Unwelcome advances: The downside to being a celeb in Kenya today

Nadia, Jones, Muli, Mulamwah, Diana and Bahati [Photo: Instagram]

The downside to being a celeb is the hate that comes with it, often from invisible followers hiding behind the anonymity of a faraway keyboard and as pulse explores, the last couple of weeks has seen a rise in these incidents- perhaps as a result of the stay-at-home directive.

You can’t have the best of both worlds - that is what most comment sections on social media are bleeding right now. Most Kenyan celebrities have come out to share their tales on cyber-bullying, and one can only take in too much before breaking down, some of the strongest still manage to stand though.

As Khaligraph Jones puts it in his new song Hao, “Omba Mungu akupee confidence ya Pastor Ng’ang’a (Pray and ask God to give you the confidence of Pastor Ng’ang’a). The issues being addressed in the song are similar to what our celebrities are going through on social media. Considering the fact that Corona has occupied our streets and many are working from home, social media has become one of the largest domains.

15 seconds of slur or whatever you want to call it, cyber-bullying still roots back to the where, who and why question, leaving most of it unanswered. In recent cases, we have seen some of our celebrities let their guard down due to pressure.

Nadia Mukami [Photo: Instagram]

Nadia Mukami took to her social media to talk about her own experience; I’m writing this with tears in my eyes and they are already swollen coz of crying! I know I am a public figure; I need not to show emotions; I will show my emotion!!! There isn’t an insult I haven’t received!! All levels of explicit insult! This has been a month of heartache after another; I swear I have broken down. I’m always the strongest among my friends; they say God doesn’t give you something you can’t handle; I wish He didn’t trust me with this much every time!! Am taking a break, I will be back’ and with that, she disabled the comment section on her post.

It’s no longer a joke - as a matter of fact, she had reported the matter to the DCI after a female fan insulted her online. She and her team attested through an official statement that they took legal action against the female for tainting her name on a popular Facebook group.

Last month was quite a tough one for our Kenyan pop stars. Kenyan comedian David Oyando professionally known as Kendrick Mulamwah is also on the same boat of online trolls and cyberbullying, after receiving backlash, back to back, on social media and to top it all off bearing the pressure of being trolled after losing his child.

His girlfriend Carol Sonie, had lost their three-month-old baby because of the stress caused by the trolls online. Pushing him to a point of quitting comedy, Mulamwah took to his social media and posted a video of him burning his comedy signature shirt and announced that he had quit comedy, followed by a long caption where he apologises for quitting his comedy career and thanked fans who had supported him since day one adding that he hopes no one will go through what he has gone through recently.

Mulamwah [Photo: Instagram]

The show must go on either way and it looks like Mulamwah is back on track despite the trolls he is receiving online, after several celebrities stood with him when he decided to quit his career encouraging him to come back stronger, followed by nothing but positive messages on the comment section.

This is not the first time Mulamwah has been bullied on social media, but it looks like his comeback slaps harder than his previous breakdowns every time.

Imperfection is perfection that what Anita Nderu proved after she was trolled on social media by a fan after she was criticised because of her stretch marks after posting a recent picture of herself in a bikini. The Instagram fan who goes by the name Fatma Ibrahim asked Anita why she had stretch marks and she has not given birth yet. However, the comment escalated with a three-sixty-degree turnaround and she did not leave the comment unanswered.

“Sweetheart, stretch marks, cellulite, random colour patches, and fat here and there is part of being a human being. I chose to go edit free because I want to feel confident about who they are. If a photo was taken on my phone, that is how I will post it. This is how I look in real life why should I lie to look like you anyway?

Anita went ahead and stated she will continue to fight for those who have been body-shamed considering the fact that the comment touched a nerve, adding that no woman was born perfect and one is just lovey the way they are, it’s never that serious.

Anita [Photo: Instagram]

The Bahatis have relentlessly borne the brunt of social media trolls for years. If it is not about their supposed age difference, it is about a gazillion their highly publicised marriage. Their reality show could not bail them out of the claws of online bullies either.

The blatant show of every single one of their moves never augured well with many a viewer, quite predictably. As such, theirs has been nothing short of a messy ordeal with fans and critics alike, the latest being their latest antics that are highly likely well-orchestrated stunts.

“Negativity has got at me numerous times in the recent past. Transitioning from a frequent reveller to getting married to a celebrity was not the easiest thing in the world. I used to cry myself to sleep,” Diana has previously admitted. Her sentiments are echoed by her husband, gospel-turned-Gengetone singer Bahati.

“She is in the public eye owing to my status. She has been on the receiving end of insults because of me. Heck, she has also amassed a huge following because of me.”

Grappling with the pressure to be happy and maintain a squeaky clean image is, in a nutshell, their biggest struggle. When you're deeply immersed in the public eye, the stakes are high. The privacy you probably once enjoyed fades into oblivion. The singer recently closed down his marquee investment EMB Records. The embattled label saw controversy after controversy since inception, and the culmination of that has been its closure.

Bahati [Photo: Instagram]

“My enemies are against me. Hate is not bad, but what is the point of me being the target for helping artistes start from the ground up? People believe I use the artistes to make money. My goal was to help someone make something for themselves, but Kenyans have come at me with outlandish accusations instead," he lamented on his closure of the label and consequent termination of contracts from signees.

Betty Kyallo knows all too well what it is to be a constant target by trolls. If it is not her controversial divorce, it is her friendship and business partnership went sour with her former best friend Susan Kaittany. If it is not that, then it has a lot to do with dating life...the works! She admits to developing a steel exterior as her coping mechanism.

“You just have to ignore it and live your life. Do not join or partake in the misery," she constantly quips. Not so long ago, she hopped on Instagram Live and vented out with a friend as regards the pressures mounted on public figures. A visibly intoxicated Betty excited many with her unusual stern stance on being a role model. As you would expect, cyberbullies had a field day with that.

Fellow TV girl Lilian Muli is no stranger to getting torn apart by social media users.

Muli [Photo: Instagram]

The news anchor never shies away from sharing details of her love life. More often than not, her revelations are met with grave criticism. Muli is known for her lethal clap backs and she will on occasion blast the naysayers. Her baby daddy confessions are met with indifference and blown out of proportion, which results in unprintables being hurled her way.


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