For some personalities 2016 was hugely a success that saw them undertake remarkable steps in their careers. But for others, it was marred by events that they would rather forget. Josephine Mosongo looks at a few personalities who made headlines this year.
In the beginning of the year, gospel musician Jimmy Gait was the subject of heavy mockery after he released a video rendition to British singer Adele’s mega hit, "Hello". Never mind that towards the end of 2015, he had already gotten massive flak for his own rendition of the song that many were severely displeased with. But it looks like Jimmy Gait has such a thick skin because a few months later in June, he released a song titled "Yesu Ndiye Sponsor", which earned him yet another round of ridicule on social media. He has a new song, "Cool Your Temper" – which is not based on meme.
THE CAST OF NAIROBI DIARIES
Nairobi Diaries was, for a while, one of the most popular reality shows in the country. It was a show that Kenyans love to hate and for some reason kept trending whenever it was on. The show follows the lives of eight socialites in Nairobi and their dramatic lives. According to the website Nairobi News, the show was rejected by Multichoice and later picked up by K24.
Even though US based Kenyan actor Edi Gathegi does not receive as much attention as Oscar winner Lupita Nyong’o, he has starred in incredible television productions and movies. This year, Gathegi landed a recurring and recognisable role in the hit television series Blacklist alongside Hollywood star James Spader. Gathegi will also segue to a proposed spinoff of Blacklist if it does become a series, reprising his bad guy role as Matias Solomon. But his most notable role to date is on the show Start Up where he has a leading role.
After almost a decade away from the music industry, Rapper Nyashinski pulled a monster of a comeback when he released his hit song "Now You Know", announcing that he was back and more than ready to take his place and mark his territory at the top of the music food chain. The former Kleptomaniacs member proved that it was not just a fluke or a one off, so he followed it up with "Mungu Pekee", another hit that fans swore was way better than anything they have ever heard from Kenyan gospel musicians. Since his re-entry into the music industry he has performed at several concerts – The Yetu Festival, The Plot and on Coke studio.
Singer Dela Maranga has been on a roll this year. Her Adele’s "Hello" rendition got her some much deserved attention last year both internationally and locally and she rode that wave into 2016. Perhaps one of the best vocally gifted singers in the industry, Dela has been consistently releasing songs from Third Party Lover and Mama, which she did in four different languages Yoruba, French, Swahili and Kisii. In efforts to widen her fanbase, she did notewor
Until November, television personality Jeff Koinange had a relatively quiet career on television as the host of Jeff Koinange Live (JKL). The television host however made headlines for the wrong reason when he hosted Miguna Miguna and Esther Passaris, aspirants for the Nairobi governor’s seat where vile comments were made and he failed to intervene. Social media was on his case for days and a week later he announced that the show was leaving KTN for an undisclosed station with the man whose head is like an oil well saying “JKL is not going anywhere it is just changing homes”.
Since her Oscar win for the movie 12 Years a Slave in 2014, Lupita Nyong’o has been Kenya’s darling and Hollywood’s sweetheart with everyone now closely following her career and fashion. Two years after her win, she continues to make headlines and grace magazine covers. This was a good year for Lupita who starred in the Queen of Katwe movie which became a hit. The actress also scored a Tony nomination for her leading role in the Broadway play, Eclipsed. On many occasions, her fashion sense became the topic of discussion as she continues to stun on red carpets.
It has been a hugely successful year for Sauti Sol, arguably the top and most popular boy band in Kenya and growing their brand across the borders. Since their famous gig with President Obama last year and the release of the third album, Live and Die in Afrika, the band has been on the up and up earning recognition through several music awards and nominations. Their Live and Die in Afrika Tour saw the group tour the USA, Europe and Africa. October was their best month after they were crowned Africa’s best group at the MTV Africa Music Awards (MAMAs) in South Africa edging out R2Bees, Toofan, Navy Kenzo and Mi Casa. In the same month, they again won the African Muzik Magazine Award (AFRIMMA) for Best Group.
Their fashion sense was also a talking point as people criticised their choice of wardrobe. But, they had the last laugh when it was announced this year that their outfits for last year’s Coke Studio made it to the Brighton Museum and Art Gallery, and will be exhibited till January 8 next year. Early on in the year, Sauti Sol clinched a lucrative partnership deal with KBL’s Chrome Vodka as the brand ambassadors. The endorsement was renewed in early December which will see them continue to undertake a series of concerts around the country.
BAHATI, WILLY PAUL
Where to start with these two? These gospel music singers have been making headlines since 2015 well into 2016 for all the wrong reasons. Petty reasons if you will. For a while, there were frequent back and forth accusations enough to make anyone’s head spin. It all began when Bahati claimed Willy Paul stole his song which he went on to record and shoot a video for. Willy Paul then attacked Bahati in lengthy Facebook messages and then both sought forgiveness from each other– for a time. Long story short, they ended up missing out on the prestigious Groove Awards. Grow up will you?
TIMMY T DAT
So many times the "Wele Welle" hit maker has been brushed off as just another singer who will wane away in a heartbeat. But month after month he has proved the naysayers wrong with his songs which have been termed by critics as “mediocre” by being heavy on rotation both on television and radio. Though relatively new, he has built a cosy fan base and captured the attention of many. He has also done good colabo The Kansol, Wyre, Frasha etc.