Uproar Over Naomi Campbell's Use of Foreign Song to Promote Kenya

  • Tourism CS Najib Balala (left) takes selfie with supermodel Naomi Campbell at the Coast.
    Tourism CS Najib Balala (left) takes selfie with supermodel Naomi Campbell at the Coast.
    Twitter
  • Kenyans have expressed their disaffection after Supermodel Naomi Campbell on Tuesday, February 23, posted a video promoting Magical Kenya using a Nigerian song.

    Many Kenyans were left wondering the Magical Kenya Brand Ambassador did not consider using a Kenyan song as was expected by the masses, to promote the country as a tourism destination.

    This is her first post promoting the country since she was appointed by Cabinet Secretary (CS) Balala.

    Supermodel Naomi Campbell enjoys breeze at the Kenyan Coast.
    Supermodel Naomi Campbell enjoys breeze at the Kenyan Coast.
    Twitter

    After her appointment, Campbell said that she was honoured to be Kenya’s International Ambassador and that she was proud to represent such an important country.

    “I feel so privileged and honoured to be confirmed as Magical Kenya International Brand Ambassador. Not just because of the obvious benefits that tourism brings to an economy but also I am proud to be able to represent such an important country as Kenya.

    “Kenya has a history going back 100 million years and is considered by many as the cradle of civilization so I am humbled to be talking about the country,” the supermodel wrote.

    In the controversial video clip that she shared on her Instagram, Naomi showcases the white sandy beaches of the coast, local cuisine and other attractions a person can enjoy while at the coast.

    CS Najib Balala, had defended Campbell's appointment saying that the model has good brand equity which she had acquired in over three decades.

    Balala was defending his decision after some Kenyans wondered why he had not considered award-winning actor Lupita Nyong'o or even athletics marvel Eliud Kipchoge for the Magical Kenya Brand Ambassador.

    Campbell's decision to use a Nigerian song opened debate on the quality of Kenyan music - with many claiming that the local music industry was still underdeveloped.

    This comes at a time when local artistes have been raising concern over media houses and DJs who continue to prioritize music from other countries like Tanzania and Nigeria. 

    In radio interview Sauti Sol did on Hot 96 three years ago, the band members attributed the success of Nigerian music to legacies and heritage left by other musicians like Fela Kuti.

    “How many Kenyan musicians do you know in the 70s, who played in London in the Royal Albert Hall in Birmingham? Nigeria has a legacy of artists like Fela Kuti, throughout the years they have always had artists like Wiz Kid. Wiz Kid is just for our generation. It comes back to Kenya not having a legendary heritage,” Bein, a member of Sauti Sol said.

    However, Kenyans have at times been blamed for not embracing Kenyan music like Nigerians embrace music done by Nigerians.

    Tourism CS Najib Balala and British model Naomi Campbell pose for a photo
    Tourism CS Najib Balala and British model Naomi Campbell pose for a photo
    Twitter