Gregory Issacs' celebrations moved to February
June Isaacs, wife of the late Gregory Isaacs, has confirmed that the annual celebrations associated with his birthday on July 15 has, for the past few years, been sidelined - owing to a number of factors.
She expanded in a recent interview, stating, "We are directing our tribute dates to February, because Sumfest begins on his birthday, and most of the acts that would want to pay tribute are contracted to work on other events here and overseas. It's the festival season overseas, and a lot of them are not here, so we decided to use February as it is a very popular month for most people - Valentine's, Red Roses, Black History Month and all that. Using that and Gregory's repertoire of love songs, and putting everything together, we decided that since he's 'the lover's rock man', we sey February we a do it."
What that means is that the annual Red Rose For Gregory show, which occurs on the Sunday closest to Valentine's Day, will become the signature celebratory event for Isaacs each year. Giving a sneak preview into next year's show, which will be the third staging, June mentions the names: Peabo Bryson, Regina Bell and several top local acts.
This year has already witnessed Red Rose For Gregory 2018, and plans were afoot to do a headstone modification to Gregory's grave on his birthday to accommodate the Order of Distinction, posthumously conferred upon him in 2016. However, that was deferred to his memorial date in October, owing to World Cup football.
CARRYING ON LEGACY
The Gregory Isaacs Foundation, which helps to fund such activities, was established shortly after his death on October 25, 2010. Administered by his widow June, it remains an integral part of his legacy and continues to fund several needy organisations, including schools and places of safety. Other donations come from the Gregory Isaacs Estate, Tad's International Records and organisations around the world.
Gregory continues to enjoy immense popularity and generate wild celebrations at home and abroad, especially on the anniversaries of his birth and death. Based on his record, he could easily rank in the top five all-time greats in reggae music, alongside other giants like Bob Marley, Dennis Brown and Jimmy Cliff.