A household name by 21, Kelly is one of South Africa’s biggest music stars, who’s been named Best Female Artist at the South African Music Awards, sold millions of albums, opened for Grammy winner Missy Elliott, and has over 1.7m followers on Instagram alone.
But in recent years, the singer has made headlines for more than just her undeniable talent, like her turbulent relationship with her son’s father, hip hop star Jub Jub; the conspiracy theories surrounding the death of her daughter’s father, Bafana Bafana captain Senzo Meyiwa; and her recent “divorce” from her sister, Zandie.
Behind the headlines
But there’s more to her story than her history. Life With Kelly Khumalo is a Showmax Original reality show that offers an intimate glimpse at the woman behind the headlines: a single mother of two who is juggling parenting with the build-up to the release of not just her new album, Undithatha Kancinci, but also her first gin, appropriately titled Controversy – both threatened by South Africa’s unprecedented Covid-19 lockdown.
“Kelly is one of our most talented musicians,” says BarLeader’s founder, Legend Manqele. “But the stories I kept hearing about her didn’t add up to me. My first approach was to do a music video for Kelly and work on re-branding her. However, when I sat down with her, I realised that she is a microcosm of the black single mother in this country. I then decided that I wanted to use the power of reality TV to tell her story as authentically as possible. Viewers can expect a very different side from this seemingly one-sided story about Kelly. They can expect a story of a woman who is still in the process of healing, a woman who is still in the process of making sense of all that has unravelled in the public eye.”
“I’ve never been a person to do things for people,” says Kelly. “I’ve always been an authentic person. So this reality show is not so much about trying to explain myself or trying to win people over. I just want people to see me for who I am. All I can do is live my truth and let people be inspired by that.”
“I’ve seen how reality TV has worked for other talents like Bonang and Somizi, so I wondered what this project could do for Kelly,” says Legend. “Life With Kelly Khumalo is about to prove that there is power in reality TV, that it’s not shallow and it’s not just about what you have but about who you are and what you can become.”
The first six episodes of Life With Kelly Khumalo will now available to binge first and only on Showmax, with the final seven episodes dropping 27 August 2020.