When YouTube released the list of Kenya’s most watched videos in 2021, one of the names that went unnoticed was that of a five-year-old boy named Terence Bwire, who is a nephew of former Harambee Stars goalkeeper Noah Ayuko.
Bwire’s one-year-old YouTube channel, TT Comedian, was the most popular non-music channel in the country this year, and that, by all standards, is no mean feat.
As a matter of fact, TT Comedian beat Terrence Creative’s channel despite the increased viewership it witnessed following the release of the Kemikal comical skit.
According to the list, TT Comedian topped in three categories, starting with the most watched non-music video. In this category, his two-minute-and-45-second video, TT Comedian Meets Slay Queens, topped the list, garnering over 5.2 million views.
The Sukari Politicians Dance Challenge video, uploaded on the Marshall Sum channe,l came a distant second with over 4.4 million views. Wimbo Mtoto Alioimba Ukatoa Watu Machozi, uploaded on the Inka TV channel, was third with over 3.9 million views.
TT Comedian also topped in the Top Creators category, with vlogger Mungai Eve channel coming second, followed by Churchill Show in third.
The pre-schooler’s channel also came first in the Breakout/Fastest Rising Creators category, with Mungai Eve second, Thee Pluto Show third with Terence Creative taking the fourth slot.
When the Sunday Nation caught up with the playful Bwire and his team at their home in Kitengela, Kajiado County, they were startled when we asked what the achievement meant to them.
“What? We are not aware of that. Do you have the list? Can we see it?” posed Charles Ayuko, the brains behind his nephew’s YouTube channel. Ayuko is the producer and content creator of TT Comedian YouTube channel, one of the artists managed by Ladha ya Mtaa Entertainment.
As we take our positions and settle down for the interview with the crew of five who were busy editing content shot a day before, TT, who is playing a stones-throw away with other children, notices the gathering and walks over.
“Kwani kuna shoot? (Do we have a shoot?) ” he asks. His uncle answers no and urges him to go on playing.
This has been the routine for the last one-year or so since TT Comedian was created. Every day the young actor would sort to know if there is a shoot before going to play, eat or sleep.
As he turns to leave, we ask “Ulianza ku- act lini? (When did you start acting)”
“Nikiwa kwa tumbo (Even before I was born),” he shoots back .
Appearing baffled with the response from TT, Ayuko and his crew smile.
“We believe so too, because he was born when we were in the middle of shooting a movie series, Africa is the new America, in which his mother was the main character. My sister Alta Akoya really struggled with the pregnancy the entire period of production” Ayuko explains.
The series was one of the many productions under Ladha ya Mtaa, which was founded in 2009. Ayuko and his team have been creating content, be it movies, comedy skits or short clips, and uploading them on YouTube. When Ayuko was born, her mother would bring him to the set during rehearsal and it’s here TT Comedian started developing interest in acting, albeit at a tender age.
“We started noticing that he was a different child. At the age of two, he would sit and observe keenly what we were doing during rehearsals. And when he started talking he would recite some words he heard us say on the set, such as cut, action, and stop. Then it got to a point where he started correcting actors who went against the script while on set,” his uncle adds.
It’s at this point that Ayuko had a meeting with his sister Alta together with the entire crew of Ladha ya Mtaa and made a decision to start creating content around him.
“TT earned his place and as creatives with the experience we got, we thought it would be wise to nurture his gift. We decided to first feature him in a small role in one of the movies and the boy surprised us in ways we could not believe. This is when we realised we could create his brand,” he said.
A quick name search was conducted and the crew settled on TT Comedian, an abbreviation of Terence Terence the Comedian, as the YouTube channel.
Although most of TT Comedian’s content is scripted, Ayuko says the boy prefers not to stick to the script.
“He is a natural born actor. Yes, we script his content but it only acts as a guide. Before shooting, you have to walk him through the plot and he will do the rest. Sometimes he asks to do retakes of shoots if he is not satisfied,” the guardian adds.
Ayuko, however, notes that it’s never all that easy shooting content with Bwire.
“You could be shooting and TT tells you he is tired and needs to sleep. So we have to cut and let him take a nap. Or he would tell you he is hungry or wants to go and play, so you oblige. You have to understand that he is still very young and our intentions are to see him lead a normal life as a child.”
Until five months ago Bwire never used to watch his content. Like most children his age he preferred passing time watching cartoons.
But that changed when his content went viral and Ladha ya Mtaa Entertainment started receiving calls for corporate gigs.
“It’s until recently that we started receiving calls requesting TT to make special appearances in a number of events. We would go and he would attract so much attention from people. Then one day he asked: “Why do people adore me this much?” We told him it’s because they love his videos. Since then he has been asking to see his videos,” his uncle goes on.
But even with the newfound fame, Ayuko says they are very careful with how they manage the boy to ensure he is not affected.
Charles vividly remembers how his elder brother Noah Ayuko’s fame affected them during his heyday as a footballer, and wouldn’t wish to see his nephew go through the same.
“Our brother played for Harambee Stars. Despite the fact that it was him who was famous, we were also affected as his younger siblings. Many people thought we were wealthy because our brother was famous when actually that was not the case. Sometimes we were mocked because of how we lived yet we had a famous brother. There was unnecessary social pressure. I wouldn’t wish to see TT experience that. This boy is my nephew, I have seen him grow since his birth, I want nothing but the best for him,”
Ayuko, who turned out for Karuturi Sports and Harambee Stars, was a household name in the Kenyan circles in the early 2000s. The dreadlocked goalkeeper was famous for his theatrics and no-nonsense approach between the posts.
With the corporate deals now starting to stream in, Uncle Charles says they are also taking precaution to ensure they account for every penny they make from the boy’s creativity.
He understands that he will be held responsible when the dreadlocked TT comes of age and starts asking tough questions.
In this regard, Ayuko says they have had to turn down some endorsement deals that were exploitative.
“There have been cases where some company approaches us asking for TT alone. When we tell them he is under Ladha ya Mtaa management and as such they should enter negotiation with the company they back off.”
The guardian also says some production companies have approached them with absurd contracts. One asked to have TT join its cast and tabled an offer of Sh5,000 for each episode he appears on while another tried to buy content exclusivity of the minor for a few hundred shillings.
But nonetheless, they have been able to land a number of corporate deals, with the most notable one being Superloaf bread as brand ambassador.
Besides corporate deals, gigs and special appearances, the toddler’s channel makes a staggering amount. TT Comedian, which was created on January 13, 2021, has already been commercialised, meaning its’ able to attract revenue from its content.
Since its creation, the channel has attracted a total over 95.7 million views compared to second placed Mungai Eve, which has garnered 59.79 million views since January 21, 2020 when it was first created.
YouTube has several ways in which content creators earn. For every one million views there is an average of a Sh200,000 payout. The platform also serves advertisements on channels and those ads translate to additional money for the creators. The more the traffic on a given channel, the more adverts are served towards that channel.
Unlike other channels on the top 10 Content Creators list, it is only TT Comedian that offers premium content perks for members seeking exclusive content. The membership perks are TT Fam which goes for Sh222 a month, TT Gold Fam Sh782 per month and TT Platinum Fam which will have you part with Sh3,300 a month BY DAILY NATION
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