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I have been misunderstood for playing ‘Mama Otis’

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For Erastus Otieno, the character and personality of a pesky mother is what has made him one of the most sought-after comedians in Kenya.

Mama Otis, whose role he plays in viral videos on his YouTube channel, portrays a Kenyan mother with a no-nonsense attitude.

While Mama Otis has become immensely popular with Flaqo’s audience, he says building up that character was never easy.

Flaqo said he conceptualised the idea while still in university where he used to create and share videos with his friends via WhatsApp.

At first, making the videos proved quite challenging, especially when he had to play Mama Otis.

“It has been a great challenge. I used to shoot the short videos while hiding. I was not confident,” Flaqo says.

“Dressing up as Mama Otis, the headscarf … I know some people feel like there was something wrong with me. It has really been a sensitive issue. But strangely Mama Otis’ character has been well received by most people.”

Initially, not many people, including members of his family, were amused with Mama Otis.

“Mama Otis, in a way, is actually my mum, although at first she was not a big fan of the character because she felt I was revealing her identity to the whole world. But she has since come around. My dad was also unenthusiastic about the idea, however he gave me the benefit of doubt,” Flaqo said during an exclusive interview with the Nation.

“In a way, being a man and making a living by playing the role of a woman has not been easy,” he says.

Then there is the wider public perception about his nose and ear piercings and the feminine voice he adopts for the role. He says he is aware that some people have been questioning his sexual orientation.

“Some people have arrived at their own conclusions because of my ear and nose piercings and how I mimic a woman’s voice. To them that is proof of something about my sexual orientation,” said Flaqo.

Kenyan comedian Erastus Otieno aka Flaqo, while playing Mama Otis.

Courtesy

Public perception

“Honestly I know some people are waiting for me to come out! But I am not coming out from anywhere. I’m straight. What I do is just to entertain people. When I take off Mama Otis’ clothes, it’s just me, Flaqo. There is nothing feminine about me at all,” he said.

But even with all the murmurs about the character he plays, Flaqo’s resolve to become one of the top comedians in the country has only grown stronger by the day.

In fact, he says, that is the reason he has since introduced other characters to his funny videos, including Baba Otis, Otis himself and Otis’ sister.

He plays all the three characters at different intervals and edits the videos to make it look like they are all different characters.

“I first record one character, then go to the next character and then edit to create one video that tells the storyline. Every day I try to reinvent myself and outdo what I did yesterday. That is why I came up with the other characters, so that the show keeps on getting interesting.

“A lot of people can relate with Mama Otis, but there are people who have not grown up with a mother and relate to a father. So I thought a husband, wife and sister would work. Because there are people who relate with the sibling drama,” he says.

Kenyan comedian Erastus Otieno aka Flaqo, while playing sister Otis.

Courtesy

And, like many artistes, from time to time Flaqo has had to deal with separating himself from the characters he portrays.

“It feels weird when I’m out and about on the streets and people start calling me ‘Mama Otis’. Some even expect me to start talking in Mama Otis’ voice … it’s really weird,” he says.

On the sensitive subject of dating, Flaqo is quick to clarify that he is presently single, inspite of the many female admirers that he has.

“It has been a while since I last dated. I’m currently concentrating on building my career. Dating is a commitment which needs time. But I know girls love me,” he says with a chuckle.

That said, the comedy industry is not the same as it used to be. The same people who spend their lives making people laugh are now causing their fans to frown.

Ambition and passion, have now been replaced with depression and despair in the Kenyan comedy industry.

In July, top female comedian Zeddy sharply criticised the bigwigs in the industry for allegedly frustrating the upcoming comedians.

Zeddy was particularly critical of one of the brains behind the immensely popular Churchill Show which has, over the years, nurtured many erstwhile unknown comedians to stardom.

Zeddy blamed the show’s creative director, Victor Ber, of frustrating comedians auditioning to appear on the show.

Kenyan comedian Erastus Otieno aka Flaqo, while playing Baba Otis.

Courtesy

Tough times

Indeed, these have been very gloomy times for many rib crackers in the country.

Sometime last year, Anthony Njenga, who used to go by the stage name Njenga Mswahili, was found dead on a rail track in Dagoretti.

To date the circumstances surrounding his death remain a mystery.

Then in June 2020, the lifeless body of Joseph Musyoki Kivindu aka Kasee was found by the roadside in Kinoo area.

Zeddy claimed that depression has become the number one killer factor for Kenyan comedians.

“I wish there was a way that the government could shield artistes from exploitation and also offer them ways to get counselling so that their mental health is taken care of. Anyone can be a victim of this,” she said.

“Comedians go through a lot. It’s not always a rainy season for everyone. There should be a way of reaching out to comedians. Right now, there are some famous comedians who are really struggling financially.”

On this subject, Flaqo believes stand-up comedians are the hardest hit.

“I’m not a stand-up comedian and cannot stand on stage and try to make people laugh. I would fail terribly. Stand-up comedians now have to reinvent themselves in creating content for their online audience. This is a big challenge for most of them. I guess that has really built bitterness in people,” he said.

Flaqo’s journey, like most success stories, was full of up and downs. He still vividly remembers how he used to walk from his home to the studio to record music.

“I never used to have fare to go to the studio. At that time I was doing music and I was living in Kisumu. I tried music for a long time but it was not working.”

Flaqo then started doing short videos, and sharing them with his friends. Even as he started getting popular in Kisumu, he was still clueless about which direction his career would lead him. Neither did he have a plan.

Then his phone started ringing with corporate firms seeking him. That’s when he relocated to Nairobi where his star is currently shining bright.

“I look at what I have now and I remember how I used to walk to the studio barely two years ago. Right now I have my own studio in my house where I record my videos. I’m grateful to God.”

by nationafrica.com

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Entertainment

‘I have no access to you,’ Frankie pens emotional letter to son, says he’s barred from seeing his kids

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Fitness coach Frankie Kiarie has penned a touching letter to his firstborn son Lexi with Maureen Waititu.

The father of two showered his son with love and narrating how he brought so much joy to his life.

To My Son,

When you came into this world, you brought a love so pure I had never before experienced. When you spoke your first word, walked your first steps, I became your biggest fan. With every milestone you reached, I reveled in joy. You taught me the meaning of love — true, unconditional love.

As you continue to grow, you will live your own life. You will have times of happiness and times of disappointment. You will fall in love, and you will have your heart broken. Life has its ups and downs and is not always fair, but I know your strength and resilience will see you through.

May you always know your worth and how incredibly precious you are! As your Papa, it is my privilege to impart these important truths to you.

Frankie went ahead to reveal that he hasn’t seen his kids for a while now because he has no access to them.

‘Since I have no access to you, I’ll pass these words on and hope they find you. Be true to yourself always. Live your own dreams. Don’t take life so seriously. And, last but certainly not least, Know that I love you and will always be there for you. No matter what, I’ve got your back. You are my son and always will be. Happy Birthday Lexi,’ he wrote.

A few weeks ago, Mpasho.co.ke reached out to Maureen Waititu to respond to claims that she had barred Frankie from seeing their kids she denied.

‘I HAVE NOT BARRED HIM [FRANKIE] FROM SEEING HIS KIDS.  MY LAWYER CONTACTED HIM THROUGH A LETTER FOR A ROUND TABLE MEDIATION TO COME UP WITH A STRUCTURE AND ORDER ON HOW TO RAISE THE KIDS BUT HE MADE IT VERY CLEAR HE HAS NO OBLIGATION TO RESPOND TO THAT.’ she said.

By Mpasho.co.ke

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Entertainment

Varshita actress Eve D’Souza says ‘I Do’ in all-white private affair

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Popular Kenyan actress, Eve DSouza known for her mark on Auntie Boss and Varshita, has tied the knot in a stunning private white wedding.

The beauty got engaged to her Prince Charming Simon Anderson back in December 2019, in a beautiful surprise event while in Goa, India, by the beach side.

What they termed “the start of a beautiful journey” has now blossomed into a breathtaking milestone as the lovebirds officially said ‘I Do’ over the weekend.

Eve DSouza ties the knot

In an undisclosed location and an event graced only by close friends and family, an excited Eve, known never to take life seriously – going by her comical theatrics, sweetly captioned “Married 16.10.2020 ❤❤”.

Eve D’Souza ties the knot with long-time boyfriend

It has been all Congratulations to the newly weds. Fans unable to express their joy and envy as the beautiful 41-year old finally gets a chance at marriage.

The ravishing media personality clad in an open sparkling white wedding gown. With her dearly beloved opting for a crisp navy blue suit coupled with a wine-colored tie to complement his beauty.

Eve D’Souza ties the knot with long-time boyfriend

It was not until December 2018, that the gorgeous light-skin beauty introduced her man to the public for the first time. A dear Simon Anderson who had proven to be the final answer to her dear heart.

Have a look at more photos of the star-struck couple.

Eve D’Souza off the market

Actress Eve D´Souza and her Prince Charming

Film star Eve D’Souza and long-time boyfriend, Simon wed

by Ghafla.com

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Entertainment

Mwalimu Rachel speaks after Sailors Gang drag her into yet another money scandal

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Radio presenter Mwalimu has not been having an easy time with the Sailors Gang gang especially now that there is beef. This comes as a big surprise considering the fact that she discovered the boys; back when Gengetone had just become a thing in the entertainment industry.

A few months later, the presenter and Sailors Gang gang apparently can’t see eye to eye due to a few reasons here and there. The whole drama however started after Mwalimu Rachel was accused of squeezing one of Sailors gang friend’s balls.

Sailors Gang preforming

Yes, this was more than drama but a real case that saw the presenter present her self in court for the hearing. Since then, nothing has been the same between the former manager and the Gengetone artists.

Accused of refusing with their YouTube logins

Well, this past weekend rumor spread around claiming that Mwalimu Rachel had refused to hand over Sailors Gang Gang Youtube channel. According to reports, the presenter asked for Ksh1.5 million in order for her to grant them access; now that they are under the Blackmarket record.

She tweeted;

Smart ladies run businesses. Not their mouths. Nawapemda wote! I shall address the nation later my loves. Mimi sikimbilii maneno. Kwa sasa tuchape kazi.

The presenter went on to add;

Put emotions to the side when running business.

Mwalimu Rachel speaks

Of course, this makes the NRG presenter look selfish and greedy; but after coming across her latest Tweets, we also understand that this was more of a business for her.

Having the boys walk out on her with no agreement – might be the reason why they now feel that she is taking advantage of the situation. However, truth is one way or another both parties will have to benefit if they decide to head to court.

By Ghafla.com

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