Focus Africa – Vanessa Mdee, Tanzania’s Priceless Gem
There are lots of people shaping the world in their own way. Stars who don’t stand in the light alone but allows others to feel the glow of grace that blazes their path. Focus Africa spots Tanzania to discover why Vanessa Mdee is called “Tanzania’s Priced Gem”.
With lots of people taking a stand to make life better for those that they can, Tanzania’s priced gem Vanessa Mdee, 27, juggles between her passion for music and her love and desire to make life better for the children of Tanzania.
She is definitely worth our Focus Africa.Officially starting off her media career in early 2007, Mdee beat thousands to the coveted position of Tanzania’s first ever MTV Base VJ, thereby spotlighting her country, and the continent paid attention because in less than a year, Mdee was not only a Tanzanian star, but a star across Africa.
Born Vanessa Hau Mdee but popularly called Vee Money, Mdee’s vibrant personality endeared her to viewers in her home country, Tanzania, across the continent (Nigeria, South Africa, Ghana, Angola, Kenya, Democratic Rep of Congo to name few) to Europe and the United States. She is one of the few VJ exports from Africa and she is repping the continent massively.
Vee Money is not only a great artiste, or a wonderful performer, she’s also a songwriter, youth activist, TV and Radio host, humanitarian Ambassador, motivational Speaker and is presently one of the most influential entertainers in Tanzania.
She gave back to her country in 2008 by participating with the Stay Alive Foundation on a project close to her heart and working with Kelly Rowland (Former Ambassador to the Foundation). She also worked on Malaria No More aimed at the eradication of child malaria in Tanzania.
Her job s an MTV Base VJ accorded Mdee access to celebrity interviews with worldwide super-stars like Ludacris, K’naan, Camp Mulla, K’naan, Kelly Rowland, Mac Miller, Rick Ross, Kelly Rowland, Tay Grin, Donald, Tear Gas, Miguel, just to name a few. Every one wanted to be interviewed by her.
She was MTV’s voice at the 2011 UNAIDS Mali Youth Summit in Bamako and the subsequent High Level meeting in Cape Town, South Africa, She participated in the International Conference on HIV and STI’s in Addis Ababa.
Hosting MTV Base Meets, in 2012, the show aimed at uplifting Africans across the world while providing them the opportunity to “sit and talk” with an influential personality also gave Vee the platform to meet elites like Russell Simmons, Alek Wek, Emmanuel Adebayor, Olusegun Obasanjo (Ex-Nigerian President), and Akon.
Still working on her new-web-series “Vee World Wide”, stars like Knight Pulliam, DWoods, and Letoya Lucket, have been known to grace the show. The series is about her journey so far and every star she has met along the way.
Vee hosted the Kili Music Awards (Tanzania Music Awards) in 2012. That same year, at a gala in NYC, the United Nations Association of Young Professionals, UNA-YP, awarded her for being an “African change maker”. Shortly afterwards, the GAVI Alliance awarded her for supporting the free-vaccinations-for-Tanzanian-children initiative.
Towards the end of 2012 Mdee put her love for music out by working on a single titled “Me and You” with Ommy Dimpoz. When she debuted her first single at the start of 2013, she got Four Nominations at the Kili Music Award (Tanzania Music Awards), winning “Collaboration of the Year” and “Bongo Pop Song of the Year”.
Mdee’s empathy and stance on social issues won her an invite to speak at the World Economic Forum for Africa in Cape Town, South Africa in May 2013. She was speaking on behalf of the GAVI Alliance on the newly recorded low price for the Human Papillomavirus (HPV) vaccines. She also spoke on cervical cancer at the Global Forum for Cervical Cancer Prevention in Kuala Lumpur that same month.
In 2013, Mdee was added as a”Global Shaper” to the Dar es Salaam hub of the World Economic Forum. She also spoke on a forum with Ugandan President, Yoweri Museveni, at the UN National Assembly. Mdee was chosen to close the NASDAQ by ringing the ceremonial closing bell alongside UNAIDS Executive Director, Micheal Sidibe and President of Mali, Ibrahim Boubacar Keita.
She received yet another award by Global Health and Diplomacy for her work in Advocacy.
Humble, passionate and hardworking, Vanessa Mdee was able to find balance between being a philanthropist and human rights advocate and her passion for music as she released her second single by November 2013, titled “Come Over” which rose on music charts across Africa esp. Tanzania, Nigeria, Kenya, and Uganda.
2014 saw nominations include Female Artiste of the Year, Female Performer of the Year and RnB Song of the Year, by May she won RnB Song of the Year for “Closer”. On June 13th the same year, she released her third single titled “Hawajui”.
Endorsements include Airtel “Switch On” campaign, MTV Africa Music Awards, Coke Studio Africa, Kili Music Tour, Samsung, Essence, ONE.org, Crown Paints amongst others.
At the MTV Awards she interviewed American stars Trey Songz, Miguel and French Montana. At Coke Studio Africa she performed with Burna Boy, and recently with African Legend, 2face Idibia. She also participated in Tanzania’s biggest nationwide music tour ie the Serengeti Fiesta Music Tour 2014. When the tour took place in Dar es Salaam, she shared the stage with American rapper, T.I.
Her video for “Hawajui” premiered on MTV Base on December 8th and got massive international attention.
Vanessa Mdee was nominated for two categories ie Best African RnB and Soul and Best Female Artiste in Eastern Africa (which she won) at the All Africa Music Awards, AFRIMMA, held in Lagos on the 27th of December 2014. On March 26th 2015 Mdee released her fifth single “Nobody but me” featuring one of South Africa’s best rappers K.O.
In April 2011, she performed in Lagos, Nigeria at Africa’s biggest beach festival, Gidi Culture Festival, held at Eko Atlantic, where she shared the stage with Nigerian music stars such as MI, Skales, Victoria Kimani, Awilo Longomba, Waje, Efya and more.
Vanessa Mdee was the only artiste representing Tanzania.
At the 2015 Kili Music Awards (Tanzania Music Awards), Vanessa Mdee won the Best Female Artist of the Year and Best Female Entertainer. She was also nominated for the Tanzania’s People’s Choice Awards, Tuzo Za Matu, for the Favorite Female Artist category at Dar es Salaam in May.
Taking her philanthropy further she joined forces with seven, 7, of Africa’s finest female entertainers for the “ONE Mission – Celebrating Girl Power”. Other artists includes Waje (Nigeria), Yemi Alade (Nigeria), Arielle T (Gabon), Gabriella (Mozambique), Judith Sephima (South Africa), Victoria Kimani (Kenya), Selimor Mtukudzi (Zimbabwe) and Blessing Nwafor (Nigeria). The song promotes the “Poverty is Sexist” campaign for the World Economic Forum for Africa and Heads of State Summit.
Photo Credit – Vanessa Mdee