'From Riches to Rags', Or Why Nigerian Celebrities Vanish From Public Eye

'From Riches to Rags', Or Why Nigerian Celebrities Vanish From Public Eye

'From Riches to Rags', Or Why Nigerian Celebrities Vanish From Public Eye

 

It seems like a rather common events development for once-popular Nigerian celebrities: they make huge success in their chosen line of business, lead the extravagant lifestyle of Rich & Famous, squander the proceeds on luxury... only to later become bankrupt. Why do some known faces of Nigerian entertainment industry beg for funds after a successful career? Let's take a look at this recurring issue.

A typical celebrity is seen as a wealthy personality, and Nigerian ones are no exception. Going on tour around the world, shooting videos, making people know they are a force to be reckoned with. Most of the shows they perform in are outside the country, and it aids them with lots of money, multinational endorsement and expands fan base.

The question entertainment enthusiasts are asking is, what have they been doing with the millions they earn?

The ordeal of African Queen Music producer, OJB Jezreel, with kidney failure has revealed the lifestyle of our music celebrities. He struggled to get the required funds for his kidney transplant and had to resort to begging Nigerians to save his life and donate money for his operation. This development casts a notion of wasteful spending on our celebrities who made money when the going was good.

A lot of our contemporary artistes and music producers have smiled to the bank unlike the veteran singers of yesteryears who laboured more producing quality music and yet did not make as much as the contemporary artistes. The Nigerian musician has laboured and tried to make himself to be reckoned with.

Today, while many have attained celebrity status via the industry and become brand ambassadors of different products and organisations, others have gradually faded out as if they never existed.

Flashback:

As an upcoming artiste or actor a lifestyle is created to help in championing a career, a lot is provided by a label -- for instance, in the music industry, like house, cars and cash for the particular period as agreed by the contract.

But when the 'dough' starts coming in, the exotic lifestyle creeps in. Some spend hundreds of millions to get a house while others spend same and above to get 'lambogini' just to pose with it because of what they watch on MTV or Channel O.

This is far from their initial plan of making it big and establishing themselves as an entrepreneur in the business. And it has continue to hinder a lot of people in the entertainment industry from achieving a lot like their European counterpart.

Though people like D'banj, Don Jazzy, 2face, Omotola, the popular actors Aki and Pawpaw, Genevieve, Jim Iyke and some few others have invested in different businesses aside the usual profession, many are busy buying commodities that do not last for the future only to cry for help when they are broke.

The strugglers:

At that time, his wife was also reported to have left him because he could no longer meet the needs of his family.

Also, at an early age, Shina Peters was one of the richest musicians in Nigeria with his platinum hit Afro juju. He was a force to be reckoned with but some of his fans said it was mismanagement of funds that led to his not being famous.

Nigerian father of Juju music, King Sunny Ade and the northern veteran, Dan Maraya also advised young entertainers to invest their money on things that would benefit them and their family, instead of living a lavish lifestyle and later coming to seek help. Nico Gravity said in his song 'Finish Timaya' that he had no beef with Timaya. He said he just tried to advise him and other artistes to invest their money on things that would benefit them in the future instead of making noise of buying cars and travelling round the world only to start begging in the long run. He also said he would be glad if they collaborate in any song.

An insider said that the late Pa Rolling Dollar was totally broke and could not afford the basic necessities of life, though he was popular. But succour came his way from the Lagos state governor.

Majek Fashek:

How are the mighty fallen! This exclamation best captures the current state of New York-based Majek Fashek who waltzed his way into the hearts of music fans in the early '90s with his critically acclaimed album, Prisoner of Conscience.

All is definitely not well with the reggae icon who released a video entitled Jah Revelation. Looking from his kind of music and patronage, he is supposed to be one of the most stable artistes, but Majek has been dogged by bad publicity. After many years of turbulent sojourns, it is hoped that the rainmaker would pray the rain is sent down.

Blackface

When stories of famous entertainers who have suffered a reversal of fortunes are chronicled, the name Augustine Ahmed, better known as Blackface, would definitely echo and reecho. Ejected from home by landlord, deserted by wife and abandoned by friends -- such is the story of Blackface, who was once a trailblazer when the raga movement took off in Nigeria. Together with his friends, Tuface and Faze, they took the music scene by storm. While Tuface, after their inglorious disbandment, continues on his astronomical rise and Faze rides on the crest of his modest fame, Blackface has remained unable to find his footings. That is after a big hit with his albums. Will he bounce back or continue to wallow in penury?

Soul E

"In the life of everyman, there must be some ups and downs, it's just a normal thing that happens, and I must tell you that I have learnt from them. And all I can ask from God is that everything falls in place this time around. Most of the things I did before, I don't do them anymore. One of the things I learnt in my trying period is to be focused on the Lord and no matter how deep down one goes, God is mighty and able to lift him back to the greatest heights."

The above was the response of Emmanuel Okose, better known as Soul E, when asked about his depreciated relevance in the Nigerian music industry. Shortly after hitting it big, especially with the tracks, Soul E Baba dey Here, In My Life, among few others, the young hip hop actor disappeared from lime-light. Since he left Colossal Entertainment Nig Ltd, to start his own record label, Soul E International Records, all has never been well, especially with his finances. His failed marriage to older lover, Queen Ure is said to have also contributed to his thin pocket. But fans have also blamed him for lack of good planning only to seek for relevance when things are sour.

Baba Fryo

The last time anything news worthy was heard of him was on August 23, 2012, when he was beaten by policemen with their baton, kicked with their boots, handcuffed and dragged like a common thief to Isashi Police Station, along Badagry Express Way. Within the period from 1999 to 2003, when he was still waxing strong in the Nigerian entertainment industry, before fame and fortunes suddenly disappeared into thin air, no police man in Nigeria could have brutalised the Afro-reggae artiste to that extent.

Friday Igweh, popularly called Baba Fryo, hit stardom in 1996 with a maiden album, Denge Pose, after which he released a sequel album, Notice Me, in 1999, and Country No Send, in 2003. Within those years, he reigned supreme. But today, it seems 'he can't denge and pose' again.

Marvellous Benji

Chinua Achebe's book, "Things Fall Apart" best captures Marvellous Benji's grace to grass fall. Back in the days when Suo, Konto (a dance that involves both the hands and legs simultaneously as if pulling a string) and Galala were the reigning dances in Nigeria, Marvellous Benji, whose real name is Benjamin Ukueje also reigned alongside the era. But shortly after, his name, just like the dance pattern, gradually went into limbo - a reason he is currently experiencing hard times. In 2012, he tried relaunching himself into the music industry with two singles, Iwo Ni Mofe, and My Life. Though it was a good effort, but his expectations were never met. In an interview on his current state, the artiste said he is working on a big hit in the pipeline and would let the public know when the meal is ready.

Ekwe

Sunday Osakuni, popularly known as Original Stereoman Ekwe, is no doubt among the artistes with riches to rag stories. According to the artiste whose hit song, E dey Pain Me and once a Glo Ambassador, made waves a few years back. His ordeal began after he was invited by homicide detectives, Force CID Panti, Yaba-Lagos, following an allegation that he strangled and killed his estranged wife, Rukayat Idris in April 2012. The incident, no doubt, affected the fortunes and career of the dread-locked artiste. For almost a year now, shows have eluded him. And the matter is worsened by the absence of a trending song from the Delta State-born Stereo man.

Eddy Remedy

Eddy Ashiedu-Brown, better known as Eddy Montana, a former member of the defunct musical group, Remedies, has had his own share of misfortunes in the nation's entertainment industry. He seems the only unsuccessful member of the defunct Remedies: a messy separation from his wife, Kenny Saint Brown of Kennis Music, not being able to resuscitate his music career since he dropped the arrival of Eddy Remedy.

Daddy Fresh

The former dance-hall guru who reigned alongside Daddy Showkey and Baba Fryo has left the industry that once brought him fame and fortunes. His last attempt at reclaiming his lost spot on the music scene was a monumental failure and ever since, nobody knows his whereabouts musically.

Fada U-turn

The name Femi Mayomi might not ring a bell in many ears. But once Fada U-turn is mentioned, people will scream and are bound to ask, "Where is he now?" This talented singer, whose hit track, Yetunde, in 1999, became a household number, is today struggling with life as a result of fortunes reversal.

At the moment, he is planning to stage a comeback into the industry, especially with the recent release of his brand new single entitled Gbafun Remix, which features K-Solo. The song which was also produced by K-Solo is the first single from Fada U-turn's forthcoming double album - Oba Shakara and Obaluaye, from the stables of Shakara sounds. 

Way Forward:

Entertainers should know that they are public figures and fans are watching and monitoring their progression, especially when they have made it big. It's left for them to work for the future and invest in any way they can, even if it means opening a kiosk to aid them during the rainy day.

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