'Conscious' decision pays off
It WAs Beenie Man who, in the last decade, 'set the trend' for appearing onstage under a pre-announced alter ego, first performing on Western Consciousness and then Rebel Salute the following year as 'Ras Moses', his Rastafarian persona, which includes the use of his first name.
Worrell King of King of Kings Promotions, which stages Western Consciousness, says he took the 'Ras Moses' decision "because in every man chest there beats a heart. In every man and woman life there are many sides of them. When I look at Beenie Man's work, I saw two sides to his work. There is the conscious side and there is a side I in my lifestyle would call negative."
"Since I am not here to cast judgement, I decided to present the positive side," King said, noting that at one point in his life he would not have made the effort.
And, on the night of the show, King says Ras Moses "came, he saw, he conquered" in a 40-minute performance.
Prior to the show, he said, there were those who said it could not be done and also those, paying patrons as well as journalists, who came expecting to see Beenie Man and not Ras Moses. King says he never had a doubt about what would happen, as in their initial conversation Beenie Man's reaction told him that he would deliver what was required.
King does not think that it is hypocritical for performers to present their sanitised persona for one event and then continue as they had been doing previously for subsequent shows. He said that there are those performers for whom an effort is required to get something good out of them.
"Beenie Man was asked to give that performance by a promoter and he fulfilled it," King said, adding that he believes if more performers are asked to conform in this way they will.
He said that while it is not his business to determine someone's behaviour offstage, "it is of me to request of an artiste what I want to be presented onstage".
Kind adds that "if I had the opportunity and the privilege I would have thrown the Gaza into the Gully and when they climax, they climax in this beautiful stream, a stream that is as white as snow, a purified stream. That is what I would love to present".
Sixteen years ago, King also put on the other side of Lady Saw at the Bob Marley Entertainment Centre in MoBay, St James. The concert, Reggae Ruption, held on January 1, 1994, was billed with the caption 'Conscious Side' for Saw. Tony Rebel, Buju Banton, Yasus Afari, Marcia Griffiths, Wayne Wonder and Mykal Roze also performed at that event.
Lady Saw agreed to the type of performance which was requested and King says "she did 20 minutes of solid, clean presentation which was loved by everyone". When she left the stage, though, the MC asked the crowd if they wanted the other side of Lady Saw and reintroduced her. The 'other side' was duly delivered.
King also points out that even before then, on December 2, 1987, when he had Pinchers perform in Savanna-la-Mar, Westmoreland, for the first time, on the Musical Revival concert, he was asked not to do songs such as Siddung Pon It and Agony. Pinchers will also perform on Pepsi Rebel Salute 2010.