Ian Kibe: My parents feared for my safety in Nairobi streets

Atlanta-raised Kenyan artiste Ian Kibe. (Courtesy)

Atlanta-raised Kenyan artiste Ian Kibe isn’t just another musician. His music leans more on people empowerment and consciousness aiming to break free from mental limitations placed upon people of colour.

“I make music that is meant to empower you and break the mental shackles that have been placed on us as melanated people. I bring truth to your consciousness. I dream of a world before we were oppressed and I will do anything possible to make that happen,” he says.

Kibe’s artistic journey started after his uncle released his first song and it  inspired him to create music.

“This sparked a fire in me. I dream of a world where people of colour understand their true potential and history,” he says.

His latest project, “Nebula,” is a collaborative effort featuring Jaidendasun and Kozart. The song explores the complexities of love and staying hopeful despite challenges.

Kibe uses his verse to introduce himself and his beliefs, while Jaidendasun emphasises perseverance in the face of emotional struggles. Kozart rounds out the track with a verse highlighting his hard work and the right to celebrate his achievements.

While his artistic roots stem from Atlanta, Kenya holds a special place in his heart. His first visit to Nairobi in 2011 for his mother’s wedding ignited a desire to stay.

However, his parents’ concerns about his safety as an American in Kenya limited his exploration. He says this experience taught him the importance of independence and the freedom to explore his heritage on his own terms. 

“I first came to Nairobi in 2011 for my mother’s wedding. The experience was great. After the wedding, I never wanted to leave.”

But despite being a Kenyan, Kibe says that his exploits in Nairobi were restricted by his parents who really felt that Nairobians would take advantage of him due to his young age and nationality.

“I wasn’t able to experience Nairobi the way I wanted to because my parents wouldn’t allow me to move around because of the fear that I am an American, they felt I may not be able to take care of myself but I was young at the time so I didn’t debate much with them,” he says.

But now Kibe feels he has come of age and is ready to come back to Nairobi to further his artistic talent.

“I plan to release projects on 11th of every month. I have videos in the works and I hope I will come to Nairobi in December for my maiden performance as well as experience the city the way I had always envisioned,”he says.


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