TV presenter-turned-rapper Boitumelo Thulo has enjoyed a number of years in the spotlight, and this has been amplified with her reality show Boity: Own Your Throne on Black Entertainment Television (BET).
The show’s viewership has sky-rocketed and it is the most watched offering on this channel.
City Press spoke to the bubbly entertainer and her mother about the experience of filming the reality show and its success, as well as her plans to shine in the music industry.
Speaking from her home in Johannesburg, Boity said she was using the time of lockdown due to the Covid-19 coronavirus to relax, as she had been working non-stop since last year.
She has learnt how to bake and was improving her cooking skills. She giggled while explaining how she had not once used her oven – and she’s lived in the same place for four years.
“I’m holding up well, it’s been quite interesting. It [lockdown] has been very intense, with the whole world experiencing the same thing. It offers us a chance to be compassionate and kinder, and there’s no excuse for complaining as we’re all going through the same thing,” she said.
The 29-year-old touched on the experience of filming her reality show, which she said had no scripted or planned content.
“I was approached by Viacom and they presented the idea to me. I had been asked before by various people and I’d always said no. I think this time I was older, more grounded and confident in who I am. I guess I was ready and a lot of people had been asking for it.”
This was a good time in her life to unveil who she is. However, critics have said the show is perhaps a little superficial in that it doesn’t delve that deeply into her life.
“I don’t think the show is superficial; that’s weird. Everything I showed is truly me, real moments [in my life]. There were barely any moments that were created or curated for TV.”
She did admit, though, to holding back a little bit. As this is her first reality show, she approached the project with slight apprehension as she wanted to read the audience with what she said was a test run.
There is no talk of a second season at present, but she said she would consider it.
The aim of the show was not to be glamorous, but rather to portray a true reflection of her life and the connections she shares. No bond is stronger than the one she shares with her mother, Modiehi Thulo.
“The show is amazing. Very exhausting, though, because we had to bare our souls and let the world into our lives,” said Modiehi.
“It’s different watching the show to actually filming it. It went far better than I thought. I enjoyed [shooting] the show. There were a lot of cringeworthy moments,” Boity added with a laugh.
“The lows? Ag, obviously the judgement from people, which is always a bit of a kick in the chest. You have to deal with it, but it’s not something you look forward to. But also the love we received, the love my mum received, it was so cool to see.”
Boity is enjoying how the show has made her mum a star. For her mother, the time they spent together creating the show is what she cherishes the most.
“It brought Boitumelo and I even closer,” Modiehi said.
Boity did also allow the cameras to accompany her on her spiritual journey towards becoming a traditional healer, which ties into her comments on the content of the show.
Her rap career began to blossom almost out of nowhere and we started seeing Boity release full tracks and even perform live shows.
Soon enough, she was signed to a record label, and her music career has led to much curiosity. Does she write her own work? How serious is she about this, or is this just a passing phase?
“In terms of the music I make, everything is incredibly personal and real. Everything I share in a song is exactly what’s happening,” said Boity.
“Everything is present based on what I am comfortable with; what I am going through. I get inspiration from me and my stories. There is so much to me.”
The show has also revealed that Boity has been experiencing problems with her record label, which is putting a spanner in the works as far as her debut album hitting the charts and airwaves is concerned.
TONIGHT on the SEASON FINALE of OWN YOUR THRONE!! It’s been an incredible journey! Join me on my InstaLIVE (handle: boity) and let’s watch the finale together. Channel 129 @BET_Africa. ?????????????????????????????????????? #BoityBET pic.twitter.com/uIK90dfEkD— #OwnYourThrone?? (@Boity) April 29, 2020
“I think once that is sorted out, then there is so much music I have in store. A full-length project is definitely on the way,” she said.
Modiehi said: “I pray that her music contract problems fade into thin air and that she prospers in her music career.”
Boity is signed to Universal Music and her management team is in talks with the record label to find a resolution. At present, she does not have an album out, but her songs – Waz Dat featuring Nasty C, Bakae and her appearance on Yanga Chief’s Utatakho remix – have all done well.
We’re curious to see what her next move might be.
Boity: Own Your Throne airs on BET on Wednesdays at 9.30pm