Shabba's glory a boon for Jamaica
THE EDITOR, Sir:
One of the central features of our annual National Heroes Day celebrations is the recognition of those who have made noteworthy contributions to the various sectors of our society. It is always inspiring to watch the ceremony of investiture and awards, as it evokes a sense of admiration and national pride in many Jamaicans.
While numerous recipients emerged, this year, from traditional fields like medicine, religion and politics, it was a real pleasure to see Rexton Ralston Fernando Gordon, more popularly known as 'Shabba Ranks', being included in this year's cohort for his indelible contribution to dancehall music.
Although it has a negative stigma attached to it, dancehall music is a connector that unifies the masses. Shabba's award of the Order of Distinction (Officer Class) is indeed an honour to the music sector and it speaks volumes to the high levels of talent generated locally.
While he has been internationally recognised, having received two Grammy Awards for Best Reggae Album - As Raw as Ever (1992) and
X-tra Naked (1993) - this award from his country of birth is indeed significant, as it highlights the fact that we are able to identify the genius of those among us.
Undoubtedly, the lyrics may sometimes be 'raw', but the underlying message unearths some of the core realities reflected in our society.
I think that Shabba's golden moment is a catalyst that should absolutely drive the contemporaries of dancehall music to utilise their talents in a manner that will leave a memorable impression upon society. I also implore them to run with the mantle that has been passed and continue to strengthen one of the nation's unshakeable pillars - dancehall music.
SUZETE ELISIA WILKIE