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The Life and Times of Raggae Legend, Ras Kimono (1958 – 2018)

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By Ajibade Morakinyo

When the reggae legend, Ekeleke Elumelu (Onwubuya), popularly known as Ras Kimono, was born on May 9, 1958, little did his parents knew that he would be one of distinct and exemplary influencers of the world. The family, friends, and well-wishers at the naming could not paint his future, but he prevailed in the fight to woo success to his side in the entertainment industry.

A native of Onicha Olona in Aniocha North Local Government Area of Delta State and who recently clocked 60, Ras Kimono was known for his Rastafarian oriented music – an Africa-centered religion which developed in Jamaica in the 1930s, following the coronation of Haile Selassie I as King of Ethiopia in 1930 – reggae music.

He started his music career in the present Delta state, Nigeria, while he was in secondary school – Gbenoba Secondary School, Agbor. During this time, his music was greatly influenced by the poverty, inequality and hardship he witnessed in his early life.

Kimono’s songs are embodiment of unfadable words of truth and wisdom. It came as shock to many when the Nigerian reggae artist, Ras Kimono, debut album Under Pressure on the Premier Music label, which was accompanied by the popular song, “Rum-Bar Stylée” made unexpected hit in the Nigerian music scene way back in 1989, when the likes of Lucky Dube, Bob Marley, and many others were making waves in the reggae world.

This album propelled him to instant continental stardom, where he influenced many into his kind of music, and mentored many young reggae stars. The album revealed both a Jamaican and native African influence, Rum-Bar Stylée particularly, evident in his ‘patois’ delivery as frequently employed by Fela Kuti to communicate with the urban underclass. However, before making his late 80s breakthrough as a reggae singer, Kimono served a long apprenticeship on the Nigerian music circuit, experimenting with a number of styles.

With his Massive Dread Reggae Band as a signature, his strongly polemical lyrics produced album sales of over 100, 000 copies, and a fervent following for his advocacy of social change like legalisation of marijuana, the need for Africans to intellectually repel colonialism and its arbitrary boundaries between tribes. Kimono was not averse to naming directly those in power he saw as synonymous with backdoor imperialism.

Before his 1989 album, he was in a group called The Jastix Reggae Ital along with ace reggae artistes, Amos McRoy and Majek Fashek and Black Rice Osagie. Thereafter, Kimono released a string of hit albums such as, “Natty Get Jail” and the massive hit “Rhumba Style”, touring all over Africa, Europe and the United States, promoting his brand of reggae music.  His effectiveness in the field brought him strings of classic awards, and the like of Nigeria Music Awards, Fame Music Awards and many more made his library.

In the 2000s, Kimono still maintains such agility and energy his fans are used to seeing in his music videos, while performing on stage. The popularity he has gathered throughout West Africa, Africa, and the world is overwhelming, thereby attracting mammoth of crowd to his 60th birthday bash that held at the Time Square, Ikeja, Lagos. Unfortunately, 31 days later, the legendary reggae singer reportedly slumped at the Murtala Muhammed International Airport, Lagos, while waiting to board a flight to the United States, on Saturday night.

Kimono was immediately rushed to an unnamed hospital in Ikeja and then taken to another hospital on Lagos Island where he later died on Sunday morning, 10 June 2018. His, fans and other esteemed personality of the world have poured out their heart as he lives on. The world would miss you Ras Kimono…

He was a distinguished board member of the Copyright Society of Nigeria (COSON) and is survived by humble family including his daughter, who is also making waves in the reggae music industry.

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Entertainment

Michael Jackson’s Nephew to Star in Late Singer’s Biopic

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American actor, Jaafar Jackson, will be playing the role of his uncle and legendary popstar, Michael Jackson, in the singer’s upcoming biopic.

This was announced by the film’s movie director, Antoine Fuqua, who shared a picture of Jaafar’s transformation via Instagram on Monday.

“Proud to announce @jaafarjackson as Michael—the motion picture event that explores the journey of the man who became the King of Pop,” he captioned the post.

Jaafar also posted the same picture and expressed his excitement regarding the project.

He said, “I’m humbled and honored to bring my Uncle Michael’s story to life. To all the fans all over the world, I’ll see you soon.”

In a press release, it was revealed that the biopic titled Michael, will detail the high and low points of Jackson’s life “including his most iconic performances that led him to become the greatest entertainer of all time.”

Michael’s mother, Katherine Jackson, also welcomed the development in a statement contained in the press release, E! News reports.

“Jafaar embodies my son,” she said. “It’s so wonderful to see him carry on the Jackson legacy of entertainers and performers.”

Jaafar, who bears a close resemblance with the “Thriller” crooner, is the son of Michael’s older brother, Jermaine Jackson.

Jermaine was a vocalist on the former Motown boy band, The Jackson Five, of which Michael was a member.

The Punch

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BBTitans: Sandra, Theo Become First Evictees

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The Big Brother Titans, which comprised of Nigerian and South African housemates, held its first live eviction show on Sunday evening and two housemates were evicted.

Sandra and Theo Traw, codenamed ‘Santheo’, became the first evictees for the show’s debut season.

While Sandra is Nigerian, Theo Traw is a South African.

After the first week of the show, the housemates were paired male and female.

According to Big Brother, the paired housemates were to work together in the house, become Heads of House, and face nominations and evictions together.

Each pair was asked to choose a codename and some pairs coined their group names from merging their individual names.

During the nomination process on Monday, the following pairs were put up for possib/e eviction: Sandra and Theo Traw (Santheo), Tsatsii and Ebubu (Royals), Justin and Yvonne (Juvone), and Nelisa and Yemi Cregx (Yelisa).

The Heads of House, Blaqboi and Ipeleng (Blaqleng), had an opportunity, through their veto power, to save a pair and replace with another.

Blaqleng saved Royals and replaced them with Juicy Jay and Olivia (Juiovla).

After the veto save twist, the four pairs of nominated housemates were Juvone, Yelisa, Santheo, and Juiovla.

Following the votes from the fans, Santheo got the least votes and were evicted from the show on Sunday.

On his exit, Theo Traw said, “I didn’t get much from them (housemates) in terms trying to have conversations,” while Sandra said, “I was stepping on toes and cracking necks.”

With Sandra and Theo Traw’s eviction, 22 contestants (11 Nigerians and 11 South Africans) are left to compete for the grand prize of $100,000.

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Fake News: Wizkid Not Performing at Obi’s Rally – Management

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The management of Grammy award winner, Wizkid has denied reports that the singer will be performing at the campaign of Labour Party presidential candidate, Peter Obi.

The rumors that the singer would perform were untrue, according to Sunday Are, the singer’s manager.

The statement reads, “This is to inform the general public that this event led by @avotujohnson1st is a scam!!.

“Wizkid and his management know nothing about this event and accordingly, he will not perform at the said event as claimed, so please beware of this poster and information put out from its organizers as Wizkid and his management will not be liable for any damages.

“Appropriate legal action is currently being explored against the persons responsible for creating and disseminating this false information.”

Recall the ‘Ojuelegba’ crooner recently announced he will be going on tour with fellow music star, Davido.

The tour has attracted the interest of music enthusiasts with many looking forward to the tour of two of the biggest artists in Africa.

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