By Debo Popoola
Stardom could be deceptive; fame could be highly inflammable that when not properly managed, it could spark off and vanished into the tin air. It is easier to ascend from grass to grace than to remain graceful throughout one’s life time.
Many have tasted the honey at the crest of wealth. Many have stories of a glorious past, of what it was like to be rich and famous, but their present stories will always ignite one’s sympathy and compassion.
We have seen and heard about people who used to dine and wine with kings on the high table now squabbling for crumbs at the base. One wonders what could have been responsible for the downfall. A lot of things could be responsible. It could be spiritual or even self-inflicted.
Naturally, human beings easily forget their struggles before attaining greatness the moment they get hold of it. It only takes one day of enjoyment to forget one year of suffering. And this has always been the reason why most people find themselves in square one.
Our focus shall be on popular music and football stars that used to rock but got rocked upon. If we take ourselves aback to some years past, there are some names that will come to mind about people that used to “run things” then. These people used to ride the best cars and lived in the best houses. They used to wear the best of dresses and their appearance used to wow us then. But now, they are strange names to the present.
These names are everywhere in the world, but our focus shall be on Nigerians.
This man used to be the pictogram of Reggae music in Nigeria and Africa at large. From the brain of this man, hits songs have emanated and have shook the country’s music sphere. Among his hits are household anthems like “Send Down The Rain”, “Little Patience”, “Spirit of Love”, “Jah People”, “Religion is Politic”, “African Unity”, “Holy Spirit” and so on.
His songs are always loaded with messages unlike the cacophony and mediocrity that are now being disked to us as songs these days. Majek Fashek has always been pan-African with his songs. The message of unity, love and respect has always been the major motifs in his art.
Majek Fashek used to be a global Reggae star and he had travelled the world to perform with other stars. Majek is a name that easily comes to mind when Reggae is being mentioned in Nigeria.
Recently, a blogger named Joseph Edgar ran into this legend on a busy Lagos street begging for a 100 naira note. Edger wrote on his blog:
“On my way to work this morning, I spotted a loony figure. Pants sagged, dirty black underwear showing, a caftan perched precariously on his extra lean shoulders, shock of long unkempt dreadlocks cascading down his head and teeth yellowed by years of hard living and a face still surprisingly handsome despite the ravages of illicit living.
“This was Majek, my hero, the one who brought down the rain. He was who redefined Reggae and in that one album forced us to look deep into our consciousness, calling us prisoners of conscience. He was who took that Bob Marley piece, Redemption Song into the sublime. He infused it with his pangolo rhythm and turned it into an anthem of social and spiritual awakening. Majek was a god, strong Adonis like looks, talent yet to me replicated in our clime and charisma of the gods. “
Everything great about Majek has become a thing of the past. He was a rich man, now a pauper.
Majek himself attributed his fall from fame to spiritual problem. Although we cannot totally dispute this, but the truth is Majek lived a careless and reckless life when he had it. He dabbled into habits that ruined his life like drugs, gambling and womanizing. Ironically, Majek is a preacher who never lived his messages. He is miles apart from the morality he preached through his songs.
Majek Fashek is struggling with addiction. Recently, a flicker of hope flashed at him when a billionaire took it upon himself to help with his rehabilitation. Majek is still at the rehab and news of his response to rehabilitation can be said to be gladdening. Who knows, the rain-maker can rain some good music for us again.
Late Rasheed Yekini:
Late Rashidi Yekini will be remembered for being the first Nigerian to score a world cup goal for his dear country. The soccer legend scored 37 goals for the country in 57 matches, a record he still holds even in his grave. The soccer legend still remains a post-mortem role model to many footballers.
But with all his fame and wealth, Rashidi Yekini died a poor man. This man once had a private jet at a time when most Nigerians could not afford a bicycle. He once lived a life filled with opulence and grandeur. But when he died at the age of 48, he died as a church rat.
Yekini’s downfall tread started when he lost his life savings into the scrupulous hands of some fraudsters he entered into business with. This resulted to him losing his mind. Those that were very close to him said he died of depression. Some said he was so out of tune with his senses that he would urinate by the road side openly.
What makes Yekini’s case more pathetic is that the nation he served and played for on the pitch left him to die in his perilous situation.
“It is obvious I left Kennis because my contract with them expired and my career dwindled. When I was with Kennis Music, all hands were on deck to push my music out but now that I am on my own, everything is left to me. But the major reason I was out of the limelight was because I was attacked by armed robbers. I was shot in my neigbhourhood at FESTAC.
“I was away from music for over a year because I was hospitalised. That was what affected me. I could not move freely because I lost faith in the security around where I was staying. I hardly went out because I was afraid of another attack. I went through a lot of trauma.”
This is Azadus talking, the handsome man with sonorous voice that sang the late 90s hits- “Madam” and “You is the One”. You can never doubt the ‘sweetness’ of his voice, and the richness of his lyrics. Those two songs were the street anthems in the start of the millennium; they were songs that many people knew by heart. But the name Azadus has also gone with the wind.
Azadus, while responding to an interview with a Punch correspondent, said his premature exit from limelight is caused by his being shot by robbers, and the expiration of his contract with Kennis Music.
The major cause of his dive into obscurity is the lack of proper talent management. No doubt he was a talent, but he skipped some steps while climbing the ladder to stardom, and he fell. If he had stayed and renewed his contract with Kennis, maybe he would have been a groomed and nurtured celebrity by now. His decision makers – whoever they may be – ruined his musical career that started brightly.
Conclusively, a lot of lessons can be learned from the lives of these people. From where they have failed we can be cautious. We must all understand that nothing ever last forever, everything about life is ephemeral.