FROM A YOUNG IMPRESSIONABLE GIRL TO THE PERSON SHE IS TODAY, ROZ HAKI TELLS ALL, WRITES BONIFACE NYAGA MY LIFE WAS LIKE THIKA ROAD, CLOGGED UP AND MESSY. IT TOOK SOME SERIOUS DIGGING BUT AT LEAST NOW IT’S A SUPERHIGHWAY”
There are many ways to clean up your act as an artiste and Roz Haki (Rose Mwikahi) has come full circle.
She has been to hell and back in search of fame and fortune. Having crossed the moral divide in search of truth and redemption, she has been there, done that, and bought the T-shirt.
Today you may know her as Roz Haki, but back in the day, she was `Liscious Roz’.
Like many young people her age, Roz grew up with the TV, watching superstars and dreaming of becoming one. What she did not know at the time was the kind of road she would have to travel to get there.
â€œI have always been fascinated by music and the entire entertainment industry,â€œ she says. â€œBut my parents never really supported my musical endeavors. When I completed high school, I tried everything; singing, rapping and chasing producers all over the place, but nothing worked.â€œ
While watching music videos one day, she made an unusual discovery. She realized that she could dance, a skill that opened up a whole new chapter in her life.
She says: â€œI saw those girls shaking their booty on TV and I thought to myself, `you know what, I can do that’. So I started visiting all the big studios in town and introducing myself as a dancer. All of a sudden I started getting invitations to auditions and before long I was getting booked for music videos. I was then known as Liscious Rose.â€œ
Video vixens, are a 20th century invention of R&B and rap videos. In the literal sense, a vixen is a female fox or sexually attractive woman.
Today, the phrase has been used to describe women who apply their `bootylicious’ skills in music videos.
Booty shaking fame The controversy surrounding the P-Unit video, You Guy brought the role of Kenyan video vixens to the forefront once again. The video was banned from some TV stations thanks in part to its explicit visuals, which many attribute to the dancind â€œhottiesâ€œ.
Its main vixen, Vera Sidika, has gone on to make a name for herself as Nairobi’s latest music industry socialite. Vera has managed to stir a social media storm and has also appeared numerous times on traditional media. All over the world video vixens are received with mixed reactions. Some see them as hardworking women in showbiz, others regard them as immoral.
It is in this kind of environment that Liscious Roz peddled her trade.
You might recognize her in a short pink skirt on P-Unit’s Hapa Kule in 2009, or holding it down on Kenrazy’s Rudia and GKon’s Mikono Juu.
With time, however, she came face to face with the real story behind the glamour of video girls.
Roz says: â€œThings started to fall apart; my mum was a church elder and my dancing put a strain on our relationship. After a while rumours started floating around that I was sleeping around with the superstars’,’ Apart from the social disdain that the position attracts, payment was also an issue. â€œIt was really frustrating; some artistes would just disappear after the video shoot without paying me. I got into this hoping to make a little money and some headway in the industry. In the end I was just going round in circles,â€œ she recalls. In the middle of her turmoil, she decided to weigh her options. Despite making many sacrifices, she had nothing to show for it. The fame was there, but the corresponding fortune remained an elusive dream.
So she decided to go back to school to try to lay a better foundation for her life.
From disco to church Things started changing when she met multi-award-winning producers Robert â€œRkâ€œ Kimanzi. For the first time in her life, she started to see herself in a new light.
â€œThe last video I did as a vixen, was Diamond Girl by Frankie Joe featuring Colloâ€œ, she reminisces.
â€œThe irony is I didn’t have to shake or get bootylicious, but I got paid really well. I just showed up looking stunning, all girly and dolled up, I was just myself. It was really interesting; Producer RK actually had to buy me a dress because I didn’t have one. I started to realise that maybe there was another way to make it in life.â€œ
With time she began to retrace her steps to her childhood faith and found solace in the arms of God.
She attributes her transformation to the prayers and support of her friend and mentor, RK. Today Roz Haki is a gospel artiste of great repute; she not only sings but also dabbles in rap.
â€œWhen I was in distress RK always used to tell me to talk to God and that really encouraged me. My life was like Thika Road, clogged up and messy. It took some serious digging but at least now it’s a superhighway,â€œ she confesses.
The Hakuna singer has definitely come full circle. If you knew her then, you might not recognise her now. The transition from dancing to singing was daunting, to say the least, but a little help brought her a long way.
This then is the confession of a video vixen. The laying bare of a girl who has come of age in her 20s. She still remains funky and fun-loving despite her transformation, wiser now, yet living a full life.
I spotted a shiny ring on her left finger and it seems wedding bells may be in the offing.
In her own words: â€œEveryone has a past. My true friends have accepted me, faults and all. Nonetheless, you should never let your past block you from a bright future. I had a lot of fame but it didn’t really help me. I guess things are not always how they look.â€œ-ZUQKA