MAJEK FASHEK: A Prisoner Without Conscience

MAJEK FASHEK: A Prisoner Without Conscience

Mid 2016, Majek attacked and accused me of fraud. He further stated that I was a cab driver in America and he had been helping me survive. In 2006, Majek attacked Charles Novia and I and called us fraud, accusing us of stealing his money. Novia and I chose to ignore his antics. But a mad man is never consistent with a thought process. A lot of people claimed Majek is insane so we must ignore him. Today, Majek went on Thisdaylive and again, maliciously called us rogues and fraud. It’s time to respond. Please read excerpts of his Thisday rantings about Novia and I.

My response, after the rantings:

“What is your grouse with Charles Novia and Azuka Jabose?

I want Nigerians to please help me stop Charles Novia and Azuka Jabose from defrauding me. A lot has been happening, which I am giving a little tip.

I have never had contract with Charles Novia. He put me in trouble with my American boss, even the Little Patience Album; I did not receive a penny from it. The song was recorded by Coral Music, Los Angeles.

And I am still having problems with them because I try to help him use the song to boost him for the Nigerian audience to help his November Records. Because of his scam that November Records is down, I have never had managing or recording contract with him. He should present our contract to Nigerians, he owes Coral Music.

That’s why I had big problem with Coral Music. Azuka is full of scandal. I have never had contract with them and they have no right to negotiate my business; they have been using me for too long. I also need Timi Dakolo to present the management he paid to and how much by going to use my song and earning money from iTunes and making money from “Send down the rain.”

Azuka, a cab driver in America, whom I gave support -they are friends. I am not joking because my solicitor will contact him soon and we will make it public.”

Majek Fashek, Thisdaylive. December 30, 2016.

I reconnected with Majek in United States in 1997. Majek was on mushroom mediocre national tour of America. He was scheduled to perform at a Jamaican Restaurant, ROCKING REGGAE, owned by one of Jamaica’s best voices, Donovan Carless. The Restaurant occupancy was about 100 persons. I didn’t know Majek would be in Raleigh until a friend called to inform me. That summer night, I came to Rocking Reggae early and Majek’s band was performing sound checks when I arrived. I asked after Majek from Mr. Donovan. He directed me to his then manager, Charles Dagastino.

I walked up to Dagastino, excited and told him I really would love to see Majek. I had not seen him for over seven years. Mr. Dagastino directed me to a parked 15 passenger Ford van. Inside the van, Majek was sleeping on one of the benches of the Van. A superstar sleeping in a Van was shock and awe to me.

Majek welcomed me into his Van, barely awake. He was gracious. He asked I stayed behind and we chatted, a catch up moment between two friends, separated by the hustles of the times, then. By the end of the night, we had exchanged phone numbers. That was how we never separated for years.

Majek called me about three times every day. He called at 7a.m some mornings, then at 2p.m and 8p.m. There are different personalities associated with each calls and time. I enjoyed Majek in the mornings: that was the Majek that was sobered, calmed natural, innocent, helpless and without any influences. Majek opened up during those morning calls about his life and behaviours, about the wrong with his life, the challenges, the demons and how his mother’s death contributed to his instability in life. I was a great listener. Sometimes, I cried.

Majek’s phone calls in the afternoons were mostly to demand for money: ”Jebose, I beg I need some money. Wire me Western Union”.

The records at Western Union would tell the story of how I sent Majek money almost every week as a brother and friend.

Majek’s front teeth are missing. He has dental problems. Charles Dagastino his old manager allegedly beat the hell out of Majek every day during the times he managed him and Majek lived with him. Majek would call from Los Angeles, crying and hiding in Charles’ studio to report beatings from Charles. I didn’t know why he would control Majek with domestic violence. I was furious. I called Charles to threaten him, warned him that if he touched Majek again, I would call the police: Charles said that it wasn’t his desire to hit Majek, but that the only thing Majek responded to was physical abuse. Today, Majek carries that scar of damaged front teeth from the blows of Dagastino. I never signed contract with Majek as his Manager.

Majek was careless about the success of his Nigerian entry, LITTLE PATIENCE, until Charles Novia pushed us to visit Nigeria. When the CD was released, I called Majek that his latest work was raving the music scene in Nigeria. But each time he called, he was incoherent, undisciplined and reacted erratically to our conversations…

“Majek are you drunk?” I would ask most times.

“Jebose why are you sweating me?”

“Okay call me when you are ready to discuss serious issues with me”.

I would get frustrated and hung up the phone…

In 2005, I went to Nigeria to reposition The Mandators. Charles Novia visited the media conference at Night Shift. Charles and I reconnected with the Majek project. When the ThisDay music fest was about to happen, my friend, Dr. Onukaba Ojo asked if I would attend. I told him I needed Nduka Obaigbenna’s contact, because I wanted Majek to perform at the festival. I was actually introduced to the festival by Oluwatoyin Kole Odutola: ”Jebose baba, you don hear say your oga Nduka get the biggest music fest in the world?”

About the same time, Novia called and we reasoned it was best Majek got featured. Novia worked hardest from Nigeria and I pushed my buttons here. We tag-teamed Nduka: Nduka once asked: ”Jebose, is Majek okay?”

I was honest with my response: ”Publisher, No. He is not okay. But he would give you 200% performance that night.”

“Okay. I go include am”.

Few hours later, Novia called excitedly to inform me that Majek would be one of the headliners of the concert. Novia was to wire us $10K from the concert payment. But due to Independence Day holiday, the banks were closed; Nduka also released payment the last minute. I was here stressed out: waiting for the money and hunting for Majek. Days before concert, Novia called that $10K was paid in Naira to his account by Thisday and he needed to send the money in dollars to Majek. Banks had closed in Nigeria.

He called 3p.m American time. We were expected to be in the chartered plane to Nigeria the next day from JFK. I said okay, but didn’t know how that would be possible. But about one hour later, my best friend and fellow townsman, Sylvester Okocha called from L.A to find out if I was still travelling: ”Noo. I have to raise $10k now because we were paid in naira back home”. Okocha said he was at the bank and that I should go to any Western Union (outlet) to collect the money. I was flabbergasted. I called Novia. The money arrived minutes from L.A. I also called Majek. I wired him $500 to get ready, purchase ticket from Boston to New York so we could meet at noon at the airport to collect the remainder of his money.”Jebose, I can’t enter Nigeria like that. I dey Boston. I have to cleanse myself spiritually for 24 hours. But I will fly into JFK to meet you by 3p.m next day”

I arrived JFK at 1p.m and waited for Majek until 10p.m. Our chartered plane after several delays departed at 10.30 p.m. Majek and I were the last to board.

Christmas 2006, Charles Novia got Majek a gig as the headliner for annual Calabar Christmas parade. The event also featured Jamaica’s great Reggae group Third World. We arrived at Nigeria one day late because Majek and I were thrown out of the plane in Memphis, Tennessee. Majek got drunk in transit and was misbehaving, trashing everyone and oozing alcohol. Two passengers that sat next to him were very uncomfortable with his unruly behavior and intoxication. They requested to be removed from the seat next to him. The pilots refused to fly the plane unless Majek was removed from the flight. I pleaded with flight attendants that I would control him during the flight. The pilots said I could fly without Majek. I said no. I was flying because of him. So I disembarked from the plane and we slept inside a hotel at the airport. The airline said Majek must not drink alcohol within the next 24 hours if he wanted to fly with it. That night, inside the hotel room, I kept eyes on Majek. I was awake, monitoring him. He promised not to drink. I also witnessed something strange in him throughout that night. I called my ex-wife and she said I must find a way to give him alcohol because he was an alcoholic and sudden withdrawal and denial might be dangerous for him. She was worried Majek would go into seizure, pass out and die. I responded that he should die that night. The next morning, I gave him lots of water and engaged him. Our flight was 11p.m. We had all day. I prayed Majek would not drink. That afternoon, we walked to seafood joint and ate great lunch. We returned to our room. I slept with one eye on Majek as he dozed off, always waking up to stare at the wall and talked to his shadows. By 9p.m we drove to the airport and soon, we boarded. Majek pleaded with me that since he was sitting on the plane I should allow him a drink. He walked to the cockpit to flirt and nice up the plane crew. Minutes later, one of the crew members served him a glass of brandy. I quickly took the drink away. I told him that Majek was my responsibility and all requests for alcoholic beverages must be approved by me because we were a day late for that flight due to his nonsense. Majek kept pleading and walking up and down the aisles. I told him when he finally sat down that I would order a drink for him once the plane was 3000 Miles above sea level. I kept my promise.

Hours before we landed Nigeria, Majek got up and was immediately recognized by Nigerians in the plane. Majek held loud impromptu session, accusing Charles Novia and I of looting his treasures and earnings.

“All the money I don make, I beg make una help me ask Jebose and Charles wetin happen to the money”.

I was in shock… This man was accusing us of fraudulent practices, embezzlement, stealing his intellectual property, inside the plane. The passengers urged him on. One of the passengers offered him Henessey drink while he raged at Novia and I… I was infuriated.

Nor be today Majek begin dey ungrateful. We landed at the airport and after baggage claim formalities, I told Novia and Frank they could have him because I was no longer interested in the whole Majek Project. But their pleas prevailed.

Throughout my relationships with Majek, I offered him management contracts and he refused. My ex-wife was a Legal secretary. She worked for one of the best law firms in this city. She was once concerned about Majek’s residuals and royalties from his past recordings:”

Why are you giving a superstar money all the time. Where are his royalties to help him live?” She always asked. I called Majek and asked where his royalties from Mango, Putumayo and other known labels that published his music were? Majek had no coherent responses to that. Imagine a Nigerian huge reggae star that had performed and recorded with biggest world labels and world music stars, not able to have a consistent royalty from his music. Majek told me so many stories and accused a lot of lawyers. I asked him to send me whatever papers, contracts he had signed in the past so I could read and study them. Contracts do expire. Papers have a life span. But Majek would get angry and hang up the phone.

Yet he would excitedly tell you how he cheated Jimmy Cliff and Tracy Chapman out of performance billings. While Tracy and jimmy got paid huge money, Majek received welfare checks. Majek once opened for BB King in New York. He was paid $5,000. By the time he got to my place one week later, he could not account for how he lavished $5000.

In 2006, I was extremely frustrated with Majek and his lifestyle. I approached my friend, Tony Okoroji for assistance with regards to helping Majek with sustainable living. “Jebose, the best you can do for him is registering him with COSON. His works would be protected and he would be paid royalties”. I registered Majek that day, using my address in North Carolina and listing Rita, his ex-wife as next of kin, in case Majek suddenly died. That same year, late Sonny Okosuns and Kris Okotie at various times encouraged me to bring Majek to their churches for serious prayers and spiritual healings. I informed Majek of these good deeds from concerned colleagues.

He abused them:”Jebose, na dem dey mad”. My late mother also advised I brought Majek to her in Onicha Ugbo (Delta) so she would care for him. I refused that invitation. Mother didn’t need such distractions and stress.

“Azuka, a cab driver in America, whom I gave support -they are friends.”

I owned a Taxicab company between 1996 and 2001. I was able to provide employment for startup Nigerians who arrived to the United States without work permit or survival means. I was also attending the University of North Carolina at Chapel Hill. The business boomed. I had 20 cars on my line. BEST TAXI became one of the most successful cab companies in Raleigh NC offering employment to Nigerians, Black and white Americans. Majek had been a musician since late 1970s. How many people did he employ?

How many job opportunities did he create and sustain in his lifetime. He is currently living a nomadic lifestyle. He lives off his old glory. He is a “has been”, a yesterday fool at forty that doesn’t realize the world has moved past him.

Nigerians must stop empathizing and sympathizing with this wasted Idol. He has no home. No jobs. Majek is a modern day pan handler, relies on his lies to deceive so he could survive: a man that abandoned his wife and children… didn’t know how his children grew, went to school and survive their teenaged years: A man who traded fatherhood for drugs and alcohol. He claimed he was supporting me and giving me money: I challenge him to show proof. I will show proof from my Western Union how money was sent from New York to Atlanta Georgia.

In 2008, Majek, after performing for BB King and was paid $5000, took the GreyHound to visit me in NC. I had opened a Night Club. He came to my club that night and made a nuisance of himself. On Sunday morning, I offered him a $1500 ticket from Raleigh/Durham to L.A, but insisted he paid the Airport tax of $87.00. He couldn’t afford to pay the tax. I left him at the airport. In 2011 and after the terrorists attack on United States, everything slowed. The economic boom burst. America’s economy tanked. I dissolved Best Taxi business and went into Toyota/public relations and the university system. Some of the great young Nigerians Best Taxi provided employment to during those years are today successful millionaires in other endeavours.

Between 2005 and 2011, I sustained Majek and his shenanigans. I sent money every other week by Western Union. Majek would call me every morning pleading that he had no food. He would leave from New York to Atlanta. Majek was once arrested in Atlanta for public nuisance and disturbance. He spent weeks in jail. It took efforts of Ras Kimono, Eddy Okri, Jude Away Away and other concerned Nigerians to try rehabilitate him after his release. Majek once fell ill and was admitted at an Atlanta hospital, Ras Kimono and I stood as his family. He voluntarily released himself before the doctors formally released him. Doctors diagnosed him with liver disease due to years of alcoholism abuse and warned if he didn’t stop drinking he might die within five years because his liver was so messed up. Take a look at Majek today, what you see are frails from liver disease. He is a dead man walking.

My ex-wife once got mad at me when she saw the sacks of Western Union receipts used to send money to Majek. Majek is manipulative. He is insincere and ungrateful. Majek Fashek is an arrogant schizophrenic, a manipulative bipolar whose shining lights were dimmed by untamed lifestyle powered by America’s cheap street drugs and fueled by alcoholic beverages.

I risked my life, job, children and family for Majek. Charles Novia made similar sacrifices. I remembered the night before we departed JFK for the Thisday music fest: Novia and his amazing wife were praying for me that Majek would show up at the airport. Novia and his family stayed awake all night, anticipating each call and updates with regards to Majek. Majek switched off his phone. Ras Kimono, Ekerete Udoh and Rita were voluntary personae that kept calling Majek that night. I met Ekerate Udoh at the airport and he stayed with me to support. Who deserves that stress?

Nigerians must stop feeling sorry for Majek. Nigerians must stop wasting any financial assistance on Majek. He has a catalogue of music that could enrich his generation just as Fela’s generation. Let him be useful to his family rather than manipulate us. He is no longer a star, but a pathetic waste. Nigeria’s music scene terrain has changed. Majek is a homeless street pan handler star. How many people has Majek helped with his music? How many charity events has he ever performed? How many benefit concerts has he ever performed for the less privileged?- None: because Majek is always the less privileged.”

Charles Novia: I think it’s advisable too, for those who can reach Majek or his insidious new management, to get him or them to be advised to leave out Azuka ‘s name or mine when he’s giving interviews. I understand the hurt from Azuka and I could have reacted that way but my own disposition is to be sublime about it for the present. Five years of my adult life or more stopped for this guy to be back on his feet. I gave up family and friends and my movie business and concentrated on his career resurgence and we’ve being till I had to move on with my life.

And now, to gain some silly sympathy or for whatever reason, he has selective memories and accuses people who sacrificed blood and tears of defrauding him of God-knows-what? I have the constitution to look and laugh away these kinds of ramblings by Majek but not everyone would.

If he has a Manager, you guys reach out to that fellow and teach him how to rein in the ramblings of his artiste. Majek can’t be destroying reputations to gain his own sympathies while we would always look away.

I’m more into corporate media ventures these days and I have to explain this stupid rambling by Majek to two important multinational clients in the past twenty – four hours as a non-issue.

Our brother has loose screws sometimes but he knows when to adjust some to manipulate the momentum he requires to gain sympathy.

So, you guys reach out to him and his handlers, if you are so concerned.