By NJOKI CHEGE
I know nothing worth mentioning here about tennis. However, I am a big fan of Serena Williams. She has won 23 times grand slam titles and has been ranked number one by the Women’s Tennis Association eight times.
She is a wealthy businesswoman with an impressive portfolio of endorsement deals, a fashion line and investments in the media industry.
She has not only excelled professionally, but her personal life is equally thriving having recently married a tech billionaire — an attractive white young man — with whom they are blessed with an adorable daughter.
Beyond her unprecedented success in tennis, Serena has also come out strongly as a women’s rights activist.
So it is easy to understand my deep admiration and respect for her. Even though I couldn’t tell a tennis ball from a squash ball if it hit me on my sizeable forehead, I track every win, every loss and every setback that sister Serena has to deal with.
Last Sunday, during the US Open, Serena encountered an incident that has left the world divided on women’s rights, equal treatment and our general disregard for strong women — a fact that I shall not tire to belabour.
The chair umpire, Mr Carlos Ramos, accused Serena of receiving coaching from her coach which is considered illegal in tennis tournaments. (Makes you wonder; why do you need a coach if you can’t get coached on the court?).
It is true that Serena’s coach was trying to signal her but Serena was in fact looking at the other side of the court and did not notice. Incensed, Serena, in a classic, bold woman act that usually involves pointing a finger and looking at your subject straight in the eye, boldly told the male umpire “I didn’t cheat. I didn’t get coaching… I don’t cheat to win, I’d rather lose!”
In a fit of rage, Serena threw her racket to the ground, damaging it in the process. The umpire counted that as the second offence and denied her a point.
Seeing this, Serena furiously called the umpire “a thief”, causing him to list that as the third offence, “verbal abuse”. Serena eventually lost the game to Naomi Osaka.
It has been suggested the umpire penalised Serena not for her misdemeanour in the court, but because he could not take such kind of dress-down from a woman. It could be true, if you consider that male tennis players have done worse, including insulting the umpire, taking off their shirts and throwing tantrums.
But because a woman had the nerve, key word here being the nerve, to stand up to him, Ramos had to make her pay, and dearly did she pay, for it cost her what would have been her 24th grand slam title.
Watching Serena throw her racket on the ground in frustration reminded me of the many times I have had to stop myself from flinging a chair or my high heel across the room towards a “subject” that clearly deserves it. (I don’t have an anger issue — I just sometimes believe in vigilante justice).
My friends will tell you how we utterly hate it when a man interrupts a women making a point, only to make the same point the woman was trying to make, what is now called “mansplaining”.
As a young woman who is trying to wade through the world, I have noted that forthrightness, boldness and confidence in women is not welcome. The double standards are clear. When a woman is visibly angry and dares to show it, she having a “meltdown”. If a woman demonstrates clear passion while making a point, she is “emotional” and if she speaks her mind, she is “ranting”.
When a woman stands her ground and stubbornly insists on something, she is accused of “high-handedness” and if she is outspoken about her achievements, she is “arrogant”.
“Ambitious” is a dirty word when describing a woman. If a woman tries to package herself as a driven and focused, the first question you ask her is “Who will marry you?”.
These standards are not applied to the young men my age who instead of being emotional, they are branded “passionate”, instead of ranting are “speaking their minds” and if he speaks arrogantly speaks of his achievements he is said to be “confident” and an “ambitious” is not used as a complement.
I hate to sound whiny, but Serena’s incident, whether you think she is a sore loser or not, should bring us to think about how we treat women who are not conventionally “ladylike”.
Singer speaks after attacking lover at WCB signee Zuchu’s star-studded concert
56 minutes ago
On 18 July, there was fanfare at the Mlimani City Hall in Dar es Salaam as WCB signee Zuchu held a thanksgiving concert months after her debut EP, I Am Zuchu. The event dubbed ‘Ahsante Nashukuru’ mainly featured performances by artistes from the WCB stable and attracted the whos-who in the Tanzanian entertainment and political scenes.
However, singer Gigy Money who also performed made the headlines for the wrong reasons after getting into a scuffle with her lover during the much-publicised concert.
READ ALSO: I was bewitched by a friend – Gigy Money
Peaceful arrival, later chaos
Moments earlier, Gigy and her Nigerian man were seen arriving arm in arm at the event whose highlight featured Zuchu receiving a brand new car from WCB head honcho Diamond Platnumz. Donning matching outfits, the couple was spotted on the red carpet as the paparazzi scrambled to capture the moment. However, all hell breaks loose later and viral videos depict the visibly angered Nigerian arguing with a bouncer at the entrance. After a tense confrontation, Gigy’s man is seen being led by the screaming bouncer towards the exit. Shortly after, a similarly irritated Gigy emerges and follows the pair.
“Gigy! Wewe Gigy wewe!” a woman in the background is heard dissuading the singer from pursuing them but the singer pays no heed and heads for the pair.
“You want to beat me?” the boyfriend is heard asking an approaching Gigy as the bouncer acts as a barrier between them. The bouncer manages to steer the incensed man towards the exit as Gigy follows behind, hurling obscenities.
At some point, a barefoot Gigy turns into a sprint before throwing one of her shoes which hits the man who then responds with an insult. Another bouncer finally intervenes and the two are separated. Gigy then asks for her vehicle so she can head home before warning the press against sharing videos of the incident.
Though the cause of their tiff is still unknown Gigy later made reference to the shocking incident in a social media post, hinting that alcohol had a part to play in the fracas. In another post, Gigy shared a photo alongside her estranged lover writing: “My mad man looked handsome before his demons arose and mine arose too.”
‘Running over Ali Kiba’
Gigy is not new controversy and recently said she’d run over her ex, singer Ali Kiba for breaking her heart.
“I will knock all of them down, I mean I will kill them. In fact, I will flatten them like chapatis. The first person I will knock down and kill is Ali Kiba. Actually, I don’t need a weak car, I need a Fuso so that when I knock him down I will be sure he doesn’t survive,” Gigy told Ayo TV.
Dating Kiba brothers
Gigy had in the past admitted to dating both Ali Kiba and his younger brother, Abdu Kiba. She solely laid the blame on Chekecha singer for pursuing her despite knowing that she’d been with his younger brother. Abdu expressed being heartbroken after learning the two had a fling, prompting him to marry.
“I was very hurt on hearing that Ali was dating Gigy Money because I dated her first before she became famous. But it’s alleged that Ali didn’t know. It hurt me for a while till when I married,” said Abdu.
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Why Jahmby Kokai is happy her TV anchor dream never came true
37 minutes ago
Popular media personality Jahmby Koikai narrated how her first attempt at auditioning as a TV host backfired and she was sent home on the first day of the audition. Reliving her prime days, Jahmby narrated how she was determined to follow her dream of becoming a news anchor after completing her degree.
“There was a reality show that was running on one major TV channel here in Kenya, searching for the next top news anchor. I’ve always had the knack for news. At the time, I was working at Metro FM. Walked to my boss and asked him if he was ok with me participating in this competition. He agreed to it.
“Auditions were at Film Studios. The queue stretched all the way to the showground. I was at the back kabisa. Imagine 300 people before you. Then we got the briefing paper and it indicated, ‘no persons with experience in a media house allowed to participate in this audition’. Mimi Jahmby Koikai, nirudi home after watu 300 kukuwa mbele yangu?” she posed.
According to the endometriosis survivor, she went ahead to audition for the position despite the warning and was the first contestant to be sent packing.
“So I stayed in line until I got to the audition room. The judges were a few people I was in campus with. I felt a wave of despair. Like I’m here auditioning, yet my classmates will be judging me? I did my thing and I was considered. We got into the house and we were assigned to different groups. I was the group leader and we won the challenge. Later that evening, we were driven back to Film Studios for a briefing. The presenter of the show said some of us have to go home.
“My name was called out first amongst other great people. We were dropped home. I cried. It felt like I’d lost such a great opportunity. My mom and late grandma were so sad cos they loved to watch me do the news,” she narrated.
Later, Jahmby auditioned for another TV opportunity only to miss out as well.
“Then came another opportunity over 10 years ago, I saw a TV ad and decided to apply for the news anchor position. I didn’t get the job.”
However, due to endometriosis, Jahmby was forced to put her dreams on hold and concentrate on getting better. According to her, it is as though God had better plans for her and is grateful to not have gotten the jobs.
“I battled severe endometriosis in silence for over 19 years. I think of how engaging the newsroom is and I’m grateful I wasn’t in that space. I’d have utilized all my sick-leaves and off-days and just declared redundant.”
There was a reality show that was running on one major TV channel here in Kenya, searching for the next top news anchor. I’ve always had the knack for news. At the time, I was working at Metro Fm. Walked to my boss and asked him if he was ok with me participating in this competition. He agreed to it. Auditions were at Film Studios. The queue stretched all the way to the showground. I was at the back kabisa. Imagine 300 people before you. Then we got the briefing paper and it indicated, ‘no persons with experience in a media house allowed to participate in this audition’. Mimi Jahmby Koikai, nirudi home after watu 300 kukuwa mbele yangu? Nikasema zi. So I stayed in line until I got to the audition room. The judges were a few people I was in campus with. I felt a wave of despair. Like I’m here auditioning, yet my classmates will be judging me? I did my thing and I was considered. We got into the house and we were assigned to different groups. I was the group leader and we won the challenge. Later that evening, we were driven back to Film Studios for a briefing. The presenter of the show said, some of us have to go home. My name was called out first amongst other great people. We were dropped home. I cried. It felt like I’d lost such a great opportunity. My mom and late grandma were so sad cos they loved to watch me do the news. Then came another opportunity over 10years ago, I saw a TV ad and decided to apply for the news anchor position. As you see in this pic, I got my hair done at Ralph’s Hair Salon, new suit etc. I didn’t get the job. After KBC, I never got to anchor the news again. I’m grateful I did not get the job even though I felt dejected at the time. I battled severe Endometriosis in silence for over 19years. I think of how engaging the newsroom is and I’m grateful I wasn’t in that space. I’d have utilised all my sick-leaves and off-days and just declared redundant. There are many people like me who are bound by chronic illness and cannot do the things they love. I share your pain. But there’s hope. I’m grateful to God for His reminder that He will restore to you all the years that the locusts have eaten. Also Jer 29:11