Jun 15, 2021

Mawazo Writing Africa

Writing about the main

Mother knows all: Celebs resort to hiring kin as managers

The Kardashian family is famous for having been pushed aggressively by the person who coined and now has copyrighted the term momager, Kris Jenner.

Usher Raymond, Hilary Duff, Miley Cyrus and Brandy and Ray J have had their mothers as managers.

There have also been famous fallouts as the ones between Beyoncé Knowles and her father, Tiger Woods and his father and Britney Spears trying to break away from her father.

The trend is catching in Kenya as parents recognise the importance of talent.

Anne Kering does not want to be seen as having been Nikita Kering’s manager. Her daughter’s talent started showing when she was just three. By the time Nikita was eight, she featured in a lot of events at Riara School.

However, Anne had to step in to ensure Nikita also concentrated on her classwork.

Made through nurturing

“We realised it was beyond talent when Nikita sang Emmy Kosgei’s Taunet Nelelat a school show. She was confident and moved on stage energetically,” Anne says.

“Her meeting with Emmy happened at a wedding where she was an entertainer while Nikita was a flower girl. Nikita actually approached Emmy and told her she could sing her songs.”

Emmy then invited Nikita on stage. Later, she would have Nikita perform at her album launch in December 2011. By this time, Nikita was getting voice coaching at The Conservatoire every Saturday.

Anne read and watched everything about talents that started at a young age and had been managed by parents, including the likes of Whitney Houston. That is when she realised superstars are made through nurturing.

“I had to plan well. With time, Nikita had to do media tours and even appeared in the Churchill Show. Joe (Nikita’s father) and I had to talk to teachers and make them understand that she had another life though we also wanted her to excel in school,” says Anne.

“Music is expensive. Nikita would need scholarship if we were to raise her four siblings.”

Anne and Joe then approached Hope FM managers. She co-hosted a children’s show for a year and would have to be at the station at 6.30am every Saturday.

Immediately after going off air, Nikita would head to The Conservatoire at 9am.She would later co-host a children’s show on Ebru TV.

Videos on social media

“You cannot give your child out to be managed by someone else when she is that young. I would sit or drive her around because she’d sometimes need encouragement,” Anne says.

By the time Nikita was getting into teenage, things were changing. At one time, Nikita’s response to her mother’s request to sing for guests was: “Rudisha’s mum doesn’t ask him to start running whenever they meet people.”

She was referring to Olympic champion David Rudisha.

Anne had opened and was managing Nikita’s social media accounts, together with Nikita’s elder sister, Nimo. She wanted to protect her from some of the more than 260,000 followers.

Anne says she is open with her children but is also strict. She wanted Nikita to stay away from people she believed would derail her ambitions.

She also watched what her daughter wore, especially when posting photos or videos on social media.

“I really wanted her to go into gospel. Listening to my 16-year-old daughter sing love songs is not easy. This was where we would have wars,” she says.

However, Nikita knew she could talk to her mother about anything and Anne later got to understand her daughter’s choice of music and how she wanted to brand herself as she grew older.

From Tiger Woods and Beyoncé’s experience with their fathers, Anne knew she would have to tread carefully and not be directly involved in Nikita’s career.

They talked to Nelly Makena to be her manager. However, Anne, Joe and her sister are still involved in Nikita’s major contractual engagements.

Trio Mio broke out sensationally through social media in 2020. The teen rapper was soon getting mentions from the OGs in the game.

He involved his family to help out in different ways and they looked to make his brand grow. That is when Wilkins Fadhili introduced himself to his mother, Irma Sakwa, offering to provide managerial services.

Fadhili said he was doing all he could to improve his image after he had previously been exposed for claiming to be a representative of a prominent personalities.

Rap prodigy

They decided to give him a chance. Fadhili was definitely getting Trio appearances and performances. They were getting invited to shows and collaborations with established artistes in 2020.

“When Trio went back to school in January, I started reading books to see what we had gained from his music. He had done well and the family wanted to know if there were returns,” says Sakwa.

She visited companies Trio had performed for. It turned out that events they had been told were just providing a platform, were actually paying.

It also emerged that the manager was taking cash for possible collaboration with the rap prodigy and not informing them.

“We dismissed him and I took over. Trio is my last born and being hired by him has been fun. I’m learning a lot about his sheng,” Sakwa says.

She gets to know more about her son’s fears and he asks her questions on matters she would only know about her other children had they messed up.

Though she is at times embarrassed by the language in his songs or the wild antics on stage, protecting him from predators supercedes everything else.

Ms Sakwa says Fadhili has always been an exceptional child.

As a six-year-old, he could ride the “black mamba” bicycle, she says.

“Trio started his music in primary school. My brothers told me his rapping would take him far. However, I did not want to encourage him, fearing he would drop out of school. It was only when he did freestyle during the first pandemic-induced lockdown that I told him to follow his dream,” she says.

Sarafina Siranka has been pushing her daughter’s modelling ambition since she was three.

Seven-year-old Angel Sintandi Chweya’s first brand placement was for Suntop juice.

“It was her favourite drink and she loved being photographed while sipping it. I posted one of the photos and the company called her in, did a shoot and gave her an incentive,” Siranka says.

Going by her nickname, Tandy had always been a poser when being photographed. She would then review the pictures.

Before the juice shoot, Tandy had been selected to pose for a painting competition at The Hub, Karen. The winning painting was put up as a poster at the mall. The rest, as they say, is history.

[email protected]