In the black sister sorority, we have celebrated the recognition of Issa Rae, whose show Insecure has received multiple Emmy Nominations. The American actor and comedian of Senegalese origin started releasing her work online with a comedy show dubbed, The Misadventures of an Awkward Black Girl. The series, which concluded at season 2, got a couple of nods and even got her foot in Hollywood.
From running a YouTube channel with a crew of friends working for free, she has flourished into an Emmy-nominated leading actress in a comedy show, lead-writer and show-runner, among many other substantial titles. These growing Kenyan internet stars are carving niches for themselves and earned their influence, following and some found careers past the Internet in the media despite the existing male domination.
Elsa ‘Mpho’ Majimbo:
She has stand-up comedian potential as she bases her jokes on regular day to day social commentary. Things we always go through, mostly Gen Z. Being blunt is her star power as she doesn’t care about sugarcoating anything that she conveys.
I guess that adds to why she is a favourite. Always saying what other people are afraid of mouthing in public let alone on a platform that can be accessed by billions. The journalism student under 20 has received nods from Lupita and Miss Universe with whom she says, she has forged a friendship and they speak often. South Africans love her so much they’ve baptized her, Mpho.
Instagram: 409k followers
YouTube: 15.1k Subscribers
Might have been the female who hit the glass ceiling last for it to finally shatter. There were others before her, but she unraveled a new world. Her bravery has earned her titles her agemates have not even had the chance to dream. At 20, she was the first youngest radio presenter in Kenya where she hosted a mid-morning show for close to a year.
While what she does on her platform may look like just jokes, she has been able to earn herself her first million. Doing all that while still suffering from anxiety is truly her way of saying “we all have imperfections, but some are braver to show them than others.”
Instagram: 326k followers
YouTube: 111k subscribers
Evelyn from the Internets:
This might be the one we brag about when counting Kenyans who left home and made a mark, if not ‘got noticed by influential’ people who propelled her already popping career. Her lemonade skit made a cameo on Beyoncé’s Formation Tour and that’s when some truly acknowledged her wit.
The “internet cousin” as she fondly refers to her viewers and followers has grown to be a humour writer, filmmaker and overall digital storyteller who continues to chart her own path. Considering she joined YouTube way before people knew what to actually do with social media let alone monetise it, she amplifies her perspective of Black pop culture and connects with those that share the same perspective through her commentary.
YouTube: 234k Subscribers
Instagram: 67.3k followers
Brenda Jons (Mama Kingston):
What started out as part of having fun with her friend blew up beyond what she might have anticipated. Running with the tagline, Ministry Through Comedy, Brenda has found ways to incorporate Christianity and spreading the gospel through her captivating skits. Her most recognised skit featured Kingston, which later morphed to ‘Plesdent Kingston’, a term netizens quite often reference to with the habitual African timing.
Being a victim of sexual abuse between the ages of 5-18, she chose to use her influence to help those who might have gone through similar ordeals through the Brenda Jons Foundation. She continues to crack ribs online despite being hacked twice.
Instagram: 174k followers
She started her YouTube channel while studying in the UK. She used to film and upload content as a way to keep herself occupied, something she’s echoed time and again. Then the viral bug bit hard towards the end of her graduate studies, which coincided with her return to the country. She is now a host at a local TV station.
Her most-watched and engaged videos are the hilarious storytimes, which are girl-next-door relatable as she braves her truth and experiences as a teenager and a student abroad. It doesn’t hurt that she does all these with a tinge of humour while leaving moral lessons to be
Instagram: 74.5k followers
YouTube: 53.7k subscribers
Has unintentionally knocked down the niche stereotypes of comedy with the diversity of the characters she plays. Having mastered and executed vernacular (Gikuyu) narration on most of her skits, she has repeatedly aced a representation of overbearing African parents, know it all mechanics, public transport drivers and other humorous characters we could encounter in our everyday life.
This is not where her madness stops. She is a vernacular radio host where she naturally clowns and delivers her message across with unexpected humour. Even when she doesn’t translate her jokes, her embodiment of the stories she conveys tell the story without much in commentary
Instagram: 63.7k followers
YouTube: 97.4k subscribers
Has been the rising star of 2020 or quarantine season. Strategically hobnobbing with the influential people in the media fraternity, her numbers are on a steady rise. The Psychologist uses unexpected humour, of course, to convey sensible information about relationships and friendships.
Clearly stating that her intention is to be on radio or TV before the year ends, she could get a chance to be the next queen of the airwaves. As much as she makes jokes out of the dating scene, she has a point which makes her content wittier and relatable.
Instagram: 62.2k followers
Sharon Mwangi aka Mama Seth:
She started out imitating the typical Kenyan mother in a Vine group with George Kimani and Seth Gor. Her fame has grown significantly in the years they’ve worked together and maintained their visibility. The conspicuousness has landed her a recurring role on a comedy TV show that currently airs locally.
Over time, she has moved to mirror other roles that are not necessarily playing the mother and she is acing it even outside
of the trio.
Instagram: 51.1k followers