I can remember vividly where I was the first time I saw Ebony. It was at the house of Ebo Brew (video director at Slingshot Media) around the West Hills Mall in 2015. The image of this beautiful, dark skin lady spotting weeks old dreadlocks singing and partying with her friends in the video for “Dancefloor” was beaming on 4Syte TV.
For me, it was less about the song and more about her disposition: she sounded comfortable, appeared confident and radiant on screen. She exhibited genuine attitude of someone who knew what she was about. All of us in the room concluded she had the requisite character to become a big act in Ghana after our long, winding commentary about her poise.
It was the morning of 8th February 2018. A Thursday for that matter. I was preparing to leave the house for work. The house radio was on Citi 97.3 FM. The signature tune for their morning news played, and the first headline was that Ebony had passed- along with her close friend, Frankie and a soldier friend – after a road accident.
I have never been hit so hard by news of the passing of an individual like that of Ebony’s. I wasn’t wrecked by the news. I was disoriented the whole time I was riding from the house to work for the reasons that, she was evolving and fans were witnessing a certain growth in her sound and attitude – along with her versatility. Second, I had seen her two months prior, at the Citi FM’s ‘’Decemba 2 Rememba’’ concert where she was the main attraction. And boy, did she give out a good performance.
The grief that befell the country was palpable. It was comparable to what engulfed the nation following the death of ex- president, John Atta-Mills. We were not prepared for her death, considering that, her nascent career was taken shape.
Ebony’s rise was astronomical, albeit short. Her natural attributes combined to hand her the success she chalked. She came to prominence off her own vibe. That is, she already had an idea of what and how she wanted to be regarded. She unapologetically embraced all her ‘bad girl’ persona without thinking of anything the world would say. Watch the video for ‘’Dancefloor’’ and you would note these traits.
Ebony was not a creation of a system or anyone’s idea. Of course, some might point to Bullet and Ruff Town’s attempts at ‘moulding’ her to fit a certain stereotype. But, honestly speaking, all that Ruff Town did was to accentuate her already ‘90s bad girl character’.
Again, she emerged at a time when dancehall music was popping off. And the female category needed a true representation. MzVee, who was the ‘leading’ dancehall act at that time was thrusted into the dancehall foray off a business decision. For those who have followed her career from the jump when she was part of D3 would note she was not cut for her ‘chosen’ genre. Ebony, however, had emphasized on numerous interviews her love for dancehall music and as such, had built her craft along those lines prior to her professional career.
The conversation and the controversies that brewed after her passing – along with her two other colleagues- is well documented. But, I would like to ask what happened to the person who leaked the video of her in the morgue? And the disgusting handling of her corpse by the two mortuary attendants?
It has been a year since her untimely death. The hurt of her passing still lingers. The crater she left is yet to be filled, not in terms of the ‘bad girl’ vibe she exuded but the music she made. The hurt lingers because we knew she had more to offer. 2017 was her launch pad. 2018 was to be her take off year. Unfortunately, death took her off the stage before we were ready. The only consolation lies in the fact that she left behind an album that fans could revisit anytime they miss her.
What was remarkable about Ebony and her art was that, she gradually won people over- even her critics- with her music and nonchalance. With songs like ‘Sponsor’, ‘Date Ur Fada’, ‘Poison’, ‘Kupe’, ‘Aseda’, ‘Maame Hw3’ and ‘Hustle’, she was able to showcase her versatility; something that excited us all.
Despite her ‘bad girl’ image, Ebony did not exploit controversy as currency to sell her art. Granted some of her lyrics were deemed by conservative Ghanaians as ‘uncouth’, that was exactly where it ended. Outside of music, she did not draw any controversy towards herself. Once the music stopped and the stage lights went off, Ebony was just a simple, ordinary person – a girl next door.
Ebony might not be a legend, as some of her fans were trying to describe her. Obviously, she made a mark on the scene that won’t be filled anytime soon.
Ebony, a brave hearted young woman whose impact and legacy shall toll louder. May we never forget her.