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Call for 'D Brown' museum

Observer writer

Monday, February 03, 2020

As the evening sun set on Saturday, members of the entertainment fraternity gathered by the graveside of Dennis Brown to lay wreaths in his honour.

The singer would have turned 63 on February 1. Brown's former road manager and friend Trevor “Leggo Beast” Douglas wants to see more done to honour the Crown Prince of Reggae.

“I'd like to see the museum at Orange Street,” he told the Jamaica Observer. “I already sey it to di minister; 'Yuh know sey Miss Grange, yuh know I'd like a Dennis Brown Museum dung a Orange Street an' di last time shi sey, 'Leggo mi hear! Mi hear!' 'cause mi dung pon her. It can be done 'cause di place is there an' Heritage (Jamaica National Heritage Trust) can get any place them want. It can be done,” he furthered.

Grange refers to Minister of Entertainment and Culture Olivia “Babsy” Grange. She was absent from the event as the Government is currently at a Cabinet retreat in St Ann.

Orange Street in west Kingston and Dennis Brown are synonymous, as it is where he was born and came to national prominence.

Douglas, a popular figure on Orange Street, said Brown would have been appreciative of the ceremony which took place at National Heroes' Park in Kingston.

“He's a man weh 'satisful' with anything wah him get 'cause him sey 'satisfraction' is only a part of it. So him always thankful for whatever he receives,” he said.

Humility is one trait all who came across Dennis Brown agreed he had in abundance.

Asher Bookie, his lifelong friend, recalled his warm and welcoming personality.

“Mi know Dennis from before he was a star,” he told the Jamaica Observer. “He was one of the sweetest persons, so humble. Di years I know Dennis I never see him an' anybody had an argument. We toured di world. Di first time me an' Dennis go on a plane in 1977 that was one of first trip an' him sey: 'Bookie! Bookie! Europe! an' when him talk, him open his eyes with dat sparkle. Then wi grow an' find ourselves as Rastafarians an' we find di Twelve Tribes of Israel through Christ. Dennis to me was a brother an' a friend,” he expressed.

Bookie also recalled Brown's final words which are a testament to the singer's modesty.

“In his last days I was there, to his last breath. I was di one who brought him to di hospital an' was beside him di whole time. I remember his final words being: “Lord, mi know yuh haffi beat me. But tek time an' beat mi nuh, tek time an' beat mi,” Bookie recalled.

“He was a lovely brother — kind, gentle, full of charity. The righteous one perish an' no one take it to heart 'cause he is gone away from the evil to come, but the wicked man stay to further in his wicked ways! His [Dennis Brown] words live on,” he continued.

Brown was born on what is also observed as the first day of Reggae Month. He died on July 1, 1999 at age 42, celebrated as International Reggae Day.

His career began at age 11 with the hit song Lips of Wine for producer Derrick Harriott. He amassed a legacy of 80 albums inclusive of hit songs like Money in my Pocket, Wolves and Leopards, Here I Come, Revolution, Westbound Train and How Could I Leave.

Saturday's occasion also saw a performance from Brown's close friend, guitarist Earl “Chinna” Smith, and his Inna de Yard band.