When we look back at deaths in the Nigerian music industry, 2010 will probably be the most remembered year simply because that was the year that Da Grin happened.
But three years later, the cold hands of death struck yet again without giving us enough time to say our proper goodbyes.
Susan Oluwabimpe “Goldie” Filani passed away on this day in 2013 from hypertensive heart disease, after a 12-hour flight from the US to Lagos where she had attended the Grammys, putting a sad end to a short but radiant and triumphant career.
Goldie was confirmed dead on arrival at the Reddington Hospital in Victoria Island, Lagos.
While that of the latter was felt perhaps more on the national level, hers was being talked about dominantly on a ‘local or smaller’ yet intimate level.
I remember my early encounters with Goldie’s music, the singer who made her industry debut in 2009 with her debut single, ‘Komole’produced by OJB.
She became famous not just for her music, but her eccentricity which earned her comparisons with Lady Gaga and in line with her name, her hair was a blaze of gold, one that ensured she was never anonymous at any gathering.
In 2012, she released her debut album, ‘’Gold’’, which earned her mainstream recognition with the success of the hit singles like, ‘Don’t Touch My Body’, ‘You Know It’ with eLDee and the Jaywon assisted monster record, ‘Jawo Jawo.’
The outcome and widespread acceptance of the album birthed the reloaded edition issued two years later, where she joined forces with some of the finest names in the industry including Banky W, eLDee, Jaywon and Kas.
Following the release of her debut album, Goldie won over 10 awards including ‘Best Female Video’ at the Soundcity Awards 2010, ‘Best Use of Costume’ and ‘Best Afropop’ at NMVA, with ‘Best Female Artist’ at the City People Awards.
At the time, I was never much of a fan, in fact, I had as much cynicism for her music as much as for her appearance in the Big Brother Nigeria house (Star Game edition) in 2012, which created quite a polarizing reaction and reportedly even got her hate mails.
Some felt her appearance and escapades in the house provided some of the best entertainment in the history of the Reality show, while some reserved only the strongest form of vitriol for her acts.
But Goldie never really cared about her critics and that was perhaps her strongest attribute.
Her confidence, courage, strength, defiance, willingness to try new things and just that ability to stare down at her critics and do what she is convinced is right for her.
Despite the controversies that surrounded her lifestyle, Goldie continued to make an impression not just through her music but her different charities and those were the qualities that would at the end turn her doubters to believers.
Goldie was ‘scarred’ but she never showed it, losing her mum, who she described as her best friend to cancer at a young age of 10 and having to keep her marital life away from the public.
I also remember the day she died, just as news began to filter in through radio shows, there was genuine grief from those who knew her, eulogies were being delivered from her friends like Denrele and label owner, Kenny Ogungbe with memories of how she had personally impacted a lot of them shared.
I had only known her through her music, yet I felt it, I felt an unexplainable type of loss. I felt like someone I had grown fond of had gone on a long journey to some place faraway.
‘’Can you imagine the rainbow without any of its colours?’’ Goldie asked in one of her last interviews. Indeed, the industry was never going to find another one like her.
Six years after, we take a pause to reflect on the one whose life was an inspiration to many who crossed her path and followed her music.
Thank you for the music, the colorful costumes, the memories. Thank you for living a truly incredible life, one defined strictly on your own terms, the legacy you left will forever be remembered.