By Tewroh-Wehtoe Sungbeh
I never met the late Quincy B who died at the age of 23 in a car accident, as he and his entourage left a Karoake event in downtown Monrovia.
I am not familiar with his music either.
My only familiarity with the late singer is the post-death video of him on Facebook singing his signature song, “Hello,” and other songs that endeared him to his countless fans who understandably are mourning his tragic death.
Like other Liberians and non-Liberians worldwide who are mourning Quincy B’s early departure, I also joined those individuals who are not only mourning the young man’s untimely death, but are also celebrating his meteoric rise onto the Liberian music scene.
Quincy L. Burrowes (his real name) was a musical genius, a child prodigy whom at the age of 19 years old elevated his rags to fame and perhaps riches story into the nation’s musical consciousness in a short span of time. It is a story that cannot and shouldn’t be overlooked because of the inspiration his music and his life’s story brought us.
Quincy B’s death in the prime of his career reminds me also of the sudden death of another young prodigy, soccer star Victor Sieh Jr., of New Kru Town, who also died young in a car-related accident in the 1980s, as his career began to take off like a supersonic jet.
Like Quincy B, Victor Sieh Jr., was about getting somewhere, someplace in life and making it when he suddenly was taken away from us too soon.
However, Quincy B was about living his life and not blaming others; and he didn’t put his life’s frustrations on his parents and on to innocent people around him to frustrate them, either.
This is so true in Liberia, a country with no opportunity for young people and old people, a country where it is difficult to even breath clean air and drink clean water to stay alive; a country where young people of his age and generation are either not in school, and are jobless roaming the streets snatching things that does not belong to them.
Quincy B’s life and accomplishments should be celebrated because of what he did – the joy he brought us all during our darkest hours, not what he did on earth that did not meet our shrouded and meaningless expectations.
The unfortunate way in which Quincy B died in the prime of his career, which could have been avoided is a teachable moment for Liberians not to let ourselves down during those vulnerable moments of fun and entertainment when we think we are above the law, and beyond dying.
In retrospect, of course, meaningful Liberians will question the sanity of the deceased to even drink and drive, as reported.
At Quincy B’s level of fame and perhaps fortune, other Liberians have even questioned the wisdom and professionalism of his manager and handlers allowing their star to go near the steering wheel of a vehicle during his most vulnerable moment of inebriation.
Why did his manager allowed him to drive a vehicle in the first place, when he was reportedly under the influence of alcohol, are some of the questions?
Why didn’t his manager and handlers forcibly take away his car keys? Where is, or was the designated driver?
As we ask these questions, we are also reminded of the troubling facts that stars, politicians and people in authority are not good at listening to those beneath them – to advise them to not drive when drunk, and not to do other dangerous things that could jeopardize their careers and their lives.
From what I know, it is a global and human thing, not a Liberian thing.
The difference in Liberia is our historical disrespect of the law, and the disrespect and antagonism we have shown and continued to show police officers and law enforcement in general; especially when we think we have little fame, money and power.
No one’s above the law.
This is the time, Quincy B’s death, for the Sirleaf administration and future administrations to fund the Liberian Police and law enforcement, to do their job. This is also the time for the government to fund and strengthen the courts. A time also to fund and encourage driver’s education and the enforcement of drunk-driving and drug abuse laws.
I was one of those Liberians who was sadly glued to my cellphone watching the live streaming procession of his body leaving St. Moses’ funeral home in dignity, as he rests painlessly in his white funeral-mobile, and in his white suite.
The crowd that gathered at the funeral home to receive Quincy B’s body was a huge crowd; and the messages of personal griefs that poured in shows the impact of the young man’s music on the country.
Quincy L. Burrowes will be buried on March 25.
Rest in Peace, Quincy B.
Rest in Peace, young man!