Winky D: Peo­ple’s cham­pion or diva?

Chronicle (Zimbabwe) - - Entertainment - Bruce Ndlovu

ON Satur­day night at the Large City Hall car park in Bu­l­awayo, while fans sang along to his lyrics and danced to the crisp sounds com­ing from his im­pres­sive band, Winky D cut a ma­jes­tic fig­ure.

Wear­ing a match­ing white jacket and pants with black in­scrip­tions, the Ninja pres­i­dent looked very much the roy­alty that his now sig­na­ture pharaoh head­gear sug­gests he is.

The dance­hall star ran through an ar­ray of hits that stretched over half a decade, and one could have been for­given, as he spit out his rhymes at ma­chine gun speed, if in that mo­ment they felt that it was Winky D’s corona­tion rather than Jah Prayzah’s ground­break­ing al­bum roll­out.

After his crowd en­gag­ing per­for­mance was over, only an un­rea­son­able critic would be un­sat­is­fied by yet another five star out­ing for Winky in the City of Kings.

How­ever, fans in the VIP sec­tion of the well at­tended show would have a dif­fer­ent tale to re­lay. Fans’ faces lit up as he ap­proached from back­stage, with many jostling to get to a po­si­tion where they could shake his hand or take self­ies, as has be­come the norm with in­ter­na­tional or lo­cal artistes.

After his ad­mit­tedly gru­elling set how­ever, the Ninja pres­i­dent did not seem in any mood to in­ter­act with his sub­jects, cut­ting through ea­ger fans like a hot knife through but­ter as he fixed his sights on the exit.

The star’s en­tourage would not let any fan touch their highly fan­cied charge, shrug­ging off the hands of those that got too close for com­fort.

Most in the VIP were shocked into si­lence in the af­ter­math, but for those who have at­tended his shows pre­vi­ously, it was just another night in the life of the Ninja pres­i­dent.

When he per­formed at Harts­field Tshisa Nyama ear­lier this year, fans were again given a cold shoul­der as he jumped into a wait­ing com­muter om­nibus after his per­for­mance.

De­spite his pop­u­lar­ity, Winky D has never been one to in­ter­act with his fol­low­ers. Seem­ingly cam­era shy, the star does not have many pic­tures with fans and has a neg­li­gi­ble pres­ence on so­cial me­dia where his Twit­ter and Facebook pages are mainly up­dated to an­nounce up­com­ing shows. He rarely gives in­ter­views to the me­dia, who mainly go through his man­ager for any­thing re­lated to the star.

In con­trast, the man who many see as his main ri­val for the Zim­bab­wean mu­sic throne, Jah Prayzah, is highly vis­i­ble on so­cial me­dia where pic­tures of him glee­fully em­brac­ing grate­ful fans abound.

Winky D’s ea­ger­ness to avoid the cam­era lens is per­haps best sig­ni­fied by the fact that he has a few videos for his songs, which echoes the be­hav­iour of the late great Leonard Dembo who only of­fi­cially re­leased two videos at the height of his pop­u­lar­ity. An apt il­lus­tra­tion of this is that al­most a year after the song started oblit­er­at­ing the charts and dom­i­nat­ing the playlists of DJs, his song Dis­ap­pear still does not have a video.

Some might take his cam­era shy­ness and at­ti­tude to­wards fans as both a weak­ness and strength. To some it sig­ni­fies an artiste who is not fond of gim­micks but is only con­cerned with the busi­ness at hand. Give him a mic, his band and Winky D will give you a per­for­mance worth the money you paid. Ex­pect noth­ing more, noth­ing less.

For oth­ers, how­ever, it is a short­com­ing as it makes a much loved star seem cold and un­wel­com­ing. Ac­cord­ing to a Bu­l­awayo pro­moter who booked the star for a show last year, the Dis­ap­pear hit-maker is hard to con­trol and be­haves like a prima donna. “Per­son­ally as a pro­moter he treated me like rub­bish. When he came for the show he re­fused to en­gage with fans and I fought to get mem­bers of the press an in­ter­view but I was turned down. He has this men­tal­ity that he is too big a star to in­ter­act with mere mor­tals like us and he has a se­vere god com­plex,” said the pro­moter who spoke anony­mously. Ac­cord­ing to Winky D’s man­ager, Jonathan Banda, the star is ap­pre­hen­sive about flash­ing a smile for the cam­era or en­gag­ing fans be­cause he has had bad ex­pe­ri­ences with rowdy fans in the past. “There are a lot of fac­tors in­volved in terms of al­low­ing his in­ter­ac­tion with fans or not. On Satur­day, for ex­am­ple, he was quite tired and he needed to go and rest be­cause we had many shows on the trot in the last few weeks. “Se­cu­rity is also quite tricky and one time in the UK a fan sprayed him with an un­known sub­stance and he col­lapsed. All those are things to fac­tor in,” he said. — @ Bru­ciEEye

Winky D

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