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Call me ‘ugly’ but my looks earn me good money – Simple Boy tells it all

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Fame first came to Steven Otieno, alias Stevo Simple Boy in form of a meme. Someone took his mugshot, inserted a cheeky message and shared it on Facebook, teasing him for his looks.

The year was 2016. Within a short time, there were variations of the meme, but the theme remained the same: they thought his face was interesting. The comments on his photo bordered on cyber bullying, but Otieno says he stood unnerved despite the many times people said he resembles a baboon.

“It was not the first time I was being called names for how I looked. It was worse when I was growing up. Children would make up songs about how ugly I was. They would block my path and call me a squirrel. I am used to my face getting all the attention,” he says.

Submissive woman

He has been called many things on social media and off the net. There are people who face him and tell him he is ugly and scary. On social media, the abuses he gets cannot be put in print.

His experience is perhaps what led him to release the song: Inauma Lakini Itabidi Uzoee, that was released last month. He sings about how life situations can be unfair, and that what cannot be changed must be endured.

On whether he is dating, Otieno says he is yet to meet a woman who meets his standards. He is looking for a submissive woman, born again and not afraid of being with a man who is in public space.

“For now, I am not thinking so much about women. When the right one comes, I will get into a relationship, he says.

He says his face, as unattractive as people have often pointed out, is his selling point.

The more people call him ugly and follow his social media platforms to mock him, the more famous he gets.

“God created me like this. What do people expect me to do?” he asks during an interview at the Made in Kibera production centre in Kibera, where he produces his music.

It is a temporary structure made of iron sheets, but he says it is where his dreams took off.

When he released the song: Vijana tuwache mihadarati in 2017 to warn youth about the effects of drug abuse, he never imagined it would fling him into the world of social media fame reserved for socialites and celebrities.

He is currently at more than 700,000 views on YouTube with his mihadarati song. His latest release is edging towards 500,000 views, a feat even established musicians who have been in the industry longer, are struggling to achieve. Many believe the fascination with his music is not so much on the lyrics, but on the face behind the music.

“You look at his face and how he talks and you just want to watch what he is doing. I have watched his videos many times,” says Saumu Ahmad on her Twitter account.

His producer Geoffery Ochieng says Otieno has been getting invites to perform in shows and the reception is unexpectedly good.

“If he is making some money from his art, it does not matter if people are calling him ugly,” says Mr Ochieng.

At 29, Otieno says he has never allowed the negative energy thrown at him slow him down.

He is aware of the burden of having many followers and the scrutiny it brings.

He remembers an incident when he wore a robe in a photo and he got a lot of flak, with people questioning if he is on the drugs he cautioned his fans from using in his mihadarati hit.

“I sometimes look at the comment and I have to remind myself that people will say whatever they want about you. You cannot control that,” he says.

The young artist is changing a few things about himself, not for the vanity of looks but because he believes a man should be allowed to do things that bring him pleasure.

“People have been asking about my new hairstyle. It is called buruwein,” he says with a chuckle.

He also got braces to align his teeth and improve his pronunciation. He also changed his wardrobe, and has added more jeans and casual wear to the mix.

Progressing in life

“You can see how he is progressing in his personal life and as an artist,” says his social media manager Erick Matunga.

Mr Matunga admits that being his manager, he has had to shield Otieno from the extremely hateful comments that he gets, especially on his Instagram page.

“There are people who are just mean. Fortunately, he also has a lot of supporters and they are the ones who fight the online bullies,” says Matunga.

Otieno started his music career in 2008 when he was working as a watchman in Kibera. Anytime he had a break, he would call children around him and sing for them. They provided a good audience – they were non-judgemental and they would dance to my songs without talking about his looks.

His break came almost a decade later when Ochieng, a producer from the Made in Kibera initiative discovered him singing at a bridge they were constructing.

“I was amazed at how music seemed to be flowing from him without much effort. I told him to come and we recorded him without pay,” says Ochieng.

Otieno has plans for the future, and he is thinking of doing big collaborations with musicians he admires. His numbers keep growing and he has been getting followers from all over the world.

In a few years, he believes he will be a force who competes with top musicians and artists.

Until then, he continues to focus on inspirational music and block out voices that tell him he is a one time wonder – including the ones who whisper that he is mentally ill.

By SDE

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Entertainment

MC Jessy: I almost never made it

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There are supposedly two personalities in MC Jessy.
The entertainer we all know and love, and Jasper Muthomi.
Jasper Muthomi is a laid-back go-getter who doesn’t talk much and likes keeping things simple but classy. “Like I’d rather drive a new Vitz than an old Mercedes,” he says.
“I don’t think people really know how to separate MC Jessy and Jasper Muthomi. People think the Jessy they see on TV is the same one even in the streets.
But that’s a job. I have to wear that garment of comedy, then after that, I sit back and I now become me.”
The more we talk, the more I realise that I am either one of the people who can’t distinguish between the two, or that Jessy and Jasper Muthomi have morphed into one person over time. I am never quite sure which one I am talking to. Unlike Jasper, Jessy talks a lot.
He admits that it is such a weakness that it is one of the reasons we have waited for over an hour before he finally arrived at Java, Lavington Mall. After being in four meetings where he did most of the talking, the hours have bled into each other and he tells me we now only have 20 minutes to do the interview. Betrayed by his talkativeness, it actually ends up being close to two hours long.
“I really struggle with detaching from people. I can talk to anybody. If I go to a hotel you can’t just serve me as a waiter. No, no, no.  You have to tell me how you’re doing and how everything is coming along. My son even tells me, ‘Daddy let’s go. You’re talking too much.’ And yet when he starts talking he doesn’t stop either!” he says, laughing.
He has two children and he says his son is “mini me”.
Of all his possessions, his most prized are the little things his son brings him, which he cherishes as keepsakes. “Medals, the cards they make in school for special days saying things like, ‘I love you daddy’, when he paints his hands and prints it on paper – I keep them. When I look at them I get the energy to keep on going. I know there is someone looking up to me so I cannot afford to give up. I am someone’s hero. When he grows up I’ll show him all the things he brought me from kindergarten. I have loads of pictures of us,” he says with a sentimental look in his eyes.
Close relationship with son
That close relationship with his son is unlike his own with his father. He doesn’t remember much about his father, who would have been 77 today if he was alive.
He died at 52 when MC Jessy was young, and the little MC Jessy knows of him, he learned from the bishop of the Meru Catholic Diocese, Salesius Mugambi, who was best friends with his father when they were young men. He pulls out a picture of his father on his phone, which he has joined in one frame with his own, side by side. There is an unmistakable resemblance, maybe helped by the fact that he wore horn-rimmed glasses for the photograph, just like his father.
They have the exact same hairline, but his father had a much rounder face.
“I was given this picture by his wife. We are friends with her,” he says.
I am stumped, so he explains that he was the younger wife’s son. The first wife had six children, while his mother had two. He is the last born of all of them. Muthomi literally translates to ‘learner’, ‘student’ or ‘reader’, and he is living up to his name, as an avid student of history, politics and governance.
“I am well versed in leadership and African history. I know the history of Kenya before independence. I have read most journals about our president, the deputy president, Kiraitu Murungi our governor (who he says is his very good friend) – like did you know Kiraitu is the only politician who has never lost an election in this country? I research about world leaders – mostly African leaders. I know the histories of Congo, Uganda, South Africa, Libya, Tunisia and others like the back of my hand,” he says.
He is studying for a Masters degree in Political Science and would be defending his thesis if Covid-19 had not happened. He reads about two books a month. But he almost didn’t get here. He was out of school for a whole year after primary school, having been orphaned at 12, when his mother died the day before he sat his KCSE exams.
Later on, his aunt decided to pay for his secondary school education.Kenya might not have had MC Jessy as we know him if she hadn’t because St Cyprian Secondary School in Meru was where his skills as an entertainer were honed. He was popular for his riveting solo verse and as a hype man for the cheering squad. He breaks into the Kenyan high schools’ favourite cheerleading chant, “Steam steam, panda!” as excitedly as if he is back on the field, showing how they used to do it.
After rousing the imaginary crowd, he says, “I used to play basketball and I was the loudest because I could create nasty songs for the cheering squad. I sang them to taunt the opposite team’s players while playing, score, and sing at them as part of the cheering squad after scoring.” Comedy on the radio was really the ball he had his eye on. “I knew I could make people laugh. As a teenager, I would listen to KBC, the likes of Jeff Mwangemi, John Karani, Tim Nderitu.
As they spoke I would act like they were doing a link with me and respond comically. “
They would say, ‘Welcome to Yours for the Asking, I’m Jeff Mwangemi!’” Jessy launches into the familiar classic Kenyan radio voice, “ ‘Aaand I’m Jessy!’ before breaking out of character to clarify, “That time I wasn’t called MC Jessy. And of course, the presenter would send greetings to Sukuma bin Ongaro, etc, and then I’d chip in…” (resumes the enthusiastic radio voice), “…and of course I want to say hi to Carol, my darling from Chuka High School…’ –  of course, as a teenager I would say hi to girlfriends,” he says with a chuckle.
So he knew that he wanted to be on the radio, but coming to Nairobi straight from Meru, the learner found himself enrolled in the school of hard knocks, taking practical lessons from life itself.
He hilariously tells a sad story of waiting outside Family FM’s (now Radio 316) gates every morning for a month to try and get then Family FM presenter, Mike Gitonga, now a news anchor with KTN, to notice him.
“One day I sat down and wondered how I would breakthrough in this life. Where would I even go?  That is when I decided that the same way I was talking to myself and praying, the only person who cared was God. I decided that was it, enough. So I laid my life right there and prayed to God to help me. I told him it was he and I. If I died it would be just He and I,” he recalls.
Pastor who saw my potential
In 2006, the senior pastor at Winners’ Chapel, Nairobi, Pastor David Adeoye, would hear Jessy talking to his friends after they were all done cleaning and one day called him up.
“He asked me what I did. When I said I didn’t have a job he said (adopts Nigerian accent), ‘Come, you talk too much!’ He opened his laptop and made me watch the likes of Chris Rock and Steve Harvey and said, ‘This is what you are supposed to be doing.’”
The next Sunday, the pastor gave him five minutes to crack jokes at the altar, which flopped at first as the pastor was the only one in the audience laughing. He almost gave up, even discouraged by some people in the audience, but the pastor asked him to do it again.
He eventually got a job (after another long wait at the gate) as a reporter doing Financial Markets Live on KTN under Larry Madowo, joined Daystar University, worked with Hot 96, before resigning to focus on his own company, BrandFace Media Ltd, and working with Churchill Show. Covid-19 has forced people to pivot, and he now hosts Jessy Junction, a comedy show which features a monologue by Jessy, as well as interviews.Being an inspiration is important to him.
“I want to be remembered as someone who impacted people. I want people to say, ‘I met MC Jessy and my life turned around.’ ‘We sat for two minutes and he told me something that changed my life.’’I listened to MC Jessy’s story and I changed my way of living.’ ‘I read his story and my life changed.’”
By Standard

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Singer Frasha kicks off 90-days sober challenge

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After making a dare that he would lead celebs and generally young people do join the #90daysfreeofalcoholchallange P Unit member Frasha has officially kicked off the campaign.

And it is not all dull and ‘woyee’ moments. There is more to this detox move than just preaching water as during a fun event held at Mawimbi restaurant in Nairobi, celebs were treated to sumptuous mocktails and other delicacies as they interacted freely.

Detox beverages [Photo: David Gichuru]

“For long we have neglected our bodies and thanks to Corona we are slowly being taught to start treating our bodies better. Our campaign reiterates seeking balance in whatever you do. We don’t judge but we want people to live a healthier life at the same time have fun while doing it. This campaign is about seeking balance in live and positive living,” Frasha previously told Standard Entertainment.

And here are exclusive photos Standard Entertainment captured during the event that had been sponsored by Detox Africa:

Halisination band [Photo: David Gichuru]
Chipukeezy [Photo: David Gichuru]
Frasha [Photo: David Gichuru]
Cynthia Mwangi and Belinda Humwa [Photo: David Gichuru]

By Standard.co.ke

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VIDEO: DNA? Only my mother would know the truth, says Uhuru’s look alike

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The man at the centre of attention because of his uncanny resemblance to the Kenyan president is now speaking out.

“Only my late mother would know the truth,” he told a local reporter when asked whether he would consider taking a DNA test in order to establish his family tree and lineage.

“People call me Unye and I have really suffered because they all expect me to dish out money to them,” he said.

“I am not looking to capitalize on my resemblance to the president,” he added.

Kenyans were surprised this last week when a photo of the man appeared online.

The photo was shared numerous times on social media platforms and Kenyans, in their usual nature, took the opportunity to derive the much needed comic relief.

The man, whose name has since been revealed – Michael Njogo Gitonga – resembles the head of state in terms of the shape of his head, the structure of his facial features and intense eyes, which, without a doubt,  Uhuru inherited from his father, the late Mzee Jomo Kenyatta. Watch:

 

President Uhuru Kenyatta's lookalike (right) with a friend
President Uhuru Kenyatta’s lookalike (right) with a friend
FILE

The president’s doppelganger’s appearance looks like he had travelled from his pre-2013 days before adding weight.

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