Fri | Aug 14, 2020

Buju Banton - the father and comedian

Published:Sunday | December 9, 2018 | 12:00 AMStephanie Lyew/Gleaner Writer
Buju Banton
Jahazeil Myrie
Buju Banton reunited with his daughter Abigail upon his return to the island last Friday.
Jodian Myrie

Mark Anthony Myrie's children have a lot of lost time to make up for. Speaking to his daughter, Jodian Myrie, weeks before his release, she reiterated how special it would be for each of his 17 children.

Having been separated from her father for 10 years, Jodian - a politician who ran for the Jamaica Labour Party in local government elections in 2016, at 26 - told The Gleaner that her father was not pleased at first about her decision to join politics but is now accepting of it.

Considering the upbringing she and her siblings received from their father, it is not entirely surprising that she took an interest in politics.

"My father was never big on representational politics or anything to deal with it, and he was very outspoken about it. He has always supported Jamaica as a whole, but when it boils down to that divide, he does not partake in it. He is not even enumerated," she revealed.

"However, if any of us could not speak on economic topics or read the newspapers and the Bible fluently, the man would drive you up the wall at a simple stutter. But now, we - Shadai, Markus, and I - understand why," she said.

Jodian described her father as a disciplinarian first and shared that the one piece of advice he always gave was to 'be a leader not a follower'."


Good father


Lorna Strachan, the mother of five of Myrie's children, admits that like any man-woman relationship, disagreements were normal, but she hailed him as a good father. She had one child prior to meeting him - Tanisha Smith.

In a telephone interview, Strachan opened up about Myrie, whom she last saw in 2009. "It is a whole heap of us, but one thing is certain, he is a very good father. He is supportive where his kids are concerned and always made it a primary responsibility to be there for the births," said Strachan.

She said that no matter where the Grammy Award-winning artiste was in the world, he would find himself at the hospital when she was giving birth. In planning tours, she said, his manager was made aware that no shows were to be booked in the month or the month that followed the date any of his children were expected.

She recalled, "Jahazeil was born premature, and he left from another country with no money in his pocket, and when he landed, a JUTA bus driver (having recognised his face) offered to take him straight from the airport to the hospital even though he had no way to pay him."


Rib tickling memories


Jahazeil, 21, said the separation from his father was not challenging. "It was not hard for me as our mother is a strong woman. She continued to speak good things, cheer us up at the sight of us looking down, and motivated us," said Jahazeil.

The message his father always communicated to him was to keep the family close. "He is always preaching about the importance of family and is also very spiritual and that he has Jah in his corner," he said.

Following in his father's footsteps, the up-and-coming recording artiste said: "From I was a baby, he always, said I was going to do music, so I remember times when he took me on shows, and we would also remix old songs together," he said. "He is a good person, fun to be around, and is somewhat goofy," he continued.

He revealed that he feared it might be different when his father got back because he did not see the children transition into adults.

Jodian agreed with her brother, stating that her father was also a prankster.

"I remember an occasion where our grandmother nearly had a heart attack because of a prank he pulled at a family gathering. The man dressed up like Freddie Krueger (character from a scary movie) during a power cut, but by the time we realised he was missing and the light came back, he creeped up behind her to frighten her."


Gift exchange


The children have plans to shower their father with love, affection, and gifts, especially cake.

"If it is one thing I know he will want, it is cake," said Jodian. "He is a big cake eater. From him see cake him want it."

The children believe that to some extent, Myrie feels guilty for not being around for certain milestones but are sure he will make up for it.