Category Archives: TV

#ConversationWith: Faith Muturi-Ngugi

After 4 years of hosting NTV’s Sunday morning gospel show Crossover101, Faith Muturi-Ngugi has called it quits.

ModerateKenyan chatted with her just minutes after she hosted her final show.

faith alone

ModerateKenyan: You just hosted you last show. How do you feel.

Faith: Overwhelmed.  So so overwhelmed by the love everyone has shown me. We have really journeyed together. First the feedback got me to tears. You realize you have formed a relationship with people. Shocked by the way the crew and my family planned the final surprise of having my family show up on my final show. My hubby dropped me in the morning and did not say anything. Imagine my surprise at him walking in to the set. It has taught me the importance of finishing well. I resigned in May but stayed on till end of July to ensure a smooth transition happens. Glad I stayed.

ModerateKenyan: Why are you leaving is what everyone is asking.

Faith: I am leaving because it is time. . No I am not trying to be deep, I just feel that it is time.  Life has seasons. My season at Crossover is over.

ModerateKenyan: Let’s go back to the beginning. How did you start.

Faith: I had wanted to be on TV six years ago but one of the TV stations rejected me saying I was not cut out for TV. Then four years ago a pal told me Crossover were looking for a host. Imagine they had already finished doing screen tests and even shortlisted but I showed up and they liked me. I did a screen test on Saturday 5pm and was on air on Sunday morning and the rest is history. Goes to show that when God opens a door, He really does open the door.

ModerateKenyan: How was your first Crossover show.

Faith: Wow! Not sure I should say this. I had never watched Crossover but I obviously could not say that at the interview. Had also never met DJ Mo or Sadic so did not know who was who (laughs). Why did you not google you ask? Well, my internet was flaky so could not Google. I was a Psychology major and had no clue about broadcast. It may seem like I was totally flying blind but I was not. I had been doing youth ministry for four years, 5 days a week, 9 high schools a week and I did not know it then but that was my education for TV hosting.

Faith-DjMo

ModerateKenyan: Co-hosting with DJ Mo.

Faith: When I started we were two hosts, two DJs. Learnt a lot from Allan T and Sadic. Then they left and it was just Mo and I.  We have amazing chemistry and bring out the best in each other. I feel that I am a better everything because of Mo. We have moved from being just colleagues to great friends who have each other’s backs. We are also great family friends now. It took him so long to accept that I am leaving. (sigh)

ModerateKenyan: Shows that stand out.

Faith: Honouring Kaberere. That was very very emotional. (pauses for a awhile). We also did a throw back show and dressed like 70s guys, then there was a reggae show (laughs). The first show also stands out. The theme was forgiveness and the impact was phenomenal. It is hard to pick a show but trust me all the laughing and dancing on Crossover has a HUGE impact.

music on cross over

ModerateKenyan: Has Crossover gone too far towards secular.

Faith: I came into the show as the deep one given that I am a pastor’s daughter but I have changed. Some songs I cannot sing along too and I do not understand but the youth relate totally with the songs and the musicians. I do outreach in the slums and I ask the gospel artistes to come perform. When we go by ourselves they do not listen but when a musician they love sings first then we talk after they listen to us totally. Through the music, which may seem secular we are able to change lives. The Bible says we shall know them by their fruits. It is easy to judge and not understand and call it going to far but Crossover is changing lives through what works in this generation.

cross-over-101-new-post

ModerateKenyan: How have you changed.

Faith: Ha ha. My look has changed. No, seriously, yes I have changed a lot. I am more conscious of the audience. I have moved from I know everything and the Bible is in my head and wanting to preach to seeking to connect and reach my audience at their level. Preaching at folk does not help anyone. Jesus used parables and really got the message home.

ModerateKenyan: The look.

Faith: Hahahaha. Let us just say many many many people have worked hard to get me here. It is still a work in progress but I am glad I have found my style. Dressing curvy me is not easy but I am now able to express my values, personality and still be trendy.

Faith-Muturi curves

ModerateKenyan: The curves.

Faith: You know my pal sent me a screenshot. Ati if you google Faith Muturi there is an option for Faith Muturi hips. (laughs and laughs and laughs) The curves have enabled us to push the Gospel. If someone watched Crossover because of the curves and stayed on longer and got ministered to then I am grateful. I have also shown that you can be curvaceous yet decent and with values.

ModerateKenyan: Baby bump. Congratulations.

Faith: Thank you. We are 5 months. It has been an amazing journey. I am blessed.

crossover-faith-muturi-pregnant-photo

ModerateKenyan: Boy or girl:

Faith: (rubs her belly) Hmmmmm. I shall tell you in the next interview. (smiles and winks) There is another interview, no? (laughs)

ModerateKenyan: Did pregnancy influence your decision to leave?

Faith: Since last Year I have felt it is time to leave. This was before expecting. So leaving was going to happen but pregnancy played a part. Ladies have worked in the media while pregnant and it should not matter only that for me I have a lot on my plate. I am a corporate trainer with over ten years experience; I do the Simama Outreach program where last year we had over 3,000 youth. Now add baby and husband then Crossover. Something has gotta give.

ModerateKenyan: Will you make a return to our screens?

Faith: (smiles) Watch this space.

message for season

GOD BLESS KENYA!


#ConversationWith Kamene Goro: Kicking Ass! (Personal)

The Igbo say if a child washes her hands she can eat with the Kings.

Kamene Goro is an accidental journalist who is lapping up the spotlight while leaving a string of achievements not to mention admirers in her wake.

Two years ago Kamene was a 21 year University of Nairobi Law student. She is now a Senior Anchor at EbruTV who also hosts two hour-long content-intensive talk shows per week.

ebru chics

I met her at Java Junction for a chat over masala tea (me) and vanilla milkshake (her) and it was a laugh-a-minute conversation with her various personalities peeking out and her brains shining through.

She strutted into Java in a low cut pink top complimented with an afro-necklace on her cleavage, fitting knee-length black skirt which hugged her very voluptuous curves, pink high heels with a Masaai-ankle bracelet and spotting cornrows, big shades, many bracelets, a man watch and impeccably done very long nails.

Our chat began with the professional, then went into the personal and goofy…

curves

ModerateKenyan: Describe yourself.

Kamene: Firework. Phoenix. Indelible.

ModerateKenyan: How would your friends describe you.

Kamene: (laughs for long) Crazy.

ModerateKenyan: Your enemies.

Kamene: (pauses..cocks head to one side..) I do not have enemies. I am simple nice chic to all.

ModerateKenyan: Most important person.

Kamene: Simplest question. My mum. My baby sis.

ModerateKenyan: Most important thing.

Kamene: My career. I am in love with my job.

laughs

ModerateKenyan: Happiest moment in your life so far.

Kamene: (thinks..) I have had so many (laughs). Last year I had worked daily for 4 months straight. Took a break, went to the coast by myself. It was magical…view of the sea, the sunrise in bed. I love space and air. Thinking of it is giving me goosebumps. (laughs…)

ModerateKenyan: Most difficult moment in your life so far.

Kamene: Career going up. My relationship with long-time boyfriend going south. Having to pick between the two. It was terrible. It had to be done. No regrets. Just lessons.

frontal

ModerateKenyan: Favourite music, food, colour.

Kamene: I love colour. Yellow, black, I can wear a rainbow (laughs). White rice should be banned! Hate it. Everything else I will eat. I can cook very well. Broad taste in music. It dependents on my mood.

ModerateKenyan: What can you not live the house without.

Kamene: My phone. We are in a relationship (laughs). Crazy about Instagram…need pics.

ModerateKenyan: What is on your bucket list.

Kamene: Hahahahaha. Too crazy to say. Hahahaha. The PG list is sky diving, scuba diving, visit Tomorrow land and also go to Jamaica.

ModerateKenyan: Random things you would like to share.

Kamene: I LOVE books. I am a member of the 4/20 movement (we laugh and fist bump). I have 5 tattoos (I stare and she laughs), in concealable spaces (more laughs).

*her phone rings…it is her boss…asking about her Just the facts talk show..*

Kamene: I have to go. Work calls.

And she struts out like she walked in.

Confident in her brains, personality, skin and curves.

One to watch. Literally and figuratively.

GOD BLESS KENYA!

Photos – Kamene’s.


#ConversationWith Kamene Goro: Kicking Ass! (Professional)

The Igbo say if a child washes her hands she can eat with the Kings.

Kamene Goro is an accidental journalist who is up lapping up the spotlight while leaving a string of achievements not to mention admirers in her wake.

student

Two years ago Kamene was a 21 year old University of Nairobi Law student. She is now a Senior Anchor at EbruTV, a pan-African TV station based in Nairobi. She also hosts two hour-long content-intensive talk shows per week.

in studio

I met her at Java Junction for a chat over masala tea (me) and vanilla milkshake (her) and it was a laugh-a-minute conversation with her different personalities peeking out and her brains shining through.

She strutted into Java in a low cut pink top complimented with an afro-necklace lying on her cleavage, a fitting knee-length black skirt which hugged her very voluptuous figure, pink high heels with a Masaai-ankle bracelet and spotting cornrows, big shades, many bracelets, a man watch and impeccably done very long nails.

ModerateKenyan: Law student to journalist. How, why, when…

Kamene: Always wanted to do Broadcast Journalism. My parents thought I should do a solid degree so Law it was. Parents also thought after years of private school it was time for public school to balance out. So from Rusinga School to UoN Law School. Culture shock at first but then turned out to be best 4 years of my life. Mum always knew of my dream so when she met EbruTV director she told him about it and I was invited for a screen test. Took me two weeks to gather courage go and then I totally sucked. But the Head of News at EbruTV, Mr. Nadir saw something in me and he took me in and mentored me. It was a steep learning curve but I am a quick study. The late Reena Shivisi was my biggest cheerleader and teacher.

ModerateKenyan: What do you do at EbruTV.

Kamene: I am the main anchor. Do the Prime time bulletin Monday – Friday. Occasionally do the Lunchtime as well as Early Evening bulletin. I also host two talk shows: Just the Facts on Thursday 9.20pm and News in focus, thrice a week after Prime time news. In addition I am a general news reporter who regularly goes out on assignment.

ModerateKenyan: Biggest story/interview so far.

Kamene: Interview with Raila on Just the Facts. It was herculean task to get him but it was worth the effort. He is an enigma and he is painted as a villain but he is very very cool. He loves Kenya so much. He is a great man, a great visionary. I learnt so much from him. He is human. Also I love that he got and laughed at my jokes!

raila interview

ModerateKenyan: Worst experience at work.

Kamene: It is hard being a woman in the media industry. It is a harsh world. Quite fucked up. Think Game of Thrones. Men (politicians, corporate big shots etc) can be slimy. Achieving work goals and retaining your respectability is a tough balance. Daily difficult challenges. Different pot of shit daily to gobble up. It looks glam but it is not all glam. There is a lot of blood, sweat and tears.

ModerateKenyan: Day in your life.

Kamene: My baby sister wakes me up at 6am on her way to school. Mum checks in at 7am for a catch-up chat. Listen to music to get into the mood. Pick clothes (hate it, it’s hard, being on TV means everyone has opinion on my outfit). Do not take breakfast. Get to work at 11am and leave earliest at 11pm daily. Basically a 12 hour shift.

editing

ModerateKenyan: Are you a celebrity.

Kamene: (scowls) No! Yuck. Shindwe. Hate that word.

ModerateKenyan: Consider yourself eye-candy/sex siren on screen.

Kamene: (laughs) What is that? (laughs again) I am so oblivious. I am a tomboy. I think like a man. Hahaha. Love my tees and sweatpants.

ModerateKenyan: Come on…

Kamene: Okay. It is hard not to be seen as a sex siren. No clothes can hide my curves (laughs). Cannot change my looks (shrugs). When am dressing I think what would be okay to wear in front of mum-in-law while still having fun and being me. Cannot help what men will see or look at.

studio2

ModerateKenyan: Attention due to job.

Kamene: (laughs) It can be crazy…proposals from Nigerians, 400 friend requests on facebook a day, stalkers…(pauses) other crazy things I cannot talk about…hahahaha…no complaints though…it comes with the job…plus I am friendly person, believe living life with open arms..past a certain limit I will block, ignore..I am a big girl…can handle myself…(laughs)

ModerateKenyan: Parting shot on work.

Kamene: (serious pose, hands clasped) You will most likely get once chance at a lucky break. Own it. Run with it. Be on beast mode. Kick ass.

GOD BLESS KENYA!

(Keep it here for part two which has the Personal (and goofy) side of Kamene)

Photos – Kamene’s


Gagged

The passage by a handful of MPs of the Kenya Information & Communication Amendment Bill 2013 has caused shock waves in the country.

For Kenyans old enough to remember, this feels like the start of a return to the dark days of dictatorship when KANU was baba na mama. For the younger ‘digital’ generation who have no recollection of Kenya Broadcasting Corporation ruling the airwaves and bulletins riddled with Mtukufu Rais, the hullabaloo may seem to be overkill or even a timely blow to the unfashionable traditional media.

As for the Kenyan media for whom the bill has direct impact, shock is an understatement. Just the other day, tea and a photo-op at Statehouse was the hottest ticket in town. Now the members of the Fourth Estate are learning, if you jump into bed with someone, do not be surprised if they screw you.

Image

Before jumping in on the debate which was unfolding on my social media space I took time to read up on the laws, bills and amendments in question.

There is the Kenya Information & Communication Act of 1998 which is subject to the 2013 amendment Bill which sailed through parliament and now awaits Presidential assent. Then there is the Media Council Bill 2013 which in MY reading repeals part/all of the Media Act 2007.

Both the KIC Amendment 2013 and Media Council Bill are being pushed by Aden Dualle, Leader of Majority in Parliament and also Hawk-Extraordinaire for Jubilee. I am unsure whether he is fronting the bills in his individual capacity or as the government head in parliament.

As a matter of full disclosure, I am a journalist or is it broadcaster or is it media practitioner? It depends on which of definition of the diverse media laws you read. But more importantly, I am a Kenyan worried about the slippery slope the country has embarked on. Echoes of China or Uganda anyone?

Let us start with the Kenya Information & Communication (KIC) Amendment Bill 2013:

The Communication Commission of Kenya (CCK) is to be replaced with the Communication Authority of Kenya (CAK).

According to Section 6A, the board of the CAK shall comprise of a Chair who will be appointed by the President, Principal Secretaries of Information, Interior, National Budget and 7 persons appointed by the Cabinet Secretary of Information.

According to Section 6E, the CAK Board will establish a Broadcasting Standards Committee. This committee will administer broadcasting content, formulate media standards and regulate and monitor compliance.

Section 34 of KIC Amendment Bill 2013 seeks to amend Section 102 of the 1998 Act. This is the part dealing with the Appeals Tribunal. In 1998 Act, the tribunal was made up of a chair who is an advocate of the High Court of Kenya, 2 people chosen by the Minister for Communication and 2 people forwarded by Media Council of Kenya. In the 2013 Amendment, the tribunal is to be made up of a Chair who is a Judge appointed by JSC and 4 people chosen by the Cabinet Secretary of Information.  Quorum is 3 = Chairman + 2 members.

Surprise addition to this part is the punitive fines to media houses and threat of fines and deregistration to individual journalists. (This was not on the amendment put forward so my take is this was an on the floor of parliament addition.)

The Appeals Tribunal part of the KIC Amendment 2013 Bill is what has caused major furore. Mega fines with threat of accounts getting attached is sure to get tongues wagging. But in my (very layman) opinion I think this KIC Amendment 2013 Bill in totality is in bad faith.

The entire board of the CAK which has sweeping powers is made up entirely of government functionaries. How can they be fair?

The Broadcasting Standards Committee will be established by the CAK. Its function of to administer content, formulate standards, regulate and monitor compliance has a terrible ring to it. Does this not sound like some Communist country in the 1980s not Kenya in 2013? This to me is even worse than the Appeals Tribunal.

Then there is the threat of suspension and de-registration of journalists. Is there/was there a registration of journalists conducted? And just to ensure absolute supplication, there is the threat of individual fines up to the tune of one million which may lead to journalist accounts getting attached.

This the bill in front of the President.

Image

Let us now check out the Media Council Bill 2013:

It is quite a long bill which for large parts addresses itself to the nitty-gritty’s of the running of the Media Council. However, it still finds space to address journalists and journalism.

The first thing I did in this Bill was to re-read the Code of Conduct for Journalists which is in the Second Schedule. By and large have no problem with the code. Methinks, it should be required reading for all with an interest in media.

My reading of Section 8-11 is that for all intents and purpose appointment to the 7 member Media Council is in the hands of the Cabinet Secretary of Information.  Does this then not make the Council a government puppet?

According to Section 45(a) the Cabinet Secretary of Information may from time to time amend the Code of Conduct for Journalists. Imagine that?

Section 28 talks of the council setting up a Complaints Commission whose functions are in Section 32.

Perhaps lawyers can illuminate this. How does Section 34 of Appeals Tribunal in the Kenya Information & Communication Amendment Bill 2013 relate/co-exist with Section 32 of the Media Council Bill 2013?

This Bill is still snaking its way through Parliament.

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In conclusion:

Let me remind everyone that freedom of the media is enshrined in the constitution under Article 34. I also understand that no freedom is absolute. Actually, regulation of the media is a constitutional requirement under Article 34 (5c).

However, I totally dispute that government through the Cabinet Secretary of Information and his lackeys can be trusted to be 100% decider of what the media can or cannot broadcast.  That is wrong on so many levels and I shudder to imagine that the Jubilee government is seeking to return us to the dark old days.

The two bills as presently constituted are wrong both in the letter and spirit of the law. Will President Uhuru Kenyatta stand on the right or wrong side of this debate? Let’s wait and see.

GOD BLESS KENYA.

(all images are courtesy of Google)


My Unspoken – Premiere review

In many cultures across the world, problems concerning matters of the heart, family disputes and habits were discussed behind closed doors and mostly by elders.

This was not entirely to hide things (hiding did happen) but to ensure that the reputation and the feelings of all the parties involved were prudently looked after and to also tap into the wisdom of the elders.

Times are changing. It is now the norm in certain quarters to talk about these matters publicly and with no regard to age. Whether this new way of doing things is good or bad only time will tell.

With that background I want to talk about My Unspoken which aired last night on NTV at 10pm.

Image courtesy of Google

Its promo was quite eye-catching and it fueled my curiosity to watch.

For those who did not watch it is a counseling session where a group of women are helped by a counselor/life-coach to confront the demons of their past and live life anew.

It is normally run under the Alabastron programme and this was its premiere on TV.

Totally get the media sense for NTV to air the show. Women crying, opening up about their ordeals, being guided through how to make things better does make for great television which means audience numbers go up. This boosts ratings and by extension advertisers.

Ponder about the confidentiality aspect though. A woman may be strong and ready to go on national television and bare her soul to millions but we do not live in isolation. As individuals we are parts of a greater society. So if a woman goes on TV and accuses her husband of battering, what does that do to her children, her husband, her extended family? And even if now it seems a great idea to be on TV, 10 years from now will she be happy about the footage that will be accessible to all online?

Also asked myself where is the voice the accused? We heard of husbands who battered, uncles who raped, mothers who were negligent. None of these were giving a hearing. Balance is key in media. You always strive to get both sides of the story. So is NTV opening itself up for defamation suits?

Let me digress, defamation is the airing of content that soils a persons otherwise good name and causes them to be shunned by right thinking members of the society. You may say that no names were mentioned but if you say uncle who raised me, my husband, my mother then that is as good as naming them. And in defamation the burden is on ‘he who alleges’ so NTV by airing the accusations will be expected to provide evidence of alleged crime.

Moving on, to me counseling is meant to heal and bring closure. Confront the issue or the person and deal with it. How they will achieve this on TV is beyond me. Shouldn’t counseling be private and individual? How then do you have people with varying problems all in one room and then proceed to diagnose them and prescribe solutions?

The counselor also greatly matters. The show’s counselor comes across to me as trying to be mix of Tyra, Oprah and Dr. Phil. This leads me to the fact that the qualifications of the counselor were not presented for scrutiny. Who is she and what is her locus standi?

The fact that there was reference to auditions being held for the women who were then chosen to appear on TV based on the ‘gravity’ of their emotional hurt is something I found off. Emotional hurt or psychological trauma is not a joke or something to be trifled with.

Should counseling be a subject for Reality TV? The model has worked in Tyra, Oprah and Dr. Phil but will it work in our society? What is our culture? What is our world view? How do we address home/private matters? It is all well and good to say we are urban and sophisticated and that we can talk about everything in publicly now but is this the case in Mogotio or Nguruweni?

I am not belittling the women who bravely told their stories on national TV but all I heard was how other people’s actions ruined their lives. Thus I wonder should we encourage the culture of calling up someone to help you fix your problems instead of taking charge of your life and charting the course? Maina Kageni breakfast show is a long running example of where folk chose to hand over the reins of their lives to other people to make decisions for them.

Finally what is the utility value of the show? And what is the impact that it might eventually have to an audience?

Spoke to my psychiatrist friend and apart from him being appalled by the show he spoke of trend building. This is where bad things through gradually media acceptance are seen to be cool and they became a fad to the audience. Easiest way to illustrate is that through Maina’s breakfast show, cheating in marriage in Kenya has been made normal.

That is the power of the media.

From the show I got the fact that women (people) are carrying around incredible baggage. I totally agree that the issues raised need to be addressed. Regular readers will know how I am entirely against censorship or burying heads in the sand.

My concern is regarding the mode and means of doing so – Group counseling on national television.

Have several friends who are all praises regarding Alabastron.

Spoke to one today and she insisted that the society has been silent for too long and it is time we addressed the injustices visited on women (people) emotionally or psychologically.

She contended that while men are able to compartmentalize their issues women will carry their hurt into every aspect of their lives. Therefore she felt that Alabastron is a brilliant initiative.

Regarding the My Unspoken TV show she asked me to reserve judgment until I have watched all the 13 episodes. I shall do so but that does not mean I cannot comment on the first show that I watched. That is the spirit in which this ‘review’ is written.

This post has many questions because the show left me with very many questions. On media programming, on influence of churches and church leaders, on the rise of reality TV and on the state of families, marriages and relationships in Kenya. I am still musing over them.

As usual, this is a conversation.

What did you think of My Unspoken?

GOD BLESS KENYA!

 


Hapa na pale

The Ruto+Uhuru v Raila ‘mine is bigger than yours’ contest has left a bad taste in my mouth. The less said about that the better.

I have a Sunday night ritual. Those who follow me on Twitter are familiar with my ‘Sunday night at the local’ tweets. I love reggae music. There is something about the drumbeat and the conscious message that has appealed to me ever since I was a young boy listening to Jeff Mwangemi’s Reggae Time on KBC English Service back in the day.

Sunday Night Reggae however is more than just about reggae music and drinking. It is also about the community. I live in the hood and Sunday Night Reggae is the BBC and CNN of the hood. Who did what, to who, where, how and when are all adequately dissected and analysed. It is truly ‘Nusu ya Kuonana’ as the KBC salaams guys used to say. (Aside: anyone remember John Shoto Umnyololo kutoka Shamakhoho?)

Anyway, I was at the local this past Sunday and the DJ went on a trip down memory lane. He played all the ragamuffin hits from the 90s and the contrast was hilarious. The older guys were all excited while the younger guys had alama ya mshangao! Yes, before bendover there was chini kwa chini and before that there was shika shika time. It is funny how every generation thinks it’s the epitome of cool.

I love that the Kenya Premier League is finally getting massive support from Kenyans. The clubs that have managed to attracted fanatical support are AFC Leopards (Ingwe), Gor Mahia (K’ogalo) and Sofapaka (Batoto ba Mungu). SuperSport and FKL laid a good foundation several years back and players are now professionals with salaries of up to Kshs 100,000. It is my prayer that Nyamweya’s KFF will not drop the ball and will now work on upgrading the tactical levels of the game now that stadia are filled.

There was a song I forget by who which asked, Kati ya Man U na Arsenali gani kali? Maybe another forgettable musician (I am using this term loosely) should do a Kati ya Lillian Muli na Janet Mbugua nani msupuu?

Before they do let me bravely venture into this minefield. I have asked around. Many women have distaste for Lillian Muli while they have a soft spot for Janet Mbugua. For men it is the opposite, they have the ‘hots’ for Lillian Muli while they are indifferent to Janet Mbugua. I wonder why.

My one cent on the matter is that Lillian Muli really puts an effort into ‘Brand Lillian’. From how she dresses, how she walks, poses and smiles. I may have an issue with what ‘Brand Lillian’ espouses but I have to applaud the effort. On the other hand, Janet Mbugua comes across as bland and boring. Yaani yuko tu!

Again, it is MY one cent. Now go ahead and shoot the messenger :).

GOD BLESS KENYA!


Gospesecular?

There is no doubt that the Kenyan gospel music scene is growing at an amazing rate. The two gospel music events on 31ST Dec – Groove Party and TSO – were full to capacity and aired on two mainstream TV channels. That is no small achievement. Talking of TV, on Sunday, between 6am and 1pm ALL TV channels have gospel content and gospel music shows getting airplay.

This should be a cause for celebration. However there are questions arising as to whether Kenyan gospel music has gone too far and actually turned secular. Several occurrences in the recent past have made me to pen this post.

Firstly, I stumbled on a discussion on Hope FM mid-morning that chilled me. In studio was a couple from USA, who were in Kenya for a very special mission. Apparently, the wife had had a dream whose gist was that God was going to bring untold suffering to Kenya due to the Kenyan gospel music going rogue. The couple were therefore in Kenya to warn us and to ask the gospel musicians to change track.

The second occurrence happened online as guys watched the numerous gospel music shows. Lots of folk were expressing displeasure at what they were seeing. That was surprising as these are not “holier-than-thou” types and for them to be concerned than really there was a cause for concern.

Having listened to those who had an issue with the gospel music I took it upon myself to move the debate forward and ask a gospel artiste who is my acquaintance their reaction to the issue and this is how the conversation went:

Moderate: Hi. Watched the gospel music show yesterday and if I muted and just watched the visuals there is no difference from The Beat. What’s happening to Gospel? Is it about God and the gospel or have money, fame and glam taken over?

Artiste: Hi, well, I’m v.sad that you think so- I believe gospel artistes are working hard to remain relevant, and we are all learning as we move along. Where we come short, God’s grace is definitely sufficient. Thank you and have a fab year!

Moderate: I’m not sure we communicated. I understand the defensiveness since you’re a stakeholder but still think it’s a debate worth having. Watched the shows from 7am-12pm and was shocked by content. What’s the aim of making gospel secular? And how soon before daggering and bendover dance styles feature in gospel music?

Artiste: Bendover dance styles…? You may have lost me there for sure. I think we are definitely not communicating…gospel music should be ‘relevant’, and not ‘secular’. A lot of the young people will communicate their understanding of God in the best way that they know how. Your debate is one that can never be exhausted, as it’s been a bone of contention for as long as I can remember. But as I said, even with the intention of doing something right, it is only normal that we will err from time to time.

Moderate: I’m all for change and adapting. However there’s adapting and conforming. If I watch all the many gospel shows and think this is like The Beat then a point is been missed. You are in a unique place-you host a show and are a gospel celeb. This gives you influence to shape the scene. Church should be what we can turn to in the midst of the worldly stuff. If its the same as regular music then what’s the point? PS: Bendover/daggering are explicit dance styles popular in Jamaican riddim music. Since I yesterday saw a riddim song with a guy all over a girl in a “gospel” jam its not impossible to imagine one year from now bendover on a gospel show.

Artiste: In as much as there may be a video(s) that make you feel that gospel music has been compromised, it is also true to say that there are artistes who have remained true to their call. The best I can do is to play my part, since we all form the body of Christ- it’s impossible for an individual to change the whole body. Compromise in the Church/gospel is not a new phenomenon. It may be more pronounced now, but it’s always been there. And yes, there is a chance that it will get worse, but that just tells you the times we are living in. One or two individual mistakes don’t warrant a ‘blanket’ conclusion over ever other artiste. You should also realize that artistes get into gospel music for various reasons. For some it is a call, for others it is a quick way to make money. All this reflects in the music and lifestyle. Which makes it important for one to be able to discern and choose what to listen to/watch.

Moderate: Thanks for your time.

So there you have it. You have heard both sides of the debate on Kenyan gospel music.

Has it gone rogue? Is it just adjusting in accordance to the times we live in? Watch any Kenyan TV channel this Sunday 6am – 1pm and decide for yourself.

GOD BLESS KENYA!


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