What would an African version of HBO’s show, ‘Girls’ created by Lena Dunham, look like? What would a Kenyan ‘Girls’ look like?
(Imagine they are black African girls.)
If I were charged with the task of creating a show about four girls who are representative of their generation, which is what HBO’s Girls purports to be doing, I would do it just like Lena Dunham.
My Kenyan Girls show would not really be about four girls struggling to live in a languishing economy, but I would insist that financial struggle is a dominant theme in the show and proceed to demonstrate this theme by assigning the Girls extremely dull and poorly paying jobs that have nothing to do with what they really want to do or studied in college. These Kenyan Girls would be struggling financially (because that’s what’s real and important to represent in the show) but they would spend most of their time hanging out together and talking about random things, family, parties, boys, friendship and being broke. What I would really want to do is to bring together four quirky Kenyan Girls to entertain people with their quirky and at the same time pedestrian lives. Obviously, there would not be any Caucasian or other races apart from black represented on the show. It would be an all-black, African not American, show, except for a few Caucasians and Asians here and there if people complained about race, which they wouldn’t, it’s more likely that they would complain about class representation. “How come the Girls always hang out at Dormans/Java?” “How come the Girls hardly ever use public transportation? Cabs are expensive!” These are the questions people would ask on their TV criticism and social commentary blogs, which I would respond to by dedicating one episode in which the Girls all use public transportation and eat at a crappy restaurant while wishing they had enough money to eat at their regular coffee houses.
Where would the Kenyan Girls live? It has to be a big city where people go to ‘make it’ in life (in Kenya), a city where people talk about the virtues of being a precocious youth full of ideas and life, and they write and paint and dance and have startups and live voraciously. The Kenyan Girls live in Nairobi. It’s an obvious choice, nobody will watch a show about Kenyan Girls living in other small cities, sorry, towns.
Anyway, here’s a brief story about my Kenyan Girls show.
Meet my Kenyan Girls.
(Hold on to the black African Girls Image)
One of the girls who is in her final year in college lives in an apartment on Ngong road paid for by her parents who are retired professors farming in some fertile province of the country, let’s call her Nicole. Nicole’s two friends who are two years out of college, live in a low rise apartment (they’re roommates; Shiks and Miro, cooler name than Miriam.) a few minutes from her apartment block, not as nice as Nicole’s place, because they are not supported by their parents anymore and they can’t seem to get well-paying jobs to help them move to apartments in the leafier parts of the city. The fourth Girl is a hustling model in her prime and a distant aunt of Nicole’s, May. May has just come back from Tanzania where she lived for eight months subsisting on scarce modeling gigs, now she’s crashing with her niece Nicole who gushes over her, her sense of style, her modeling lifestyle and her devil may give a crap attitude. Shiks and Miro are cool with May too, they are all friends anyways.
Miro does sales for a computerware company which pays her left over peanuts although what she yearns to do is work at the museum but there are only a handful museums in the country because the government declared them an unaffordable luxury and the international community, sychophants that they are in these matters, now direct funding towards technological startups in a technology town a few meters out of Nairobi. Miro was an Art Major. Shiks has a blog where she writes short stories, poetry and essays sometimes, her day job involves administrative clerky stuff at a law firm, she was a Literature Major. May dropped out of college in her second year of studying History and is a pretty decent model, except she hates overexerting herself, otherwise she would be a fairly successful model with a few covers and deals. Nicole is studying Architecture after two years of studying Veterinary Medicine and deciding that she didn’t have the personality befitting a vet. Apart from Nicole, the Kenyan Girls don’t have truckloads of money, despite financial constraints they have houses, they eat regularly. Sometimes the Kenyan Girls borrow money from their parents who give them hell before handing over any cash which is never enough for anything vital, all except May, May never calls her parents, we don’t even know that she has parents until later in the series when we’ll find out that she has a mom who lives at the coast and is in her third marriage.
Of course the Kenyan Girls like boys and are into sex and relationships and that kind of stuff.
Nicole has adopted an air of naivete which coupled with her loquacious nature puts boys off despite her prettiness and sometimes cute tendencies. She once had sex with a final year guy in Vet School in his campus room which was rather awesome for a boy’s campus room. The guy had a fish tank in his room which was very clean, he also had a good quality rug on which they had sex. Nicole was glad she was wearing a long dress that day because she didn’t take it off when they were having sex and she bled all over it instead of bleeding on the clean guy’s ivory coloured rug. The clean guy didn’t even know he had broken her virginity and Nicole didn’t make a big deal out of it, she waited till midnight when campus boys stopped roaming the hallways then she left clean guy’s room and hostel and drove herself to her apartment in her pink Toyota Vitz. Her friends commended her on the safe and clever exit strategy. That was like three years ago. Since then, she hasn’t had sex because she didn’t enjoy it too much and she hasn’t found a guy who was as clean as clean fish tank guy who she really liked but who never called her back, now she runs a lifestyle blog which she enjoys and posts on regularly about which restaurants she ate at, which art exhibition she went to, which parties she went to and what she wore. Her blog keeps her preoccupied when she isn’t studying or hanging out with her friends. In season two of Kenyan Girls, Nicole will be in a relationship with an assistant lecturer who is also a Sociology Masters student at the University who will be using her and her parents’ money.
Miro had a decent boyfriend who had his own startup; he designed some kind of online platform thing that, like, tells people where to get stuff that is rather difficult to find in regular stores and regular classified ads, the startup was in its first six months of development when Miro and him started dating. His startup called findit.co.ke helped Shiks find polymer clay and beeswax for her DIY projects. Miro liked findit.co.ke guy but wasn’t like super in love with him although he did everything he could to make her happy. One time, Miro went to an event where findit.co.ke guy wanted her to meet his friends and [see] where he spent most of his time using free internet and space until he could afford his own office, it was at a technology hub or something, she met the guy who had been advising and teaching her findit.co.ke boyfriend entrepreneurship stuff. He was white. White guy’s smile and gaze lingered for longer than would be considered normal on her as findit.co.ke guy introduced her to him. White guy offered to keep Miro company while findit.co.ke guy made his presentation. She really liked him, later she told her friends white guy had smelled of crisp fresh money, not the over handled grocery lady type of money. Needless to say findit.co.ke guy was sent packing a few weeks later when Miro decided to take up white guy’s offer to take her to Lake Baringo resort for Easter. White guy enjoyed Miro’s company, sex with her didn’t suck and she looked good on his arm so they shacked up for a few months then broke up a month after Miro decided she was comfortable enough to quit her computer sales job. She went back to live with Shiks who told her about the millions findit.co.ke guy was now making. Miro was disgusted. Miro will meet another white man at Art Cafe, a coffee shop which is mostly for expatriates and other American and European transplants who can afford KES400 croissants and KES600 salads, where she’ll work for another three months until she moves in with Art Cafe guy who will marry her and get her a lot of funding to run her own Creative Arts NGO which will hold art exhibitions once every month to showcase local talent. In the second season, she will lose touch with her three friends who will still be trying to reach out to her once in a while in a miserable attempt to reconnect.
May, enjoys casual sex. She’s a free spirit who sometimes dresses like a fashionable vagabond, who has sex with whomever she pleases and shows people where to shove their criticism when they offer her unsolicited advice. May is anti-monogamy because she’s anti-getting fat. May was pregnant once when she was twenty two. She scheduled an abortion appointment to which her friends accompanied her, but she came out of the doctor’s office after five minutes excitedly singing a ‘I’m gonna be babyless’ song which confused her friends who thought it was a tad inappropriate. She explained. She had thought she was pregnant but the test was a false positive. They went to have drinks that night at a club on Ngong road where they were completely faded and fell asleep until 7 a.m. The club staff were absolute rock stars, they allowed them stay for a few hours to get sober, they even served them coffee and eggs. May kissed the bouncer who also had breakfast with them on her way out. The friends met a procession of kite lovers on their way out of the club and went ahead to join them. One kite guy liked May and kept talking to her with his brilliantly betoothed mouth and dental ad smile. May continues to have casual sexual relationships with men throughout the first season but settles down with kite guy who turns out to be a fashion photographer at a high profile fashion magazine who she later meets again through a local dating TV show called “Let’s know each other” in the second season of Kenyan Girls. May and kite guy/photographer guy will start their own fashion magazine towards the end of the second season.
You should know that this version of HBO’s Girls is inspired to some extent by real life situations of Kenyan Girls who are my friends. I don’t want to incriminate myself. I am Shiks, I’m still working on what my character will be like on the show.
Also, instead of awkward nudity and sex, we’ll have awkward truth telling and honest opinion sharing situations with an unhealthy dose of people who are judgmental of each other calling each other out at any opportunity. Trust me, it will make viewers just as uncomfortable as the awkward nudity and sex scenes in HBO’s Girls.
Whitney Elizabeth Houston (Aug. 9, 1963 - Feb. 11, 2012)I wanted to be a teacher. I love children, so I wanted to deal with children. Then I wanted to be a veterinarian. But by the age of 10 or 11, when I opened my mouth and said, ‘Oh God, what’s this?’ I kind of knew teaching and being a veterinarian were going to have to wait. What’s in your soul is in your soul.
Beyonce - Emilio Pucci gown, Christian Dior coat and Lorraine Schwartz jewels
Jay Z - Tom Ford