When Being Millennial Gets Tough

I recently watched a reality show about a female musician whose life seemed perfect – she’s a star on the Gram, she’s beautiful, her body is banging and most of all, she’s been trending on the ‘black girl power’ train.

But a sneak peek into a tough conversation she had with her mother over pouring tears and flying Gucci handbags made me stop and think a little more about my own life, and life generally as a millennial.

Amara La Negra, black Latina superstar was telling her mother that she’s tired of faking a life that she doesn’t have to the public eye.

From an outsider’s perspective, she’s got it all goooooing. I mean heck, she even had her millionaire friend fighting for her. Everybody wants to jump on the ALN (Amara La Negra) bandwagon. But she’s unfortunately not looking for passengers.

That’s cos she can only handle one passenger at a time, and the only one she can bear to carry is herself.

“Your cup runneth over. What comes out of the cup is for others… What’s in the cup is for you… Just don’t confuse the two.” – Iyanla Vanzant.

Watching ALN cry lit a bulb in my mind. I literally experienced an ‘Aha!’ moment,  that last year was a peer-pressure loaded one for me.  I was so hell bent on flowing with the wave and FOMO and looking cool, that I failed to realize that I was spending too much money doing what all millennials do: hang out with the same people and burn otherwise savable-money on the same things.

It’s no lie that we’re a microwave generation.

We covet things instantly and are unwilling to take time to work on what we really want. We want the money. And some more. And more of that.

It doesn’t help that the craze is everywhere; skinny girls desire to be thick and thick girls fancy cellulite free skinny-girl-skin. Young boys want big money and cars and older men crave the youthfulness that young guys detest.

Going through your quarter-life crisis makes you realize that shit has hit the fan.

Oh! You guys are going for pizza? Oh yeah, lemme tag along!

Or Oh, I just happened to be in your hood, si you chomoka I derail you a bit we go for one-two rounds?

The madness of going-with-the-flow needs to be halted. Until after you get your life in order: finances, goals, achievements, the whole lot. Thinking past immediate desires isn’t just wise, it’s vision.

Now you have bills that you MUST pay; dreams that you MUST achieve, people that you MUST leave in the past; relationships that MUST be dealt with; plans that MUST be cancelled; work that MUST be delivered.

There are no more excuses to being sloppy.

You’ll also realize that friendships are more glamorized than they should, and instead of feeling guilty that you’ve been accused of being SELFISH with your time, you realize that you become SELF-FULL. You prefer spending that same time helping your mum do her grocery shopping than turn up with your friends; or become strong enough to end that relationship you had hoped was the one, but the red flags were waving too high up.

You’ll also never get it right. And that’s perfectly fine. What you need to do, is to just get started.

Kuteseka ni kwa muda tu.

For now;  keep your head high and focus on keeping the MAIN THING; the MAIN THING.

Music Review: Omarion In Kenya

You’ve got to understand the type of guy Omarion is.

His face is honey-dripping good looking. He’s got baby soft skin and a 6-pack worth licking ice cubes from. His hair is styled so stylishly well; shout out to his black barber back in California and he looks like his scent is simply divine.

He’s summed up like a well-carved music demigod.

But that’s merely the tip of the iceberg.

Omarion absorbs culture. He lives it, breathes it, revels in it.

He’s a humble millionaire superstar (with an alleged net worth of $8M, converted to Kshs 800M) who graced Nairobi over the weekend and took in every tradition that came his way.

Blending with Maasai Warriors? Oh yes, them included. He claimed their tradition and danced along with them. Head over to @KenyanVibe on Twitter and get a glimpse of O (At this point we’re all boys with Omarion after he landed to the motherland, so we can simply call him ‘O’.) He’s dressed in full gear Maasai regalia and if you didn’t know him for the superstar that he is, you’d easily assume him one of the clan.

That having been said, Omarion posted a video of himself dancing with the staff at what looked like Crowne Hotel, Upperhill, who were singing (in the most disheveled melodic version yet) the zilizopendwa song, ‘Jambo’ to Omarion. But he and his entourage didn’t seem to mind. They were busy embracing a Swahili welcome, in Africa, ready to turn up and have a good time, as you could tell from the various ‘eeeys’ in their selfie-videos.

So in comes his performance at the Ngong’ Racecourse.

Unfortunately I got to the event quite late, never had the opportunity to check out the new cats in the music industry as well as some of the more familiar faces. But I did make the mental note to check out some performances on social media from artists such as Dela. Her outfit could only be summed up in one phrase: Angel meets Riri.

I also saw a clip of Fena Gitu performing with her gang; BlinkyBill, Kagwe, Mayonde and MDQ, and they all looked like the kind of squad you’d want in your lane.

From reviews, I heard Le Band did quite the job on stage too. And it was expected. I mean, they’re like the new Sauti Sol, right? We all think it. At first we thought that H_art the Band was the new Sauti Sol, but they’re too eccentric for our laid back gents. So Le Band fits the bill quite snuggly. Which is good, because Sauti Sol are now internationally recognized.

Other notable acts were from Mvroe & Kiwango, Marcus & Shappaman, What’s Good Live’s Barak Jacuzzi, Alpha Mars and P.R.O.

I also got in in time to meet Amina hosting the show, with her long black tutu skirt, and Dj Joe Mfalme hosting on the decks.

Vera Sidika’s Veetox stand was literally the first thing you saw as you walked into the venue and I kid you not, I saw her getting ushered into the backstage by 2 fully dressed army guys with AK 47s dangerously dangling on their sides, walking right behind her ready to snub a guy if they even tried to wave at the girl. I thought the act quite peculiar but hey, if you’ve got Vera Sidika money then I guess you can literally do anything you damn want.

At this point, we all want to have rich men in our lives, going by Vera’s and Akothee’s lifestyles. But that’s a story for another day.

Back to our main man, O.

I literally only recall him singing ‘MIA’, a collaboration with rapper Wale. I mean, that’s the first song I remember listening to after I secured a tight spot right next to the stage where girls were out rightly competing to touch his cream-suede boots and end up yelling. “Oh my gosh, it’s really him!” on live Instagram feeds.

O then changed, or rather, grabbed an Ankara jean jacket over his black vest, and came out to perform ‘Post to Be’,Body on Me’ and lastly, the famous Orange hoodie for ‘Distance’.

The crowd was full of screaming girls and a bunch of drunken guys off of Hennessy. The rest were too busy filming for their social media fans to actually enjoy the music.  A couple handful, like me, were the only ones who truly seemed to live in the moment, and watch this iconic star that we’ve grown up bumping to, perform right here in the heart of our city.

My expectations for O’s performance were a bit higher than what was delivered. I’m not gonna lie.

I thought he’d come with a troop of dancers and perform live and make me wail and cry about how freezing my ice-boxed heart has become.

I went for Chris Brown in Mombasa last year and that show was all words EPIC. Even though he’d traveled with only 2 dancers. But we forgave him. Maybe cos Chris Brown has always been relevant to our music scene.

In fact, I believe the crowd was more hyped over the fact that Omarion was standing right before their eyeballs, as opposed to the fact that they should’ve been bumping to his actual music.

His performance with just 1 hype man on his side was however pardoned with the fact that he made us all lark-giddy by his ‘Distance’ performance, which let’s all agree, was the main chant of the night.

Another thing he did right though, unlike most International acts, was truly appreciate his fans.

Like the guy just stood at the back of the stage and bumped along with the crowd to African songs like Darassa’s Muziki. (And what’s with the ‘Bra, bra, bra, staki kusiskia phrase?’ As thought someone was paying homage to a girl’s bra. In the guy’s defense, the phrase worked cos nowadays it sounds cooler to say ‘bra, bra, bra’ as opposed to ‘bluh, bluh, bluh’. Try it you’ll see. And be sure to insert his intonation as you say it.)

O also danced to Davido’s ‘If’, a song we all know he likes to jam to from his former Instagram posts.

What irked me was the fact that the Dj on O’s live set never even played ONE Kenyan song. Like, he couldn’t even let O see us jam to the ‘Mwanaume sembe/mazgwembe’ song? Or maybe some Nyashinski or Toa Tint?

Another lesson to be learnt on just how much we need to address and incorporate our own authentic stuff in relation to other guest acts.

Then O also gave out personally autographed cool orange hoodies. We can assume that O has officially made orange hoodies a thing. I need to go thrift-shopping for one soon.

All said and done, the inaugural #AfropopFestival was an overall success, minus the petty Ngong’ Racecourse thieves here and there and the lack of adept lighting towards the entrance of the event; an event that ended after a 45 minute performance-wrap that left fans feeling shortchanged.

Let’s Talk Skin Bleaching, And Khaligraph Jones

The meme spread round like wildfire. Like an untamable STI.

Rapper Khaligraph Jones was the topic of discussion this time, and thankfully not Vera Sidika. In an interview with Larry Madowo on NTV’s ‘The Trend’, Khaligraph looked quite eerr… light.

Now this is a brother hailing from the roots of Kayole streets, or UK (United Kayole), as he prefers us to know. And we all know our Kayole brothers are as dark as they come. Not to state that being dark is a bad thing, or a hustler thing, I’m quite dark-skinned, if I may say so. But the implication that your skin changes in monetary hierarchy, is what is being implied here.

See Khaligraph came from the mtaa. A couple of successful hits and rap videos later, not only has his accent changed, but so has his skin too. His face got him looking like Huddah, but his hands like Akothee, so the memes so explicitly implied.

Khaligraph blamed the look on his makeup artist, claiming that she had used a lighter foundation to his skin, but the public court had already judged him guilty of skin enlightenment.

But is it such a bad thing?

We’ve got socialites in Kenya such as Vera Sidika, Huddah Monroe and Nairobi Diaries’ Bridget, who out rightly came clean that they had ‘bleached’ or rather, endured skin enhancement.

Does this grant us the right to judge, mock or simply make fun of them? We too pull stunts to make us feel better about ourselves.

For instance, I’m trying to play mind tricks on my brain that I’m enjoying my iced Earl Grey green tea so that I can lose weight. And I’m not gonna lie, I’ve also been deliberating with the idea of purchasing slim tea. The Before/After Ads from success stories of girls who’ve worshiped slim tea are beginning to seem more and more convincing.

And because I try to enhance my body, I’m hoping that it doesn’t make me a bad person, and that neither does it set me apart from something like skin bleaching.

True, it’s important to accept yourself as you are. That we are all molded beautifully and wonderfully by God. We get it. But did you ever stop to consider that maybe; most people are fooling themselves by pretending that they are indeed happy? And what possible harm could a little skin enlightenment or fat loss make? I mean, it’s not like the nay-sayers are paying for the injections or the pills or the slim tea-bags.

So should we crucify Khaligraph for something that he felt would enhance his career? Absolutely not. If he wants to be a light-skinned rapper, let him be. At least now the fake accent will match the fake skin, right?

The point here is that people should be left to do as they please. The whole ‘Appreciate yourself as you are’ movement should focus more on their success stories, of influential people who are proud of their dark melanin as opposed to shifting the spotlight on innocent celebrities who want to enhance their lifestyles as they deem fit.

You may also argue that such so-called celebs have young fans that look up to them and try to be like them. Well, I believe that the world always brings balance in life. What is meant to happen will be. And so if it was destined for some of the fans to follow suit, they would have still bleached, with or without their celeb’s influence.

We’ve also heard of the possible side-effects of bleaching, but that’s a personal decision made by the skin bleachers.

To each, their own cross.

To you the antagonist, sip your tea quietly and mind your own business.


Random Things You Didn’t Know About Lupita Nyong’o

The only time Lupita came back home was in the accompaniment of Vogue Magazine, just after she’d won her Oscar. She was welcomed in warm African celebrations, by choirs and choirs of well-rehearsed praise songs from young school girls.

She was lucky enough to get a shout out from Jay-Z in his song ‘We Made It’, where he mentioned the phrase, ‘I’m on my Lupita Nyong’o!’ Lupita only heard about it from her younger brother (remember the one in the memorable and most retweeted selfie?), who then sent her numerous voice notes on WhatsApp yelling, “Yow! Yow! Jay-Z!”

Lupita also met Beyoncé at a hotel where she and her sister Solange walked up to Lupita and introduced themselves to her! Can you imagine that? Beyoncé walking up and introducing herself to you, as though you didn’t know her! Lupita is also girls with Rihanna and Angelina Jolie and Cate Blanchett.

But many don’t know that Lupita started out her acting career right here in Nairobi, Kenya. She officially debut her acting in season one of Shuga; an African series depicting the myths and stigmas surrounding HIV and AIDS.

She’s since then been on the cover of Vogue three times and won an Oscar after her first Hollywood launch, and is the face of Lancôme Paris, among other magazine covers and awards.

But that’s not why we simply adore Lupita.

The reason we’re enamoured by her is because of the little things that most people know not of her.

She’s honored to fly our Kenyan flag high up. She premiered Kisumu County, and initiated the appearance of her grandmother as well as her mother in Vogue and that to us, to her fellow countrymen, is as good as gold.

Lupita is considered Hollywood royalty, a treasured muse, an African goddess.

The girl proudly walks around in her rich dark Luo skin and adorns African Kanga fabrics when she heads on to interviews to celebrated TV shows such as The Ellen Show and Jimmy Kimmel Live, and even got a personal invitation to Oprah’s house for lunch.

Lupita’s name is also mentioned as the benchmark for the acclaimed movement, #BlackGirlMagic and #BlackGirlsRock, where even other TV shows such as Being Mary Jane, Scandal and Wendy celebrate her for inspiring black women to gain confidence in their dark skin.

She hails from the origins of Ugali and Fish and Avocado. She would love to know how to make her staple food Ugali, and whenever is in town, spends time with her mother who shows her how to make it while using a jiko. She eats the delicacy in the company of her parents in an authentic Luo style; with fish and sukuma wiki while using her hands as cutlery.

She also likes to narrate to them silly stories, as a daughter would entertain her parents, of large hotel monkeys with blue balls stealing her mangoes as though they were a typical cocktail glass.

For breakfast, Lupita prefers to eat plantains, sweet potatoes and blueberries. She loves the occasional walk in the park in Brooklyn and wastes her weekends watching movies. She junks on a good margarita pizza and is particularly specific about her taste in fashion.

Her favorite drink is pineapple juice and fave workout song is ‘So Special’ by Jamaican artist, Mavado.

Lupita lionizes her mother as the most stylish woman in the world, moved to Mexico at the tender age of 16 all by herself, and if she had to make a choice, would prefer to sight giraffes other than zebras at a park.

She ascertains that growing up in Kenya was normal for her, nothing out of the norm as most white people imagine and would love a tattoo of an infinity sign in-between her fingers.

She winds off by listening to John Legend and Nina Simone, and her acting goal is to cameo in Game of Thrones.

Best rap lyric? ‘A lady in the streets, but a freak in the bed.’

Her advice to you reader, is to not sweat the small stuff and if she wasn’t an actress, she’d be a massage therapist.

See why we love Lupita?