You were my first best friend, my best man and the one to whom I would go for big brotherly advice, even though I am firstborn of this little football team of ours. I already miss your humour, your warmth, your wisdom. If I’m honest, I’m devastated. Aunt Mercy? Aunt Aba? Everyone I have spoken to in the family has been affected by your departure.
When I was worried about the kind of father I would be to your then unborn nephew Aris, I looked to you and to your friendship with Cass and I calmed right down. You gave me hope: if you could do it – and damn did you do it – then maybe I could do it too.
You were a little younger than Cass is now when you first started saying that you wanted to be a musician. We were in Cape Coast with Grandma, Aunt Grace, Uncles Kofi, Kobina and Kwame, and our cousins, Awuku, Boatema and Addo. Ebow, we’re the sons of African parents: you know you don’t just get up and decide to become a musician. But that’s exactly what you did. And I remain in complete awe of your utter stubbornness, your resilience, your commitment to full-flight creativity but – most of all – to your talent. You were fearless (or seemed so) in a way that I still aspire to be. Yours was a gift and – just like Mom – you shared your gift (your self) – as much as you could, to as many as you could, from the bottom to the top of your being. I am so proud of you. The whole family is so proud of you.
We spent so much of our adult lives separated by continents that I should be used to your not being physically near me. Yet I am not. And I doubt that I ever will be. But you are now one with the ancestors. With the universe. With Mom. I know you two have had a good catch up by now and that you’re probably laughing and – most of all – scheming. I’d love to see the cosmic strings you’re pulling; all the superpowers you’ve gained. The kind we used to geek about as two kids torn between London and Ayifua.
You are here.
In our family.
In our friends.
You are still here.
And so you had best believe that I will still call on you. And whenever I do so, I will end our conversations in the same way that we’ve always ended our conversations:
‘I love you, man.’
Because I do.
Text from my eulogy at Ebow’s funeral
Tributes & Obituaries
NME: A Humble Soul Who Transformed Onstage: a Tribute to My Wonderful Friend Ebow Graham of Foreign Beggars by Alicia Kirby
The Independent: “Ebow ‘Metropolis’ Graham: Trailblazing UK rapper and master of polemical verse”
NTS Radio: Elliott Yorke tribute mix by System Olympia (mother of their son: my supernephew Cassius) dedicated to his work under his Elliott Yorke producer pseudonym
(Goodness. I really miss you, man).