to the new generation of artistes currently riding on explicit songs.
On RNN, Nonini explains the deeper meaning behind the lyrics. “RNN is a unique online YouTube show that’s all about breaking down music lyrics and serving music knowledge to the fans,” says the self-proclaimed ‘Godfather of Genge.
The acting world has also received some dosage of the same, with creative director and actor Abel Mutua hosting Young and Stupid, which has given Kenyans a front seat when it comes to viewing the acting industry journey from his long gone exploits in high school drama TV show Tahidi High.
“There’s a gap when it comes to the documentation of the acting scene especially in the last two decades when we have witnessed immense growth in the broadcast sector.
What we are seeing is the proper way to preserve our history and we should encourage more actors to not only come up with other ways of capturing their side of the story that risks to be forgotten if proper measures to preserve it are not initiated,” says actor Alfred Kinyua.
Singer Nyota Ndogo concurs with Kinyua saying, “After all, it is only fair if we share the encounters of those years and the experience we have garnered with those coming after us, so that they don’t make the same mistakes we did. This is the only way we can ensure continuity in our industry.”
“People need to learn these things, and while a section of the media has always tried to document the right history, I think it’s a matter of the proverb until lions learn to write, the story will always glorify the hunter,” says singer-cum-actor Colonel Moustapha.
According to the former Ogopa Deejays signee, with the likes of Jack Odongo, Nameless and Redsan talking about how the industry came to birth, technology has also played its part in ensuring that the story is well documented, from the horse’s mouth.
“When we started, the Internet was not as big as it is now, and people are taking advantage of this to push their own brands. We have comedians who have started from the very bottom, but now command huge online presence, same as artistes.
For the latter, it’s even easier to do more because you can be spotted by an international producer and work with him, unlike in our times when the recording label was countable,” he adds.
So, the pandemic might be here to interrupt or dim the light, but it is how were are going to respond and readjust our way of doing things that will matter. But one thing is for sure, the entertainment industry will never be the same again.