Creativity builds nations | Muthoni Drummer Queen

Creativity builds nations | Muthoni Drummer Queen


Between 2004 and 2008, I unsuccessfully tried to get
into the Kenyan music industry. But the recurring answer from producers was I was not Kenyan enough. Meaning what? I didn’t sing fully in the slang
derivative of Kiswahili and I didn’t sing enough party tracks, so they said Kenyans wouldn’t listen
to a Kenyan who sounded like me. This idea of otherism, the exclusion of a person based on their perceived
deviation from the norms, goes to the root of the problems in Kenya. And it runs deep. Kenya was invented
by colonialists in 1895, and with it, came the erasure
of our identity and the class system built on otherism. So by 1963, when we received
our independence, these ideas had already become
the new normal. Now, we’ve tried a lot of different ways
to move forward since. We have a common language,
currency, infrastructure, basically all the things
that make a country a country. But all these efforts at nation-building do not go to the heart of the matter. Which is this: we cannot build what we do not truly love. And we cannot love
until we love ourselves. The thing we have to heal, us Kenyans, is our lack of self-love, our deep self-hate and our existential identity crisis. And this is the work of nation-building that only the creative industry can do. The idea that Kenya
can only include some of us led me to found a music festival in 2008
called Blankest and Wine, to give a platform to myself
and other misfits. Ten years later,
we’ve programmed over 200 bands and put at least 100,000 dollars directly into the hands
of artists and managers, who have in turn spent it
on technicians, rehearsals, music videos and other things
along the music value chain. Our platform has allowed
for multiple Kenyan identities to exist, while inspiring the industry
to discover and engage the wide variety of Kenyan music. What we do is necessary but insufficient. And we must urgently pivot
into a live music circuit. But there are other ways
music can help heal the nation. According to a 2018 state of media report, traditional radio is sill by far
the biggest distributor of ideas in Kenya, with 47 percent of Kenyans
still choosing radio first. This presents an opportunity. We can use radio to help Kenyans hear
the diversity that is Kenya. We can reserve 60 percent
of all programing on Kenyan radio for Kenyan music. We can break down ethnic barriers by playing Kenyan music
done in English, Kiswahili and other ethnic languages, on what is now
single-language ethnic radio. Radio can help stimulate
interest and demand for Kenyan music by Kenyans, while also providing
the much-needed incomes by way of royalties. But more importantly, radio can help us build a more inclusive
narrative about Kenya. For you cannot love
what you do not know exists. Other creative industries
too can do the work. When you consider
that 41 percent of Kenyans still choose TV as their primary medium, it’s obvious that film
has a huge potential. The meager resources
that have been put into the sector have already produced world-class acts, like Lupita Nyong’o and Wanuri Kahiu, but we are going to need
a lot more incentives and investments to make filming in Kenya easier, so more Kenyan stories
can get on the Kenyan TV and spark off the really
difficult conversations we need to have with one another. We’re going to need to grow
a lot more home-grown stars, so we can reverse the idea that we have to blow up abroad before we get the acceptance
and validation of home. Fashion too can do the work. We need to make it possible to affordably mass-produce
Kenyan clothes for Kenyan consumers, so we don’t all have to rely
on second-hand imports. The first running shoe made in Kenya needs to be a local and global success as an ode to Kenyan excellence, epitomized by Kenyan runners,
who are literally world-class. For these ideas to come to life, jobs will be created, and Kenyan ideas will be exported. But more importantly, Kenyans may finally
consider themselves worthy of the love that we reserve for others. Kenya’s creative industry is dynamic, cosmopolitan, forward-looking, and without a doubt, a true manufacturing industry
of the immediate future. But its true power lies in its ability
to help heal the psyche of Kenya, so we can finally build a nation for real. Thank you. (Applause) (Applause) For this song, I’d like us all
to take a minute and think about immigrant communities, and especially refugee
immigrant communities, and the daily struggle
they have to endure, building a life with dignity and meaning away from everything
they have loved and known. If you feel any empathy for this idea, I ask to see your fist
up in the air with me. (Music) “Million voice.” The mandem make some noise With a million, million voice All the mandem make some noise With a million, million voice Can’t stop I, won’t stop I With a million, million voice Can’t stop I, won’t stop I With a million, million voice This one dedicated
to my people building something Working hard to make sure
that their children will lack for nothing When them people come around
and treat them like they’re basic I just want to LOL and tell them
to consider all their options Caution, natural distortion You can’t even kill us
we survive even abortion Say we cannot make it,
watch us how we make it Watch us in a minute
come and run and overtake it TED, clap! Can’t have enough of it This our only way of life Keeping, keeping on the grind TED, will you clap like this. Can’t have enough of it This our only way of life Keeping, keeping on the grind Keeping, keeping on the grind The mandem make some noise Like a million, million voice All the mandem make some noise With a million, million voice Can’t stop I, won’t stop I With a million, million voice Can’t stop I, won’t stop I With a million, million voice Can I be your leader Can I be your Caesar If I show you how to make some more
will you pledge allegiance Is it always either Me or you or neither If I show you where I’m coming from,
will you take a breather? Cos what you’ll find — what you’ll find What you’ll find
guarantee will blow your mind! I’ll blow your mind — I’ll blow your mind And then you’ll see the reason
I stay on my grind Would you clap! Can’t have enough of it It’s our only way of life Keeping, keeping on the grind Keeping, keeping on the grind Can’t have enough of it It’s our only way of life Keeping, keeping on the grind Keeping, keeping on the grind The mandem make some noise (Cheering) (Applause) This next one is partly in Kiswahili, which is what we speak in Kenya. And it’s about female friendship and female power. And girls coming together
to build something that lasts, a true legacy and intergenerational worth. “Suzie Noma.” (Drum music) Sitting at the corner Me and Suzie Noma We ain’t got no worries
we are looking like the owners Sipping on Coronas Looking at the phone as All them pretty boys
come and tell us how they want us Mambo ni kungoja, aki mtangoja Sinaga matime za kuwaste na vioja Planning how we want
to take over the world soon Riding on the drums
and the clap while the bass goes Hey! Shake it down shake it down like Wait till you, wait till you see my Hey! Shake it down shake it down like Wait till you, wait till you see my If you really know it
and you really wanna show it Be the way to go Go and grab somebody,
move your body, show somebody Be the way to go On this I know,
all this I know, all this I know On this I know,
all this I know, all this I know Iyo! Scheming at the corner Me and Suzie Noma We ain’t got no money
but we do it how we wanna Painting our nails checking our mails as All them pretty boys
wanna have us but they fail like Aki mtangoja, leo mtangoja Saa hii tukoworks hakunaga za vioja Planning how we want to
take over the world soon Riding on the drums and the clap
while the bass goes boom Shake it down shake it down like Wait till you, wait till you see my Hey! Shake it down shake it down like Wait till you, wait till you see my If you really know it
and you really wanna show it Be the way to go Go and grab somebody,
move your body, show somebody Be the way to go On this I know,
all this I know, all this I know On this I know,
all this I know, all this I know And now you whine your waist And now you screw your face Exaggerate your waist Resuscitate the place Na wale wako fifty fifty comsi Na wale wako fiti pia sisi Tuko tu sawa mdogo mdogo yaani Hallelu-yawa tumeiva design If you really know it,
and you really wanna show it Be the way to go Go and grab somebody,
move your body, show somebody Be the way to go On this I know,
all this I know, all this I know On this I know,
all this I know, all this I know Iyo! (Cheering) (Applause)

60 thoughts on “Creativity builds nations | Muthoni Drummer Queen

  1. Good message, but why the music? I watch these for ideas, not for somebody to plug their mediocre music career.

  2. I'm so glad I decided to check my subscriptions. I'm a Kenyan and it's rare to see us on TED Talks so this is great! Muthoni has always been so wellspoken, and this topic is well thought out too

  3. Does anyone even realize Africa is going to be the next economic giant? They should switch to synthetic meat, that would be huge!!

  4. Kenya is one of the most unequal countries in the sub-region. Forty two percent of its population of 44 million, live below the poverty line.

    No offence, but I don’t think you need creative arts, you need clever people

  5. Just another "blame whitey" propaganda video. How long are you losers going to blame colonialism for your own failings?

  6. African nations have creativity.
    Western european nations have creativity.
    Yet it wasn't the Ethiopians, Mali or songhai that grew out of slavery and the Iron age like Britain did, nor did the aztecs usher in the age of science like the swedish, Germans or Russians.

  7. Africa has served its ultimate purpose – it created Humankind. But intelligence/IQ builds Successful nations. Africans May have populated the planet – but the descendants of those who left – are the ones who created successful nations. Period.

  8. It's so sad to see vulnerable people like this indoctrinated into a predatory industry with all the right intentions, but none of the perspective they need to protect themselves.

  9. Excellent talk 👏🏿👏🏿.
    This is so true. Kenya and the entire black diaspora’s creative industries must proper.

  10. You learn something new every day. Today I learned that I am subscribed to TED Africa, which apparently has 15.2 million predominantly (99% or thereabout) non-African subscribers… I guess we never knew we needed those African drum beats in our lives and almost weekly stories of how great and prosperous Africa is, which I guess is why they want to share their prosperity with the rest of the world through illegal immigration of historically unprecedented proportions. Thanks Big Brother for this little programming session, now let's go abolish all borders and hold hands and sing Kumbaya together!

  11. @5:11 Wanna bet that at least 90% of the white audience members felt pressured to raise their fist in order not to be considered "raycist"? Welcome to your Orwellian future of "inclusion" and "multiculturalism", this is just a warm-up act 😂

  12. I GOT BORED IN LOS ANGELES AND STARTED TRAVELING THE WORLD CAN SOMONE TELL ME IF I SHOULD KEEP MAKING VIDEOS OR JUST LIKE QUIT?? Thanks

  13. This woman is railing against the practice of securing a market share by catering to the lowest common denominator. And then she makes it about colonialism. Does she really think that groups favoring acts that stick to a norm, is a foreign thing to kenya? Or any kind of artificial multiethnic nation for that matter. Boy will she be surprised when she visits to Asia…

    And then directly after making a heartfelt case for developing homegrown Kenyan industries, she goes to sing song supporting the very immigration that is braindraining away the talent and youth from africa. Along with funneling their meager savings into the hands of people smugglers and slavers.

    Apparently the west got rich and successful because we had elvis and jonny cash making music in the same timeframe, and not because of the scientists, engineers, doctors, and all those innovative industrialists.

  14. Can you really just call yourself a Drummer Queen? I mean shouldn't there be some kind of governmental process of assigning power in a orderly fashion? Or perhaps it could be decided who the drummer queen is in the village by gathering all the drummers together and using some sort of democratic vote to decide who the true Drummer Queen is? I would trust someone like this a lot more and I can believe in the process.

  15. Lol the People who create the circumstances of otherism feel excluded when we include others.

    Everyone is different, we just need to accept that everyone is not us and quit thinking that different means bad.

  16. meanwhile the leaders of the European union destroy great european nations…. (with ani-patriotism and with african and muslim migrants)

  17. I'm a Cameroonian Artist, into pop music and have always felt discriminated against because i wasn't Cameroonian Enough. This story inspires me. Thank you Ted

  18. All the white nationals are too obvious in the comments, if it's not your cup of tea you can just simply not watch the vid. This woman is doing nothing wrong and I like her vibe. Y'all are too funny crying about SJW take over, Anti-African hate speech, her hair, her clothes, but Europeans did everything better in advancing science and tech blah blah blah. Who you trying to convince, me our yourself???

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