Upclose. Ernest Zamba, popularly known as, GNL Zamba is a Ugandan artiste and CEO of Baboon Forest Entertainment, a record label famed for birthing artistes such as Big Tril and Mun-G. Besides music, is GNL’s fashion sense. Isaac Ssejjombwe finds out more about his fashion.
What fashion style defines you?
It is a blend of Hip-hop and world culture, I wear anything that oozes confidence and reflects my daring personality. I have punk rock ornaments, Afro bohemian garments, Swahili chic colours with a cosmic sultan glow, it is Afro futuristic and goes against the conventional limits of style.
Why this style?
Style to me is like a rhyme from the mind of an art rebel. I often get bored by monotony and a creative mind always explores the colours of the past and future to improve on the present picture.
You seem to prefer T-shirts, jeans and khakis. Do you own any suits?
When I was younger I only wore suits to meetings. However, my idols such as Russell Simmons and Dr Dre had built global empires wearing white tees. Later, I realised how good I looked in a suit and how much power I wielded in the custom made. So I bought a few.
How many suits do you own now?
I think I own a suit in every colour! Side note: Unlike Kampala, in LA California people wear shorts to meetings, you almost never see anyone in a suit unless they are a talent agent or at a red carpet event.
Would you attend a wedding in jeans and T-shirt?
I would if that was what the couple wanted, in my opinion jeans at weddings are tacky. Unless they are all white and it is a beach wedding in Hawaii or Kalangala. Otherwise, NO!
How often do you go shopping?
I’m addicted to shopping clothes online.
Where do you shop from?
Boutiques and designers with collections all over the world. Between GNL & Nsimbi brands we spend a sizable chunk of money towards fashion as it is part of our lifestyle and career. We shop for the stage, shop for photoshoots, events and the cultural parties we curate.
And how much do you spend on shopping?
It is not gentlemanly to discuss how much one spends on clothes.
What cologne or perfume do you use?
Currently I am trying out Forest Dew Number 9, an organic BFE scent extracted from plant oils. This is one of the Baboon Forest products we will hopefully roll out a collection of scents in the future.
The most expensive item in your wardrobe is…?
Antique cultural jewellery. The most expensive piece in my collection is a $100,000 Berber necklace bought in Morocco. I have not found an occasion to wear it to yet. I bought it to sell for profit and ended up keeping it.
And the cheapest?
Bandanas which I bought at Shs5,000 and the vendor gave me two.
What fashion trend do you dislike?
Some things do not match and some outfits hurt my eyes.
How often do you visit the salon?
Twice a month.
What do you do there?
It is more like a self-love spa day. I do pedicure, manicure, massage, styling and roots repair for my locks, and I exfoliate and let my barber shave my beard as I pontificate on life. When the hair grows and I start to look like a baboon, I do some self-care.
How much do you spend in the salon?
Are you a gym person?
No, I do 100 pushups every day. I prefer walking long distances as I listen to music, podcasts or audio books and I play basketball. I hire a trainer to get me in shape when I get a role.
How many items in your wardrobe has your wife bought for you?
Loads, she shops for me and I shop for her, we know each other’s sizes. So on return from solo trips we surprise each other with outfits. She likes styling me and coming up with wild concepts that sometimes I have to remind her, that this is neither a runway nor a music video in Paris. This is not New York Fashion Week. This is the ghetto storyteller.
I admit she has got better taste than me and that is a high bar to clear. Cheers to Mrs Nsimbi!
Your favourite food is… fish. My mom spoils us from luwombo to street mpuuta. I also have a sweet tooth, I always have chocolate on me, my wife keeps throwing it out whenever she finds it but I restock.