Through art, music, food, fashion and entertainment—they are the new soldiers, each part of a revolution that is rebranding Kenya. Here are 16 creatives we admired in 2016!
A boy turned man band that already stands at the helm of an enviable career. They even got POTUS dancing along to their ‘Lipala’ dance. Yet, with a new album ‘Live and Die in Afrika’, they are just getting warmed up. The album is a celebration of the African continent coming of age, flaunting the richness in cultural diversity, talent and resources. And now we finally have a generation that fully believes in this continent and her great potential. African diaspora is on a mission to reconnect with their roots, be it through music or other media. There is a willingness to aspire everything and anything African.
Quite the dapper geek (two elements that don’t go together usually), Mativo founded E-Lab, a startup founded that aims at eradicating electronic waste in Nairobi Kenya, then expand to cities in Africa. Last year, UP Magazine Nairobi honored him with a DXD Award. He has won the Queen’s Young Leaders Award.
His new found music genre, Equatorial House is redefining the sounds of the motherland and winning even more listeners abroad. Always seeking to tell a narrative with his own musical productions as well as playlists, Evo is never shy to go deep or vibrant. Having grown up listening to Hip-Hop, Reggae, Ragamuffin and Afrobeats, Evo ended up with a diverse musical influence. As such, his sets are characterized by a predominant drumbeat infused with a variety of organic indigenous sounds and vocal hooks that hail from Southern Africa, Central Africa and his own homeland, East Africa.
A marketing consultant with passion for fashion blogging. This former Miss World Kenya runners up, runway and commercial model, loves making new friends, eating out, dancing and watching movies. She has redefined fashion blogging in Kenya.
This wine appreciating, fun loving East African girl full of life is the first Jamie Oliver Food Revolution Super Ambassador in Kenya. She is an amateur chef, food stylist, and soulful food guru, especially when it comes to great food.
His chubby face, camera in tow and warm smile is always something to look out for while out for events. Covering the Nairobi lifestyle, Jay is like this cool guide you must have with you always when out and about.
Another warm blogger, Soni is a self-proclaimed foodie whose journey eats and drinks its way through Nairobi’s restaurant and bar scene! She is currently working with the vibrant Eat Out Kenya and is rolling a programme to help mentor young foodie and lifestyle bloggers.
The topic of LGBT rights remains a sensitive one in their birth country Kenya and also in Africa as a whole. Nevertheless, the group Art Attack were eager to start a conversation with their controversial music video, ‘Same Love Remix’—prompting a government ban on the video. The song is about same sex rights, gay rights, LGBT struggles, gender equalities, gay struggles and civil liberties for all sexual orientations.
This Vlogger has revolutionized story telling digitally and continues to inspire young ladies all over the world. Her passion and hard work clearly stands out on her video posts.
He first grabbed the world attention when Forbes Magazine first highlighted him. The topic of LGBT rights remains a sensitive one in his birth country Kenya. Nevertheless, Tahir Karmali was eager to enter into that dialogue through his controversial Value exhibit, which he opened in Nairobi. This year, he has taken the junkyard art of Nairobi’s ‘Juakali’ (informal sector) to the New York with an art opening exhibition.
Where do we start on this lady’s timeline? Interviews with award winning international acts? Check. From NeYo, to Sauti Sol, she is a force to reckon with when it comes to publicity in Africa. A model, blogger, TV host, journalist and the list continues to radiate.
Tumblr sensations, 2ManySiblings are the Kenyan brother and sister duo of Velma Rossa and Papa Petit. They became a huge hit thanks to their new wave of showcasing young, urban and chiq trends in style, yet in harmony with their roots and Kenyan culture.
The names sounds something from out of space. The new Kenyan music collective Cosmic Homies comprising Marushka, Kiwango, Runkah (Miss Karun) and Taio (the latter two formerly of Camp Mulla) represent Kenya’s wealth of amazing alternative music and talent. They are part of the Kenyan arts and culture narrative that continues to unfold across Africa and the globe over.
A hope for clean hopes. Sarabi is a protest music, slum rooted band—which for years, have been a voice that resonates throughout by expressing social malaise and taking up actions to empower populations of slums through their songs with powerful lyrics and educational programs, has suffered many struggles.
His story is one that resonates with many. Rejection. Told he was not funny enough for mainstream TV, yet one not to give up, he kept on trying for Churchill Show’s comedy auditions. Every week, rejections after rejection, he still would board a matatu for a four hour journey from Nakuru to Nairobi. Now a show without him can cause a social media outrage.
Mention hustle or grind and Lyra Aoko is one whose rise to the top has been characterized with all the hard grinding, hustles and bustles. She is a Singer (remember her on King Kaka’s ‘Ligi Soo’ Remix), songwriter, photographer, lifestyle blogger, videographer, and a creative Artist.