Kimanzi Shines Brightest. Fashion & Lifestyle Beacon Partners With Guinness To Light Sparks Across East Africa

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Tall.

Light.

Handsome. So the ladies say.

If you met Kimanzi for the first time, you immediately think you are meeting an old friend. A fun bloke, very engaging, the life of the party. The kind of guy who would jump on stage on a whim in a foreign land, and dance to Kenyan songs. An artist who loves art and everything Kenyan. An ambassador, even.

When you’d leave, you’d have made a friend. A friend you’d love to hang out with again. Because, as they say, he is such a vibe.

Those who have the pleasure of knowing Kimanzi know how passionate and deliberate he is about everything ‘Brand Kimanzi.’

But for those who have not had the opportunity to see it, or only observe it from afar, the evolution of  Kimanzi has come a long way. From the funny meme-sharing chief, (remember the breakdown of the famous Lonyangapuo speech?) to among the leading lifestyle brands’ influencers that he is right now, Kimanzi is on a mission.

First of all, he is a Brian. And we all know about Brians. [And Kevos, and Johntes.]

As a man’s man [and a ladies’ man], as an influencer and as a dedicated member of the culture he is part of [as if] Kimanzi has upped the game in short content creation. Short and Sweet.

He can do them longer. If he wanted.

I mean, he is a certified top content creator, a  reckoned copywriter and was actually a lead writer in one of Kenya’s biggest budget adverts in the most recent past.

If he is not writing great commercials, he is probably appearing in one.

I caught up with him on the sidelines of the Guinness Shines Brightest launch, where we agreed to have a sit down for this interview.

First things first, If you were to tell your younger self who Kimanzi is, how would you introduce yourself?

What can I say, Kimanzi is a simple guy who loves and lived life to the best. Kimanzi is an advertising guy who works as a copywriter and creative consultant for and with brands. On any given day you’ll find Kimanzi socializing with people from different spheres of life.

Word has it that you were involved in the creation of the current campaign, Guinness Black Shines Brightest. What is the Guinness BSB all about, and what was your role in the development of the campaign?

I only did the consultancy for the campaign and how it will roll out in the East African Community through culture.

Black Shines Brightest is the biggest Pan-African campaign that celebrates African creativity and ingenuity. The campaign’s aim is to work with creators who encompass the spirit of Black Shines Brightest and will revolve around Fashion, Music, Art and food.

So then, when you think of Guinness, what do you think of?

Apart from being a beer I truly enjoy, Guinness as a brand actually takes me back in time. I remember seeing it consistently every time. Either on TV. Or on a newspaper spread. This is over a long time. As long as I can remember, you know, like my grandparents were there, so it’s been stamped across generations.

How does that past look like with regards to your present engagement with Guinness?

Guinness and I have come a long way. Fashion and Sports are things that are really close to me. They have been for a long time. Initially, the Guinness Soccer Nights were amazing activations, but they were simply themed for soccer lovers.

The shift by the brand to incorporate lifestyle was such a welcome idea and it has both stretched the horizons for the brand as well as myself as an influencer.

This is one of the very well thought out campaigns that are really ‘Black’ focused. Guinness Black Shines Brightest incorporates black excellence in everyone in the campaign. We have an elite list of cinematographers, photographers, stylists, and influencers creating content for such an iconic brand.

The campaign is not only calling us to shine bright but giving us a platform and inspiration to do it.

What are the highlights of your partnership with Guinness?

Black Shines Brightest, of course, The concept photoshoots I’ve done too as well as the videos I’ve been able to produce in partnership with Guinness.

You are known for killer design and fashion on socials. Have you always been a looks guy? Have you also always been an influencer kind of guy?

Kind of. I think it’s genetic for me. But seriously, even from old photos, I was wearing something that I really don’t see anything off with. I am also very social and opinionated, and I’d be out there shouting ideas and trying to get everyone to partake of whatever thing I was excited about at that moment.

What’s your earliest memory of drip that you remember?

When I was 7 or 8, I have a photo of me in a suit. That is me even now. I was comfortable, and I looked happy. It may have been a birthday or some other celebration. But it really looks good, if I should say so myself.

Anyone in particular who inspires you in how you dress? 

I get inspiration from everywhere. Literally. It could be a chap walking in town and I’d really feel their vibe and will see if it works for me. It could be a scene from a film or a magazine.

I am also very sure of who I am and I can tell what works from just a glimpse.

My style is not just on the content I share in campaigns. But I generally just love looking and feeling good.

Do you own everything you showcase?

I know it may be hard to believe, but I really do own everything you have seen me in. If I like it enough to create content with it, I definitely like it enough to own it.

What are you listening to, and watching?

Manasseh Shalom’s Kitenge III is currently on replay. He is such a brilliant artist. And I dare say, way underrated. I just love his vibe. I also recently watched The Harder They Fall, and I enjoyed it.

How does that add to the kind of content you produce?

The awareness that there’s a lot of great content out there is enriching. It also pushes you to be a greater creator.

Like the movie, The Harder They Fall has some great scenes. I may incorporate some fashion inspiration I got from there in my next series of content creation (if it works).

Creators can definitely learn from each other.

What’s the hardest part of being Kimanzi?

Waaah. Is there anything hard?

Haha.

Time. Heh. Time. I try as much as possible to meet deadlines and keep time. It becomes hard when someone doesn’t honour that.

I tend to meticulously plan my workdays and so if I spill my time into another meeting’s time, it kills my energy, because it means I will have several other people disappointed.

What should influencers think about when dealing with brands? Other than the money? Haha

People look at it from different aspects, for me, I look at how it fits with me as a brand. Do our values and goals align? If so then it should be easy to work with them. That way I don’t need to bend to fit into something that won’t work well with me.

What’s next for you and Guinness?

More content coming out. Also a lot more amazing collaborations with other creators in the Guinness Black Shines Brightest family.

There are so many great influencers in the Guinness Black Shines Brightest campaign. Find out more about photographer Mutua Matheka.

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Paul Otieno is a Creative Director and Storyteller in Creative Writing, Photography and Film. He and his partner, have 3 girls, a 4-year-old and her two years old twin sisters. He says he is the Father of the Dragons. You can find him on all social media platforms as @Paushinski or find him on his blog, www.paushinski.co.ke