Connect
To Top

Ugandan celebs and their celebrity alter egos

 

Jay-Z and GNL Zamba

We all have people we look up to, or those that inspire us in our pursuit for happiness or big dreams. In the entertainment industry, we have seen some and Trevor Taremwa looks at a few alter egos that Ugandan artistes have clung onto to propel their art, and how successful they have been at it.

Before roots reggae attained its international acceptance, especially in the United States, musical outfits in Jamaica used to do reggae renditions of songs done by those in the US. It is from siphoning such influences that Bob Marley got propelled to pick a leaf from boy bands such as The Drifters to form the legendary Wailers.
On the Ugandan musical scene, such influences have remained evident, especially within the artistry and the artistes themselves.

GNL Zamba and Jay-Z
Ever since Ernest Nsimbi started putting pen to paper, he has never been coy about the boatloads of inspiration he derives from the jigga-man or even his aspirations to be him in the literal sense. In his ghetto mentality free style, he connotes that his projection has never been that of being like Chameleon or Bebe Cool but like Jay-Z or P Diddy. In a couple of Instagram videos and pictures, he can be spotted donning a Paper plane snapback, a line of apparel Jay-Z actually owns.

These influences as well spill over into his flow and art. He has carried on the struggles and preaches rags-to-riches gospel in his lyrics, and he has as well embraced the braggadocio that comes with it. While Jay-Z claimed to be photoshoot fresh while looking like wealth, GNL claimed to not only to smell like money but also to be filthy rich.

Has GNL lived up to the billing? One cannot mention Lugaflow without mentioning GNL in the same breath. When Jay-Z gave us Roca Fella, GNL gave us Baboon Forest. Where Jay-Z gave the world Kanye, J Cole and Rihanna, GNL gave the world Big Tril and Mun G. Whereas he has not yet given us a major continental or international collaboration, his mark back home remains indelible and has done the most living up to the Jigga legacy, at least locally.

Sheebah Karungi and Rihanna
Rihanna has not only lived up to her good girl gone bad image but has as well gone on to become a living monument for the contemporary rebel. On the set of a 2016 South African GQ photoshoot, Rihanna is described as reclining on a chaise in the sun while taking pulls from her joint of marijuana and later posing nude for one of the shots.

All this, Sheebah has soaked up and has made manifest. While we have not seen her appear with anything illicit at her shoots, she has been a domestic patron saint for the skimpy with a huge “IDGAF” aura. Last year on Riri’s birthday, Sheebah took to her Instagram and posted a Riri picture wishing her a happy birthday and while many fans found it laughable that the Barbadian was not even aware of Sheebah’s existence, she simply laughed it off and gave them the proverbial middle finger, probably acknowledging the fact that it was much deeper than they could comprehend.

Besides the daring fashion and free-spirited nature, Sheebah has gone on to embrace the hardworking and extremely enterprising nature of the music mogul. Whereas Rihanna gave us her Fenty line of fashion and accessories, Sheebah has locally gone all the way to rack up the hyphens. She has ventured into hair, pads and a range of other investments.

In the event that Rihanna is currently the wealthiest female artiste in the world, Sheebah is the highest paid female artiste in the country or probably East Africa.

Whereas their love lives or absence of it remains a great source of debate and intrigue, both artistes have ripped glass ceilings that have been set for female artistes in their particular spheres and it is only right that Sheebah is given a gun salute for living out her alter ego incredibly.

Bebe Cool and Buju Banton
The fact that Bebe Cool looked up to Buju Banton is a public secret. He not only named his music label cum camp Gagamel after Buju’s, but also took on his raspy deep ragga dancehall voice, a thing he has sustained for more than two decades.

However, the gold lies in how timeless these two legends have been throughout their careers. Despite taking close to two decades off the music scene while serving time, Buju Banton has bounced back while roaring his thunder across monstrous chart toppers such as DJ Khaled’s Holy Mountain. Mid 2020, he has just given the world a musical offering (in his own words) in terms of an album, “Ups and Downs”, on which he features some of the world’s finest acts such as John Legend. It feels like he never left.
The same applies to Bebe Cool. While his contemporaries struggle to churn out hit music and remain relevant, Bebe Cool sounds as fresh as ever despite being in the game long. He has scaled the heights of musical excellence and Buju Banton would be proud of him.

Fresh Kid and Emmanuela
When Fresh Kid saw Emmanuela cracking the continent into fits of laughter despite her young age, he was inspired to do the most. He hit up the studio to do music that broke the Internet locally and also attracted the attention of the authorities who gave him marching orders to quit music and go back to school.

He was quick to plead his case that he too just wanted to make his mark like Emmanuela. It is this aspiration to do more that won the authorities over to his side to keep churning out hit music. Whereas comedy and music might be two different things, one can inspire the other and it is from such inspiration that Fresh Kid is not only on your television, your billboards, newspapers but also your child’s role model.

Fresh Kid and Emmanuela
When Fresh Kid saw Emmanuela cracking the continent into fits of laughter despite her young age, he was inspired to do the most. He hit up the studio to do music that broke the Internet locally and also attracted the attention of the authorities who gave him marching orders to quit music and go back to school.

He was quick to plead his case that he too just wanted to make his mark like Emmanuela. It is this aspiration to do more that won the authorities over to his side to keep churning out hit music. Whereas comedy and music might be two different things, one can inspire the other and it is from such inspiration that Fresh Kid is not only on your television, your billboards, newspapers but also your child’s role model.

Fik Fameica and Wiz Kid
Fik Fameica stepped the “imitation is the greatest form of flattery” notion a notch higher when he posted an Instagram photo of himself in a replica of a Louis Vuitton jacket Wizzy had posted a few days earlier. When Wiz Kid came to the country, Fik was quick to grab a Kodak moment with the Nigerian superstar and even claimed that they had a collaboration in the pipeline (which to date has never come to fruition).

When Wiz Kid’s “Joro” was good music to Fik’s ears, he vulgarized it into “Muko”. When Wiz Kid got frisky with Tiwa Savage in his Fever visual, Fik was not shy to have a little on screen romance with Lydia Jazmine for his Muko visuals. Wiz Kid’s style has become synonymous with close fitting beanie hats and it is something Fik has largely incorporated into his wardrobe as well.

Wizzy can comfortably claim a top three spot in contemporary Nigerian music. In Ugandan music, Fik cannot. However, Fik’s journey is still a work in progress and with him stacking up collaborations with continental big guns; one after the other, the sky can only be the limit.

Non-musical alter ego

Bettina Tianah and Kim Khardashian
Kanye West disclosed in one of his interviews that Kim Kardashian’s talent was to simply be pretty. As mundane as that sounds, this “talent” has propelled her to great heights as a social media guru being one of the most followed people on Instagram with a single endorsement for a product going for a million dollars or more. She has positioned herself as an SI unit for what a standard social media icon should be.

Back home, while Bettinah is yet to meet her Ye, she has stopped at nothing to break the Internet with her ever scintillating photoshoots and well orchestrated posts that have her IG flooding with red hearts.

She has become synonymous with social media excellence and with her beauty as a bonus; it is to no surprise she had coca-cola knocking at her door to be one of the influencers for its domestic world cup campaign back in 2017.

Leave a comment

More in News