When two gospel artistes namely DK Kwenye Beat and Hope Kid were accused of sexually assaulting a 20-year-old girl, an old exchange was revived on whether Kenyan gospel artistes are living up to the gospel they preach, and whether they are even preaching enough water.
Almost following closely, was the news that Mr Seed and Bahati had had a scuffle that managed to slip the public eye, until their gospel counterpart Ringtone broke what he had been told about it on his Instagram page.
All these dramas were enough to send social media into a frenzy, and backlash against gospel artistes for not taking the lead in the morality and uprightness they profess in the gospel they represent was fast and furious.
Churchill Show’s Jasper Murume was among the first to ask whether getting money and fame had overtaken being custodians of God’s message, which turned into a countrywide outburst and social media fights that spread like a wild fire, and which may not die down any time soon.
Jasper wrote, “Gospel industry. It shouldn’t have been made an industry in the first place. Shouldn’t it be ministry?”
When gospel artiste now-turned secular, Sanka, left the gospel music scene, he had lots of accusations to make towards the entire gospel fraternity. He has lately been one of the greatest accusers of what he deems hypocrisy in the gospel music scene. “The gospel industry has for a very long time been a scam. The exposés you see are just but a tip; more is yet to be unfolded,” he claimed.
Anthony Loki, an economist and a gospel music fan was of the opinion that, “When an artiste takes to the public to declare that they are taking the gospel lane, they set a threshold for themselves, that they will live up to the gospel they profess. The word of God is flawless, morally upright and without blemish. Such should be the artistes who choose to sing the gospel.”
“It’s not clear what today’s gospel artistes are up to. They confuse the flock they lead by preaching one thing and living another. It’s sad that they are not even singing Christ enough, then they follow this up with ugly scandals. We have been forced to outsource music from out of the country that comes with genuineness and purity,” shared a bitter Rhoda Chiriswa.
Maureen Wambui, a music fan from Kasarani, Nairobi, holds that she’s better off listening to secular music whose morality line might not be as thin as the gospel’s. “It hurts me to see gospel artistes behaving in a wayward manner, yet they are the icons our young generation is emulating. The same gospel artiste whose teachings touched us when he visited our school back then, is the same person I will be spotting at a local pub today,” lamented Maureen.
When Mr Wilson Otieno, a psychologist, spoke to Buzz, he pointed out that the main reason Kenyans take offence with eccentric behaviour coming from gospel artistes is due to the stand they affirm the moment they take the gospel lane.
“A human being automatically sets a standard for another the moment they declare a certain stand or announce that they come from a certain group. Kenyan gospel artistes should not feel overstretched or over judged when they receive criticism, since they chose a taxing lane that has to be strictly adhered to. Furthermore, gospel music feeds the soul – unlike secular, which only entertains. This, therefore, requires the advocators of this gospel to live just as they preach it. Deviation from this, compromises the very message they preach,” he shared.
HE WHO HAS NO SIN...
In defense of the Kenyan gospel scene that he represents, Crossover 101’s host, Deejay Mo, said, quoting the Bible, “Let he who has no sin be the first to cast a stone. Despite singing gospel music, we are all human and, therefore, bound to make mistakes at some point. The most important thing is realising your mistake and retracing your steps.”
“The curve started dropping for gospel artistes the moment they decided to become trendy to suit the current generation and to fit into the society. It’s impossible to mix God and pleasure without falling off the grid,” holds Anne Mwangi, a professional photographer.
More drama continues to unfold in the wake of a season where exposés have become the order of the day with the most recent one being a case where a woman has taken to the media to claim that her twins were sired by popular gospel artiste Ben Githae, who then neglected this responsibility. He has, however, responded to the claims pointing out that he has been doing his best to support the woman despite being a married man.
A former gospel music artiste, who sought anonymity, has also faulted the entire gospel music industry over what he termed as “immorality, hypocrisy and misconduct”. The artiste said, “I was there, saw it all and I could not take it any longer. It's so disheartening to see gospel artistes – musicians, DJs, promoters and producers – pretend to be who they are not. Many of them are in the game for fame, money and sex. It's unbelievable, but it's the painful truth,” he disclosed.