23 December 2017

Zimbabwe: Ninja Lipsy - the Dancehall Queen Who Never Was

Coming into everyone's living room with the help of Winky D in 2011 on the runaway hit "Taitirana Pafirst Sight", Ninja Lipsy became a darling to everyone at first sight and she was tipped to be the next poster girl of local dancehall music.

But seven years down the line she is still lost in the woods and yet to make a meaningful impact in the genre. Lipsy, real name Tendazvaitwa Chitimbe, adopted the moniker 'Ninja' from her boss and mentor Winky D who is called Ninja President by his legion of fans. The 'Ninja' tag was supposed to put the female chanter on the same level and driver's cockpit with her mentor and in some ways it was a strategy for the Ninja fans to accept Lipsy as their Ninja Queen and the dancehall queen.

She had a silver spoon in the mouth right from the get-go. Having your name breathed in the same passing moment as Winky, the god of the genre, means you are halfway up the ladder. Her unique vocals, sex appeal and proximity to the name of Winky D should have completed the takeover as the biggest female dancehall artiste back then when there was no clear run away contender for the top spot among female urban musicians.

The dancehall chanter seemed to have an upper hand of being the best female voice in the land. In all fairness, she is still in the running in the battle for supremacy with a whole bevy of artists like Lady Squanda, Juwella, Lady Bee, Bounty Lisa among other names that can fill a two page Zim-dancehall poster. Talking to Saturday Lifestyle the Taitirana singer admitted that people listened to her because of Winky D.

"People gave me an ear because I was on a track with Winky D. He was the bigger brand and despite doing good follow up songs people ignored my works without Winky D. Being on someone's back like I was on Winky's is hard as one can never be better than their mentor," she said.

"If I came into the industry without Winky D's backing no one was going to give me any attention. No female has been on that level. Look at Ammara Brown, she is trying but she is not there. I may have been one of the top artists but I am not there yet. There is still (in the genre generally) Soul Jah Love, Killer T and Winky D." She added: "I don't know where I got it wrong.

"The fans who listen to my music are at a better position to tell (me) where I got it wrong. Though I can't really say I have failed but I am not there yet. But I am getting there and I am happy with that little progress I have made alone without Winky D's (further) assistance," said Ninja Lipsy. Ninja Lipsy also blamed her slow moving career on her health complications.

"I suffer from epilepsy and it is one of the reasons why I had a slow year. I have tried to hide it from the public for too long but I just have to accept my condition and live with it," she said. Like any other dancehall artist, the Highfield born and bred artist has had her fair share of controversy. In 2014, she was involved in a scuffle with bully and eternal tyrant Lady Squanda over a man named Prince 'Bolo' Sithole. The two ended up engaging in a fist fight for their "Prince".

Furthermore, to the distaste of some, she has also attended parties and shows dressed in outfits that leave little to the imagination while she has also posed nude for a photo shoot for her single Ndiri Naughty. It seems like Lipsy really likes sharing what's beneath her garments with the public.

Last year at Alick Macheso's album launch the controversial artist called a random fan from the crowd and said to the visibly drunk fan "bata panonaka". The fan, out of respect, held Lipsy's waist. A disappointed Lipsy then challenged the fan to do more "Saka musikana wako ndipo paunomubata here ipapo" (is that where you touch your girlfriend?) then the man rudely further with the other hand reaching for the zipper a development which angered the crowd which pelted Lipsy off the stage.

Lipsy has worked with many artists such as Jnr Brown, Tehn Diamond, Take Fizzo, Reverb, DJ Naida, and T Man among others. She is part of a recently released song with Juwella, Faceless and Lady Bee titled "Khedu Keke". Born Tendazvaitwa Chitimbe, Lipsy said her love for lipstick and her thick lips influenced her stage name Lipsy.


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