Mel Cooke, Gleaner Writer
From left, Bragga Dat, Patrick Roberts, Clyde McKenzie and Copeland Forbes have a good time at the launch of Sting at The Jamaica Pegasus hotel on Tuesday. - Peta-Gaye Clachar/Staff Photographer
MANY OF the ladies who turned out on Tuesday evening were dolled up to show their assets to best advantage, while the Sting and Monster Energy Drink ladies let it all hang out. Goddy Goddy prayed emphatically and insisted on an "Amen!" from all. There were cheers as Ninja Man let Shabba and Supercat have it, Bounty Killer stormed on stage with 'peoooopleee dead!' and Mavado and Vybz Kartel appeared side by side - all on the big screen.
In the flesh, Kartel commanded lyrically "don' throw no bottle a Sting, jus' buy out the bar". The capacity crowd at the Talk of the Town, Jamaica Pegasus Hotel, New Kingston, whooped - and it was only the launch of Sting's 25th anniversary, dubbed 'The Final Frontier, the Settlement of all Argument'.
On December 26, when the real thing unfolds at Jam World, Portmore, St Catherine, the 'Biggest One Night Show on Earth' will end with the 'Dancehall's Baddest' segment, with Ninja Man, Beenie Man, Bounty Killer, Mavado and Vybz Kartel. And while on Tuesday night no one officially said that there would be a clash, the closing line-up, the show's subtitle and the ongoing lyrical conflict between Mavado and Kartel has whetted the appetite for an epic 'final confrontation'.
Big Mac, who hosted the launch, said "Sting is the only entertainment event that has been held on the same date for 24 years in this hemisphere", while Supreme Promotions boss Isaiah Laing said "when I started Sting, I never dreamt it would become the giant it is now.
"There have been many successes and challenges," he said, thanking all, but especially the loyal fans.
University of the West Indies lecturer, Dr Donna Hope, said the 'silver anniversary' Sting staging is a landmark in the show's history and dancehall culture. "Everybody is looking forward to the settlement of some serious argument," she said. "A lot of people are looking forward to the settlement of the Mavado/Kartel argument, which is long overdue. And there are some minor arguments."
Hope made it clear that 'lyrical jousting' is the order of the day and, "at the end of it, we are all dancehall people. We must respect the dancehall, take care of it, don't mash it down".
Hope closed by urging that on Sting 25 be kept lyrical and not get physical.
Other Sting 25 segments are 'Dancehall's Starters', where Black Judah is among the performers, while Charley Black, Flippa Mafia and Shane-O are part of 'Dancehall's Future'. 'Dancehall's Divas' include Lady Patra, Lady G and Junie Plati-num, with TNT and Spice among the 'Dancehall's Trendsetters'. Goddy Goddy and DJ Nicholas are part of the 'True Believers', with I-Octane, Serani, Terry Linen, Etana and Queen Ifrica in the 'Dancehall's Coolest' section.
Kartel reaffirmed the stringent security measures, among which is that no entourages would be allowed on stage, saying that there will be "about 100 police around the stage alone". There were chuckles when he said there would also be police in the crowd "looking for unscrupulous people".
"Just keep this Sting as peaceful and amicable as possible," he urged.
Among the sponsors whose representatives spoke on Tuesday evening were Wisynco, Cariblink and Monster Energy Drink, while Island Stubs' Noelle Nichols announced a deal with The STAR. When Sting tickets go on sale December 19, anyone who buys a copy of The STAR and takes it to an Island Stubs outlet will get big Sting ticket discounts.
The regular prices are $1,500 pre-sold and $2,000 at the gate for regular admission and $5,000 for the VIP section.
Mayor of Portmore, Keith Hinds said he was taking his dancing shoes along to the concert and Renato Adams warned the hooligans "we have you on our database".