“Inconspicuous in 2015, she peeked in 2016, peaking in 2017 and, in a flicker, by 2018, she was gone! Stubbed out, like a candle in the wind. Snatched from us, our beautiful young flower!
An all-Ghanaian woman, she drew attention to herself, for her sudden rise within showbiz circles as a burgeoning singer on the back of a sultry image. But she was endearing because she was talented and it showed. Instantly!
That’s what caused many a concerned citizenry to pen her these words, often proffering some piece of advice or other to the blossoming act.
Too many letters, audios and videos were produced in the quest to correct her, seeking to change who she was.
Alas, she didn’t live long enough to evolve through them as a horrific motor accident cut short her life at her prime.”
The above was my eulogy to Ebony in the 2018 Vodafone Ghana Music Awards brochure. For those that followed her craft, the hope of Ebony living on after her demise was strong.
It is already a year since Dancehall diva Priscilla Opoku Kwarteng known in showbiz as Ebony Reigns passed away. The sad incident occurred on February 8, 2018.
On March 24, 2018, her funeral was held at the forecourt of the State House in Accra.
Ebony was travelling with three other people from Sunyani, two of whom have also died. They were her friends — Frankie Kuri and Atsu Vondee, a soldier. It was the driver of the Jeep that survived the crash.
Her death proved one thing — that she paid her dues the few years that she plied her trade in the music industry.
Within a year, she rose to become the most sought-after female artiste in Ghana. She was unique in her own right and dared to prove her mettle through her uniqueness.
She won a post-humous Artiste of the Year award at the 2018 Vodafone Ghana Music Awards. Some had said she probably would not have picked the award if she was alive because there were other strong contenders at the time.
However, records of her coruscating performance in the year under review would have earned her more accolades even if she had not died – it was not a sympathy award.
With all the razzmatazz that characterised her death and funeral of the dance hall diva, one would not expect to see the love and support wane – at least not within a year.
When Ebony passed away it occurred to me that legacy will forever live in the hearts and minds of music lovers. But a year on, I waver in holding that thought.
Maybe some of us were so much engrossed in the attention her demise got at the moment. After all, “abusua do funu” (we celebrate the dead).
Even though her songs are still being played on radio and television stations, the lull in activities for her anniversary celebration is a portent of my premonition about the longevity of her legacy.
The fact that Bullet played an instrumental role in placing Ebony on the pedestal on which he got to cannot be gainsaid.
For someone who wrote most of the songs that shot Ebony to fame and deployed all his artiste and management branding skills, preserving Ebony’s legacy cannot be done without him.
Ebony’s legacy is dead with ‘Kwarbony Records’
If Bullet was actively involved in activities with Ebony’s works, he would have released and promoted some songs which were done by Ebony before she died; he would also have made plans of organising a programme in memory of Ebony.
Honestly, with regards to how Ebony’s father Nana Kwarteng has been bad-mouthing him over the vigil concert held prior the funeral, and the drama that came with it, I doubt if Bullet will be willing to be part of any one-year anniversary celebration.
When Bullet had a feud with Ebony’s father last year, he also stated that he was ready to give all of Ebony’s songs to her father. That actually means that the ‘Bullet influence’ would not come to play in the promotion of Ebony’s songs.
Mr. Kwarteng recently released one of Ebony’s songs, ‘Be My Driver’ and I wonder how many people have heard that song before. Hi dad, that’s not your job.
Sadly, this is how bleak the future of Ebony’s legacy looks.
Very soon, we may entirely forget about her songs and what she came to do.
Information has it that the father and family are preparing to organise an anniversary celebration on March 31, 2019. I doubt how fruitful that would be, especially at a time when most people have gotten ‘tired’ of anything Mr. Kwarteng does.
The accusations and counter-accusations of how the money that came from the vigil concert was spent created doubt in the minds of people as to which of the parties (Bullet and Mr. Kwarteng) was being honest. This really dropped people’s love for Ebony.
And oh! there is Wendy Shay, the young musician who has been made to fill Ebony’s shoes at all cost. Observing the chronicle of events leading to Wendy Shay’s rise in the music industry and her style, it is obvious that she is playing the character of Ebony.
Honestly, she has tried to play the role so well but as they say – the photocopy can’t be the “same as the original.”
But let’s not kid ourselves. If music fans would forget about Ebony, Wendy’s ability to play Ebony would be one of the reasons.
Wendy Shay may not be talented as Ebony but she has been accepted in the Ghanaian music space, just like Ebony. She is selling the same product that was prepared for Ebony to sell. So at least Ebony’s consumers have a substitute to resort to.
The people who enjoyed Ebony’s ‘Maame Hwe,’ ‘Sponsor,’ ‘Kupe,’ ‘Hustle’ and the rest are virtually the same customers for Wendy Shay’s ‘Uber Driver,’ ‘Bedroom Commando,’ ‘Masakra’ among others.
So far as Bullet continues to manage and write songs for Wendy Shay and he does not reconcile with Ebony’s father, Ebony’s legacy continues to atrophy – her Reign is being reined in.
That notwithstanding, it is proper that we celebrate her on the year of her passing.
We loved Ebony. We appreciated her talent but I’m afraid she may not remain in the minds and hearts of music lovers for long.
By: Kwame Dadzie