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Meet J. Blessing one of most renowned cinematographers in Kenya

By Elly Gitau
Tuesday, May 19th, 2020
J Blessing.

J BLESSING is one of the most renowned cinematographers in Kenya. He chats with Elly Gitau on his triumphs, experiences, controversies and aspirations.

How did you grow your interest in video-making?

Being curious, wanting to learn new ideas, research! It’s a nonstop process. Having a growth mind-set because then you are able to push on and eliminate distractions in whatever circumstances that come your way.

Going places, connecting with people; it is important to expose yourself to opportunities and build networks.

Who influenced or inspired you towards this direction?

Well, for me it’s not about who, but the circumstances that I found myself in. Growing up in the slums with a lot of hardships I found solace in music; it became my safe place.

From a dancer to singer, songwriter, audio producer to video director. Music and film related works have been key to what I’ve become.

Has the fame affected your personality?

Once you choose to focus on your goals, you will never notice the fame. Only celebrate the achievements and keep your focus on the goal.

How is your company Link Video Global (LVG) doing, especially during the Covid-19 crisis?

It’s unfortunate how this crisis has affected people and businesses across the globe.

I’m grateful for the constant business coming our way, however big or small. Currently, my project with Oppo and a few others are keeping us engaged. 

How is that Oppo project taking you?

Oppo has given me a refreshing experience. It’s a mutual partnership. Their trust in me and LVG’s capabilities has given me a free reign to develop the creative direction for each content production.

As a cinematographer, I confidently acknowledge the new Oppo Reno3 smartphone to transform content creators’ experiences and we are ready for it!

How much are you raking in from the deal?

Forget about the money! Acknowledgement of your skill and expertise is the greatest compensation.

You are Churchill Show’s longest-serving video producer. How has this influenced you as a video director?

There is the pressure to deliver something great each week for the people. I have had to therefore, draw extras on everything; prioritisation, creativity and a great team.

How is it working with Daniel ‘Churchill’ Ndambuki as a person?

It’s humbling. You get to experience his determination and his purposeful devotion to elevate the status of the comedy and creative industry as a whole. That has to remind you it is never about you, but the people!

…and Koffi Olomide...

Ooh wow! Koffi...Maestro! That’s a name he calls me. I really had a great time working with him; he’s a hardworking man, legend!

How has been the experience like working with a broad range of artistes?

All varied and great experiences. Creative differences arise from time to time, but at the end of the day, we always come together.

It’s a balance on making your client happy and producing quality content all the time. It goes without saying that every individual has taught me a lesson or two.

What are some of the best and most refreshing projects have you handled?

I wouldn’t say I have any best or favourite, as I’m proud of all of the experiences and end products. However, the Blaze Mentorship programme is always something I’m looking forward to.

Any opportunity I get for mentorship gives me joy. In fact, I wish for when more of us and brands will intentionally focus on mentoring the younger generation; we shall experience a greater outcome as a society. It’s fulfilling.

What keeps you going? Where do you draw the energy?

People! The desire to link people to their destiny is what keeps me going.

You have also courted controversy a few times. How have you dealt with all the negative publicity?

Such is life. The secret is to always keep your focus on your goals.

You and Chantelle looked tight together. What led to your separation?

People come into your life for a reason, a season or a lifetime. When you figure out which one it is, you will know what to do for each person.

A while back, comedian David The Student accused you of slicing his main squeeze. How true was this?

David The Student is my friend; the rest I don’t know.

What are your future plans and aspirations?

I have a passion project I’ve been toying around with for a couple of years and have recently embarked on. My desire is to see it take off.