The Kenyan Artistes Vs Kenyan media war has been reignited once again. This time, it’s not just a street brawl. It’s a civil war, with everyone taking sides and firing online missiles. What’s surprising is that generals leading the charge are artistes that are already enjoying plenty of airplay. The saying “Give them an inch and they will want a mile” has never been so true.
Last week, Nyashinski lambasted Willy M Tuva, for a rather petty reason. Tuva had interviewed Taita Taveta governor Granton Samboja and he went on to share a clip where the politician said that “Kwangwaru” was his favorite jam. Nyashinski became infuriated because Tuva had left out the part where Samboja mentioned his favorite Kenyan artistes.
Nyashinski seemed to imply that Tuva is one of the media personalities that don’t support local music.
Tuva quickly responded, telling Nyashinski to calm down and informing him that he had already shared the full clip on YouTube. Maybe Nyashinski isn’t tech-savvy enough to understand that an Instagram video cannot be longer than 60 seconds. There is no way Tuva could have shared everything that was discussed in the interview on a single Instagram video.
The Lord of Longevity was definitely wrong to come after the iconic radio presenter. Over the years, no other Kenyan media personality has supported local artistes more than Tuva. You can criticise any other presenter but not Tuva. Almost every serious musician in Kenya has passed by Mambo Mseto to say a thing or two.
Why should Nyashinski complain anyway? On any Kenyan radio station, an hour can’t pass without one of his songs getting played. In fact, he is overplayed. Shouldn’t he be more thankful?
Khaligraph also denigrated the media in a rather bizarre manner while he was in Lagos, Nigeria attending the Soundcity MVP Awards in which he was a nominee. He sarcastically vowed to sponsor ten Kenyan media personalities for a trip to the West African country so that they could see if Kenyan music gets played there. He also mocked media personalities, saying that they play too many Nigerian songs yet they themselves don’t have any Nigerian fans.
Jalang’o quickly fired back at the rapper with a mature point. He argued that presenters have little say in what music goes on air. Music selection is usually the job of a radio station’s sound producers.
Jalang’o also advised Kenyan musicians to market themselves aggressively and get out of their comfort zones instead of constantly blaming the media for their failure to break into the international scene. It’s quite easy to notice how the wildly successful Wasafi crew and Oga brothers market themselves aggressively on social media and every other platform possible. Some Kenyan artistes simply want bumper harvests without putting fertilizer during the planting season.
The media already supports local artistes in very many ways. Shows like 10 over 10 and The Trend grant interviews to all types of artistes, from upcoming ones to established ones. There are many other shows on radio and TV that always offer Kenyan artistes a platform to talk about their music and personal lives.
Kenyan artistes, it seems, don’t want to achieve greatness. They want greatness to be thrust upon them. What they are simply saying is “Make us big you media people. It’s your responsibility.” It’s like wanting abs when you hate the gym.
Artistes should also understand that media houses are businesses. They are not charity organizations.
A business should offer products and services that customers love – products and services that bring profits.
If Kenyans love Nigerian music and Bongo music more than local music, then radio stations and TV stations have every right to favor foreign songs. If a radio station keeps playing low-quality Kenyan songs that no one knows, people will switch elsewhere and this will lead to low listener statistics hence low revenue.
The best Kenyan songs always get played on TV stations and radio stations. If most Kenyan artistes released songs that were as good as those of Sauti Sol, Otile Brown and the greedy Nyashinski, wouldn’t the songs get played? Good music always grows wings and flies above and beyond.
Before you shout “support me”, you need to support yourself first. I am not a subscriber of “supporting your own” school though. I am a believer of “supporting the best.” There is no need to be jealous of Nigerians, Tanzanians and South Africans. They are Africans after all, just like us. Their music didn’t become popular in our country and many other countries by accident. They worked hard and if we do the same, we might just reach their level.