Kenise Etwaru was born in Guyana and emigrated with her parents at age nine along with her sister who was then six in order that they would have greater education opportunities. They wanted to ensure them having the best possible opportunities in life. They left a very comfortable life at the church her father Pastor Lionel Etwaru and his wife Margaret had started for a completely new life in a new country. Seeing them persevere through the challenges of the move helped to make her the strong woman she is today she says.
Kenise honed her musical skills singing in her father’s church… “All I know is ministry and church”. She says it’s who I am and what I’ve always done. So, it makes sense that I’m actively involved in my parents church in Richmond Hill, Queens NY, Global Christian Ministries as the Minister of Music and a Board Member. She travels with her parents on missionary trips to minister in music and speak. She released her first Gospel CD in 2016; it earned her critical acclaim; and she was dubbed as the premier Indo-Caribbean Gospel Artist. She also published a book in 2019, which is the story of how she bounced back after a difficult divorce. She has been providing free copies to churches in Guyana to help women who face difficult or abusive domestic relationships. In August 2020 she will be going to Guyana to present seminars for both married and single women using her book and CD to encourage them if they are in abusive relationships.
Kenise and her sister were taught by their parents that they are to give back. It was ingrained that they are educated to give back, ‘we make money to give back to those in need, we obtain different experiences to teach others….it was all about giving back’. While their friends enjoyed leisurely summers, the sisters had to go to places like Holland and India as volunteers to build homes, work in the orphanages and teach other children. She strongly believes that has kept both of them grounded, both in God and their humanitarian work.
Says Kenise, I believe that everyone should have a “seat at the table”; however, I am building the tables and providing seats for other people, rather than just sitting there, enjoying life and then dying and not being able to leave a legacy. I’m constantly turning around during my journey to help others accomplish their dreams. Just like Joseph in the Bible. It’s not about me and only me making history; I want to help others do the same. She is using her ministry in music and writing to do this.
Her motto is “no matter how educated, talented, rich or cool you believe you are, how you treat people ultimately tells all. Integrity is EVERYTHING”