Sun | Dec 4, 2016

Dennis Brown's kindness made him a fan favourite

Published:Sunday | February 8, 2015 | 12:00 AM

Curtis Campbell, Sunday Gleaner Writer

Junior Lincoln, chairman of the Dennis Brown Trust, says the late reggae great was one of the most loved reggae/lovers rock artistes of his time. According to Lincoln, 'The Crown Prince of Reggae' was widely loved because of his personality and his ability to inspire others.

Dennis Brown's concert/celebration already outgrew two venues and is now held at the Kingston waterfront annually. Also a former manager of Dennis Brown, Lincoln believes the love musicians and fans had for Dennis Brown has manifested in their support for the event, which celebrates his life and work.

"They support Dennis Brown because he was the most loved artiste that Jamaica has produced. Bob Marley was recognised and respected, but Dennis Brown was loved because of the type of person that he was. I used to manage and publish for him and was also like a father figure, so I can tell you that," he said.

Tommy Cowan, another former manager of Brown, also confirmed Lincoln's views of the legend, as he described Brown as being abnormally kind-hearted.

"You would give Dennis his money and he would go by Orange Street and by the time he returns he will tell you that the 'cookie jar' is empty because he gave it away to the people. So we made sure to always make his car payments on time. I never knew why he gave back so much to the people. But I think it's a part of his temperament, it was just natural for him to give and he got a level of joy in his spirit, just by helping somebody else," Cowan said.

The Dennis Brown concert will be held on February 22 and will be free to the public. Lincoln also revealed that the event pulled more than 9,000 patrons last year, an estimate which he hopes to push to more than 12,000 this year. He also encouraged sponsors to join forces with the Dennis Brown Trust and JaRIA in order to finance the production of the event, as he highlighted that a lack of funding has always been a serious issue annually. However, the show must go on.

"The only problem that we face is sponsorship, but we always seem to pull through. We want to ask all sponsors to support the people, because they are the ones who support your products," he said.

Experiencing issues

Chairman of JaRIA, Ibo Cooper, told The Sunday Gleaner recently that the body was experiencing issues with securing sponsorship for its Reggae Month events. He also pointed out that money was being spent on foreign commodities which could otherwise be invested into the development of local resources.

The Dennis Brown concert will commence at 7 p.m., and will feature performances from several of Jamaica's esteemed musicians and recording artistes.

Dennis Brown started his professional career at age 11 and recorded more than 75 albums. His 1994 album, Light My Fire, was nominated for a Grammy Award, as was the last album recorded by Brown, Let Me Be The One (in 2001). His birthday was celebrated on February 1.

curtis.campbell@gleanerjm.com