Life as a video vixen
When Toxic, Juliet Kwamboka, made her entry into the music scene men ogled, women were furious, and critics wondered where she had come from.
Toxic danced, wowed, and to some extent shocked many. She broke into the music scene when videos were shot either in the estates or inside a matatu; her sultry movements made her big news.
Toxic came, did her thing, got married and she is now a wife and mother. If Toxic’s moves were explicit, then girls appearing in today’s videos act x-rated scenes and are unapologetic. It’s there three minutes of fame.
What made 21-year-old student of economics and statistics at Kenyatta University, Joy Gathoni take part in a video that leaves nothing to the imagination? “I do it to have fun, it was the easy way to break into the media and so I took it, look at Kim Kardashian,” she says.
For Gathoni it was never about the money from the beginning.
On asking whether there is a particular criterion for finding these girls, whether through an agent or personally scouting, Xpat Mkwanja, a budding musician who sang Tear It Up, said none of that is necessary as the girls are all too willing to volunteer with little in exchange to appear in the music video with very little clothing on.”
“These are grown women, most of them my friends, no one forces them to do anything, for the extremely daring shots I pay nothing more than Sh20,000 and even this is in very rare circumstances,” he said.
On asking Gathoni about her family, and what their response was, she said her step-father did not mind it at all, as this is a new age. For her, there is a definite excitement that exists on the party scene.
However, the mere thought of being in the company of rich and famous people is simply not enough. It becomes so addictive, the fast-paced atmosphere that she and her friends find themselves in. Becoming a part of the scene therefore becomes a necessity.
Dancehall artiste Blaqy caused quite a stir with his Sh2.3 million video Show Me that was banned for being pornographic. But even after all the hullabaloo had eventually died down, Blaqy remained adamant.
And he was determined as ever to produce a track that would push boundaries and prove that he has vision and can tell a story. So he decided to do just that, tell a story, by again producing another video bordering on soft pornography.
It is the same Blaqy, who came out to say that Nairobi girls remind him of Sodom and Gomorrah.
For some of the women being part of the crowd is the in thing.
They may not even be actual fans of the celebrity. But by associating with celebrities university girls are confident it will give them a comfortable future.
“I may be just a student broke and hungry now, but not for long” says Cynthia Kandie, 22, also a student and dancer In Xpat’s videos.
Like Gathoni, Pamela Lema has also a danced in an Xpat video and a few other artistes like Collo and P-Unit. The 25-year-old said: “I don’t do it for the money, its showbiz, the more my face is out there the more people get to realise who I am.
“So far, I have been in five music videos, they don’t pay really well especially if you are new but soon, I will be rolling with the best.”
Meet Sara Okoth fresh out of high school in 2012, bored and idle, she decided to attend her friends’ birthday party.
Lots of alcohol
Little did she know that that night would change her life: “There was alcohol, lots of it, girls were dancing everywhere, and since I love to dance, I joined in, it was fun. At some point I noticed a camera, but I was too drunk to ask anything I simply went with the flow, the next day I was called to a viewing by my friend and I loved what I saw. I looked so beautiful and confident. I have never looked back since then.”
She, however, admits that it is not an easy job, her family wasn’t too pleased with the idea, and she has to keep her body fit at all times. “It has been tough, but it is what I love to do and so they should support it,” she said.
Grace Mwala is a fashion student and has featured in several music videos. She said there are limits to what they do. That while the dresses are skimpy they always have inner clothing to cover their decency.
“For example we do not take off our inner clothing under whatever circumstance, anything beyond that is porn, and while we may have skimpy outfits, the very daring shots are usually billed highly.
“However, this will depend on the artiste and their directors, she says. “Whether you are a love interest in a village setting or at the club in a video, it’s all just an art,” she adds.