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SparkleYT Gaming USFlag MaleIcon 2006 IconDeceased YouTuber
Take care of yourself and of course, as usual, please have yourself a damn good one.

―Etika

Desmond Daniel Amofah[1] † (May 12, 1990 – June 2019 [aged 29]), better known online as Etika, was an American YouTuber and gaming commentator known for his streams and discussion videos about video games or other topics. Prior to his YouTube career, Desmond was an active rapper and model. He started his first YouTube channel in 2012, where he would upload gaming-related live streams. He became known for his reactions to Nintendo products and games, such as the Super Smash Bros. series. His fans are collectively known as the JoyCon Boyz (after the Nintendo Switch's Joy-Con controllers) and more recently, the 9 Gang.

After a string of mental breakdowns and mania induced episodes caused by bipolar disorder, Desmond posted a (presumably scheduled) video that appeared to resemble a suicide note on June 20, 2019, and was reported missing by police shortly thereafter. Desmond's body was found on June 24, 2019, but was not confirmed to be him until June 25, when he was pronounced dead by the NYPD.

Personal life

Desmond was born on May 12, 1990, in Brooklyn, New York, to father Owuraku Amofah, a Ghanaian politician and lawyer from Kibi, Ghana, and mother, Sabrina Amofah. Owuraku served as a member of the Parliament of Ghana for Abuakwa Central constituency from 1992 to 1996.   

Desmond had several siblings, including an older brother, Randy Amofah, who died on October 31, 2010, from an asthma attack while driving through a sandstorm in Ghana, according to Desmond's ex-girlfriend Christine Cardona.  

Modeling, branding and YouTube career

Prior to the Elixr branding, Desmond was active in modeling and rapping, having released an independently produced mixtape titled "Written In Ice" in 2007, under his pseudonym, "Iceman". He started modeling in 2011 and continued until 2015. Desmond stated in a tweet that the name Etika came from the 2003 video game Sonic Battle, of which he was a fan of in his youth. In the game, players could input a cheat code titled "EkiTa", and when Desmond was 12, he simply switched the 'T' and the 'K' to create his username as he "liked that result better." He started using YouTube to broadcast his gaming and reaction streams in 2012 under his original username "EWNetwork" (meaning "Etika World Network"). It was originally planned for the channel's content to be produced collaboratively by a variety of users including Desmond himself, but such plans never materialized. 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.

FRESH OF THE BLOCK

Desmond in 2007, when he was known as "Iceman Etika".

Desmond's content was typically described as Nintendo-focused. 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. He dubbed his fans the "Joy-Con Boyz", after the Nintendo Switch controllers are known as the Joy-Con and would frequently end his videos with his signature catchphrase "Take care of yourself. Have yourself a damn good one!" In November 2016, two videos of Desmond's where he purported to have a Nintendo Switch console before its 2017 release gained notoriety and were scrutinized by fans. It would eventually be learned the model Desmond was using was 3D-printed by fellow YouTuber "Sandqvist" at his request.

Controversy

First Mental Breakdown and Termination

Etika October 2018

Desmond on October 25, 2018, the same day as his first breakdown.

On October 25, 2018, Desmond's account was terminated for posting pornographic content and other Community Guidelines violations at around the same time. His Twitter and Facebook accounts were also inactive for unknown reasons. On October 26, 2018, it was reported by his ex-girlfriend Christine (Alice Pika) that he was sent to a mental hospital. On October 29, 2018, Desmond confirmed on his Twitch stream that he actually got his channel deleted on purpose due to the fact that he does not get ad revenue on the channel.

Second Mental Breakdown

On April 16, 2019, Desmond again began tweeting manically, including threats of suicide, similarly to his previous outburst 6 months prior. Once again, he posted a screenshot of his now-terminated YouTube channel EtikaFRFX, which he did by his own hand by uploading porn until YouTube took it down.

Desmond's ex-girlfriend Alice was with him at the time and documented what was happening. At one point, Desmond asked her to leave because "he's expecting people to show up at his house and it might not be safe with me there." Eventually, she contacted police, who restrained Etika and took him to a hospital.

Custody

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Desmond after being arrested by the police.

On April 29, 2019, while streaming on his Instagram Live account, the NYPD's Emergency Service Unit appeared outside Desmond's apartment window responding to a call from someone out of state (presumed to be a concerned fan). Streaming the event, Desmond repeatedly denied assistance from officers, requesting them to check his Instagram stream to verify he was "fine" and unarmed. Soon after, the SWAT team broke down his door and he was taken into police custody.

However, he was released several hours later. By the next day, Desmond uploaded a video to TR1IceMan, an alternate account, for the first time in 6 years.

Altercations with Police Officers

Etika

On May 1, 2019, Desmond got into an altercation with a police officer and was taken to a mental hospital. On May 14, Desmond returned to streaming and explained everything, saying that "everyone is a god" and saying that the police officer punched him when Desmond stuck the middle finger at him. Fans of Desmond were unsure of the situation and thought something was off.

Death

Etika - Desmond Amofah

Desmond in his "I'm sorry" video, shortly before committing suicide by jumping off the Manhattan Bridge.

On June 19, 2019, Desmond posted a video titled "I'm sorry", in which it seemed like he was talking about his impending suicide. Its description was called "a suicide letter" by Keemstar on Twitter. He had not said anything furthermore or given any update. His Discord moderators did apparently call his local police. The video has since been taken down by YouTube and later, it was reuploaded by Etika's fans to other outlets. He was also confirmed missing by the NYPD, in a tweet made at 6:39 PM on June 19, 2019.[2]

On June 22, 2019, the NYPD found several of Desmond's personal belongings, such as his wallet, cell phone, Nintendo Switch, laptop, and clothes at the Manhattan Bridge.

On the evening of June 24, 2019, a civilian alerted the NYPD to an unidentified body in the waters of the East River near Pier 16 located a half-mile away from the Manhattan Bridge.

It was reported Desmond died of suicide by drowning after jumping from the Manhattan Bridge, after a long battle with bipolar disorder, as per the NYPD on June 25, 2019, one day after his body was recovered in the East River in New York City (at the time, it was unconfirmed if it was Desmond or another individual).

Aftermath

Etika memorial

Memorial

After Desmond's death, the YouTube Creators Twitter account responded to his death, stating that the YouTube community is mourning the fact that it lost Desmond. Big YouTube stars such as PewDiePie and KSI also responded to the tragedy, wishing for Desmond to rest in peace. CoryxKenshin made a 7-minute video condoling Desmond and additionally talked about how YouTubers, especially every individual in the world, have to love each other to help each individual out, especially in hard times.

Following Desmond's suicide, fans on Twitter and in emails asked that YouTube re-upload Desmond'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 Desmond's original channel to be restored to preserve his legacy. Another Change.org petition with over a million signatures, which later dropped to more than 200,000 signatures for similar reasons, called for Desmond to be buried at YouTube headquarters, which he stated as his wish during an earlier live stream.

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

On June 25, 2019, YouTuber Abe Hunter announced he was the owner and operator of Desmond's website and converted it into a fundraiser site where 100% of the profits are donated to the National Alliance on Mental Illness (NAMI) in Desmond's name.[47] On July 15, 2019, on behalf of the JOYCONBOYZ community; Abe Hunter donated the $11,315.25 raised to the National Alliance on Mental Illness (NAMI) in memory of Desmond.

On July 21, 2019, YouTuber PewDiePie started a fundraiser on the crowdfunding website GoFundMe with American actor Jack Black for the National Alliance on Mental Illness (NAMI), due to the death of Desmond. PewDiePie and Black streamed themselves playing Minecraft together to raise money for their fundraiser. PewDiePie donated $10,000 to the fundraiser and raised over $30,000 for NAMI.

On August 13, 2019, an Indiegogo campaign was started on Desmond'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, dubbed "Etikons".

On November 6, 2019, it was revealed that after raising the initial $11,315.25 for National Alliance on Mental Illness (NAMI), YouTubers Abe Hunter and Double-A worked with Mural Artist BK FOXX, Graffiti artist Kestaadm and JMZWalls to create a 40-feet long mural dedicated to Desmond in Bushwick, Brooklyn. The mural was created to celebrate Desmond'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 Desmond.

Quotes

  • "BAYONETTA?"
  • "My d*ck!"
  • "What is going on guys. Etika from the Etika World Network here." (intro)
  • "I’ll talk to you in the next one. Take care of yourself. And of course, as usual, please have yourself a damn good one." (outro)
  • "If Wolf is not revealed at some point in the early January 2016, then I will literally make a sandwich out of my own ball sack, nuts included, and choke on that b*tch on camera, live. Quote me on that sh*t"
  • "Are you n*ggering me, right now?"
  • "Sounds like Xenoblade."
  • "Mewtwo!”
  • "I'm not a news channel."
  • "Sponz hype!"
  • "No b*tch n*ggas, no snitch n*ggas, no Twitch n*ggas, and no fake ass Switch n*ggas!"
  • "JOYCON BOYZ!"
  • "No, no, that's not the fight. That is not the fight. No, that's not the fight. That is not the f-cking fight right there, no it is not."
  • "You are not f*cking serious, chat, you are not f*cking serious. That is not what the f*ck the fight is, no no no, you- you are n*ggering me."
  • "WE DID IT! DETERMINATION!" (After beating Sans in Undertale)
  • "NOBODY SAW THIS COMING."
  • "FRESH OFF THE MOTHER F*CKIN' BLOCK"
  • "Backhand! Pimp style! N*gga action!"
  • "OH MAN"
  • "JOYCON MEN!"
  • "THERE'S A NUT BUTTON!"
  • "WHAT THE F*CK?!? HIS D*CK!!"
  • "SAAAAAAAAAANS?!?!?!!"
  • "THE REVOLUTION WILL NOT BE TELEVISED, ONLY FELT!"
  • "Hey guys, what's going on? It's me, the antichrist! I've come to purge the planet of all human life. I will be dropping nuclear missiles very, very soon on every single human being. Death means nothing! Why are you all so scared of death for? It means absolutely zero in the interim. Why do you think I made Trump president? We're about to get some fireworks real soon!"
  • "I'm gonna play a little bit of music from my favourite motherf*cking album right now. I love this album, it's incredible, it's game-changing, it's revolutionary, and it will help to the change the world. This is my favourite album. It's called... DUNDUNDADUNDUNDAAA DADADADAAAA DA DA DA! Die Lit!"
  • "No, this is my world! You are playing in my game! This is all me. Stop thinking so small, Dreamy Creamy Keemy."
  • "Incognegro"
  • "9 GANG!"
  • "Let me see her feet!!"
  • "JoJo is flamboyant masculinity!"
  • "Okay, this is great and all, but where the f*ck is Sans?"
  • "I'm sorry for betraying all of your trust. I'm sorry for the manipulative things I've done, and I'm sorry I never sought help for myself. I've made my bed, and now I've got to sleep in it. Please learn from my example. Don't be like me. Don't push away the people that care about you. I've always lived my life as a 🤡, so I guess that's all my "legacy" will amount up to. Don't let this social media shit consume you the way it did me. I pushed away and hurt so many of you. The good times however! MAN were they good. I've lived an incredible life filled with thrills and happiness. Even though I always was an odd ball out, I used that as my strength and brought together an incredible community of insane wild bois just like me. God I'll miss you all so much. 🖤 I was mentally troubled, and far to stoneheaded to admit it, far too stubborn to face it, and far too scared now to deal with it. God... I'm so sorry I hurt you all so badly. I'm so sorry I betrayed you all. I mislead so many of you, I manipulated, I lied, I shifted blame... I don't know what awaits me on the other side, but I'm ready to face it. As far as we know, there is no life after death. My time ends now, but if there is a way for me too, I'll send you all as many blessings as I can from the other side. 🖤😁 Thank you all for helping to making my life the incredible tale it was. ✨ I'm sorry it had to end on such a heartbreaking note. Though I know for SURE hella people are gonna prolly laugh at it LOL I just hope there's at least some fresh me-me's that come of it. I'm dying as a guy hated by a lot of people, so I know you all won't let me down haha. Well, that's my cue. Time for me to go. I mean this with every bit of my heart... Take care of yourselves, and of course, as usual, please have yourself a damn good one. 😁✨"

Trivia

  • Desmond was of mixed ancestry, his father is from Ghana and he had also taken an AncestryDNA test, showing he has French ancestry, as well as many others.​​​​​​
  • Desmond once got lost in South Carolina. During that time, he claimed to have possibly seen a supernatural ghost whisper to him in the video where he announced he got lost. He later made a tweet confirming he was okay and feeling merry about things. He also deleted the two videos that were related to the ghost and denies this event ever occurred.
  • Desmond briefly changed his channel name to Young Ramsay in 2015 after cooking scallops and being inspired by celebrity chef Gordon Ramsay, whom he renamed his channel temporarily after. Etika also referred to himself as Young Ramsay during that time as well. Soon afterward, Ramsay himself started following Etika on Twitter.
  • Desmond had a girlfriend named Christine (also known as Alice Pika), who often appeared in some of his videos. However, on February 3, 2017, Etika and Christine announced that they broke up.
  • Desmond didn't keep promises.
  • Desmond used to be a model until he started his YouTube channel.
  • Desmond won $25 from a lawsuit against Sony.
  • In the early 2000s, Desmond played Dr. Robotnik's Mean Bean Machine and reacted maniacally when it reappeared in the 2017 Sonic game, Sonic Mania, which he didn't seem to be very good at.
  • Desmond once used the Brooklyn Nets introduction video as his own intro, with him running around idiotically playing with his yo-yo and jumping on the ice. However, after the Nets declined, he abandoned the intro, due to his bandwagon status.
  • Desmond once choked on a sandwich whilst reacting to professional Smash Bros. player ZeRo's video "Peanuts".
  • Desmond was once formally known as "Iceman Etika", appearing on TV and participating in rap battles. He also produced tracks such as, "Written In Ice".
  • He once starred in a news report revealing the shocking truth that Subway Footlong Sandwiches are, in fact, not actually twelve inches.
  • Desmond had a cat named Bombay.
  • Desmond had four major waifus:
    • Red Robin; who appeared in Super Smash Bros. 4 as an alternate costume for the female Robin, a character who originated from Fire Emblem Awakening. People consider the costume for the female Robin to be based on Anna, a reoccurring character in the Fire Emblem series, as well as a reference to the restaurant of the same name.
    • Kamui (Corrin); the "Bare-Footed Waifu", who originated from Fire Emblem Fates. "Kamui" is the Japanese name for Corrin.
    • Pyra and Mythra; the Aegis blades of main protagonist Rex, and deuteragonists of Xenoblade Chronicles 2.
  • Desmond had an old YouTube channel under the name of TR1Iceman in which he created in 2006 (although, his first video on the channel wasn't until 2007). He used this channel before he switched to his main channel. This channel was the origin of the Iceman Etika meme.
    • Desmond re-used the account in 2019 to make a few videos after his main channel's termination.
  • Desmond got the inspiration for his main channel's name of Etika when coming up with it at 12 years old while playing Sonic Battle . It was inspired by the cheat code "EkiTa", which he found cool. 
  • Desmond was once caught playing Minecraft on one of his streams, which led a lot of his fans to accuse him of loving the game and even spamming "Desmond Loves Minecraft" multiple times in his streams.
  • Due to his signature haircut, Desmond earned the nickname Guile-kun (ガイルくん) in Japan for his resemblance to the character Guile from Street Fighter.
  • Desmond was a dedicated viewer of DramaAlert and one of his dreams was to be on the show, which he did fulfill.

Subscriber milestones

  • 100,000 subscribers: January 31, 2015
  • 200,000 subscribers: July 22, 2015
  • 300,000 subscribers: June 13, 2016
  • 400,000 subscribers: April 14, 2017
  • 500,000 subscribers: September 9, 2017
  • 600,000 subscribers: February 11, 2018
  • 700,000 subscribers: June 20, 2018
  • 800,000 subscribers: August 16, 2018

Gallery

References

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