Etika

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Etika
Etika in 2019 - 2.jpg
Amofah in May 2019
Personal information
BornDesmond Daniel Amofah
(1990-05-12)May 12, 1990
Brooklyn, New York, U.S.
Diedc. June 19, 2019(2019-06-19) (aged 29)
Manhattan, New York, U.S.
EducationUrban Assembly School for Law and Justice
Occupation
Height6 ft 6 in (1.98 m)[1][2]
Partner(s)Christine Alice (ex-girlfriend)
Parent(s)Owuraku Amofah (father)
Sabrina Amofah (mother)
RelativesRandy Amofah (brother)
Cardinal Valery (half-brother)
Websiteetikaworldnetwork.com
YouTube information
Also known asIceman
Channel
Years active2011–2015 (model)
2012–2019 (YouTuber)
Genre
Subscribers1.3 million (combined)[3]
Total views145 million (combined)[3]
NetworkIndependent
Catchphrase(s)Take care of yourselves, and of course, as usual, please have yourself a damn good one.
YouTube Silver Play Button 2.svg 100,000 subscribers 2015

Desmond Daniel Amofah (May 12, 1990 – c. June 19, 2019), better known by his online alias Etika, was an American YouTube personality, online streamer, rapper and model, best known for his highly energetic reactions to Super Smash Bros. character reveals and Nintendo Direct presentations, and for playing and reacting to various games. A son of Ghanaian politician Owuraku Amofah, he was a resident of Brooklyn, New York for most of his life, and worked as a model and rapper before becoming a YouTube personality.

Amofah began his YouTube career in 2006, creating the account "TR1Iceman". He created his main YouTube channel "EWNetwork" (meaning "Etika World Network") in July 2012. His fanbase is known as the JOYCONBOYZ, named after the Nintendo Switch controller, the Joy-Con.[4] He became popular after the release of Super Smash Bros. for Nintendo 3DS and Wii U, through his videos where he often discussed elements and new developments regarding the game. His channel consisted largely of stream material, namely playthroughs of recently released games and reactions to trailers, alongside additional edited videos.[5]

In October 2018, his YouTube channel and social media accounts were removed after Amofah had a breakdown and uploaded pornography to his YouTube channel.[6] After apologising on his subreddit r/EtikaRedditNetwork, Amofah created the channel "EtikaFRFX", which would also be removed in April 2019 after Amofah uploaded pornography to that channel as well. He then had a series of breakdowns and was detained by police, which was streamed live to his Instagram followers. His last two channels were "TR1Iceman" and "E Live".[7] During the last few months of his life, Amofah showed signs of mental illness and threatened to commit suicide on multiple occasions.[8]

Amofah disappeared on the evening of June 19, 2019, after uploading an apologetic video on his "TR1Iceman" channel in which he admitted to being mentally ill and suicidal. He committed suicide after the video was uploaded. Following the discovery of his belongings on the pedestrian walkway of the Manhattan Bridge, Amofah's body was discovered in the East River on June 24, 2019 by the New York City Police Department. On June 26, 2019, the Office of Chief Medical Examiner concluded that Amofah had drowned after jumping off the Manhattan Bridge.[9]

Early life[edit]

Desmond Daniel Amofah was born on May 12, 1990,[10] in Brooklyn, New York, to father Owuraku Amofah, a Ghanaian politician and lawyer from Kibi, Ghana,[11] and mother Sabrina Amofah. His great uncle was Nana Akufo-Addo, who has served as President of Ghana since 7 January 2017. Amofah had several siblings, including an older brother, Randy Amofah (August 14, 1982) – October 31, 2010), who died from an asthma attack.[12][13] He also had a half-brother, Cardinal Valery, who has a YouTube account named "IAM9INE".[14]

Amofah attended the public school Shell Bank Junior High School for one year, and was pulled out of the school by his mother after Amofah got in several fights with other students.[15] In a 2018 livestream, Amofah stated that his craziest fight took place at Shell Bank, in which he and another student had an intense fight, though they later became friends afterwards.[16]

Amofah attended Urban Assembly School for Law and Justice (SLJ), a small law-themed college preparatory public high school, and graduated from there in 2008. While he attended the school, Amofah made several DVDs in a series called "SLJ FAM."[17] He was also in a club known as the Free Food Mafia.[18] Amofah attended the SLJ reunion 10 years after graduation.[19]

Career[edit]

Modeling and Rapping[edit]

Amofah was active in modeling and rapping, having released an independently produced mixtape titled Written in Ice in 2007 under his pseudonym "Iceman".[20][21] In 2008, Amofah participated in two Grind Time Now rap battles.[22][23]

Amofah started modeling in 2011 and continued until 2015. He owned an account on the website Model Mayhem, where he stated he was "quite tall" and that his last measurement of height was six feet, six inches."[24][25][26]

Amofah stated in a tweet that the name Etika came from the 2003 video game Sonic Battle, as he was a fan of the Sonic the Hedgehog series in his youth. In the game, players could input a cheat code titled "EkiTa", and when Amofah was 12, he simply switched the T and the K to create his username as he "liked that result better".[27] He grew a high top fade after playing Grand Theft Auto: San Andreas.[28]

YouTube[edit]

Having previously used the YouTube account "TR1Iceman" since 2006, Amofah created a new YouTube account in 2012 to broadcast his gaming and reaction streams, under his original username "EWNetwork". It was originally planned for the channel's content to be produced collaboratively by a variety of users including Amofah himself, but such plans never materialized.[29] Prior to the closure of his main channel on YouTube in 2018, he had more than 800,000 subscribers between his YouTube and Twitch channels, and within months after creating a second YouTube channel, known as "EtikaFRFX", he had gained more than 130,000 subscribers.[30][31]

Amofah's content was typically Nintendo-focused.[32] He frequently streamed reactions, often over-the-top, to Nintendo Direct presentations, which usually involved him screaming and falling out of his chair in elated shock, and tossing objects in his room around.[33] One of Amofah's most famous reactions was his reaction to Mewtwo being revealed as a fighter in Super Smash Bros. for Nintendo 3DS and Wii U, during which Amofah excitedly screams "Mewtwo!" several times. The video was Amofah's most viewed video on his "EWNetwork" channel, and the reaction was retweeted by Masahiro Sakurai.[34][35] Amofah's last Smash Bros reaction was his reaction to the reveal of Banjo & Kazooie in Super Smash Bros. Ultimate.[36] He was given the "Best Reaction" award at Super Smash Con's 2018 and 2019 iterations.[37]

Amofah dubbed his fans the "JOYCONBOYZ", after the Nintendo Switch controllers known as the Joy-Con,[30] and would frequently end his videos with his signature catchphrase "Take care of yourself, and of course, as usual, please have yourself a damn good one."[38] Despite focusing on Nintendo related content, Amofah also did playthroughs of indie games (e.g., Undertale, Deltarune and Doki Doki Literature Club!), and he also played on the Minecraft anarchy server 2b2t.[39] Amofah was also a fan of the anime and manga series JoJo's Bizarre Adventure, and did several livestreams of him watching episodes of Battle Tendency while giving commentary.[40]

Amofah briefly changed his channel name to "Young Ramsay" in 2015 after cooking scallops, having been inspired by the celebrity chef Gordon Ramsay. Soon afterwards, Ramsay himself followed Amofah on Twitter.[41] In June 2017, Amofah did a livestream of him browsing the deep web, and received an unexpected phone call on his personal phone number after ending the stream, which made Amofah feel uncomfortable and not want to go on the deep web anymore.[42] On December 24, 2018, Amofah did a 5 hour Christmas livestream which featured himself dressed as Santa Claus.[43]

Controversies[edit]

Fake Nintendo Switch and Fake Donations[edit]

In November 2016, two videos of Amofah's where he purported to have a Nintendo Switch console before its 2017 release gained notoriety and were scrutinized by fans. It was later revealed that the model Amofah was using was 3D-printed by fellow YouTuber "Sandqvist" at his request.[32][44][45]

In June 2017, Amofah revealed himself to be the victim of multiple "fake donations", or "chargebacks" of large amounts of money sent to his PayPal account via stream donations, which would jostle Amofah with hundreds of dollars in processing fees.[46]

Let my story be one that advises caution on too much of the social media shit, man. It can fuck you up. It can give you an image of what you want your life to be, and it can get blown completely out of proportion, dawg. Unfortunately, it consumed me and it made me forget about consequences to my actions. It made me forget that we have to pay for the things that we say. It made me forget that there are – there is weight behind words. I was so consumed with this great image that I had that I thought I was invulnerable with everything. I thought, 'oh, I'm destined for this, nothing can stop me'.

Amofah discusses the effect social media had on him.[29]

Channel terminations and breakdowns[edit]

On October 23, 2018, Amofah was temporarily suspended from Twitter for using the word nigga in a tweet. He responded to the suspension by uploading a video of himself frequently saying the word and defending himself for using it. Amofah stated that the word had been adopted by black people "from a tool of hatred into a form of love" and should no longer be treated as a racial slur. During the video, Amofah name-checked rappers Travis Scott and Drake, who use the word in their songs.[47][48] Two days later, Amofah uploaded pornography to his YouTube channel EWNetwork (then titled Etika), which violated YouTube's policies and consequently led to the channel's termination. He later had his second channel EtikaFRFX terminated in April 2019 for the same reason.[49][50] He was also banned from Twitch that year for using a homophobic slur during a stream.[51] Following the termination of his EWNetwork channel, Amofah posted cryptic messages to social media, including the statement "it's my turn to die", coupled with a screenshot of his terminated account. Several of his followers felt that the messages and posts were suicidal in nature, which quickly created a panic within his following.[49][52] Amofah took to social media that evening to confirm his well-being, along with other streamers who professed to having seen him safe and sound in person, so as to allay his followers' fears.[53] He later apologized on his subreddit r/EtikaRedditNetwork.[49] On October 29, 2018, Amofah confirmed on his Twitch stream that he purposefully deleted his channel due to the fact that he did not receive ad revenue from the channel.

On April 16, 2019, Amofah posted several tweets about ending his life, the first one stating "Savonarola! I'm going to kill myself! You lot certainly have already. Shame on you all, silly humans."[54] He then tweeted he would kill himself by shooting himself in the head, stating "I am about to shoot myself in the forehead, with a pistol I purchased from a gun shop in long island. Bury me in Broooooooooooooooooooooooooooooklyyyyyyyyyyyyyyyyyyyyyyyyyyynnnnnnnnnnnnnnnnnnnnnnnnnnnnnnnnnnnnnnnnnnnnnnnnnnnnnnn."[55] This tweet subsequently led to his arrest and hospitalization. Christine Cardona, who had dated Amofah from 2011 to 2017, confirmed his well-being, and that she had been "observing him all day".[56] Days later, he posted a photoshopped picture of himself holding a gun, which Cardona later confirmed was fake.

On April 29, after tweeting a vast quantity of cryptic messages, including homophobic and ethnic slurs (that were promptly deleted),[57] he blocked close friends of his and other YouTubers, including fellow YouTuber Sky Williams.[58][57][59] Later that day, he live-streamed himself being detained by police to over 19,000 viewers on Instagram Live, after a concerned fan notified police about his alarmingly erratic nature during a livestream.[60][61][62][63] Before being detained, Amofah shouted phrases and quotes from his apartment window, including the quote "The revolution will not be televised. Only felt," which he also posted to Twitter on several occasions.[64][65] Later that day, Amofah also did a livestream called "hi" on his channel "TR1Iceman", during which he played songs from the Playboi Carti album Die Lit for a couple of minutes without saying anything.[66][67]

On April 30, Amofah was interviewed by Keemstar on the YouTube channel "DramaAlert", in which he stated he was the "antichrist" and that he wanted to "purge all life".[61][68] Amofah was detained again later that same week for assaulting a police officer.[69] Later that day, Amofah did a livestream called "Stupid Monkey", during which he ate a carton of raw eggs and did several monkey noises without saying anything.[70]

Amofah's erratic behavior around this time led some of his followers to take the events preceding his suicide as a humorous performance by Amofah, rather than signs of him struggling with his mental health. The video where Amofah assaulted a police officer was posted online with the caption “LMFAOOOOOOOO,” and people who witnessed the event were laughing. During the majority of Amofah's livestreams, most of the people in the chat spammed clown emojis.[71]

The Venus Project[edit]

Amofah was a member and supporter of The Venus Project, a non-profit organisation created by Jacque Fresco. He referenced the Venus Project several times during his YouTube career.[72][73] This lead some fans to believe that either Amofah was in a cult or the Venus Project was a cult, both of which Amofah denied.[74]

Disappearance and death[edit]

Amofah in his last video, "I'm sorry", uploaded on June 19, 2019.

On midnight of June 20, 2019, a video titled "I'm sorry" was uploaded to Amofah's personal YouTube channel, "TR1Iceman".[52] In the video, Amofah admitted to having mental health issues, struggling with the attention he had gained from streaming and apologized for pushing people away from him.[29] He apologised to family, friends, and YouTubers Keemstar and Pokimane.[75] The description of the video contained a suicide note.[76] YouTube soon removed the video for violating its Community Guidelines, though Amofah's fans reposted the video to other outlets.[52] Amofah was last heard from at 8:36pm Eastern Time (ET) on June 19, commenting "Dope..." on the Travis Scott song 90210.[77][78] After leaving some of his personal belongings on the pedestrian walkway, Amofah jumped from the Manhattan Bridge and drowned.[79][80]

Amofah was reported missing to the New York Police Department (NYPD) the day after the "I'm sorry" video was uploaded.[81] While the NYPD began its own search, fellow Internet personalities and his fans tried to reach out to him to offer their help and show their appreciation for his work over the years.[82] On the night of June 19, the same day of Amofah's disappearance, his belongings were discovered on the pedestrian walkway of the Manhattan Bridge. They included a backpack, wallet, laptop bag, cell phone, a change of clothes and a Nintendo Switch.[83][84]

On the evening of June 24, a body was observed near Pier 16, approximately half a mile (0.8 km) down the East River from where Amofah's belongings were recovered, and reported to the NYPD.[30] By the morning of June 25, the NYPD and emergency medical services had recovered the body, confirmed it was Amofah, and stated that he was dead at the point of recovery.[85] The following day, the Office of Chief Medical Examiner confirmed the cause of death was suicide by drowning.[29][86] According to Amofah's ex-girlfriend Christine Alice, he actually died on June 22, 2019.[87]

Reactions[edit]

Amofah's death highlighted social media platforms' handling of posts by users who appear at risk with mental illness or who are contemplating suicide. YouTube, in removing Amofah's final video, stated that removal of such videos is standard practice to "reduce the potential for copycat acts of self-harm, videos that express suicidal ideation", and as part of this, sent information to Amofah's account related to national suicide hotlines in order to provide help.[50]

Following his death, several YouTubers posted tributes to Amofah on Twitter and YouTube.[88] PewDiePie was one of the first YouTubers to post a tribute to Amofah, stating that it's "hard to grasp that he’s actually gone" and that Amofah 'left us way too soon". James Charles stated his heart "is so so heavy hearing this news. I hope that the community FINALLY realizes that creators are human beings with real, valid feelings." Minecraft YouTuber FitMC, who collaborated with Amofah during his 2b2t playthrough, stated in a tweet that Amofah "changed streaming forever" and "showed how a streamer could effect people's lives."[89][90] The staff at YouTube also posted a tribute to Amofah on Twitter, stating "“We mourn the loss of Etika, a beloved member of our gaming creator community." Rapper Lil Nas X posted a tribute to Amofah, stating that he "didn’t know Amofah very well" but did know he "inspired many and made a lot of people very happy."[91] Amofah's half-brother Cardinal Valery stated that he only met Amofah a few times but was never disappointed", and ended the tweet by saying "We lost a good dude today."[92]

Mental health researchers found several videos Amofah had posted that showed evidence of his troubled state but were taken as jokes by some of his viewers, rather than as signs of mental illness. As a result, some took Amofah's final video as another joke and disregarded any concern over his well-being; Keemstar initially thought Amofah's final video was a pre-meditated publicity stunt, stating after Amofah's death, "I was never fully convinced that he was mentally ill or in trouble because of our private convos."[33][93] The aforementioned mental health researchers stressed the need to make more people on social media informed about the signs of mental illness, depression, and suicidal thoughts, so that they are able to recognize when people in a mindset similar to Amofah's are in danger and need support.[33][94] Keemstar briefly became a target of some of Amofah's fans, who blamed him for Amofah's suicide due to the "DramaAlert" interview and statements made in tweets prior to and following the interview. Amofah's mother wrote to these fans in attempts to assure them that Keemstar was in no way responsible for Amofah's death, stating that "Etika loved Keemstar's show" and only wanted to make a memorable appearance on it.[68] Despite this, Keemstar has still received blame for Amofah's death; In May 2020, Keemstar was accused of killing Amofah by Ethan Klein, and responded stating "I said some stuff that was completely stupid and wrong... but I did not kill this man."[95] He also stated that Amofah's friends and family told Klein to stop using Amofah's suicide to attack him.[96]

Legacy[edit]

Following Amofah's suicide, fans on Twitter and in emails asked that YouTube re-upload Amofah's final video to help memorialize him. A Change.org petition was started and initially garnered more than 380,000 signatures, but later dropped to 197,000 signatures after many fraudulent signatures from Internet bots were removed. It asked for Amofah's original channel to be restored to preserve his legacy.[52][97][82] Another Change.org petition with over a million signatures, which later dropped to more than 200,000 signatures for similar reasons, called for Amofah to be buried at YouTube headquarters, which he stated as his wish during an earlier livestream.[98][better source needed]

A memorial was erected on the Manhattan Bridge by Amofah's fans following his suicide in June 2019.

Fans erected a memorial on Amofah's behalf on the pedestrian walkway of the Manhattan Bridge, leaving letters, fan art, Twizzlers, Nintendo-related products and other memorabilia.[99]

On June 25, 2019, YouTuber Abe Hunter announced he was the owner and operator of Amofah's website,[100] and subsequently converted it into a fundraiser site where 100% of the profits were to be donated to the National Alliance on Mental Illness (NAMI) in Amofah's name.[101] On July 15, 2019, on behalf of the Joy-Con Boyz community, Abe Hunter donated the $11,315.25 raised in memory of Amofah.[102]

Following Amofah's death, his half-brother Cardinal Valery began The #Etikaforever Movement in Amofah's memory.[103][104]

On July 21, 2019, PewDiePie and American actor Jack Black started a fundraiser on the crowdfunding website GoFundMe for the NAMI. PewDiePie and Black streamed themselves playing Minecraft together to raise money for their fundraiser. PewDiePie himself donated $10,000, and raised over $30,000.[105][better source needed] A map art of Amofah was made on 2b2t in August 2019.[106]

YouTubers Abe Hunter and Double-A worked with mural artist BK Foxx and graffiti artists Kestaadm and JMZWalls to create a 40-feet long mural by November 2019 dedicated to Amofah in Bushwick, Brooklyn.[107] The mural was created to celebrate Amofah's life and to help bring awareness to mental health issues. The mural's location was added as a virtual "PokéStop" in the augmented reality game Pokémon Go in February 2020 after over 350,000 people requested Niantic to add it in memory of Amofah.[108]

In August 2019, an Indiegogo campaign was started on Amofah's behalf. The charity campaign was created to earn donations for The Jed Foundation. Contributors to the campaign received a custom-made pair of Etika-themed Joy-Con shells named "Etikons". The campaign had raised over $10,000 by the end of 2019. Additional Etikons had been made and sold online after the campaign, but according to the individual selling the shells, Nintendo had sent them a cease and desist letter around September 2020 demanding they halt all further sales of the remaining stock due to the use of trademarked terms on the shells. Nintendo subsequently received criticism for this decision.[109]

Amofah's Twitter account was hacked on August 24, 2019, which resulted in the account being suspended. The hacker wrote a series of offensive and disrespectful tweets, which gained mass backlash from Amofah's fans and friends. In response to the hacking, Twitter temporarily suspended Amofah's account, and reinstated it after the hacker's tweets were deleted.[110][111] On February 14, 2020, Amofah's twitter account was suspended a second time, but it was reinstated following requests from Amofah's fans.[112]

In February 2021, fans of Amofah pointed out that the second DLC Fighter Pass for Super Smash Bros. Ultimate is full of characters Amofah liked, including Pyra and Mythra from Xenoblade Chronicles 2.[113]

In May 2021, Amofah was added to Smash Bros by modders.[114]

See also[edit]

References[edit]

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