One of the frequent tricks life present us are risks and opportunities to make decisions within a split second. The impact of these decisions are sometimes far reaching and life altering. It could make or unmake you as an individual. Whereas good decisions rake in good returns, bad decisions mostly lead to substantial losses.
In the entertainment world, consequences of bad decisions are numerous. Artistes at the height of their popularity, easily trundle along the path of negativity, leading to them loosing almost everything they hold very dear. The list of famous foreign artistes, who at the top of their career suffered grievous consequences for their bad choices include Shyne, Cassidy, Vybz Kartel, Rick Ross and in recent times, Troy Ave.
Ironically, Rick Ross, whose choice of lyrics on Rocko’s UOENO led to him losing a lucrative shoe deal with Reebok, on his track ‘Poor Decisions’ rapped ‘young thugs with so much talent/Young thugs having no balance…”. That lyric partly sums up the reason behind some of the decisions or choices artistes make in their career.
The Ghanaian music scene has also witnessed its fair share of artistes, who at the height of their power or on the cusp of greatness had botched it up courtesy their bad decisions. The impact of their irrationality saw their once flying career crash and burn. In this article, I’m focusing on how some talented artistes had self-destructed due to bad decisions.
The early 80s belonged to singer, songwriter and dancer Nana Akwasi Agyemang, who went by the showbiz name –Gee Man. His up-tempo, funk styled smash single Highlife In G-Major was a chart topper, earning him bookings both locally (in Ghana) and internationally. The former dance champion also known as ‘African Michael Jackson’ was unstoppable for his dancing skills and overall outlook (except for the skin colour. Gee Man had jerry curls like Wacko Jacko). His ability to impersonate, flawlessly the dance skills of Michael Jackson made him a hot prospect for promoters across the world. (watch/listen to song here)
The glamorous career and life of Gee Man took a dramatic turn on January 9, 1995. On that ill-fated Monday, Gee Man shot a taxi driver who had dropped off a female friend he was auditioning for a movie project at his Dome residence-a suburb of Accra following a heated altercation over GHc 2,000 (now 20 pesewas). In an interview after his release on Accra based radio station, Joy FM, a remorseful Gee Man admitted he could have paid the driver in hundred folds since he had enough money.
Charged with murder, Gee-Man spent almost fifteen (15) years in prison as punishment for his crime, marking an end to what was a high flying career. Now out- he was released on 9th January, 2009 under a Presidential pardon,-Gee Man lost the best part of his career to a bad decision. He however, found God within the walls of prison, became a pastor and changed his name to G’Love.
The legend whose career took a nose dive courtesy bad company. The unfortunate life story of one of the most talented keyboardist of his time and genre bending musician, Kiki Gyan is well documented. At 17, he was a multi-millionaire, then he found drugs and never found his way back to his former self again.
Before he broke out of his teens, he was writing some amazing songs for the afro-funk band Osibisa, where he played as a keyboardist. His album 24 Hours In A Disco, a collection of songs recorded between 1978-1982 after going solo proves the depth of talent that Kiki held in his slender looking frame.
Kiki enjoyed the trappings of celebrity life during his active years. Finding cocaine-which was as a result of bad company and choices-blighted his career and led to a horrid and untimely death.
In 2006, Charter House organized the first music reality TV show in Ghana. One of the top performing contestants of ‘Stars of the Future’ was William Ramzy Amui-a lanky, smooth voiced baldy from Ashiaman, one of the ‘hoods’ in Ghana. He placed second behind the winner, Irene Logan. But, his success was short lived. Ramzy found himself at the wrong place, with the wrong company, doing the wrong act weeks after earning the first runner up spot.
Ramzy, in 2007 went on to audition and earned a spot on M-Net West African Idols in Nigeria. He was arrested, charged with stealing and jailed for 10 years -along with 8 of his friends- upon his return to Ghana weeks after his auditions for armed robbery. They were found guilty of robbing a business woman of her 4×4 Hylander vehicle. That was how the career of one of the highly regarded young talents fizzled out before it got started. Ramzy is now free but his career is up in smoke.
Before celebrities became involved with politics, endorsing political candidates and parties in Ghana, Jewel Ackah had already gone that route. The impact of that decision was one that flushed out Jewel Ackah from the hearts of many music fans, leading to his career crashing to its untimely death.
In 1996, Jewel Ackah made a theme song for the ruling National Democratic Congress (NDC). He got himself embedded with the party; following their campaign tours and opening these nationwide campaigns by performing the official theme song. This decision did not go down well with a section of his fan base who belonged to the opposition National Patriotic Party (NPP).
Jewel Ackah’s (in) decision denied him shows and low album sales. Ultimately his record label, Megastar, the ‘Motown Records’ of Ghana, did not see the jewel that was Mr. Ackah anymore, ultimately leading to the demise of an amazing career. It is quiet regrettable that, 20 years after Jewel Ackah’s infamous decision, celebrities still suffer backlash from endorsing political candidates today.
Another artistes who had to sacrifice his career because of political endorsement. Lucky Mensah made a song, Atta Beye Ama Ho in 2012 for the then NDC Presidential candidate, Prof. Atta Mills to use as a presidential campaign song. His career had suffered since then. Like Jewel Ackah before him, his fans stopped buying his songs or booking him for shows. Even distributors to sell his music were afraid to associate with him for fear of being tagged as members of a political party.
It was rumoured that, most of these distributors were NPP supporters or sympathizers and did not see the need to do business with Lucky Mensah, who is campaigning for their opponents. Interestingly, Lucky Mensah came out to decry NDC’s refusal to pay him for his song as a campaign soundtrack.
As evident by the above narrative, there is nothing like a second chance for artistes whose actions are considered ‘bad’ by the public. You may be forgiven but the toll on your career is absolutely guaranteed. It is only a few who are able to behave ‘despicably’ and still have a flying career and even that, it’s because these artistes are considered ‘crazy or despicable’. For artistes without baggages, choosing to carry one at the prime of their career is surely a career ending decision.