Davina Henry, Staff Reporter
Gregory Isaacs lives on through foundation's charity work
Studio 38 was the last location the late Gregory Isaacs performed in Jamaica, so it was only fitting that it was chosen to host his birthday tribute party.
Many turned out to see reggae pioneers as well as up-and-coming stars pay homage to the 'Cool Ruler'.
'The Hat Affair', as the tribute was dubbed, did not disappoint. From the old to the young, many donned their felt hats and grooved the night away to some of Isaacs' classic songs.
Cocoa Tea, George Nooks, U-Roy, John Holt, Luciano, Big Yute, Mikey General, Noddy Virtue, Hezron and QQ were just some of the artistes who took to the stage to pay tribute to Isaacs.
Big Yute told the audience that Isaacs was the first person to put him on a record. Big Yute then launched into Hit the Road, Jack, much to the delight of the crowd.
U-Roy took to the stage with his signature line, "Wake the town and tell the people", which heightened the excitement of the crowd.
It was, however, when Strangejah Cole took to the stage that the crowd really became excited.
Cole launched into his ska moves and further excited the crowd with his song, When I Call Your Name, which had fans begging for an encore.
'The Messenger' Luciano told The Gleaner he and Isaacs were long-time friends so he had to come to pay his respects.
"Me and Mr Gregory Isaacs a go way back enuh, because Mr (Copeland) Forbes use to manage him and carry him on tour and Mr Forbes was my manager for many years also. We always link up on the road and from time to time we did shows together," Luciano told The Gleaner.
Luciano went on to say that just before Isaacs passed away he spoke to him via telephone.
"He said to me, 'Long life and prosperity', and those were the final words he left me with," Luciano said.
According to June-Anne, Gregory's wife, the tribute was part of the Gregory Isaacs Foundation.
"We started the foundation last year around the time of his birthday, and we launched the foundation to continue the charity work that he had started," she told The Gleaner.
The charities include Walker's Place of Safety on Lyndhurst Road and the Black Harmony and St Barnabas basic schools in Central Village and Fletcher's Land, respectively.
"We collected donations on the night of the tribute and we also received foodstuff, toys and clothing," June Ann said.
"I want to thank the artistes for their support, and thanks to everybody who helped us to help others," she said.