Inside the lives of Kenyan video vixens
Friday, October 16th, 2020
Video vixens have become a common feature in Kenya’s music videos, and flaunting that hour-glass body for the camera looks like fun, but is it? Chebet Korir gets it from the horses’ mouths.
The image of the video vixen has played a lucrative role in the success of many music videos not only in Kenya, but also in the multi-billion dollar global music industry.
For instance, Kenya’s avant-garde socialite Vera Sidika became exceedingly famous in 2012 after she was featured as a vixen in rap trio P-Unit’s You Guy music video, off its second album Wagenge Hao Tena.
It was her debut appearance in such an act. The video was later banned in various media outlets after it was viewed to contain ‘explicit’ content. Then came the likes of Maura Malanga on Khaligraph Jones song F**k Off and Catherine Nyokabi who rose to fame after featuring on many music videos including Arrow Bwoy’s Bila Bonus and Jambo by Q-Tasi.
In today’s Kenyan music industry dominated by different genres and sub-genres, the influence of gengetone video vixens has become enormous.
Eager and restless young lads, bestowed with great looks are passionately looking for the opportunity to be popular, while others just want some taste of fame.
This has also seen the rise of young women, pregnant with dreams of just being featured in music videos, oblivious of the challenges that come with it.
Rachael Michael, popularly known in the music circles as Becky Vixen, is one of the most sought after beauties, and has stared in a number of videos. Her trademark dimples and bulky long locks turned up in Mejja, Ochungulo Family and Boondocks Gang videos, and everywhere in-between.
Speaking to Spice, she said a video director who hails in the USA introduced her to ‘vixening’, but she was sceptical about the move at first.
She has since become a hot commodity within the video production circles, but maintains that it’s all about setting the standards for oneself and personal respect.
“I have seen the music industry in Kenya evolve and I have heard many stories from fellow vixens, but I wanted to be the one out of many to feature in almost all videos, but still remain professional.
This is a profession like any other, and it needs to be treated as such with all measures of discipline maintained,” says Becky, who is also a part-time waitress and deejay.
Singer Bahati’s new sensational song Wa Nani has featured a number of vixens, among them Anita Nthusi aka Miss Mukai, who has attracted a lot of fans with her infectious smile and sultry dance moves.
The 26-year-old has a degree in Journalism and is the current brand ambassador of Luwi Boutique.
The first music video she was featured on was Oweyo by rapper Calvo Mistari.
“I have always wanted to be in front of the camera, which has slowly transitioned into music videos.
For Calvo’s video, we were paid well, but I would advocate for better pay as video vixening is a job like any other white collar job.
Vixens are perceived as ratchet, a stereotype that has contributed to the poor pay.”
Fatma Banj, 24, is not new in the scene. She has always dreamt of being a dancer, a dream that has been actualised.
“I used to dance when I was a little girl and I enjoyed it when people appreciated me.
That’s why I wanted to take it up as a hobby,” she says, applauding the fact that more girls have joined the scene, but underscores the need for them to uplift each other in order to earn well from the craft.
Video vixen Elizabeth Wandia alias Lizzy claims that video vixens are subjected to too much mistreatment, especially from the video directors.
“Some of the directors will ask for your pictures to analyse your credentials, only for them to use them to publicise their work without your consent.
Others, invite you for a video shoot session to dance and once the video is out, you are nowhere to be seen.
You are left questioning yourself why you even went for the shoot,” says the 22-year-old, adding that girls should first inquire about all the logistics before hurriedly rushing for a video shoot or else they will be left a disappointed lot.
More than called for
Also, there have been allegations of artistes mishandling video vixens during video shoots.
Early this month, for instance, a video surfaced online where singer Timmy Tdat was seen rubbing the private parts of a video vixen.
In another video, he is seen spanking a woman who was dancing with singer Brown Mauzo during a music video shoot.
The netizens called out the incidents, but criticised and laid the blame on the vixen involved, Quintah Nimmoh, who said most of the vixens get intoxicated before embarking on the video shoot.
Reality TV star Black Cinderella has also been vocal about the current state of video vixens in the country.
“Video vixening of this time and age is a display of pathetic, sickening lack of morals and illiteracy of the highest order.
It is also a cheap platform and an excuse for ratchet wayward lifestyle for the young girls,” she told Spice.
She says she was once a video vixen and she never earned a living from it. “I know how much it pays and the most I was paid was Sh2,500 to dance and Sh1,500 for an appearance.
This little money has now misled many young girls,” she says, insisting that girls need to know their worth, especially those between the ages of 20 and 23, who just want to experiment with everything that comes their way.
Music director and set manager Maurice The General works hand-in-hand with video vixens. He says that it has been quite difficult finding the perfect vixen for his projects because most of them lack professionalism.
He says: “When directing a video that has five or more vixens, I first make sure that they are aware of the dos and don’ts.
They should be in a very comfortable environment with a group of professionals who will offer correct where needed.”