Working in media has made me rub shoulders with one celebrity after the other. Some were delightful but most of them were trouble. however, I did not expect the level of unprofessionalism that I experienced with one particular Kenyan celebrity.
“Hi. Are you Barbara?” I heard someone say besides me as I sipped my vanilla milkshake.
“Yea. Oh my God, I can’t believe I’ve finally met. I’m a huge fan.” I replied star struck by my favourite childhood celebrity.
Henny, a well-known rapper, had finally agreed to meet me for an interview after months of ducking all media. He got involved in a scandal some time back which sent him into hiding until now. He was quite handsome in person and his style was on point.
“Nice to meet you, beautiful.” He said and reach for a hug which I returned awkwardly.
I didn’t mind hugging him I just didn’t think it would be so soon. He had a reputation of being very friendly which was something my colleagues warned me about before I went for the interview.
“Thank you for coming. Will you have anything to drink?”
“Yes. Do they have whiskey?”
Stunned, I said, “No, it’s a coffee shop.”
It was also 2.30 in the afternoon and the Nairobi heat was out with a vengeance so I wasn’t sure whether he was joking but I ignored it and handed him the menu that was beside me. He looked through it with disinterest then finally called the waiter.
“I’ll have what she’s having.” He said then turned to me and smiled.
I smiled back politely but I could tell I was losing control of the interview before it even started.
“So, what’s your name, sweetheart?”
“It’s Barbara. You said it when we met.”
“No, darling, not your slave name. I meant your African name.”
“Oh… I’m Mumba,” I replied hesitantly in hopes that the pet names would stop.
“Wow, that’s a pretty name. You should use that name. Where is it from?”
“Giriama. Can we start the interview now?”
“Yeah. Do your thing, babes.”
I was wrong. The pet names did not stop. In fact, throughout my attempt to interview him, he called me seven different pet names. Eventually, I managed to get a few interview questions in and some good responses. He was interesting when he cooperated.
After an hour, the place began to get crowded and it was difficult for us to communicate so he suggested we go to a different location. He settled our bill and tipped the waiter then led me to the parking lot where I let him know I had a driver.
“There’s my ride. WhatsApp me the location and we’ll meet there.”
He wasn’t expecting that but he had a response right away.
“Okay. Let’s go with your car.”
After getting into the car, he demanded the driver to take him to Yaya Center where he had left his bag with “important things”. We gave each other a look of uncertainty but did so, regardless, since he was a celebrity. Once we got to our first stop, he insisted that I come with him because he didn’t want to keep me waiting in the car. I agreed but the driver followed us after getting suspicious of the guy.
We got to a restaurant where Henny’s friends were drinking and being rowdy. I was visibly embarrassed to be in their presence but I had to do my work. He quickly introduced them and sat down leaving me standing.
“Are you going to join us?” one of them asked.
“No, we have somewhere to be,” I said looking Henny dead in the eye.
“You guys go, I’ll catch up.” He replied.
“Or we can do the interview here,” I suggested knowing there was no other alternative if I wanted to complete my assignment.
We pushed and pulled all the while I was standing as he drank and made merry with his friends. Eventually, he agreed to finish the interview at his home. We were more than happy to drop him in the state that he was in. I doubt he would have remembered where his car was.
Again, we got into the car but not before the driver warned him that he was going to fuel the vehicle if he kept wasting our time.
“Petrol?!” he laughed sarcastically. “You’re worried about petrol.” He removed a pile of money and handed the driver around Ksh 5000. “There’s your petrol.”
The driver and I gave each other the same look as before knowing this wasn’t going to be easy. Dealing with a Kenyan celebrity never is.
“Baba, si unipitishe Kiza nione dame wangu flani.” He said
“Sir, we’re headed to your home. Where is it?”
“We’re going. I just need to pick my woman.”
I don’t like arguments so I quickly settled things. “It’s okay. Just do it.”
Both of us were so tired and frustrated after spending nearly 5 hours with the guy. We got to Kiza and he called the alleged girl who we were apparently picking up. She came out with three other girls and all of them wanted to enter into our little Toyota Premio.
“Henny, what car is this? Where’s your Range?” One of the girls protested as she entered the car.
I was okay with it as long as no one sat on me, breathed on me or talked to me. The girls were loud and kept laughing at every single thing Henny said. The noise was seriously testing my patience but luckily, we got to our destination before I lost all my chills.
I quickly got out, sat at the gazebo and gave Henny a death stare. I wasn’t playing anymore. He told the girls to make themselves comfortable in the house then joined me. His house help served us some drinks and we were able to pick up where we left the interview. As I said, he was very interesting when he calmed down.
The next day at the office, everyone wanted to hear about my experience with Henny, the infamous bad boy. Our lunch break that day was full of curious ears. Even the driver joined us for a quick story time. My horrid experience with this celebrity led more people to share their story about Kenya’s ill-mannered artists. This wasn’t an isolated case and he was not the only celebrity with such tendencies.
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featured image from www.theoklahomaeagle.net