He isn’t the first and sadly not the last, but eMtee’s fall off stage this past weekend highlights the toxic relationship artists have with drugs and alcohol.
Emtee was performing in front of hundreds of fans at the fifth annual Lephalale Black And White festival in Limpopo. Throughout the performance, the Roll Up hit maker is seen struggling perform, let alone stand, as he staggered on stage looking drunk and basically out of sorts.
It’s really sad seeing another talented South African artist battling drugs, in front of our eyes for us to see. The likes of Brenda Fassie, Hugh Masekela and Kabelo Mabalane are some renowned musicians that have had their addiction battles in the public eye. Mabalane is fortunate to have seeked help before it got too late. Now a pastor, he once admitted to spending a million rand on drugs. The likes of Kelly Khumalo, Riky Rick and Trevor Gumbi have also admitted to their addictions.
The prevalence and ubiquity of drugs in the industry is scary. Some people come into the industry not having tried any drugs in their life, then fold to the pressure of being around those who are steeped in that life. Some get into drugs because they’re trying to fight off depression and anxieties that stem from industry pressures or simply, life.
In an interview on Metro FM with DJ Fresh on his breakfast show last year, comedian John Vlismas spoke about this epidemic problem in the media and creative space. “We have been hardwired to think that we are working hard in media, we don’t really. Going down a mine is working hard. Being a domestic, and working for people who are ungrateful is very hard. We think we work hard, therefore we should play hard and we have been raised in a society where this is permissive.” Vlismas himself, had issues with drug addiction before changing his lifestyle because of near-death experiences.
Unusually seen as a passageway to godly avant garde creative juices, drugs have destroyed so many talented souls. That Fassie died at 39 years of age is a scary fact which should serve as a lesson to those who come after her; to treasure and respect their gift and careers. The most common drugs are heroin, cocaine, alcohol, codeine (lean) and marijuana.
In a tweet last night as the eMtee video was trending, rapper Cassper Nyovest, gave advice to Emtee and fellow artists in the industry. “Sometimes we are hated for trying to show niggas the light. God gave us a chance to make something of ourselves. We got families to feed niggas. Let’s not play with the gifts. Let’s not laugh at each other as well. Let’s help each other. That cool shit is done. Drop the drugs!!!” the tweet read.
I really hope eMtee’s record company, Ambitious Records will help the young artist before it’s too late. It’s one thing to embarrass yourself in front of everyone, but something else letting your child grow up without a parent.