By Joseph Ssemutooke
The news of the passing last Thursday of controversially flamboyant Nigerian singer Goldie Harvey, that petite blonde babe who featured in the M-Net reality show Big Brother StarGame last year, tore across Africa like a tsunami.
The “Nigerian Lady Gaga”, as she was referred to outside her homeland, who passed on a few hours after touching down from attending the Grammy Awards in the US, is said to have complained of a severe headache upon arrival at her home in upscale Lagos, quickly passing on minutes later as they attempted to get her to hospital.
Cause of death – a pulmonary embolism, which is a blockage of the main artery of the lung by a substance that has travelled from elsewhere in the body.
That, especially since one of its causes is drug abuse, cascaded into a whole debate on the wires, with conspiracy theorists claiming she probably abused drugs, which is inevitable where an entertainer as lurid as Goldie suddenly kicks their bucket.
Unfortunately though, along with the rather dismissible claim has emerged a string of hair-raising details about her private life – details that have diverted people from mourning her just to gape at what an enigma she was.
Married and secretive about it
The first big controversy that emerged just two days after her passing was that the Nigerian Lady Gaga was actually a married woman, and one not really out of touch with her husband. Yet, not even the Nigerian media had ever known about those secret chambers of their Lady Gaga’s life, and were as shocked to learn of the details as the Nigerian masses they gave the information to.
Upon her demise, all the sympathies were directed at the equally-controversial Kenyan rapper CMB Prezzo, with whom she had impressed upon us an on-and-off relationship, starting inside the Big Brother StarGame house and extending beyond the reality TV show.
You might remember that following their Big Brother stint, the duo was last year spotted together in different parts of the world, even visiting each other’s respective countries and telling the media that the possibility of marriage could not be ruled out – at least that is what they told us from their hotel room at Golf Course Hotel in Kampala when they first sneaked into the country late last year on a song project with Navio, looking lovey-dovey as they come.
In fact, immediately the news of her death came through, Prezzo came out to announce that he would jump onto the next flight to Lagos to mourn with Goldie’s family.
Hark! Just about the same time, a seemingly middle-aged British called Andrew Harvey came out to announce himself the legal husband of the deceased.
Harvey went on to warn Prezzo not to get anywhere near Goldie’s family, but rather to “let us mourn in peace.” If at all the middle-aged Briton looked a poser (which in all honesty he initially did), his posting of pictures of himself and Goldie in earlier days cast away all doubt about his claims.
Among the pictures, he posted those of their wedding day in the UK, those of himself and Goldie in earlier times, and even those he and Goldie took just last Christmas, when the singer visited and spent part of the Christmas season with Harvey in Malaysia.
Information dug up by Nigerian media upon Harvey’s emergence indicates Goldie married the Briton in 2006 before she rose to stardom, getting from him the money that fuelled her rise, and there are even suspicions she has left behind a kid with him.
Also, Nigerian media hold that Prezzo’s extension of involvement with the singer beyond the Big Brother house might have caused a rift between the deceased and her British husband.
Apparently, Harvey knowingly let Goldie do whatever she did in the Big Brother house just for the sake of the show, but that it would not continue outside Big Brother. Which sounds plausible because following up shortly after Harvey came out was a video from an unidentified source of Goldie and the Briton serenading each other in some sort of romantic game, last year – the video clearly designed to announce Goldie’s entry into Big Brother, as it ended with the pair telling Africa to watch out for her on Big Brother (whatever happened for it not to come out earlier?)
Alleged former best friend gives new twist
While everyone’s mouth was still ajar at the dumbfounding revelations, a one Ifeanyi Harvey came up with another mahusive twist. Ifeanyi, a Nigerian immigrant to the UK, came out to inform Nigerian media that Goldie was actually her former best-friend, albeit one who wound up morphing into the greatest misfortune she ever knew in her life by leading to the collapse of her marriage and family.
Ifeanyi revealed that Harvey was initially her husband, just that Goldie snatched him from her and ran off with him to a clandestine marriage in Nigeria.
She added that the deceased singer, who by the time of her death was believed to be one of the richest women in Nigeria, financially ruined the Briton by taking all his money to build her music career, and then somehow abandoning him and restricting him to occasional appearances in her life.
Ifeanyi claims the Briton has even spent a spell now living a low life afflicted with poor health in Maylasia, and that before her trip to the US to attend the Grammy’s, Goldie even paid the ailing man a visit in Malaysia.
Among the revelations include some petty ones too – that she used bleaching creams to lighten up her complexion to what we knew of her – and there are old pictures of her and Harvey, showing a quite dark-skinned Nigerian belle.
Goldie was born Susan Olubiwampe Filani in Lagos, in October, 1983, the first of four children of highly educated and successful parents – high-ranking officials in a bank that was gaining ground in Nigeria.
As a result of her parentage, she was directed towards academics from an early age. But the family also being very religious, she discovered music at an early age singing in church choirs.
The death of her mum at 10 in 1994 was a major turning point, as the singer is on record having said her mother was the only friend she had during childhood.
She then grew up with her father, who she said tried to avert her from the creative arts, often attempting to stop her from drawing and singing, stuff she was so fond of.
After high school in Nigeria at the turn of the millennium, she moved to the UK for further studies, graduating with a Bachelor of Business Administration degree in 2006. It was in the UK that she fully began recording, going professional upon her return to Nigeria in 2006.
She hit the limelight in Nigeria around 2008 and won several awards locally, but only became renowned across Africa after her involvement in Big Brother StarGame last year. She passed on on Valentine’s Day at a time when she was becoming a real global brand, with hits like Don’t Touch My Body and Jawo featuring Jaywon.
Last year, she recorded a song called Miliki with Uganda’s Navio, and it is expected to hit big considering its video, which came out just a few weeks ago. Apparently, she had also landed some recording deals in the US on her trip to catch the Grammys, but she did not live to see the deals materialise.
By press time, burial arrangements had not yet been concluded.