Daddy U Roy's crowning moment

BY HOWARD CAMPBELL
Observer senior writer

Wednesday, December 04, 2019

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TO be crowned in dancehall culture is akin to a royal coronation. The greats, including Clement “Coxson” Dodd, Prince Buster, and Osbourne “King Tubbys” Ruddock, are among the adorned.

The latest to receive such an honour is U Roy, who was crowned last Friday by none other than Shabba Ranks at Club Amazura in Queens, New York. Occasion was the REEEWIND event, staged by veteran New York promoters, Irish and Chin.

The Grammy-winning Shabba, who performed on U Roy's Stur Gav sound system early in his career, made an impromptu appearance. He put a velvet cape around the 78-year-old deejay, then placed a dazzling crown on his head.

It was an emotional moment for the unsuspecting U Roy, who shed tears as the packed house cheered.

“To di godfather of di music, di father who set it! Di greatest deejay of all times! God greatest creation toward our music. We will never, ever, ever, ever si or have another man fi represent di music like Daddy Roy,” Shabba declared. “Daddy Roy is di Picasso of our music.”

REEEWIND was first held in 2009. Shabba Ranks, Sugar Minott, Admiral Bailey, Barrington Levy, Frankie Paul, Tiger, Sanchez, Freddie McGregor and Beenie Man are some of the artistes who have performed at the event.

Garfield “Chin” Bourne of Irish and Chin, said given Shabba Ranks' respect for dancehall's pioneers, it was fitting that he crown U Roy.

“Shabba Ranks has always paid homage to the elders of dancehall culture and as an icon in his own right, he continues to earn the respect of older and younger generations, and in so doing, he was best suited for ceremonially crowning Daddy U-Roy.”

U Roy (Ewart Beckford) is one of dancehall's most influential figures. He started his career in the 1960s on sound systems, and hit the charts in the early 1970s as a toaster on popular hit songs like Wear You to The Ball (alongside John Holt) and Tom Drunk (with Hopeton Lewis).

As founder of Stur Gav, he exposed aspiring talent including Josey Wales, Charlie Chaplin, Frankie Paul, Tenor Saw and Early B. Stur Gav has been an integral part of REEEWIND since its inception.


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