Of course it is no news that young Ghanaian songstress Priscilla Opoku Kwarteng, or Ebony as we have come to know her, is dead.
Today will be one week since the young musician passed in a very horrible vehicle accident at Mankranso in the Ashanti Region.
This 20-year old musician had arrived on the big stage only a couple of years ago, barely out of her teens and she rocked the limelight with her no-hold-barred approach to the craft and won many hearts. She had her fair share of criticism by the people who thought her style was too sexy and yet she wore her sassiness with swag.
Thus the news of her demise, following the accident, hit the entire nation with shock and utmost awe.
This was one of our brightest female stars, if not the brightest on the showbiz stage, up until her untimely death. It was as painful as it was tragic.
The only consolation the nation would have was the fact that she was the artiste who left behind many of her wonderful works.
It may not be much and we may not have her around to perform them, but one thing is for sure, she did her best in the time she had.
Ebony is a figure that brings out the best and the worst in people and over the short period that she’s been gone, it looks as though she exacted those two opposing qualities in people.
Many have lauded her contribution and noted the vacuum her absence would create.
Presidential and celebrity condolence
Many Ghanaian celebrities and people of importance shared their condolence and commiseration with the family and friends of the late musician on all media platforms, including the fastest growing, social media.
In that list were both the current president and the immediate past president.
President Akufo-Addo’s official account tweeted twice.
“Saddened by the news of the death of the young, but extremely talented female artiste, Priscilla Opoku-Kwarteng, aka Ebony Reigns,” he tweeted first.
And then he added “By all accounts, she had a very promising music career.
My deepest condolences to her family, and to the families of the two others who died in the tragic accident.
On his part, former president John Mahama tweeted that he would miss one of her songs.
A talented life cut short. My favourite track on domestic violence and relationships, "maame hwe".
There was one tweet that brought about a lot of conversation both on social media and on radio and it came from the CEO of Zylofon Media, Nana Appiah Mensah.
He posted her photo and tweeted “We had a fruitful meeting and reached an Agreement just last tuesday. "Please help me pay him for my bail out.
I want to be free".
I hope you're free now & finds absolute peace in the bosom of the almighty God.
Let's pay CRITICAL ATTENTION to our female artists.#RIPEbony”
The Zylofon CEO gaffe
This tweet led to him being called out by some that it was unfortunate and unnecessary and he should delete it and apologise.
Nana Mensah, who also owns Zylofon FM, decided instead to go on radio on Monday to clarify what he meant in what he tweeted.
I, like most other people, felt he could have ended it by just apologising and deleting his tweet.
On Monday, I wrote a post on Facebook about how I feel towards his tweet and subsequent attempt to “clarify” it on radio instead of doing the needful and moving on.
“One of the greatest tragedies and, regrettably, opposition to our developmental efforts is the fact that we are unable to speak truth to power or to money or to both.
We'll see a man messing himself up and yet we won't say or when we try to say it, is to defend him, because we either benefit from him financially or positioning ourselves with the hope to benefit from him in the future.
“Nana Appiah Mensah made a wrong tweet. A tweet that was uncalled for.
A tweet that sought to hang another man out to dry. A tweet that oozes apology and moving on.
But because of who he is and the help he has given, gives and would give the industry we are finding ways to defend it.
Even more than that, we have handed him prime time slot on a station he owns to "explain" his rather unfortunate tweet to the world.
What happened to good old apologising and moving on?
“We all have our freedom to say whatever we want, but somethings are best left unsaid, and especially where confidentiality is concerned, discretion is required.
How do we even know what was tweeted was true without the subject living to serve as a witness?”
As it would naturally be, the CEO of the record label that managed Ebony’s works and her manager was not happy with this tweet by Nana Appiah and the subsequent commentary on radio, during his clarification that served as a platform to aim a punch at him.
While granting an interview to Okay FM’s Abeiku Santana, Ricky Osei Agyeman, popularly known as Bullet said, among other things that, the tweet was disrespectful to the late musician.
“Nobody told me about Ebony’s dealing with the Zylofon man, I only saw the tweet from the man and I even think it’s disrespectful to have one-on-one conversation with someone and leak it out to the public.
He has betrayed Ebony and also you’ve announced to the whole world that Ebony is only worth $100k.
“Someone also disrespected me to the level that he said that $100k could be a live changing moment for me because if I should manage her even 20 years, I can’t make that money” in reference to a comment made by Samuel Baah of Zylofon FM.
“What are you talking about, are you God? Do you know how much money we have and even can that money save or bring Ebony Reigns back? You don’t disrespect people like that.”
Obviously, the death of the young musician has brought avoidable and unnecessary divisions.
Clamour for Ebony as VGMA Artiste of the Year
Since last Friday when the news off her death came out, there has been a huge clamour for her to win the Artiste of the Year Award at the Vodafone Ghana Music Awards this year.
In several interviews that I have granted since Friday, I have been asked if she shouldn’t be given the award.
My response has been consistent: the award is not given, it is won. If all the three levels of voting for thr Artiste of the Year feel that the person who deserves most to win it is Ebony, obviously on the basis of the good work she did in 2017, then so would it be.
Were that to happen, she would be the first female to win the most prestigious award at the VGMA, but unfortunately, she won’t be there to receive it.
But we shall wait to see what would happen on the day of the VGMA final.
Whatever happens though, Ebony Reigns came onto the scene, reigned for a while and now gone, but very certainly would reign in our hearts forever!
RIP, Ebony Reigns!