Sat | May 27, 2023

As Tony Rebel turns 60, it is a ‘day of reflection’

Makes hilarious TikTok debut with his kids

Published:Saturday | January 15, 2022 | 12:09 AMYasmine Peru/Senior Gleaner Writer -
Tony Rebel and his children in a 2018 file photograph.
Tony Rebel and his children in a 2018 file photograph.
Tony Rebel, who celebrates his 60th birthday today, says he will be in a ‘retrospective mode’.
Tony Rebel, who celebrates his 60th birthday today, says he will be in a ‘retrospective mode’.

When The Gleaner linked up with Tony Rebel, the first question we asked him was, ‘What do you want to tell Joe Byron right now?’

It was actually a no-brainer. It is January 2022 and Tony Rebel is enjoying himself immensely on TikTok. It is a whole vibe as Rebel, Queen Ifrica and two of the kids are seen on his Instagram page energetically performing a popular TikTok routine, using a plastic bottle as a microphone as they mime the latest viral meme on social media.

With lots of attitude, Rebel’s daughter asks her father, “What do you want to tell Joe Byron right now?” and hands him the makeshift mic. He answers cheekily, “What’s up baby and take me out to dinner.”

“Mi pickney dem draw mi out!” he responded in between bursts of laughter. “A dem have me a star pon TikTok.”

The newly minted radio talk-show host, who celebrates his 60th birthday today, was actually chilling on the eve of his ‘Earthstrong’.

It is something that the entertainer/promoter has not had time to do in decades. Normally, this would either be the day of his annual roots reggae festival Rebel Salute or a day of intense preparation for the super successful event. This year, owing to the pandemic, the event has taken a sabbatical and ‘Saluters’ from all corners of the world will not descend on St Ann in droves, as would be the norm for this weekend.

“This year, for my birthday, I will be in a retrospective mode,” he shared. “I will sit back and look at my past 59 years and see how well I have lived it. There will be no celebration, but the youths dem going to want to do something,” Rebel shared.

He added, “I have really worked hard and worked all the days of my life. I am always working on my birthday during Rebel Salute. Sometimes I even forget it’s my birthday until someone says, ‘Happy Birthday’. But Jewels always has a cake and a party for me after the international media launch. Sometimes dem trick me to go over there, and when I reach, I see birthday things set up.”

Rebel, who hosts the programme, Rasperience on The Bridge 99FM – using his aka Lalibela – shares his January 15 birthday with many persons in the entertainment industry and the great Martin Luther King.

“The [ones] I know of are Sister Carol, Yellowman, Sidney Mills from Steel Pulse, Ilawe and MLK. I always take the song that Stevie Wonder did for Martin Luther King’s birthday and make it mine,” he shared.

The Rebel Salute founder is confident that he is doing the right thing by not hosting the event this year.

“We just want to take the time to plan and prepare for 2023. It would be irresponsible for us to host a live event at this time, and the thing with Rebel Salute is that the physical aspect is very important. We hope that, by next year, Omicron and the whole of him generation get wipe out. To the fans, we say, we hear you, and we are thinking about you.”