Majek Fashek who can best be described as one of the greatest singers and guitarists in Nigeria as well as a pioneer who put the country on the map when it comes to music has been reduced to living on handouts which he gets from begging strangers on the streets of Lagos and New York.
Eyewitnesses account stated that Majek was always looking on the ground picking up papers and dirt while begging for money to fuel his drug and alcohol addiction.
Born Majekodunmi Fasheke, Majek Fashek, went as far as appearing on David Letterman’s show.
Yet, this super star who reached the heights of fame has crashed so low. A close friend of his, Jebose Azuka, has written a lengthy letter detailing a painstakingly sad experience which occurred over the years with Majek and how every attempt to help Fashek has proven futile.
After his deportation from America, a claim he refuted, Majek Fashek has spent the last twenty-five years sunk into the abyss of substance addiction and constant intoxication, a fall which caused him to attend a rehabilitation center in Abuja last year. Only for him to leave rehabilitation and still fall lower.
Jebose Azuka recalled an encounter in the Summer of 2007, where Majek opened a Blues concert for the late Blues music star, B.B King in New York.
Jebose received a call from Majek, who said, “Jebose, elenwor… my spirit says I must see you. I am in Charlotte, inside GreyHound bus coming to see you”, Jebose said he tried to avoid seeing Majek but the musician was insistent, saying, “Jebose, I am already on the bus. I go reach there by 8 p.m”. Jebose agreed since, “Majek’s “spirit” told him to visit me.”
That visit ended with Majek being “forced’ to send $600.00 to his wife, Rita, which was part of the $5000 he was paid for the B.B King show.
Jebose said, “He resisted, but I wasn’t going to submit: ’ Jebose, don’t sweat me, mother fucker, don’t sweat me. na because I come visit you?. Don’t sweat me, men…am a gangsta”. He sent the money, called Rita, ranted on the phone as I drove him back to his hotel room.
My friend that I met at the A&R room of Tabansi Records before he became a superstar in 1985 had multiple personalities. On Sunday, I drove him to the airport, offered him a ticket to Los Angeles and abandoned him at the airport baggage check-In counter.”
In 2007, Majek invited Jebose to a 2Face Idibia tour of the United States after the global success of African Queen. Tuface was scheduled to perform in Baltimore, Maryland and Majek Fashek was also scheduled to open for Tu baba.
Jebose recalled, “Majek invited me to Baltimore from North Carolina. I had not seen him in few years, even though we talked every day. Ras Kimono warned me of Majek’s strange look. He prepared me for a rude awakening. Kimono was right. I was shocked by the appearance of Majek.
He was stressed and aged, half of his front teeth were gone, his dreadlocks were malnourished. I was in tears. But I hugged him. I offered an immediate makeup, at least rejuvenate his dreadlocks. I asked to take him to any hair salon for a quick dreadlocks make-up before the concert:” Gimme the money. Don’t worry about the dreadlock.
Inside the dressing room, Majek smoked profusely, staring at an empty wall as the light beamed his silhouette across the room walls. He was lonely, alone and struggled with himself: “I want to see my children” He blurted as he exhaled.” I want to see my children….I want to see my children”.
His words faded with each cigarette smoke he blew toward the room ceiling. I stared at him from behind. He was in his zone: a different world where no one would understand, having conversations with himself. It was passionate, painful and pathetic. This was Majek that night. He reached to the table, picked a glass filled with brandy and emptied the glass in his mouth.”
Last year, Warri-based petrol merchant, “Billionaire” Ayiri Emami who was the mega sponsor for Makek’s publicized rehabilitation withdrew his gesture after months of doling out dough to treat the reggae superstar.
Ayiri said, “Majek Fashek is no longer under my care. When he left the rehabilitation home in Abuja, the doctors said that he needed to relax. They said he should stay off the music scene for some time. I wanted him to stay in Warri and relax.
I provided everything that he needed to be comfortable. But he insisted on going back to music almost immediately. He kept insisting and, after a while, I had to let him go. That was it.”
When asked why he had severed the relationship with his sponsor, Majek explained incoherently, “ I am an American musician. We do things in certain ways…”
In April 2015, witnesses who attended a show Majek had been billed to perform at the Eko hotel, in Lagos described him staggering onto the stage, oozing of alcohol, and looking dirty and haggard. One said, he looked homeless and barely made it through his songs.
Jebose concluded sadly, “Ten months have proven me right. This is not about right or wrong. This is about cure and care for an alcoholic and an addict. There are those of us that had sacrificed our professions, family to care for Majek: Charles Novia, Jimmy King, Jude Away Away, Ras Kimono, Victor Essiet. Majek is not a one week cure. You do not publicize rehabilitation.
Majek has spent the better part of the last 25 years as a junkie and an alcoholic. Its not a few week’s fix at an openly celebrated rehab. While he was in rehab, his enablers were busy seeking concert deals for him:” when Majek comes out, he would be performing again”.
They took an addict to a familiar place that enabled relapse. He was everywhere while in rehab. These behaviors enhanced and redirected him because none of those seemed to understand his struggles, his pains, his problems. Majek is the only person that understands this: They forced him to a rehab when he was not ready. You guys wanted to use him, front him to make quick money.
There were no programs or steps designed for his recovery. Everything was designed to reposition his music career. Majek stopped being musician years ago. He traded music for addiction. I wait for his obituary, some day. Those around him today had abused and used him.”
Read full article here, jeboseboulevard.com