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Inside Kenya’s murky showbiz industry, lies and clout chasing [Pulse Editor's Opinion]

From name-dropping, gimmicks and sensational claims as well as faked relationships, pregnancy, and outright lies, nothing is off the table in the quest to remain relevant and push content.

Inside Kenya’s murky showbiz industry, lies and clout chasing

Kenyan celebrities have perfected the art of clout chasing in a bid to keep their careers afloat and remain relevant as they strive to push their content in the wake of competition.

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Name-dropping, gimmicks and sensational claims are slowly becoming part of their stock in trade amid concerns that artists from Tanzania and Nigeria are taking over the airwaves as the theatrics take a toll on talent.

From fake engagements to booty surgery allegations, to fake relationships and fake pregnancy claims, nothing is off the table in the quest to remain relevant.

It begins with a well-scripted lie that is then sold to the public or going quiet on social media for a while with occasional cryptic message that get fans worried and which is then picked up by blogs. In some cases, it is outright drama and theatrics.

What follows next is a song which, needless to say, in some cases fails to live up to the expectations.

The latest gimmicks by socialite Vera Sidika, Stivo Simple Boy, Willy Paul, Jovial and the Bahatis are just a drop in the ocean in what is becoming a familiar trend.

Case in point is socialite Shakillah who shot to fame by sensationally claiming that she has slept with notable personalities in Kenya, with the price being Ksh700,000 a night and dropping the name of celebrated football star Victor Wanyama who she claimed to have had an affair with (She later confirmed that this was not true and offered a public apology).

It is a public secret that the socialite who was thirsty for fame at the time lied as she issued a public apology to the star when things got hot and the matter landed in court.

Shortly afterwards, the socialite shared news of pregnancy, accompanying the same with a doctor's report and ultrasound scan images and photos of herself on a hospital bed.

A few months later, Omondi and singer Miss P were on the receiving end after launching the diva’s song 'Baby shower' following her fake pregnancy announcement which turned out to be clout chasing.

Being public figures, their lives attract public attention with many eager to know who is dating who and with this comes yet another opportunity that many Kenyan celebrities have gladly embraced.

Willy Paul and Jovial courted public attention for several weeks with the Nimelewa hitmaker ‘shooting his shot’ publicly and facing resistance from Jovial before she eventually ‘accepted’ him.

While many read through the well-scripted scheme, some fell for it and only learnt saw the reality for what it was when the pair released a song.

Stevo Simple Boy and his ex-fiancée Jenny Wangui are also among the latest to apply this, only to later emerge that it was all a lie.

The pair even treated the public to a fake engagement on July 25, 2022 shortly after the Vijana Tuache Mihadarati hitmaker parted ways with ex-lover Pritty Vishy.

"It was just showbiz and it's over," she confirmed, effectively admitting that they lied to the public all along.

For the better part of the week, socialite Vera Sidika and her ‘booty surgery' which turned out to be a music video made news, to the chagrin of many.

Media personality, Ciru Muriuki gave her take noting that "We have given clout chasers a platform they do not deserve. Like now we have spent a week talking about somebody's booty only to realise all this was a gimmick to drum up publicity before releasing (quite frankly, mediocre) song".

The health and welfare of Kenyan celebrities is a matter of public interest out of genuine concern from their fans.

However, this has in some instances been used to allegedly chase clout with many making it to the list.

The Bahati family is among those that have been on the spot for going quiet for a while with occasional cryptic message that got fans worried on the couple’s well-being only to release a song.

Worth noting is that there are so many incredibly talented Kenyan artistes spanning different genres; gengetone, hip-hop, house and reggae who have not been sucked into the mud of gimmicks.

While some, like Eric Omondi support the gimmicks, noting that it is good for showbiz, many like Sauti Sol’s Bien Aime hold that ultimately, it is true talent that carries the day and not the theatrics.

“I have only always made music. You’ve (Eric Omondi) pushed this agenda (of gimmicks) for too long. Willy Paul doesn’t have to date all those women he has worked with. Jovial did not have to date Mario." Bien stated.

Ciru Muriuki agrees to this noting that "We need to stop enabling this nonsense. True talent speaks for itself. It doesn't need gimmicks. When have you seen Sauti Sol playing stupid games on social media prior to releasing a project? Nyashinki, Nikita Kering or Wakadinali? We really need to stop rewarding clout chasers.”

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