I caught up with Abigail Arunga, Author, Screen writer, Poet and basically home girl extraordinaire.
We talked about her YouTube show, her poetry and her love for Riri. I also asked her for her favourite movie quote, she gave me two, bordering on three. 😀
By Mumbua Nzula Nzyoka.
WTW: A few words have been thrown around to describe you: amusing, genius, ‘Maxi Priest dreads wanna-be’ funny, audacious. Which one do you think best describes who you are?
AA: Ha! All the above, pretty succinct. Add relatively happy and one day, I’ll add ‘possessor of an acceptable wallet.’
WTW: Your Instagram profile reads, “I’m here for Riri”, why not Bey?
AA: OH LORD! RIRI IS EVERYTHING.
WTW: What is it about Rihanna that makes you a fan? Does it have something to do with her style, creativity, personality?
AA: You know, we’re not here for Riri because her lyrics are super deep or she says something that my poetry can’t say (see what I did there?). We’re here for Riri because she is audacious. She truly, and honestly is, whether it is a brand or a product or a made up persona – she doesn’t. Give. A f***! LOVE IT! Wish I could do that in such totality. Not to the level of standing next to my grandpa at Carnival in a teeny tiny costume, but as close as I can get.
“…the shows are trying too hard to be an imitation of a show in the US with barely any of the production value or storytelling.”
WTW: Amazingly, other than being Riri’s ultimate fan, you’re also a script writer. How did you get into writing for TV?
AA: My old blog, theshynarcissist.blogspot.com, was a haven for my madness, and so I really felt like the world needed to know about it as well. I used to be that annoying person who tags everyone on Twitter to read my blog. One day, I tagged a TV producer, Dorothy Ghettuba. The rest is…blah blah blah…
WTW: Last year when we last spoke you were writing for the TV show, “How to Find a Husband”, how’s that been?
AA: Good. That was funny. I sang the theme song for that as well. It was interesting. I think I sound better though. I could be wrong. I should just ‘chack’ an album ‘mara one’.
WTW: In that case, we’ll add spontaneous to the adjectives that describe you. Let’s talk about TV, recently, we published an article on why Kenyans don’t watch Kenyan TV. Why do you think that is?
AA: Interesting! Either they don’t know it is there – because many of our shows are only accessible to people with Pay-tv – or people don’t think the plots are gripping, relatable, or the shows are trying too hard to be an imitation of a show in the US with barely any of the production value or storytelling. Telling our own stories is important. As is production value. As is knowing your audience.
“It’s a short e-chapbook – 19 poems, all feral, all trying to make your naughty bits tingle.”
WTW: There seemed to be a consensus among our readers that the problem lies in the lack of writers in Kenya, is that even true?
AA: HA! Nope. You sneeze in Nairobi now and you’ll find an artist – whether it is one with a guitar on their back, or a photographer, or a blogger. Maybe the problem is, there are many writers but not as many good ones? But that number, as well, is growing. Continuously.
WTW: Early this year you published another book, tell us about that.
AA: The new addition is called A side of Raunch. It’s…well, obviously, raunchy. A side I hadn’t explored quite as much in my first book, mostly because I didn’t have material at the time. It’s a short e-chapbook – 19 poems, all feral, all trying to make your naughty bits tingle. (Laughs). You can find both of them on books.magunga.com.
WTW: Why do you self-publish.
AA: Publishing poetry isn’t easy in this market – or at least, that is what my experience has been. Kenyans read, but fewer still, read poetry. So then, fewer publishers print it. By nature, I hate bureaucracy – so when I felt I was being given the run-around, I ‘Riri’d’ it and did it myself.
“We want to talk about anything that we feel is important.”
WTW: Not only do you write for TV publish and write your own poetry but you also have a show on YouTube called “Y do we do it?”
AA: Yazz! We just sit on a couch and talk a lot, really. And try to be funny.
WTW: Why a YouTube show?
AA: Well…its YouTube and we wanted to sit on a couch and talk a lot, really. And try to be funny. (Laughs)
WTW: Let’s just say YouTube was an available medium. Is the show scripted?
AA: Nope. We do a quick discussion before each episode with the core team (me, my co-host Onyi, JP, Njomo, Tony, Magunga, and whoever else happens to be in attendance) then launch. So that it sounds fresh and unscripted, but still thought out.
WTW: How do you come up with the subject matter for the shows?
AA: We want to talk about anything that we feel is important. So that could range from whatever is happening that week, like nudes, or stupid politicians which will lead to governance, or one of my favourite topics, relationships (mostly because I feel like I know f*** all), or what to name penises…or moving out…or our resident favourite socialite, Huddah… (our episode about her has the most views. Heh! Friend!)
WTW: Seeing as this is a movie review website, what’s your best movie quote?
AA: Just one? Damn! I don’t know. I watch a lot of movies. Damn! Um…Let me do two?
WTW: (Laughing) Sure, go for it.
AA: From one of my favourite movies of all time – “The Princess Bride” – “My name is Inigo Montoya. You killed my father. Prepare to die.” And “Coming to America” – ‘The royal penis is clean, your highness.’ Ooooh, and from my favourite musical, “My Fair Lady” – ‘I’m a good girl, I am.’
The Basic 4
- The latest movie you watched?
“Justice League vs. Teen Titans.” 😀
- What current series are you watching?
Just one? Lol. I watch multiple ones at a time. “Younger”, “Young and Hungry”, “Jane the Virgin”, “The Catch”, “Masters of Sex”, “Not Safe with Nikki Glaser”, “Vinyl” (I have stopped watching that one, though), “New Girl”, “Two Broke Girls”, “The Mindy Project” (WHICH I LOVE)….yeah. My torrent list runneth over.
- Last music album you listened to?
Sauti Sol – Live and Die in Afrika.
- Which movie are you most excited for:
- Dr. Strange?
- Wonder Woman?
- Captain America: Civil War?
Ha! Hm. I am not stoked about Civil War. “Dr. Strange”, yes, because I am a Cumberperson* and it is out this year but MOSTLY, “Wonder Woman.” Gal Gadot was one of the only good things about “Batman. vs. Superman.” I’m here for it.
*Cumberperson (Singular) or Cumberpeople (Plural) are fans of Benedict Cumberbatch star of “Sherlock” the series and a slew of other movies.