By Millicent Muthoni
THEY have become a viral phenomenon since they captured our hearts with a comical dance version of Eddy Kenzo’s ‘Sitya Loss’ in 2014.
Now, more than 40 videos in, Triplets Ghetto Kids have inspired a viral trend, the #UnforgettableDanceChallenge, in which American celebrities like Travis Scott, Swizz Beatz, DJ Khaled, Drake, Juelz Santana and even P Diddy have taken part.
The troupe has literally grown before our eyes, both professionally and literally. Now they are highly sought-after by international celebrities.
That is how Moroccan-American hip hop sensation French Montana fell in love with their high-energy, unpretentious dancing and travelled to Kampala to shoot a video for his single ‘Unforgettable’, which features Swae Lee, one of the brothers in duo Rae Sremmurd.
“I was on YouTube listening to music from one of my favourite African artists Cheb Hasni and found this video of these kids dancing barefoot in the mud and on rocks,” French Montana wrote on his Instagram page this month. “No complaining or pain just so much joy in the music and dancing. I watched with ‘Unforgettable’ playing in the background and it hit me! Their moves went to the tempo and it was almost like God planned it!
“It inspired me to go find them in Uganda. My team and I searched and we found them. When we arrived, it was so sad for me to find out that one of the kids in the video died before I got to meet him, and my favourite girl Patricia had just woken up from a two-week coma. But it did not stop her from coming to the set and dancing barefoot with the others. These kids made my experience in Uganda #Unforgettable.”
The result is an infectious video that has been on the top-ten Twitter trending list in the past two weeks and has already received 18 million views.
Though there are other scenes shot in a bar and while on safari, where Montana is accosted by rebels, the street dance scenes featuring the vivacious teens are the highlight of the video, what with their nimble contortions, dance-hall inspired moves and comical gyrations. The video is shot in the messy streets, with no airbrushed scenes, giving it a simple authenticity that sets it apart from Montana’s other videos.
After Montana is kidnapped by rebels in the forest, the video ends with a sign that reads ‘Later On That Day . . .’ suggesting a sequel shot in Africa.
Alongside the video, Montana invited his social media followers to a dance challenge, and that too has taken off.
In an interview with Christopher Kevin of lifewithoutandy.com, Montana terms the Uganda visit as one of the most memorable experiences in his 32 years of existence.
“I tell people all the time, I feel like it was my first vacation, as far as touching the people and giving people an opportunity that they appreciate . . . It warmed my heart, it’s probably the best feeling I’ve ever felt in my life,” he says.
But let not the simplicity of the video fool you. The Triplets Ghetto Kids are now anything but ‘ghetto’ – they are professionally managed and choreographed and have a sleek website that secures gigs for them. Their tattered clothes and dusty feet are part of the costuming, and only make an appearance in some videos.
Last year they won the Best Dance Act at the UK’s Black Entertainment Film, Fashion, Television and Arts (BEFFTA) Awards and Best Dance Group at the African Entertainment Awards in the US. They also bagged The Video Trailblazer Award at the HiPipo Music Awards and Talented Youth Star at the Rising Star Awards, both in Uganda.
After filming catchy videos that saw them dancing to the likes of ‘Follow Follow’ by Hanson Baliruno, Mastiksoul & Shaggy’s ‘Good For You’ and Justin Bieber’s ‘Sorry’, Triplets Ghetto Kids were then featured in official videos like Kenzo’s ‘StyleZo(Kadondo)’, Patoranking’s ‘Make Am’ and now French Montana’s ‘Unforgettable’. Check out their videos on YouTube.
One thing is for sure – no matter what they wear or where they shoot their videos, Triplets Ghetto Kids bring the X Factor to African dance.
Why not go ahead and attempt the #UnforgettableDanceChallenge? – Music In Africa