The ‘parte after parte’ came to an end when COVID-19 hit the world. Since President Uhuru implemented the nationwide curfew, many sectors of the economy were cripled. Yet necessity is the mother of invention. Rather than ‘kukubali matokeo’ some deejays decided to go online and continue entertaining their fans.
We had a chat with one of Kenya’s most popular Deejays, Henrique the DJ to learn from his journey and how he has weathered through the storm of this pandemic.
A bit of Background
Henrique the Dj has been a professional Dj since 2015. He has vast experience deejaying across the country in various events including weddings, clubs, concerts, and national events. Henrique made his 1st TV appearance when he was deejaying for Davido. He also played at a hospital launch where Rick Ross was the chief guest on his visit to Kenya. This talented entertainer also deejayed at Chipukeezy’s East Africa comedy show.
Currently, Henrique is part of a group called CODE BLACK international. The group has been working in various club nights, for instance, on Thursdays’ they are at Zipang Lounge next to Nextgen mall. On Friday’s they are at Galileo lounge, Westlands, whereas on Wednesdays and Thursdays they are running on NTV at 10p.m.
But with the lockdown restrictions, CODE BLACK has had to reconsider how they entertain their fans. Henrique has an online platform where his fans can listen to his mixtapes. Most of the time he has focussed on his gigs on national tv.
But Henrique admits that it’s no walk in the park.
“Most freelance deejays have been jobless with other paid deejays being placed on unpaid leave,” he says.
Henrique states that this COVID 19 period is a powerful lesson for those in the entertainment scene. It teaches one to be a master of their own money by pursuing other ventures such as investments and savings. COVID has also taught all of us the value of frugal living instead of squandering most of our month’s pays on lifestyles that are above our means.
On the international scene, Deejays survived by holding live events online. Virtual reality concerts became quite popular around the world especially with fans of electronic dance. We have experienced mind blowing concepts from virtual replicas of live music venues that allowed their online attendants to enjoy music in the middle of a desert or underwater.
But the virtual world is a bit foreign to us probably because we love the physical aspect of meeting at club Galileo and shaking the night away. COVID murdered the social aspect of partying for us as it was not just the music. We also loved the fact that we could wink at the deejay, slip him our number and buy him a drink for spinning the deck back to Yemi Alade’s ‘Where is my Johnny.’
Oh, the good times.
Sauti Sol felt it. The eerie silence that descended upon the region thanks to the mandatory lockdown. The group sought to do something about it by blessing their fans with a free online concert. I suspect the event was an experiment to see if we would respond to an online concert with the same zealousness as our Western counterparts.
Yet we can’t be the same and that’s what makes Africa unique. We are still a social society that favors physical connections over online. We want to go to Skylux and spot Suzanna flexing on the ground with her sponsor (#none of our business).
Hopefully the tides will change and the good times will roll in. Until then, we have to contend with getting our music online, or on radios and tvs and maybe enjoying it with a few friends in the confines of our homes. Regardless of how you entertain yourself, let’s keep safe and hope for the best.
Feel free to check out Henrique the DJ with his team CODE BLACK on NTV. You can also join him on the 254 Diaspora DJS Live On The Mix from 10p.m Kenyan time (3p.m) U.S time. Follow him on Twitter @henriquethedj, Facebook, & Instagram.