Oluwabimpe Susan Filani Harvey
Pop diva Oluwabimpe Susan Filani Harvey, better known as Goldie, shocks the entertainment world as she succumbs to death in another case of a burning candle that is snuffed out without a gale. Nseobong Okon-Ekong reports
It all ended too soon for Oluwabimpe Susan Filani Harvey, better known as Goldie. To her very end she had the capacity to shock people out of their wits. Her exit from the earth was no less astonishing: no long drawn bout of illness, no ailment whatsoever. One moment she was there, so full of life and in a jiffy she deleted her physical presence from our collective psyche.
Many Nigerians were still on an overdose of love-induced activities on Valentine Day when they were jolted back into reality with the news of the demise of Goldie whose entertainment career was only beginning to roll into the speedy lane.
A Piece of Bad News
For many Nigerians and her increasing fans across Africa it was a piece of bad news they did not want to believe. Not minding scores of messages from close associates, it sounded all so surreal, the credibility of the tale-bearers notwithstanding. Channel O VJ, Denrele Edun who has made a couple of appearances in Goldie’s recent videos including ‘Skibobo’ featuring AY is definitely a trusted source when it comes to issues relating to Goldie. He did not mince words with his post on social media. He claimed to be the last person who saw her alive. According to Denrele, Goldie arrived from the US where she was in the company with her record label, Kennis Music boss, Kenny Ogungbe, at the 2013 Grammys Awards.
“She was full of life upon her return, but suddenly, something went tragically wrong.” Perhaps, only Denrele knows the source of this tragedy.
It was only natural for Denrele to be Goldie’s pal. Apart from being joined together by their unconventional behaviour, both entertainers had recently started a television reality programme, ‘True Friendship’. It was Denrele who revealed that Goldie died in his arms at Reddington Hospital in Victoria Island, Lagos. To absolve itself of any complicity, the hospital issued a statement claiming that the singer was dead by the time she was brought there from her Parkview, Ikoyi residence. Goldie’s management would later announce on her Facebook page and on her twitter handle: “It is with heavy heart that I have to inform you all that Goldie passed this night shortly after arriving Lagos from LA. May her soul rest in the eternal peace of the Lord – Admin!!”
Goldie Was to Feature on MTV
Base Celeb Segment
Goldie was scheduled to feature on the Celeb Surprise Segment, of MTV Base’s Big Friday Show at the weekend. About this time last year, Goldie dropped ‘Say My Name’, a love song for the Valentine season. Last year too, she released her second studio album, ‘Gold Reloaded’ on Kennis Music label to which she was signed on in 2010. She had previously released her debut titled, ‘Gold’ on the same platform.
Even as a counter message purportedly from her manager, Teejay tried to give a lie to the death story, insisting she was alive and well, Kenny Ogungbe sealed the hope of anyone hoping against hope that the Goldie death story might just turn out a hoax. Kennis Music’s official statement confirmed her demise. “On behalf of Kennis Music, I’m sad to officially confirm the shocking and untimely passage of Nigeria’s pop star, Goldie Harvey. With a deep sense of loss, we announce the shocking death of our darling music star, Goldie Harvey. Goldie, 31, died on Thursday after she complained of a severe headache at her Parkview, Ikoyi, Lagos residence shortly after her arrival from the United States where she went to witness the Grammy Award. She was rushed to her official hospital, Reddington, Victoria Island, Lagos, where doctors pronounced her dead on arrival. We consider this period a gloomy moment for us and the entire Nigerian music industry in view of the circumstance in which Goldie passed away, the abundance of talent she has exhibited in her short but eventful music career and the various opportunities her trip to the United States of America would have availed her. She is survived by her father, step-mother, brothers and sisters. We deeply sympathise with her family and fans all over the world and very grateful to all and sundry, especially, the vibrant Nigerian media for their concern and prompt reportage. We shall keep everybody informed as events unfold as we are still devastated by the sudden loss.”
Kenny’s business partner and friend Dayo Adeneye has been reported to give the cause of death as pneumonia, while earlier posts suggested she succumbed to migraine. A post-mortem is yet to be carried out, but her body has already been deposited at the Ikeja General Hospital. There is also the speculation that she might have died from an overdose of hallucinatory drugs. But all of these are in the realm of conjecture as a post-mortem has not been performed on her body.
Revealing Encounter with Goldie
A few months ago, this reporter had an encounter with Goldie at a hotel at Parkview Estate in Ikoyi. She said she was staying there because her house was being renovated. She laid bare her personality. “I am the first child of my parents. I was born and grew up in Lagos, but we are from Ikole in Ekiti State. I come from a very religious and academic background. I went to Green Springs Primary School, St. John’s College and I have a degree in Business Management from the University of Sunderland. Goldie is a pop artiste and she is different from Oluwabimpe Susan.
“I am the only person in my family that has this colour of skin. I won’t call myself an albino. When I got to the UK, my friends started calling me Goldie. There is a phase in my life when I used to pick on everything metallic, anything shiny. I am trying to think whether it was because of my skin tone or because of my love for gold jewelry back then, but they nicknamed me Goldie and when I wanted to start music I decided to stick to Goldie, first because I was already used to the name and secondly because I wanted my brand to inspire and imbibe all the attributes that gold has to offer which includes class and expense.
“The essence of the Goldie brand is to inspire confidence in women and young girls from all walks of life just so that they know that they can be whoever they want to be and not let anyone put them down. They can express themselves in ways that add value to society not in ways that subtract from society. My brand is very homely, very spiritual in a way and just confident; the modern woman.”
Nigeria’s Lady Gaga
“I have heard a lot of people compare me with Lady Gaga and frankly I am flattered by the comparison. I have looked back at my old works, before Lady Gaga became known I have always been theatrical, having all my corsets, all my hats. I am talking about 2007/2008-. Before Lady Gaga I have always been this way. I am not Nigeria’s answer to Lady Gaga. I am Nigeria’s Goldie. I will always be this way. This is who I have always been from when I was young I have always been full of drama. I feel that you need to express yourself and I just want to express myself-my outfit, my shoes-everything has to be expressive. You can express yourself without even speaking and that is what I try to do with my work and what I wear.
“My dad’s mother is fair and I think I take after her, but it is not exactly like mine. If I go into the sun now I become very red. I am 5 feet 7 inches tall. I started (music career) by myself in 2007, trying to work, trying to do videos, go to studios recording, go to different producers, trying to manage myself and run everything. I then realized that as an artiste, you can’t really do a lot of things by yourself. You need to work with people who are professionals in their field. “Therefore, I went to Kennis Music and we have a working relationship which started in 2009 and they gave me a recording contract. That is how my professional music career started, but I had been doing music by myself since 2007. My first video, ‘Komole’ was released that year.
“I have always been someone in love with expressing myself from when I was very little. I remember doing a lot of writing. I remember doing a lot of personal reading, like taking the newspapers and taking the political articles from them. I always knew I would go into some form of self-expression or the other. I did not know that music would be the outlet that God would put in front of me.
“I feel that education is very important. No matter what you read, education enables you to be able to connect with your fans. I would not say that I should have studied music or something else. An education is an education and it is helping me in my music career in ways that might not be apparent now but I will get to know later.
“I have other creative talents. I am an artiste, anything that has to do with expression. I can design outfits; I can design food. I write. I draw. I am an artiste through and through. I work with designers but I have the ideas in my head. I sketch them and the designers come and I tell them what I want and they make it. Before I go to an event I need to have at least an hour to make-up and get my accessories right.”
At some point she stopped the interview to deal with a stubborn strand of hair that was irritating her eyes. “I have this eyelash on and I feel that there is something that has been affecting my eyes. I am not sure if it is the lash but I just have to take it off, I have put eye drop but it is not working. I like to be comfortable. I would not wear anything if I’m not comfortable. I want to be natural if it is making me feel ok I will wear it, if it is not, I really don’t care, I like to be comfortable.
“I don’t really dress for the public. I dress up when I am at home. Sometimes I dress up and just stand before the mirror. It is not just for the show. Of course, when I am going to bed I am not going to be wearing heavy clothes. I wear my pyjamas, if you come to my house sometimes, you see me dressed up. It depends on my mood for the day. Sometimes when I go out, I wear a jeans and T-shirt. I do not think the outfit is Goldie, I think Goldie is the outfit.”
At the hotel room, there were over 40 pairs of shoes and she claimed there were lots more in her house. “I can’t believe that you have been counting my shoes. All my shoes are not here I stay in the estate (Parkview). These are the ones I know I will be using regularly. Don’t count them. There are more. I don’t even know how many shoes I have. I love corsets; I think corset showcases the female hour-glass figure. I think a woman should have a good top, a good bottom and a slim middle. That way you can see the curve and the figure. I think that is the real feminine shape that a woman should have. I feel comfortable in a corset. Most women today have little things they call body magic that they wear under their clothes to give them that added hour-glass shape. I don’t wear body magic. I have a naturally slim figure. That is because I work out and I eat right and I thank God for my great metabolism. But I like to wear a corset on top of my outfit because that is how I feel. I don’t wear the corset inside; I show it.
“The most startling encounter I have had in my life is when myself and the rest of the Kennis Music stars went for a show in London. Jaywon and I got on stage. We performed. Afterwards we were leaving the event and we were going to another event and this guy followed us out, he was shouting ‘Goldie, Goldie come and take me from my girlfriend,’ he was singing the chorus of the song ‘mo le gba oko lo’wo e.’ I have the goodies and he pulled down his trouser and pulled down his boxers and bared his manhood. I couldn’t believe he did that.
“I think the guy was a little over excited and had taken some hallucinatory stuff. That was totally weird…in public! I said to myself, ‘is that the CV to get a girlfriend nowadays? That never happened to me before and it has not happened since then
“Music has been good to me in the last two years. I feel that people have started to appreciate my works and all the efforts that go into what I do. I have gotten more validation. More awards, more recognition for my works. I remember when I did not feel so good, but when I look at myself and what I have accomplished and I review the plans that I have for the next song, for the next show, for the next video, that makes me happy.
“Concerning the 'mo le gba oko lowo e' song, nobody has ever walked up to me to say something nasty. I think everybody knows it is just a cheeky song. It was not targeted at any woman in particular. It was more of a feel good song for any girl or guy who feels downtrodden or hated. People just laugh about it. I am mischievous girl. I have always loved playing pranks. I think life sometimes can be too serious, so you play pranks. You play with people around to make them laugh.
“In five years, I will be fulfilling the destiny which I know God has set out for me. As they say man proposes and God disposes. At the end of the day, you can only hope that your life is in line with what God has chosen for you. Right now I am working towards a particular goal that I have in mind, which is spreading the message of my music, creating different things, which I don’t really want to talk about but I am going to go into a lot of corporate things, not just in music but other aspects, writing, directing-movies, videos.
“I have been approached for a couple of roles but I did not feel that I was ready at the time. I would prefer to direct than to act. I feel that I have an eye for what I want people to see. I have a three-album contract and I have done two but I intend to maintain a relationship with Kennis because I think the CEO has maintained his word and he is good to me. You don’t repay evil with good.
“There was a point in my life when I felt really down. I had friends and I will go hang out with them and all my friends will have guys talking to them and nobody will say hi to me and I used to ask myself why guys will not say hi to me and why they don’t ask me out. I was talking to my mum one day and she said look at the way you are- ‘shoe gold, bag gold, they will feel intimidated and say this one is going to cut my neck, that is why they are not asking you out. You don’t have to feel you are not beautiful enough. They are scared that you are going to cut their neck or you are too confident for them.’
“Things have changed. I am in a relationship now and I am very happy. He is someone I have known for a while and I think you become friends first. This person did not know I was into music before he liked me and when he now knew it was an added plus. I think he likes creative people. When people come to artistes you don’t really know their motive, you don’t know whether they are trying to have a feel good girlfriend. With someone who does not know you are an artiste, then you know he likes you for who you are.
“I think that I have an entrepreneurial spirit. I used to have a date reminder company, which is like an event planning. We were into souvenirs and gift packaging before but I had to stop it because it is a very personal business. You have to spend time on it. Music does not give me time. The name of my company is Harfil Limited.”
Last Celebrity to Exit BBA 7 Star Game House
Goldie became the final celebrity to exit the BBA7 Star Game House in 2012 as the 3rd runner up. While in the house, she generated a lot of controversy by developing an intimacy with Kenyan rapper Prezzo who was a fellow contestant. Her fame in Nigeria and Africa went up in the aftermath of the Big Brother show.
She was working on a continent-wide musical project titled The African Invasion album. Three singles off the album are already in the public space. They are ‘Skibobo’ featuring AY (Tanzania), ‘Miliki’ featuring NAVIO (Uganda), and ‘Give it to Me’ featuring J MARTINS (Nigeria).
Her playlist on the Kennis Music Channel rates ‘You Know It’ featuring Eldee D Don as her favourite. The song is alternately known as ‘Mo Le Gba Oko Lowo E’.