My first musical video produced on any reggae artiste was on TERRA KOTTA. Actually the first reggae artiste in Nigeria.
The second was Majek Fashek. 1991. He was followed by other Rasta greats like. Ras kimono, Orits Wiliki, Evi Edna-Ogholi, Mandators, Sunny Okosuns, Peterside Ottong etc.
Dean Disi , then PR manager of SONY music wanted me to come to the office. The MD, Chief Keji Okunowo invited me to a meeting.
I had produced Shina Peters ACE video for Sony. It caught like fire in the industry. The first musical video to be sold in the country. So Sony easily declared I will be producing videos of all their artistes.
It was at that meeting Majek Fashek was introduced to me.
Hitherto, Send Down the Rain was raving all over the country. But Tabansi records, the owners, could not rise to the occasion. So Sony snatched Majek from them. Actually Sony tushed up Majek , buying him a Peugeot
505, new dresses, contracting me to shoot a whole album video etc.
D-Day was set for the shoot after I had done a lot of location recce. I moved crew and equipment very early to Majeks house at Oluwaleimu street close to Oshopey plaza off Allen Avenue.
I was shocked Majek was still sleeping. The house was a 4 story building so I hesitated climbing . I kept sending one of the crew up but he would not come out of the flat. I had to eventually climb the stairs. Olu the senior brother and Rita the wife kept apologizing to me as I sat the next two hours on a bench in the corridor on the balcony. Nobody was bold enough to wake him up. Even Randy, his very young son had to be playing with this stranger. I was livid.
After over 4 hours since we got there I suddenly heard the sound of the Aladura type bell sounding from the recess of the flat. Finally Majek emerged to me on the balcony and shouted “Repent for the Kingdom of God is nigh !!!”
I blew up shouting. I don’t work like this. Call time must be obeyed when I work and so on and so forth. He looked at me , flashed a mischievous smile and shouted Omo Ita Agbalagba !( rascally elder!).
Although his name was Majekodunmi, he did not speak or understand yoruba, as he grew up in Benin. The way he pronounced it was part of the big fun. I collapsed in laughter. The ice was broken. And that was the way he would always salute me anytime we met for the rest of his life.
My immediate feelings today are the exciting times we had working together on a whole album videos. I remember the scenes on the lagoon by the Unilag VCs house where we were joined by DEDE MABIOKU , apparently a very close friend of his. Two scenes stand out in my memory.
I had set up the UNILAG theater auditorium for the So long too long track which I wanted to shoot as concert format. My friend Tunji Sotimirin facilitated the permission.
I had never seen him perform before and he was still at the elementary stage of his stardom. All cameras and lights were set for the stage. The band was ready. Amos Mcroy, Black rice, Micro Mike etc . I called ACTION! I didn’t see Majek emerge. Suddenly I heard the sound of the bell again from outside the hall and as he emerged ringing it and his hands in handcuffs, he was shouting REPENT FOR THE KINGDOM OF GOD IS NIGH !!! . It was a mad scramble to turn the cameras and lights round to catch the moment. That format of entrance he maintained as his entrance into any concert he did anywhere in the world throughout his career.
Let me digress. Years and years later , when Majek has achieved international fame and I began to hear of his substance abuse , I remember seeing him one day in traffic in Maryland. We stopped to greet and I asked why he was breaking down. He narrated to me how he had his first breakthrough which was a concert tour with Tracy Chapman in the US. On the first night of the tour he entered the hall from the back with his bell and in handcuffs. He narrated how Chapman ordered her security to stop him and remove the handcuffs. Saying as far as she was concerned the Blackman has broken the cuffs and are free. The sight of the cuffs to her was an insult to her psyche. Majek told me that disgrace affected his moral, self esteem, and it was the first night he had an overdose.
Anyway back to the video shoot. The most memorable sequence we had was for the track MOTHER – oyoyo. Since the song was to honor his mother , I asked him to invite Mama from Benin for the shoot. Location was on the roof of the National theater, with panoramic view of Lagos giving me a colorful backdrop.
It gave me an opportunity to see the other side, the most authentic side of Majek.
Stardom had crept into every breath of Majek. He would wake up in his house as if he was going into a concert hall with the bells jingling. He would have the most personal discussions with you talking patois/ pidgin but still maintaining celebrity affectation. However on the roof of the theater , in between takes , Majek will move close to his mother and lapse into very deep Benin language. He would exchange jokes with the woman in way you will know nobody on the face of earth bonded with him like his mother. With her , he was not a star. He was MAMAs boy.
Majeks slide into the abbys was long and painful. It spread over 25 years or more. I have two vivid recollections.
It was at Lekki Sunsplash. Africa’s biggest concert in the sun, owned by Dapo Adelegan. Fela Anikulapo Kuti was the biggest attraction. Majek Fasheke was the second. It was FELAs tradition to move to the beach with his 27 wives two days to the concert. I was shooting the whole concert , so I moved my crew two days to D -Day getting candid shots of Felas life with the queens and interviews with him and his tribe (story of another day).
Concert day Majek was supposed to play before Fela. His band was all set but no Majek. Dapo Adelegan and his dynamic staff- Ali Baba Onime, etc if I’m not mistaken, we’re running helter-skelter. Sending various vehicles from Lekki to Allen Avenue to force him on stage.
Finally, Majek came. Disoriented. His performance wishy-washy, forgetting even his lyrics. It was sad.
The last time I saw Majek was a couple of years ago at Chris Okotie’s church Household of God. As I approached him, he squinted his eyes and when he finally saw through the haze he shouted OMO ITA AGBALAGBA !!!!
The man in front of me can not be Majek. The teeth were mostly gone. The Rasta locks were all gone replaced by attachments. No way I would be 10 years older than this ancient man in front of me. My heart sank. Original Majek had a complexion of a half-caste. His skin always shone like glass. It has all withered.
I didn’t want to write this eulogy bc of the promise of sad memories overcoming the good ones. But I decided to write it to send a message to our current superstars in Nigeria.
Fame is a drug. Celebrity is cancer. If you allow it to control you. As I write this I remember Elvis Presley.
Jimi Hendrix. Janis Joplin. Micheal Jackson. Whitney Houston. Prince. Amy Whinehouse and many who became idols, who became celebrated globally but who in the end succumbed to the drug named fame.
Wizkid, Davido, Burna Boy, Naira Marley, Phyno Flavor, Gold. Tiwa Savage, Yemi Alade, Falz, Mayorkun, Fire boy. Olamide. Rhema. and many many of our stars “blowing”, you must learn from Majeks odyssey.
Beware of the most devastating cancer named FAME.
In conclusion. Majekodunmi Fasheke was a gift to the black nation. He was a gift to human consciousness. A first-class musician and guitarist. Our rainmaker. Drench them in heavens.
ELEWON (prisoner), the way we all call him, thanks for raising our consciousness.
Take off the handcuffs now.
You are free forever!!!!
Chadwick Boseman: Black Panther star dies of cancer aged 43
Boseman had not spoken publicly about his diagnosis
US actor Chadwick Boseman, best known for playing Black Panther in the hit Marvel superhero franchise, has died of cancer aged 43.
He died at home in Los Angeles with his wife and family by his side, a statement posted on social media said.
Boseman was diagnosed with colon cancer four years ago but had not made the information public.
The news has left fans and the film world stunned. Get Out director Jordan Peele, said it was “a crushing blow”.
“A true fighter, Chadwick persevered through it all, and brought you many of the films you have come to love so much,” his family said in the statement.
“From Marshall to Da 5 Bloods, August Wilson’s Ma Rainey’s Black Bottom and several more – all were filmed during and between countless surgeries and chemotherapy. It was the honor of his career to bring King T’Challa to life in Black Panther.”
Boseman came to prominence playing real-life figures – baseball great Jackie Robinson in 2013’s 42, and soul singer James Brown in 2014’s Get on Up.
However, it will be as the titular Black Panther in the blockbuster 2018 film he will be best remembered.
Boseman stars as the ruler of Wakanda, a fictional African nation with the most advanced technology on earth.
As well as winning critical praise and taking more than $1.3 billion US dollars (£973m) at cinemas worldwide, the film was widely seen as a cultural milestone for having a largely black cast and a black director, Ryan Coogler.
Boseman said last year that the film had changed what it means to be “young, gifted and black”.
Black Panther: Why this film is a moment
Why this film is a moment
Black Panther was the first superhero film to get a nomination for best picture at the Oscars.
He also played the same role in other Marvel films Captain America: Civil War, Avengers: Infinity War and Avengers: Endgame.
A sequel was in the works and due to come out in 2022, with Boseman set to return.
The news of his death came as a shock to many as Boseman never discussed his diagnosis publicly.
However, fans started raising concerns over his health this year due to noticeable weight loss.
Tributes have already begun pouring in for the star, including from actor and fellow Marvel star Mark Ruffalo.
Watch Out for THE NEW PATRIOTS, An Action-Packed Political Thriller Movie
TENSION GRIPS THE NATION
The Youths are disenchanted with the clueless governance and mismanagement in a colony of a big populous 3rd world country.
A covert team of vibrant youth keeps their identity a secret to deploy unorthodox strategy to fight endemic corruption in Republic of Aruguna
Youth rebellion erupts with attendant tension nationwide. Chills run down the spines of the President and his cohorts.
Watch out for THE NEW PATRIOTS, an action-packed political thriller movie, by Dr. Rotimi Adelola , former SSG of Ondo State, starring Akin Lewis, Lateef Adedimeji, Bimbo Oshin, Dele Odule , Taiwo Ibikunle and many more talented thespians. The movie is directed by Adebayo Tijani and Terry Ayebo.
Production Company: DUROT MOVIES & NUMBER 9 FILM STUDIO
Year of filming: 2020
Languages: YORUBA & ENGLISH
Film format: 4K
Camera-Chains: NUMBER 9 FILM STUDIO