Stunner bares all
The making of sex tapes amongst couples, particularly the young and the restless, is quite the rage in our society today. What boggles the mind is why and how these supposedly private tapes leak out to the public and get circulated willy-nilly on social networks and other showcasing platforms. Questions begging answers are: how are these tapes leaking? Are these tapes deliberately or not deliberately leaked out? And for whose benefit? Who, if anyone, stands to benefit when such tapes are leaked? And if there is some benefit, what is the gain? Is there a fame factor attached to these productions and the subsequent leaks? While the motives for such vary there almost always is some backlash. And while the assumption may be that the backlash in a patriarchal society such as ours will be harsher on the female participant, is that really the case? Are guys getting off easy, or they also bear the brunt? To get to the bottom of this phenomenon, Maggie Mzumara (MM) sat down with Desmond Chideme, popularly known as Stunner whose sex tape with ex-flame Pokello Nare went viral, first within the borders and then beyond following the latter’s stint on the Big Brother Africa (BBA) show. Could there have been a pre-meditated purpose for the tape? What has been the damage or the gains if any? And casualties? Anyone? Is society punishing or rewarding where it shouldn’t? Or has society (community and corporates alike) become very permissive? And who is to say? Find out.
MM: Whose ‘great’ idea was it to make a sex tape?
Stunner: We agreed to make the tape. It was something we (both) decided we wanted to do. And we recorded it by ourselves – the two of us.
MM: How did it leak?
Stunner: That’s the big question.
MM: Who kept it?
Stunner: I sent a copy to her by whatsapp and I also kept a copy
MM: Where do you think the leak could have happened?
Stunner: If I am to blame myself, that is if I am to blame, not pointing fingers – it (the recording) was in my phone and when I go on stage I usually give my phone to my friends to take photos or record my performance. One particular time I had a show and the phone got lost so I don’t know where exactly. I don’t know if that is when it happened. That is if it’s on my side. Then on her end there is also the story of one of her friends having leaked it. So like honestly, I do not know what happened.
MM: Did you try to find out and solve the puzzle and be certain?
Stunner: Usually I do not want to be bothered by spoilt milk because you just settle in one place instead of moving forward.
MM: So it was not a deliberate leak?
Stunner: Never, why would I want to do that? I was already b****y popular, like I was around Africa already so why would I want to do that?
MM: I don’t know. Like maybe show off some skill, a ‘conquest’…?
Stunner: What skill? I didn’t even do anything?
MM: But seriously, how did it make you feel after the tape was out? Were you embarrassed? Were you pleased? Indifferent? What were you?
Stunner: Like seriously, I can say the both of us were broken down. She would be crying and I would also be crying at times…
MM: You also cried?
Stunner: Yeah. I do have a heart you know. It didn’t go down well. As much as you might get out there and put up this face that I am the big shark, I am the man, which you have to if you want to keep a positive mind, but it’s not something that was planned.
MM: So anywhere there you were after the tape, she is broken down and you are broken down and obviously the backlash which followed, people saying stuff, people (verbally) ‘attacking’ her in the media and social networks how did that make you feel?
Stunner: I can’t say they attacked her, people attacked us and obviously people pointed fingers. We just had to be there for each other.
MM: So you don’t feel there was more of a backlash towards her than you?
Stunner: If anything, she is on the rise. I suffered a whole lot more, but people don’t know that because as the man in any situation or in any disaster you are expected to be there and fighting for the partner. So I probably tried to look the stronger partner — be out there and carry on with my shows, do the music and everything. And like I said I am not one to cry over a lost US$100 bill because it’s gone.
MM: When you say you suffered a whole lot more, make us understand, how so?
Stunner: Like work related, my music shifted a little and a little for me is like a big margin. I am still trying to get back there on that pedestal.
MM: What do you mean your music shifted?
Stunner: With what we do given any situation your music is affected. If you are happy, your music is happy; if you are sad, your music is sad; if you are angry your music is angry.
MM: How would you describe your music following the tape leak incident?
Stunner: It was dark. It was really dark. I released an album Ndauraya munhu. It was an underground album and I didn’t even care about selling it.
MM: Have you recovered?
Stunner: Yes, I have. I have done an album called Ndaita Mbiri.
MM: And endorsements — did you suffer from that end at all?
Stunner: That’s the thing, you see, what people say is not what happened. It’s not even the truth that I lost endorsements. I kept working. Work was really fine, cause I do my work well. Before all that happened I had done my full year of endorsements and they were finished all of them. I concluded my year with G-Tel and am still with them. I am on the Econet billboards even after that. They took me up and I have a year deal with them. I don’t know. When people say that (I lost endorsements) they should specify that he has lost this one which is Mazhanje endorsement, this one which is whatever it is, but they never said that. They just said he lost. So, I don’t get where that came from. I have even have a new deal with a liquor company. I am coming up with my own liquor.
MM: Oh, named after you?
Stunner: I had to give it a name. I wasn’t going to give it my music name.
Stunner: For endorsements any business I did with any company I finished it. I am still with G-Tel I go there, we have a very good relationship. I am using a G-Tel phone, still, up to now. So you can see. All these things that people say it’s what they want to believe. Because, really, this was not a scandal. I wasn’t with anyone’s wife or I wasn’t in a relationship with somebody else and then did that with somebody else. I was in a relationship with her (Pokello). A grown man and a grown woman – two consenting adults. And the mistake has happened.
MM: Does it bother you that now when you walk around people, including strangers, know your, umm, nakedness?
Stunner: No it doesn’t.
MM: It doesn’t?
Stunner: No, I am an artist. Am I always going to be hiding from people because of it? No.
MM: Fast track to 2013, Big Brother Africa, when she went to the show were you still together?
Stunner: Well, (laughs) we broke up when she came out of Big Brother. Uh no, when she went in no. Well the official (break up) according to everybody was when she came out of Big Brother, but really there was nothing there.
MM: Nothing between you anymore?
Stunner: Yeah, not in those words. If anything we were like the best of friends. We had our shake ups — our break ups and make ups. But we were like the best of friends. She was there for me and I was there for her every time she had spare time she would be with me and if I had spare time I would be with her. But actually she was my best friend… After the tape our relationship was no longer as tight as it used to be. We suffered some trust issues even though we just tried to go on as before.
MM: When she was in the BBA house there were conflicting media reports with some saying you did not want to have anything to do with her and others saying you were supportive. What was the truth?
Stunner: I was the main campaign guy. You can check my Twitter, my Facebook. I was constantly in touch with the teams of the other countries. I was the guy in touch saying what do we do now, who do we vote for, what’s going on. I would be doing that… and I was using my Twitter page because it made sense to use that because it has about 21 000 people.
It’s just that when you guys report things — you see someone said Stunner give us a comment and I just said, I don’t want to comment. Then it was like he said he does not want to have anything to do with Pokello. That’s what they put out there. They just have this image of me they want to put out. That I am bad boy. I guess anything nice about me does not sell.
MM: Well, are you a bad boy?
Stunner: Well, when she (Pokello) was asked what kind of guy she wanted she said she liked the bad boy type of man I guess that’s where it comes from. Well I guess she got the bad boy now and I am not bad enough. But no, I am not going to say I am a bad boy. No, I am not. I would like to believe I am a role mode. I still go into schools and talk to kids and advise them … I am a free spirit. I say what I want but definitely not a bad boy.
MM: So there you were, following the Big Brother show and you saw the relationship developing. Did you know or think that a relationship would develop?
Stunner: Ya-a. Everything I could see. It wasn’t as if I wasn’t prepared for anything. It wasn’t a shock to me. When she got in, of course she knew she had somebody out there which was me because we were always together as friends like that but then it wasn’t enough for her not to be with anybody. Even though I wasn’t seeing anybody I wasn’t with anybody and was not interested in being with anybody.
MM: So you were not dating exclusively? She was free?
Stunner: She was free.
MM: But how did that relationship make you feel?
Stunner: When the relationship started I was talking with her sisters and they tried to tell me no, no, it’s just acting and I was like no, I know her. She is my friend. I have known her for a long time and I would know if she was acting. So when she came out (of the BBA House )and everything was said for me it wasn’t a shock. I just felt like it could have been handled differently.
MM: Handled differently? By who?
Stunner: By her… It could have been handled differently.
MM: What would you have preferred? How different?
Stunner: I know Pokello is clever. She is a very learned woman. If she had developed a relationship that means Elikem knew about it (the relationship) so the only person who needed to be told was me. Right? Not the whole world.
MM: Oh, Okay. How do you feel about Elikem?
Stunner: I wish him luck. I totally wish him luck. It’s a tall order.
MM: A tall order?
Stunner: Yaa. But you see I wasn’t always the best of boyfriend. I gave her a fair share of stress…. But you see this is not about me. People might mock me or whatever. I gave myself to music so if anybody says bad about me, I don’t stop and put on a face because that is what I signed up for. I am worried about people that do not know how to handle this kind of thing. Like my mother and my daughter. Those are the people I am worried about it. .. With my daughter I have tried to explain as much as I can to a limit. You know kids can say stuff at school. It took a long time getting her to know and get along with Pokello and now they did so I try to explain where things are now so she can understand… I can take care of myself. I can handle myself but not them. I can imagine when people see my mother and try to ask what’s going on. Like when the tape incident happened she is the first person I called. I said mum this is what has happened. It’s like this blah blah blah.
MM: Did you get to your mom before anybody else did?
Stunner: I spoke to her when I just found out. I called her just in case people would start asking.
MM: What did she say?
Stunner: She called me with all my names. She said: Desmond Tambaoga Chideme, nhai mwanangu chii (what is this my child)? So that’s when I said, okay I am coming home. So at home that’s when I said all the details.
MM: What did you say exactly? Did you call a spade a spade?
Stunner: I said it like it was because I knew it was going to come out. So I had to.
MM: Were you embarrassed?
Stunner: You see that is just the thing my mom raised us boys as a single mother so we have always spoken openly so it made it easier.
MM: Walk me through your feelings when you were speaking to her. Did you feel embarrassed? Scared? Like you had let her down? What?
Stunner: Not scared and I can’t say disappointed with myself but at the same time it was like I had let down myself because at that moment, in those days, I stood to gain a lot. I can safely say I had become such an icon. I stood to gain a lot and for people that think that I intentionally did that they are very wrong because I knew the position that I was and everything that I stood to gain in the industry.
MM: But haven’t you just said you did not lose anything?
Stunner: But I could have gained more. I could have gotten more.
MM: Okay? Like what? More endorsements? More, what?
Stunner: It’s not about the endorsements. For me doing music is just because it is something that I love.
MM: So what?
Stunner: Umm –mm (falters) (silence)
MM: Put it in words.
Stunner: The mode that I was in, the aura around me was affected. You know, when you now feel like you are now somebody. Like you are a person that can walk into any situation, you can walk up to anybody and change that person’s life without anybody saying but what advice can he give me.
MM: Did you feel like it took anything away from you?
MM: What? Put it in words. What did it take away from you?
Stunner: That’s that thing that I don’t know. (silence) But, like now, its, okay, it’s like let’s take that guy who used to smoke weed and everybody knows about it and the next thing he stands in front of people telling people weed is wrong.
MM: But you still continue standing in front of people, isn’t it?
Stunner: I do all that – standing in front of school-kids and all that, but now when I do it, it’s even better because I am doing it knowing that I have come from that. I know the wrong and I know the good. Before I was doing it without really knowing the consequences of being bad.
MM: So what are you telling young boys about sex tapes?
Stunner: No, I wouldn’t talk about sex tapes cause young boys wouldn’t know about that. But what I tell people or even my friends is that don’t be with a girl just because you like her features blah blah blah. Everybody gets into a relationship for something. Right. So first analyse, make friends with somebody, carry yourself well at least when you fall you will fall on a nice platform.
MM: Alright. I want to follow up on this thing that you felt you lost. And you are saying you can’t quite put your finger on it. What is that something?
Stunner: You see that is what is the problem because see, when all of that happened my career went up but I wasn’t happy. Where I was, I hadn’t toured as much, but when all that happened I was touring more, I was doing interviews with BBC, my songs were playing on MTV.
MM: So did that help your career or didn’t it?
Stunner: I am not going to say it helped my career, and even inside I am not happy.
MM: Because of the tape incident or …?
Stunner: I think so, because of the tape incident… There is just something that is not there. (totally loses composure, visibly shaken)
MM: (at a loss) Oh please. Come on now, I am sure it’s all going to work out.
Stunner: (more floundering)
MM: Is this about the tape or this is about Big Brother?
Stunner: The Big Brother was nothing. This is about my life: I don’t have friends.
MM: What about your old friends.
Stunner: Things change. I am alone… You see when that tape thing happened it’s like I didn’t know who was friend and who wasn’t. I didn’t even know who did what and who could be trusted. I am lone in my life. Maybe just like my name Tambaoga. … I go home. I cook, eat and sleep…. Now I am alone. Unhappy.
MM: So what would it take to make you happy?
Stunner: Nothing. Nothing. It’s there. It’s got a stamp. She (Pokello) made it worse when she went into Big Brother and that brought it up again. It (the tape saga) had sort of calmed down and closed. So when she went in… (falters)
MM: Do you wish she hadn’t gone in?
Stunner: Now that she is out and she didn’t win anything, I don’t know. This whole fame and hype it’s not all that it is made out to be.
MM: Do you hold it against her that she went into the house?
Stunner: (no answer)
MM: You just wish things would have been handled differently?
Stunner: That’s just it. That’s just it.
MM: Lessons learnt?
Stunner: Haven’t recorded anything on my phone (since). Not that there is anything to record. Now have password on my phone. Try to keep my business to myself. I fully understand that I have people looking up to me, so my every move matters. I used to think that I was an ordinary guy, but when you have five newspapers in one day talking about you, that has to mean something.
MM: So you take responsibility of your actions?
Stunner: I do take responsibility of my actions. It’s not like anyone did the things I did for me.
(Efforts to interview Pokello were not fruitful at the time of going to the press. But elsewhere in the media she has said her going to the BBA show was her attempt to move beyond the sex tape scandal and show that there was more to her than the tape.)