Grand farewell for Toya
AS the white hearse pulled up to the Hagley Park Seventh-day Adventist Church in Kingston yesterday, scores of mourners and fans gathered to get a final glimpse of entertainer Latoya 'Toya' Jackson.
She was a fashionista to the end. The singjay was clad in a short white dress with white stockings and stilettos.
Jackson died in the United States in May from diabetic complications. The 30-year-old had been ailing for nearly two years.
Josef Bogdanovich, her husband and CEO of Downsound Records, clutched their son Joseph, as he stared at Jackson's body.
'Joe Loves You' and 'Boss Lady Toya' were some of the words on the numerous wreaths placed by her casket.
When officiating minister Bishop Dr GG Cooper began the service, it was a mixture of tears and laughter as those closest to Toya reflected on her life.
Her songwriting partner and close friend, Black Pearl, gave a tearful tribute.
"She was one of the best souls I have every met. She was fun-loving and she asked me to be her give-away father at her wedding. She was very straight-foward but very forgiving, and I know that her soul is safe as she got baptised before she passed away. She just slept away," he said.
Members of the congregation were moved to tears as singer Carlene Davis offered words of comfort through the song Been Through Enough.
Throughout the service, Bogdanovich was a picture of grief. Toya's mother, Crystal Gayle, sought comfort in prayer for her only daughter.
Kingsley Cooper, CEO of Pulse, delivered the eulogy. He described Toya as a "meaningful lady, who had a inner wisdom and insight".
"She was a dancehall fashionista who always looked out for those she loved. She was very vigilant when it came on to her husband. Whenever Joe would visit Washington Gardens and other places she would call his chief of security to ensure he was OK. Joe didn't know that, but she always did," he said.
Cooper said that while Toya got a 'fight' from other women in the industry, she remained focused.
"Toya was dancehall. She recorded over 20 songs for Downsound Records and worked hard at promoting her fashion brand," Cooper said.
Delano Graham, cousin of the deceased, concurred with Cooper, saying that 'Toya was always the vibes of the party' who was a 'mother figure' in his life.
Tributes also came from dancehall artiste Harry Toddler, who said "Toya's death reunited the Downsound Records camp". Among the mourners were Ninja Man, Fantan Mojah, British Link Up's Owen 'Roy Fowl' Clarke, and Supreme Promotion's Isaiah Laing.
Interment followed at Dovecot Memorial Park in St Catherine.
-- Simone Morgan