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TANZANIA: VANESSA MDEE

A Word From “African Queens Project” Founder:

Since I started doing the African Queens Show at Choice FM I have had the pleasure of running into Vanessa a.k.a V Money  and catch up on whats going on in our worlds and she is so down to earth it is sometimes easy to forget all she has accomplished and continues to accomplish. 

BACKGROUND:

Vanessa Hau Mdee  also referred to as Vee Money, is a Tanzanian recording artist, songwriter, youth activist, TV and radio host. Mdee is popularly known for being the first ever Tanzanian MTV VJ. She later rose to prominence as a radio and TV host, hosting Epic Bongo Star Search and Dume Challenge for ITV Tanzania before signing to B’Hits Music Group in late 2012. After joining B’Hits Music Group, Mdee collaborated with Tanzanian rapper A.Y. on a record ‘’Money’’ and Ommy Dimples, a Bongo Flava artist on a record Me and You that was later voted Song of the Year during the 2013 Kilimanjaro Music Awards. She received an even bigger buzz with the release of her first solo single “Closer”, which in its first week was downloaded over 30,000 times, a feat achieved by no other Tanzanian artist. “Closer” remained on the charts for over 13 weeks.Vanessa has had the chance to interview many artists, such as K’Naan, Kelly Rowland, French Montana, Trey Songs,Mac Miller, Rick Ross, Ludacris, Miguel, Donald, Nazizi, Xtatic, Stella Mwangi, Camp Mulla, Tay Grin, Teargas, Dr. Sid and many more African and international acts.

  • Please tell us more about yourself:

Well, I am a young Tanzanian woman, born in Arusha, raised in New York, Paris, Nairobi and Arusha. Studied Law at the Catholic University of Eastern Africa. Then in 2007 won MTV VJ’s search making me the first Tanzanian personality on the network. Thereafter started my career on radio on 102.5 Choice FM’s The Hitlist. My passion for music drove me to pursue a career in music which I had always wanted to do. Through music I have been able to express myself musically which has liberated me tremendously.

  • Why did you pick the career path that you did? 

I didn’t want to die wondering, so I chose the path that felt most organic to me.

  • Who and what are some of your influences? 

I’m influenced by powerful women, the likes of Miriam Makeba, Lauryn Hill, Lady Jay Dee, Brenda Fassie ( just to mention a few )

  • Do you wish you could have done things differently if given the chance? Please explain.

Not at all, if anything I’d have loved to have started earlier, but I believe in God’s timing and everything that happened prior to commencement were building blocks

  • What and who inspires and motivates you?

I think I’m motivated by the mere fact that I’m alive and able. I’m a LIFER!!

  • What do you count as your greatest achievement?

I’m yet to achieve that, in fact I still have quite a few things to tick off my list.

  • What are some struggles you faced in your life that came about because of your gender?

I refuse to look at struggles from that perspective, simply because WOMEN are the most powerful creation and God’s greatest gift to humanity. It is that school of thought that has made me roll with the punches and address them as just speed humps on this road to success. A dear friend once said to me “when you are chosen, you are chosen” PERIOD!

  • How have you overcome these struggles and/or insecurities?

I overcome them through prayer!

  • How important is family especially in light of your career and professional life?

Family is my backbone, I literally have ONLY family on my team. I keep my circle small and very tight-knit.

  •  Do you believe it is important to share your story with other women?

Absolutely!!!! Our stories are our testimonies of God’s work in our lives. We must inspire through these testimonies before we expire.

  • In your experience, what do you think are some prevalent issues women face in everyday life? Professionally?

As I said women need to know their own strength first before they can build, one big issue I notice with women are issues based on confidence and security. Once you discover who you are, you are not easily shaken and words like cattiness, jealousy and maliciousness can never exist in your vocabulary. Everyday life challenges involve women having to prove that they are actually NOT inferior.

  •  What do you think needs to be done to address these issues?

More conversations and forums like these need to happen. Also conversations amongst ourselves, we are in a time where people have forgotten how to express themselves and have normal conversations and technological advancements don’t make it any easier ( the blessing and the curse that is social media )

  •  What would you tell another young woman who wants to go down the same path that you have chosen?

HONE THE CRAFT, BE YOURSELF ( EVERYONE ELSE IS TAKEN ), PRAY HARD and REACH FOR THE STARS.

  • What do you do to give back to your community?

I created an awareness blog called dynamites mission which was created to have conversations amongst young people about HIV and AIDS. I also work with the GAVI Alliance that is an organization that deals with the administering of vaccinations at affordable prices in the developing world.

  • If you could tell young women 1 thing, what would it be?

You are POWERFUL, Dare to be you. If not NOW, when? If not you? Who? And I love you, God bless you