(Photo by Bill Grech/WireImage)

Majek Fashek during Majek Fashek in Concert at Reminiscence - 1997 at Reminiscence in New York City, New York, United States.

Tributes Pour Out For Nigerian Reggae Legend, Majek Fashek, Upon His Passing

'Arise from your sleep Africa, Arise from your sleep America. There's work to be done,' sang Fashek on his hit 1992 song 'So Long.'

Renowned Nigerian reggae musician Majek Fashek passed away in New York on Tuesday, he was 57. According to the BBC, though he had been battling an unspecified illness for some years, the exact cause of his death is yet to be confirmed.

The artist was best known for his acclaimed albums, including as So Long Too Long and Spirit of Love. He often addressed themes of freedom, Pan-Africanism and apartheid in his music with songs like "Free Africa" and "Free Mandela."

Born in Benin City Nigeria in 1963, he began his career as part of the trio Jastix before releasing his debut solo album Prisoner Of Conscience in 1988, which garnered him international attention and led to him becoming the first African act signed to Interscope in 1990. He was drawn to reggae music, despite genres like highlife and juju being more popular in Nigeria at the time, and he was heavily influenced by the work of Bob Marley.

Fashek became one of the biggest names in African reggae. His 1991 track "So Long" was a Pan-African anthem, with lyrics of particular relevance in today's racial and political climate: "Arise from your sleep Africa, Arise from your sleep America. There's work to be done Africa," he sang in the opening lines of the internationally acclaimed song. The song made reference to Black leaders like Marcus Garvey and Martin Luther King Jr.

He was one of the earliest Nigerian artists to appear on late night television, paving the way for artists like Burna Boy to make his memorable late night debut in 2019. A clip from Fashek's 1992 performance on the David Letterman Show has been circulating online.

Majek Fashek - So long - Live on the David Letterman Show ( 1992) youtu.be

He collaborated with several international stars throughout his career, including Tracy Champan, Jimmy Cliff and Snoop Dogg.

His death was confirmed by his manager Omenka Uzoma on Tuesday. "I want to say that we should all celebrate his achievements," said Uzoma in a video shared on Instagram. "He has done a lot for Nigeria, Africa." According to BBC Africa, reports that the artist was suffering from a serious illness began to spread in the mid 2000's. In 2015, the artist entered a drug rehabilitation centre in Abuja, and later recovered and returned to music.

Since the news of his passing, several Nigerian music fans have been sharing personal tributes in remembrance of Fashek, highlighting the importance of his message of Black unity and freedom.

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Bobi Wine's Release Detailed in Latest Episode of 'The Messenger'

Trauma is the topic on the podcast's latest episode: "The Ballot or The Bullet."

The latest episode of The Messenger is something to behold.

Created by Sudanese-American rapper Bas, The Messenger throws the spotlight on the thunderous circumstances many African countries face, with a close focus on Ugandan politician Bobi Wine.

In his most recent traumatic experience, Wine and his wife Barbara Itungo Kyagulanyi were released from a nearly two-week military house arrest following the ruling of a Ugandan court. Keeping up with current events and circumstances that Wine finds himself in, the latest episode of the podcast recounts the traumatic events that led to Wine's very public abuse and eventual house arrest.

Upon his release, Wine spoke with The Messenger and had this to say, "I want to remind the world that we went in this election knowing how corrupt the staff of the electoral commission is. We saw this through the campaign and the world saw how much was oppressed, how biased and one sided the electoral commission was, and how much it was in the full grip of General Museveni. And therefore we are going to test every legal test, we shall take every legal test. We shall take every legal step. And indeed we shall take every moral and morally proactive, nonviolent, but legal and peaceful step to see that we liberate ourselves. The struggle has not ended. It is just beginning."

Listen to Episode 7 of The Messenger here.

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