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A Jesse Dele Series: Music and it’s complexity

A deep look into the music industry with a keen light on how music lyrics affects our lives as well as the lives of the various artists.



We all listen to music. Be it Christina Shusho with her Bible-based music, Wakadinali’s outspoken & hitting hip hop bars or Youngboy’s Never Broke Again; gritty, mysterious yet melodic and introspective tracks…. everyone listens to some form of music.

A case study.

“When a kid hears a song and repeats it over and over, from the alpha state and into the subconscious mind, it can have power over the mind.”-Micheal Jackson.

There is some truth in Michael Jackson’s words. For instance, children emulate their favourite rappers and everyone in general. Is it possible to shape the thoughts, opinions, decisions and actions of a person? Yes.

This is why parents have to teach their kids early that they have to be disciplined. Doing abc….. avoids certain outcomes. Getting older; new things are introduced with a gradual increase of seriousness. Listening to songs for instance “Drills”, which are senseless murders of people who live on a different street; may cause one to normalise violence and want to become like these artists.

Dayvon Bennette “King Von”, was a famous rapper who rose to fame in 2020 during the height of COVID. His music is primarily about murder, running a gang that deals drugs and robbery; putting sex, money and substance abuse first. Despite making millions Dayvon paid dearly with his life. Most of his friends have ended up in jail. He is connected to at least 11 murders in Chicago.

Photo Courtesy – Dayvon Bennette

Watching his documentary got me rooted to the spot as I thought about the power of music. Have you noticed every male wants to be a “gangster” these days due to this glorified and normalised lifestyle?

Hip-hop and rappers mostly show us that being materialistic is all that matters. They live dangerous and fast lives portraying a lavish lifestyle and how they can attract any female. These are negatives. Kentrell Gaulden “Youngboy Never Broke Again” said recently, “he isn’t big on fatherhood.” Ironically he has 11 children.

On the other hand, Jahseh was trying to change his life by making meaningful music as seen in his final album “?” with popular tracks like “Moonlight” which talks about a woman. However, he was a domestic abuser of his girlfriend at the time. His lead single ”Sad” (a personal favourite) speaks of his experiences with depression and suicidal thoughts. He talks about regrets and his romantic turmoil in his lyrics; I gave her everything she took my heart and left me lonely…

Photo Courtesy-Jahseh

The many negative connotations are devastating but as with anything in life, there can’t be light with darkness. All these people also have some positives we can learn from such as Kentrell’s work ethic, he drops more music than your favourite artist and all his stuff is fresh & X’s slow transformation was inspiring and his versatility was unmatched.


We should be aware of the messages hidden within songs, their ultimate agenda, what the artists promote and their character as well. All these can affect our lives. Be it fashion, sexual orientation, substance abuse, morals, beliefs, religion and overall character. Balance is key as with everything and as adults, we know what is right and wrong. Enjoy your music and artists.

Jesse Dele.

*This article is originally written by Jesse Dele.

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The Real Stars of The Show: The Overlooked Value of Performers in the Nairobi Live Music Scene



Nairobi’s restaurant and cafe scene is flourishing, kila mahali all you hear is Hidden Gems this and that. Amidst this boom, there’s a common cultural thread tying many of these vibrant spots together: live music. As restaurants and cafes across Nairobi promote local artists you can’t help but ask is it the venues promoting the artists, or are the artists in fact the ones enhancing the venues?

While venues promote themselves as supporters of local talent, the reality showcases a more reciprocal relationship. Artists aren’t just background music because otherwise, they could just play prerecorded playlists; but would it really be the same? The unique ambience created by live performances transforms a regular dining experience into something special, becoming a primary reason customers choose one cafe over another. Despite this, at the end of the night, these artists might walk away with as little as 5,000 KES—a sum that hardly equates to the value they provide.

The Artist IS the Attraction

Artists bring a unique vibe to a venue, creating an ambience that can’t be replicated by a Spotify playlist or radio. Whether it’s the soulful strumming of a guitar or the soft notes of a jazz saxophone, live music adds a layer of authenticity and enjoyment to the dining experience that draws crowds. Regular patrons often turn into loyal customers, coming back not just for the food and drinks, but for the music that originally pulled them in.

The draw of live music is undeniable as more local artists emerge in Nairobi Live Music scene. On nights with scheduled performances, foot traffic in these establishments can spike significantly. This isn’t just about increased numbers; the diversity of the clientele also expands. Music lovers, friends of performers, and even passersby lured by the sound filtering through the doors help expand the usual customer base.

Beyond the immediate business that live music brings, there’s a further broader cultural contribution that these artists offer. They help define the character of a bistro or cafe, distinguishing it from competitors. Venues known for supporting local artists often gain a reputation as cultural centres, enhancing their brand and embedding them more deeply into the community fabric.

In discussing the dynamic between artists and venues during a recent interview with VibeYetu, JT Bulinda, an artist in the local music scene, shared his insights: “The assumption generally is that venues are doing a favour to the artists by letting them play, and while there is some truth in recognizing the platform they provide, that’s barely all there is to it.” His statement highlights a crucial point: the relationship is mutually beneficial. Venues gain a competitive edge and increase patronage through the distinctive cultural experience offered by artists, while artists receive exposure and a platform to showcase their talent.

Despite their significant contributions, our artists often face challenges. The compensation, if offered, can be minimal, and the acknowledgement of their role in attracting customers can be underappreciated. There is a growing conversation among the artist community about the need for fair treatment and better recognition of their contributions to the hospitality industry. At the end of the day as an artist, you need to earn however little you can and even more importantly, you have to keep singing and playing the instrument; so they end up being taken advantage of.

As Nairobi’s culinary scene continues to grow, recognizing the mutual benefits of this relationship could lead to more sustainable support for local artists and richer, more engaging experiences for patrons. In the thriving heartbeat of Nairobi’s eateries, perhaps the artists are the real promoters after all, deserving of fair compensation and recognition for the cultural vibrancy they bring to the table.

Let’s talk about it:

[email protected]

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How to Support and Contribute during The Flood Crisis in Kenya

In the wake of devastating floods across Kenya, communities are facing unprecedented challenges. As the cold exacerbates conditions and disease risks increase, your contributions, whether through donations of clothing to keep the vulnerable warm or financial support to aid rescue operations, can make a profound difference. Discover how even the smallest acts of kindness can provide substantial relief and foster hope in the hardest-hit areas.



The recent catastrophic floods have taken a heavy toll, with thousands displaced and considerable fatalities. It’s hard to watch the news or log into social media and not be overwhelmed by the devastation. And nothing is worse than the helplessness that accompanies that devastation, I mean we are only human. However, there are ways we can make a difference, even from a distance and even in the littlest ways we can.

According to the Kenya Red Cross, as of 28th April, the floods have resulted in 69 deaths, 59 injuries, and 17 people missing. Out of Kenya’s 47 counties, 33 have been affected. Over 25,000 households have been impacted by the flooding, with 11,275 households displaced. Critical infrastructure has also suffered significantly, with 11 critical facilities, 9 health facilities flooded, and 35 schools destroyed. The economic impact is also severe, with more than 480 businesses affected and over 31,000 individuals from informal settlements displaced, with displacement camps set up in Busina, Kisumu, Homabay, Migori, and Kirinyaga.

The first step, however, even before extending help to others, it’s important to ensure your own safety first. Staying warm at all times, avoid high-risk roads and bridges that get flooded and keep informed about updates and warnings. Check your routes online before leaving for or from work, carry an umbrella, and do not let water stagnate. Check on family and friends and share safety tips, use social media to share warning messages and updates, helping to spread awareness and preparedness. As we worry about everyone else and do what we can to support and help them, it makes it easier to know that those around us; that our families and friends are staying safe. Text your parents and families to let them know that you are staying safe.

How to Support and Contribute during The Flood Crisis in Kenya

Donate Essentials

The floods exacerbate the vulnerabilities of already struggling communities with cases like Kibera and Mukuru cases, heightening risks such as disease outbreaks and exposure to harsh weather conditions. Many affected individuals are grappling with inadequate shelter, which makes them particularly susceptible to the cold. Donating your slightly used clothes and helping them stay warm through the rough nights goes a long way. Spreading warmth and love is the hope that they are not alone through these tough times.
Know a struggling family? Reach out to them and support them in the little ways you can, even if it’s just the essentials. Sanitary towels are at the top of that list; the cold weather influences a woman’s endocrine system, which controls the hormones responsible for regulating your period resulting in irregular or heavier flows.

Financial Support

Unfortunately, we cannot reach some of the people who need this help the most and we cannot do as much as we would individually like to help. But together, we can empower and support those that can; from non-governmental organizations to community-based organizations and even government rescue departments. Every donation counts, big or small. By contributing as little as 50 shillings or as much as 1,000, you directly empower organizations dedicated to aiding, supporting, and rescuing flood victims all over the country. These funds are crucial for sustaining their ongoing efforts and delivering vital services such as temporary shelters for the displaced, food, shelter, and medical aid to those in dire need.
Below are some I could find that you can send your support to:(Share more places for donation for us to keep updating this list on [email protected])


If you can spare the time, volunteering at your nearest disaster centre can make an insanely significant difference. Your skills and labour can assist in various aspects of disaster response and relief operations, supporting those on the front lines and those affected by the disaster. Even just being there for these people and offering support and compassion would go a long way in shining hope and love.

It’s important to remember that every little action counts, society is all of us together, a culmination of efforts towards a single cause. By understanding the situation and contributing in any way we can, we collectively make a significant impact. Let’s stand in solidarity with those affected and contribute to a hopeful, resilient future for all impacted by these tragic floods. As long as you are doing the little you can, we will as a community be alright. The anxiety you feel will be alleviated knowing you are doing something towards a better tomorrow. Remember to stay warm and safe.

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Books & Film

World Book and Copyright Day: Read, Become a Better You



The question often is, are you a reader? But the even bigger question is, why aren’t you a reader? Finding the time to sit down with a good book can seem like an impossible luxury with adulting and capitalism on the win. However, as we celebrate World Book and Copyright Day, it’s essential to reflect on the importance of reading and why it should be an integral part of your life. But, beyond that, we also spotlight Qwani, a foundation dedicated to promoting readership and providing a platform for young writers to get published, as it plays a crucial role in cultivating a reading culture among people.

Reading is not just about words on a page; it’s about expanding our horizons, exploring new worlds, and gaining valuable insights into the human experience. In a world where distractions are plentiful, books offer a sanctuary, a place where we can immerse ourselves in stories, ideas, and perspectives that enrich our lives. Lessons without unfortunately learning through experience.

One of the significant benefits of reading is that it enhances our emotional intelligence. Do you ever talk to someone who simply struggles to express their emotions? People who struggle with understanding your emotions? That’s how showy it is when you don’t read. When we read, we are exposed to a vast array of emotions, and we learn to understand and empathize with different perspectives. Books are the windows to the human soul. They enable us to experience emotions and situations that we may not encounter in our daily lives, thus increasing our emotional intelligence.

My biggest red flag in people is a lack of empathy, run away from people who are not empathetic. Reading is a gateway to empathy. When we read, we step into the shoes of characters from diverse backgrounds, cultures, and experiences. We learn to see the world through their eyes, fostering empathy and understanding. Through books, we can walk in someone else’s shoes, experiencing their joys, sorrows, and struggles. This fosters empathy, compassion, and a deeper understanding of the world around us.

But, if your excuse for not reading is volume and attention span, consider anthologies like Qwani. Keith Ang’ana addresses this by saying, “…but it is exactly that matter which we’re using to curate the book.”(talking about short attention spans) Qwani’s approach is to provide a diverse range of content, including stories as short as one page long and others as long as eleven pages. “One can, slowly by slowly, start by reading the shorter stories, and then, progressively, get to the longer stories, as they build up their reading capacity,” Keith Ang’ana suggests.

Qwani addresses this by providing a diverse array of content, all under one roof. “We have Poetry, we have Short Stories, we have Philosophy, we have Science, we have Sheng stories, and we also have reviews about Film and Music,” Keith Ang’ana explains. “Furthermore, they are spread out in the book, such that, at no point in time will you cross over from one piece to another both of the same genre or same theme. This, then, helps in making it colourful and diverse, alleviating the initial boredom that encumbers people from reading longer works.”

For anyone trying to get back to reading books, I suggest anthologies like Qwani

As we celebrate World Book and Copyright Day, let’s remember the immense value of reading. Through books, we can expand our horizons, cultivate empathy, and sharpen our minds. If you are writer, please continue to paint the world with your words, and for the readers, may we always find solace in books. With initiatives like Qwani, we have the opportunity not only to enjoy the benefits of reading but also to contribute to a culture of readership that enriches lives and communities. “Qwani is a foundation pushing for more readership by providing young writers with a platform to get published. We’re also aiming to cultivate a reading culture among people,” Keith Ang’ana concludes. And I am happy to watch Qwani soar and achieve this dream.

Qwani 2nd Edition

Qwani-ni hauna copy? Grab yourself the second edition of Qwani’s anthology here.

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