I chose to take the money…because I was broke – confession of a Kenyan celeb

By Kim Koima

Being a creative is so hard, nobody really respects your craft and being undermined is the order of the day.

A creative is anyone who can create something original and true to themselves e.g. comedians, musicians, poets, viners, Youtubers, models, chefs, painters, sketch artists, actors you name it.

If you are any of these or other you can attest that trying to get someone to buy your craft is a hustle.

Nobody really values your talent the way you do and that can really hurt your spirit.

When you see creatives out there doing what they do best, trust me they fought so many battles with themselves to be there; first they had to believe in themselves before anyone else did, convince themselves that their talent can grow if given a chance and finally they started.

People see an artist on stage and they think it’s easy, NO.

That act you are enjoying went through a lot of sleepless nights, fine-tuning, doubt, practice and self-investment.

But some people chose not to see it that way, they have their own grading system in their heads.

Most of the times they tend to underpay the artist.

Here is the thing, when creatives give you their quotations, the money that is quoted is their valuation of what they will deliver when they do sign the contract, whether established or upcoming that is how they value their talent at that particular point.

When you pay them the agreed amount, you are not buying their talent, you are buying some time out of that craft.

There are some event organizers who mistreat upcoming creatives just because they don’t have a voice in the industry.

They promise to pay but after the show or whatever event you were doing ends, excuses start and the young artists end up getting peanuts in the name of fare.

He/she went there smiling at the fact that someone is finally noticing their talent, but depression is what they come home with.

Questions like, am I not good enough?

Is this a sign to stop chasing my dream? Am I really talented?

Will start running through their young minds.

Dear Event Organizer you not only killed this young creative’s spirit but you might just have added his dream to the kill list. You have really outdone yourself!

There is this group of Event Organizers who try and bargain with an artist for performance fees, there is nothing wrong with this it’s just business.

But sometimes you quote a fee and they tell you it’s too expensive, you ask them what they are willing to give, it’s a three quarter slash off your original quotation.

You have invested a lot of time and money into your craft and here out of pure disrespect and ignorance somebody wants to underpay you.

People like these should be shown what happens behind the scenes so that they can see the amount blood and sweat that goes into polishing your craft.

Dear Creative, if you are called for a gig or you stumble upon one and you feel the performance fee will not fully compensate you, give that opportunity a hard pass.

I know it’s hard, it has happened to me sometime and I chose to take the money they were giving me because I was broke.

This can easily turn into a habit where you will be taking less money just because you are flat broke.

I stopped though, you can too, and there will always be a person willing to meet your price tag, just wait, work on your craft and believe me it will pay off.

The sad thing about these cheap gigs is that you can do so many of them in a week but you have nothing to show for it.

There are some gigs however, you only need like 3 of them in a week and you can be able to pay bills and have a lil something left over for yourself.

Choose what you want, both of them have money but you can have only one.

We have lost several artistes to depression, I won’t mention names out of respect to their families.

You are an artist in whichever creative space, you love what you do but your employers don’t give a hoot.

You are always underpaid because your brand is not big enough, instead of quitting and falling into depression work on your brand and build a name for yourself.

Giving up will not help to fulfill your dreams, in fact you are just disappointing your potential.

I know it is hard but nothing ever comes easy, we gotta grind through all these bad shit to make something meaningful. Hang in there and put in the work.

Going for auditions isn’t bad, but some judges tend to be too harsh on creatives. I went to another one here in Nairobi and one of the judges told me ‘kijana rudi ushago ulime shamba’.

This statement stuck with me for some time, I finally made it on stage and what I felt I can never explain.

Does it have to be this way though? As an audition judge, do you have to be that harsh? I know some creatives who have been told worse things than me, some cried and gave up.

If you can take the insults keep going to these auditions, but if you have a soft heart, find another platform for your talent.

Social media consumption Is so huge right now, instagram, facebook, twitter and youtube are all free! If you are a creative, TV and auditions are not everything, just use social media and build your audience there. It will take time but at least nobody is hurling insults at you.

Audition judges should really stop trying to kill dreams.

Not all of them are bad though, there some that really encourage you, and they even tell you exactly what you need to improve on.

The others that make a point of always harassing creatives during auditions are just saying out loud what they really feel about themselves.

It’s not right and it ain’t fare, how will you feel if your kid was insulted the way you do others? Sit on that. We know you hate yourself, you and a hater have no difference.Stop killing artists, artist’s lives matter. (audition judges).

Don’t give up on your dreams, please do not. I have been insulted so many times I lost count but am still here.

I am still working on my craft, in fact since the insults I got better.

Never give up on your dream, work on it until it can’t be worked on nomore.

Of course I know talent will never be perfect it just gets better every day, but never stop is the point am tryna pass across.

If you have read up to this point, that shows you care and thank you for caring.

Now share this to your friends and other creative you know, it might help you never know.


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