If there is one thing that we all cannot pretend to overlook then it has to be the way Pwani Celebrity Awards uniquely plans for this year's event. As has been the tradition with our generation, Event Organizers tend to do most of their preparation the digital way; we post about our events on Social Media, we advertise them on posters, banners and even Mainstream Media, which is good; technology has to be embraced with loving arms, but, what about those who have not embraced it yet? Does anyone think about them? The minority who cannot access the internet, those who cannot read? Are they not part of us? The Pwani Celebrity Awards team sat and sought the solution to these questions. With the nominations currently underway, our crew will be going round the Coastal Province, county after county, trying to reach out for the silent majority who are always forgotten.
Kicking off our county to county tour this morning was Kilifi South. We braved the harsh weather and made our way to the innermost part of this region with our meeting point being Makio Social Hall, a place which will go down to this writer's diary as having the most unstable internet connection in the history of ever! The meeting was scheduled to start at exactly 9:00 am, our crew was there by 7:45 am (sharp). When time came to start the conference, the artists were nowhere to be seen. 9:45 am. We became worried, disappointed plus many other adjectives used to describe emotions of that nature. 10:30 am. We cursed the moment this idea was conceived, for all would be pointless.
10:45 am. That was it! We were done with waiting. Time to go. Just when we were about to leave and go mind our own business elsewhere, the much awaited artists started trickling in, their faces being those of hope upon seeing us. To them, we were heaven sent; dropped from entertainment heaven to come give them a listening ear, one which they really needed. 11:30 am. Full house! Everyone is excited and ready to share whatever they could.
11:45 am. We kick-start our meeting. The Pwani Celebrity Awards Crew start by giving a detailed introduction of what we are all about, sharing with them our experiences, expectations and the dreams we have for Kilifi. We included the challenges faced by us too in the process of making the show what it is now. We talk to them about this year's event; how we plan it to be, how different it would be and finally, we teach them how to nominate themselves-a civic education of some sort.
1:00 pm. Their turn. The floor is open, the hall is full. Everyone waiting for their chance. Our stomachs could wait, for it is not everyday that you receive angels from the entertainment heaven in your own backyard coming to listen to your problems and find you solutions to them. It was during this exchange that we saw through their eyes the kind of challenges underground artists from remote areas go through, with the major one being stigmatization. Apparently, most underground artists from such areas have fixed their minds to thinking that only known persons from Mombasa, and not Kilifi, can make it big in such events. They feel intimidated by the mention of some other successful artists. To them, only a chosen few can make the cut in this industry. It took the efforts of our team members to share with them success stories of artists like Peggy and many others who were able to start from nothing to being respectable figures in the entertainment industry, not only in Mombasa, but in Kenya as a whole.
It is in this same meeting that the underground artists in Kilifi felt like posing a challenge to Event Organizers from Mombasa. The thing is, according to them, Mombasa is flooded; flooded with artists; flooded with event organizers; flooded with models; flooded with fashion designers.. everything and everyone is in Mombasa. What about Kilifi? Are they not people too? We at Pwani Celebrity Awards made a promise to them while we were there, one which we do not plan on breaking: We promised to reach out to all the event organizers in Mombasa to consider Kilifi as an untapped market for the entertainment industry. So, here we are, honoring our promise: IF YOU ARE AN EVENT ORGANIZER IN MOMBASA AND YOU ARE READING THIS, KINDLY INCLUDE KILIFI IN YOUR PLANS, otherwise, great talents will continue being buried in this Coastal land. Do not let the blame curse be on you when you can do something to help.
3:10 pm. We see a classy car park just next to our venue. It did not take long when a well-to-do gentleman stepped out of it. He was be-spectacled, had shinny white teeth, which were neatly arranged like piano keys, a potbelly.. (add many other descriptions that can make it apparent to everyone that the man has been eating life with a big spoon). Ladies and gentlemen, it was the Member of County Assembly (or MCA, as the lazy generation would like to call it) for Mtapeni Ward, Mr. Mwingo joining. us! How he got the news, only God knows. He was delighted by the turn-out; the passion we had for our youth and our intentions of helping them really discover themselves. Mr. Mwingo promised to partner with us in empowering the youth of Kilifi, not just for the purposes of Pwani Celebrity Awards, but also in many other sectors, like taking them back to school.
4:00 pm. Time to leave for Mombasa. The artists wave good-bye at us as we drive off. On arrival, we check our e-mail. It was overflowing (still is) with nominations from Kilifi South artists. Next stop will be Kilifi North, then Kilifi Town. After that, the other counties will follow; all in a span of 15 days!!!
Unfortunately, we could not attach any photos. System failure.