Fri | Dec 3, 2021

Veteran DJ Tiger needs financial help but says ‘life is beautiful’

Artistes, producers reaching out

Published:Sunday | November 21, 2021 | 12:08 AMYasmine Peru - Sunday Gleaner Writer
DJ Tiger (left) and Johnny P in action at a past Irie Jam radio anniversary celebration in NYC.
DJ Tiger (left) and Johnny P in action at a past Irie Jam radio anniversary celebration in NYC.
Top: A Real Helping Hands campaign has been set up to raise funds for dancehall DJ Tiger who suffered a minor stroke two weeks ago and facing health challenges.
Top: A Real Helping Hands campaign has been set up to raise funds for dancehall DJ Tiger who suffered a minor stroke two weeks ago and facing health challenges.
Singer Anthony Malvo (left) and veteran deejay Tiger performing at Sting 2009 at Jamworld in Portmore, St Catherine.
Singer Anthony Malvo (left) and veteran deejay Tiger performing at Sting 2009 at Jamworld in Portmore, St Catherine.
DJ Tiger at the tribute concert, held in his honour in 2017.
DJ Tiger at the tribute concert, held in his honour in 2017.
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“It’s nice to be important, but it is more important to be nice,” DJ Tiger told The Sunday Gleaner, casually reeling off the lyrics in much the same tone and inflexion with which his real fans had become accustomed. Most importantly, there was just the merest hint of slurring.

“It is a miracle,” his daughter Rhia ‘Rhiality’ Jackson, who is his main caregiver, declared.

She explained that, since Tiger suffered a minor stroke two weeks ago, a Real Helping Hands page was set up for him, and many of his friends have been reaching out, which has made a world of difference.

“I am seeing him heal naturally. People have been calling him, visiting with him, and that makes him happy. It has affected him to the extent that he was walking slowly before, but yuh must see him now. It’s not about the money; it’s more the fact that he feels like who he is. For so long, he has been pushed under the carpet,” Jackson said.

However, she was not about to lament the failures of the past. Her mission now is to seek financial assistance for Tiger, who is facing mounting medical expenses.

“This man, him amaze me,” Rhia said with a soft laugh. “He is the same one who don’t want anybody to know he’s sick, but when he gets the calls from friends like George Phang and when Big Stone and Fantan Mojah come ‘round, and when Bounty reposted the Real Helping Hands appeal, he was so happy. He told me thanks. I did the appeal and then informed him, because I know he would veto it. But I told him, ‘Daddy, I can’t do it alone’. I am not yet getting money as an artiste, but I am blessed with a skill, so I can do hair. But that income, plus the very little that comes every three or so months from royalties, cannot suffice,” Jackson stated.

She noted that her father’s royalties situation was “a whole different story, but we are getting a lawyer to sort it out”.

Jackson shared that Tiger needs to do an ultrasound, a brain scan, some blood work, and visit the optometrist, as his eyesight seems to be failing.

The target is US$8,000. As of last Friday, US$1,430 had been raised on https://realhelpinghands.com/campaign/our-beloved-tiger-is-in-need/ with 100 days to go. Jackson also disclosed that a prominent deejay had made a contribution privately, rather than going on the platform where his name would be shown. “We are grateful to him. He knows who he is,” she said.

Tiger told The Sunday Gleaner that, despite everything, Tiger is simply “happy to be alive”.

“Life is beautiful. Little by little, I am getting there, and I am always giving thanks. My daughter is here with me; it’s just God works. I am not ready yet. I love having the energy and can work,” Tiger declared.

The veteran deejay, who has inspired legions of artistes, had a moment in the spotlight two months ago when he was among a few dancehall legends singled out by toaster, Buster Rhymes, as role models during Swizz Beatz’ birthday bash.

“I use to sit home, and I use to watch the [expletive] videotapes, I use to be, yow I wanna be like them!!!@iampapasan @ninjaman_music @professornuts @supercat_dondada @admiralbaliey @officialrankingtiger, dem man deh mi did a try be, everything wey me do me learn from dem man deh. So when I joke around on stage, I learned from them,” the rapper said.

Jackson said that, when she brought it to her father’s attention, he was overwhelmed.

“My father cried when I told him, and then we watched the video. That’s why I had to go and make the post for him on Instagram. He felt so good,” she stated.

The post stated, in part, “@bustarhymes thank you for acknowledging my work in this business (grateful), nuff love and respect every time King, you deserve a @recordingacademy for this speech my brother, dem say big man don’t cry yet it takes a real one to admit when something brings tears to dem eyes. Big ups to the few who mention my name in their mouth as part of their influence on their musical journey. I feel blessed, and these are the things that keeps me going, my family and my true fans. I love you. A special big up to @therealswizzz more life n blessings bredda, unlimited respect to @grunggaadzilla I never forget even if you did. It’s nice to be important, but it’s more important to be nice!!!!”

Last week, Bounty Killer, in reposting the Real Helping Hands information, stated, “As Jamaican entertainers, we really need to do a better job when it comes to the foundation of our music and to those who have worked so hard for it to be where it is now and still going seen. This is the real concern at hand right now; another fellow artiste needs help!!”

Born on July 6 1960, Tiger, whose real name is Norman Jackson, turned 61 this year. His discography includes hit songs such as Puppy Love, Wanga Gut, Come Back To Me and When.

In 1994, Tiger was at the heights of his career when he suffered a near-fatal accident while riding his bike on Hope Road, and has never fully recovered.

yasmine.peru@gleanerjm.com