Yellowman, Rosie and two of the children in 1984.
He was named Winston Foster, he called himself Yellowman and the people crowned him King Yellowman. He is the most toured deejay in history, the man who practically made dancehall with a marathon performance at Reggae Sunsplash - but who still has the Tastee Talent Contest close to his heart. He gave another marathon performance recently as he spoke with the Sunday Gleaner's Tanya Batson for...well, a pretty long time. Beginning today and alternating for the week in the Gleaner and THE STAR, Yellowman tells his story. All of it
TB: Tell me about your family.
Yellowman: Well... my family is more important to me, after God, you know. God come first, family after, then the people and then anything after the people you know. But--ahm--. in terms of family you know, the reason why I say dem important is because I grow up knowing no family, you know, no mother, no father, no brother, no sister, no uncle, no auntie, no cousin, nobody, no relative. Mi just grow up like a wild flower, you know.
B: Have you ever tried to find your parents or any relatives since growing up?
Yellowman: Well, I neva try y'know. They try to fin' me, but I don't know if dem is my family, because you have people who come from England an seh dem is my family. Some seh dem a mi auntie, some seh dem a mi madda, some seh dem a mi cousin you know, but all mi do is mi jus' say yeah, yeah, yeah an das it, you know.
TB: So tell me about the fact that five of your children all have names beginning with 'K'.
Yellowman: Well-- ahmm-- K is a big letter, y'know, an' an important letter in terms of capital word, like--ahhm kingdom, king y'know, kingston, y'know. Is a big letter y'know. So it important fi dem have a 'K' name.
TB: Do you think that the fact that you grew up an orphan pretty much affects how important your family is to you?
Yellowman: Yes! Because what I give dem now, I neva have nobody to give me dat. I have no parent to give me di love dat I am giving dem now, y'know. Because they are so important. The reason is because God bless me wid dem an wid dem madda, so y'know, it important to me to tek care a dem to the best of mi ability an mek sure dem live straight an live clean with people, y'know. In general y'know, 'specially older people dan dem.
So y'know das di reason why mi put dem eena good school das dem cyan get dem intelligence straight an dem education straight an mi even mek dem travel, das dem cyan see how odda people live, y'know an people who less fortunate dan dem, you see mi? Das dem don' grow up an 'ave a dirty min' against people who above dem in terms of livety. So y'know, mi try fi mek dem understand that good an bad is in di worl, y'know. Is which one you choose y'know. Mi waa dem choose di good part a life, y'know
TB: Tell me about your relationship with Rosie. You two have been together how many years now?
Yellowman: Well over 30 years, an we... we respeck each other in terms of y'know, we love each other an we try fi-- aahm, tek care a di children dem together y'know. An show dem di right way how dem mus' respeck... y'know. An' we respeck our children dem to, y'know, an' dem show we respeck to. But sometime when dem try cross di line we will straighten dem out still, but dat is part of growing up children.
TB: So would you say that you've managed to stay together all 30 years because of the respect you have for each other?
Yellowman: Well not really dat alone, y'know. Di children dem, y'know. Wi love our children to y'know, an we don' wan' dem grow like how me grow, y'know ... widout a madda, widout a fadda, so our love combine together fi dem. Is a big love fi dem, y'know. So, y'know, it great, y'know.
TB: So how do you balance your touring? Because you tour a lot, how do you balance that with your desire to be a good father?
Yellowman: Well, dem understand y'know. Di first ting dem understand an know dat my job is entertaining people an my job contain travelling. An dem know dat I have to travel to keep di house an di family economy together y'know. Like school fee, for instance, grocery, light, water y'know... phone y'know. Is not dat wi makin a lot a money... wi not makin a lot a money, but wi try fi ahhm ... stretch it an mek it comfortable in fi dem range, y'know.
Tomorrow in THE STAR, Yellowman speaks about his childhood.