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EXCLUSIVE: Vaida hitmaker Harry Richie blasts Azziad Nassenya’s appointment to Talanta Hela Council

Harry Richie, the Luhya vernacular singer behind the hit song Vaida, has opposed TikToker Azziad Nasenya’s appointment to the Talanta Hela Council by the Cabinet Secretary for Youth Affairs, Sports and the Arts, Ababu Namwamba.

CS Namwamba launched the Talanta Hela Project in February 2023 in a bid to monetize talents in sports and the creative industry in Kenya.

According to Richie, popularly referred to as Vaida after his trending song, Azziad did not deserve that appointment because ‘she does not create anything that brings impact or inspires the society’.

“She should have been an assistant to someone like me. I could have been considered for that position and she as my assistant. I haven’t dissed her. When it comes to the arts, we mean someone who creates something memorable and will exist for a long time to come. But if, God forbid, something happened to Azziad, what impact did she bring to the community? As Vaida, I inspire myself, and I could have been appointed and her my assistant- or we could have proposed people (for the council) based on what impact they brought to the arts” said Vaida.

He also pointed out that Azziad was especially known for dancing and twisting her waist on TikTok.

Azziad, 22, became instantly famous in Kenya in 2020 when a video of her dancing to the song Utawezana by Femi One and Mejja went viral. In it, she was dressed down; and especially twisted her waist and shook her behind for the camera, earning millions of followers over time and a line of men drooling after her. She is the most followed female TikToker in Kenya.

At some point, there was an alleged beef between herself and Femi One when it was claimed that it was Azziad who made the song famous and not the big name artistes behind the song. Femi One said the song would have been a hit song with or without Azziad’s dancing, a stand that Vaida also holds considering Azziad also danced to his hit song, Vaida, as it went viral.

“God just sent her to help it hit and if it was not her, it would have been someone else,” said Vaida.

Regarding her Talanta Hela Council appointment, many people have been opposed to Azziad’s appointment, saying she was too young and had contributed nothing to the creative arts industry in Kenya as opposed to some names that had been in the industry for decades but overlooked.

In March 2023, a petitioner filed a case in court to have the Talanta Hela Council appointments revoked. Mugane advocates said the Council, chaired by comedian Daniel Churchill Ndambuki, is illegal because CS Namwamba picked his appointees without any parameters including regard for merit.

CS Namwamba was accused of betraying the public’s trust and breaching Article 10 of the constitution with touches on national values and principles of governance, including public participation, good governance, transparency and accountability. The Talanta Hela Project has two committees- one for the Creative Technical in which Azziad is a part of and the Sports Technical Committee.

Also read: EXCLUSIVE: Vaida hit maker, Harry Richie, planning music industry exit

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