Majek Fashek: How Iconic Reggae Super Star Lived & Died
Nigerian singer-songwriter and guitarist, Majekodunmi Fasheke popularly known as Majek Fashek was
born in February 1963 in Benin City, Edo State to a Benin mother and Ijesha father. But he identified with his Benin roots.
Majek Fashek was an household name in the Nigerian entertainment industry. The reggae dancehall singer’s death was announced by his manager, Omenka Uzoma via his official Instagram handle on Tuesday, June 2.
Majek Fashek was best known for the 1988 album Prisoner of Conscience, which included the multiple award-winning single “Send Down the Rain.”
He had worked with various artists worldwide, including Beyoncé, Tracy Chapman, Jimmy Cliff, Micheal Jackson, Snoop Dogg amongst others.
In the early eighties Fashek, who at the time went by the stage name Rajesh Kanal, joined the group Jastix with McRoy Gregg, and Drummer Black ‘Rice. They were best known as the in-house band on the show Music Panorama on NTA Benin and toured with fellow reggae group, The Mandators.
In 1988, shortly after Jastix was disbanded, Fashek, who changed his name to Majek Fashek, signed with Tabansi Records and began a solo career by releasing the album Prisoner of Conscience and quickly became Nigeria’s top reggae artist after the song “Send down the rain” became the most popular song of the year. In 1989, he won six PMAN awards for “Song of the Year”, “Album of the Year”, and “Reggae Artist of the Year” among others
He was one of the original Nigerian artists to be drawn to the music of the Caribbean, specifically reggae, rather than indigenous hybrids such as fuji and juju.
Fashek was married to Rita Fashek who inspired the song “Without You”; the couple had four children together, but have since divorced.
In 2015, it was revealed that Fashek was bankrupt and battling drug addiction. After admitting that he needed help, he was admitted into a drug rehabilitation centre in Abuja.
Besides his struggle with drug addiction, other health conditions required his hospitalisation on several occasions.
He was rumored dead in September 2019 but his manager denied it but confirmed that Majek had indeed been critically ill, hospitalised at the Queen Elizabeth Hospital, Woolwich, England and in dire need of financial assistance.
Billionaire businessman and philanthropist, Femi Otedola pledged to cover all the singer’s medical expenses.
Earlier in the year, Uzoma who has been managing Majek’s career in the last seven years, revealed that the singer was discharged from Queen Elizabeth Hospital in England where he was treated and moved to the U.S. for therapy.
Fashek was undergoing therapy in the U.S. until his death