by Ifreke Inyang
A lot of people were both surprised and confused when they spotted eccentric TV star, Denrele Edun with a Channel O microphone at the launch of Ice Prince’s ELI. Many thought it was probably another stunt, while others began to add one and two together. It has finally be confirmed. The former Soundcity Red Carper delight is now with the South Africa based music station.
In a bid to deepen its commitment to the continent the music channel has launched Channel O Africa, which is pioneering a new campaign saddled on new VJs recruited across Africa. They are Denrele Edun from Nigeria; Joey Muthengi (Kenya), Flavia Tumusiime (Uganda), Stefen ‘J.Town’ Menson (Ghana), Jokate Mwegelo (Tanzania) and the roving VJ from South Africa, Maya Wegerif.
“Each one of these VJ’s is awesome in their own right. Not only do they have a fundamental love for their country and music from their countries too, they also have a love for what is happening around them and can see African Urban music in the global space which is exactly what Channel O Africa is about. They are passionate, hardworking individuals and as a team, they will take Channel O Africa to new levels,” says Leslie ‘Lee’ Kasumba, Channel O’s Africa Manager.
Let’s meet the new VJs:
Stefen Jefrey Menson aka J.Town
27-year-old J.Town started off as an artist and has gained relative prominence in his home country, Ghana and some other parts of Africa. He believes that Africa has the “elegance of different cultures, love and hospitable people”. He names Egypt as his favourite place in the world, “because of the history, the mystery and the cruise on the Nile River.”
J.Town loves artists like ‘Marvin Gaye, for his truth and passion; Kanye West for his out-of-the-box thinking and D’Banj for his showmanship skills. So, what prompted J.Town to want to join the Channel O Africa team? “I want to be part of a platform that supports and showcases African music and talent, something which has always been my dream,” he says.
Flavia is no stranger to the Ugandan entertainment circuit and is looking forward to being part of the larger African community by joining Channel O. The 23-year old university graduate and current game show host believes Africans are “the greatest and most welcoming people – they make you feel at home!” She loves watching investigative television shows like CSI Miami, Bones and Criminal Minds.
She is inspired by different people in different ways, from actress Sophie Okonedo to talk show queen, Oprah. At the moment, her favourite musician is Adele because she feels like she connects with her lyrics.
For her, joining Channel O Africa is a dream come true. “My passion is in television, it’s where I feel my best,” says Flavia.
Jokate Urban Mwegelo
Jokate is an energetic and confident 24-year old university graduate who hails from Tanzania. ‘JK’, as she is also known, appreciates Africa for her abundant natural resources and talent. She says her grandmother has played a huge role in the fine young woman she has turned out to be. “She was very humble, hard-working and taught me to believe in myself and take care of my beauty,” JK revealed.
For JK, the beauty of Accra, its warm people, the party scene and music are what make it her favourite part of the world. And, what does being a Channel O VJ means to her? “A chance to promote African talent and present it to the world. I am most looking forward to interviewing African superstars, building my brand across Africa, inspiring young people to explore and be better with their talents.” To her, Africa is the best place to be at this moment. “Everything is happening in this continent and everybody wants to be a part of this growth and the possibilities it holds.”
Adenrele Olufemi Edun aka Denrele
If he were to be an artist, he would be a blend of Lenny Kravitz and Jared Leto with a dose of Terry G and a perfect finishing of Michael Jackson. Can you picture that? Really?
Moving on, the larger than life personality of this Nigerian can be attributed to his confidence and a rather high spirit of determination. The 28-year old television personality has won various awards for his work on television and has a never-say die spirit of survival and an independence that has seen him soar to new heights.
Also, his belief and philosophy has played a huge part in him being the distinct personality he is. “Be a first class version of you and not a second class version of someone else,” he says.
For him right now, being a Channel O VJ is what makes him get up in the morning and shout: “It’s a beautiful day!” He has more than one reason to want to be part of Channel O Africa. ” As a brand, Channel O is the ultimate medium to promote the very best of African music. I’m so going to be working at speed rate!”
Maya Christinah Xichavo Wegerif
This 9-year old from Limpopo, South Africa, is a first year college student and intern with a love for everything African. From the bright bold prints of African materials, which she confesses to being addicted to, to the distinctly African sounds of Thandiswa Mazwai and Nneka, both of whom she admires as a reflection of true African artists, this young lady must be a proud daughter of the soil.
Maya has lived mostly with her father and credits him for having taught her “just about everything”. She lists Dar Es Salaam, Tanzania, as her favourite destination because of the “culture that is so relaxed, the cool language and the gorgeous scenery”.
She has had her moment of facing big crowds when she spoke to approximately five million viewers during a Live Earth celebration in 2008 and now she will be talking to Africa. So, what does being a Channel O VJ mean to her? “I believe Africa has so much talent to showcase and it’s not just the Africa that is seen on the news. I am looking forward to creating careers and promoting genuinely good music,” she says.
Josephine Mutinda Muthengi aka Joey
Joey is a 26-year old who started of as a radio presenter from Kijabe, Kenya. She values hard work without excuses, a value instilled by her parents.
To this spicy food loving young lady, Africa represents diversity and richness. She believes in never giving up and pushing ahead for a fulfilled dream. “When things get tough, hold on and never quit. It’s those who stay in the game that make it,” she says.
Joey, who is also an actress, says getting into the media industry in Kenya and landing the Channel O gig are her greatest achievements thus far. She says she is looking forward to the travelling and the many amazing people she is yet to meet and interview, plus the opportunity to put Kenyan music on the map.
“Being part of Channel O is an incredible platform to reach more people while representing my country and also sharing my love for music with Africa,” she says.
Channel O Africa is listed on premiere pay television platform, DSTV channel 320.