Disney calls Shaggy into meeting

BY RICHARD JOHNSON
Observer senior reporter
johnsonr@jamaicaobserver.com

Tuesday, November 12, 2019

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Reggae artiste Shaggy is still basking in the success of The Little Mermaid Live, which aired on the American television network ABC last Tuesday.

The Jamaican-born act played Sebastian the crab in the TV event which experienced extremely high ratings, but there were anxious moments just days before the performance for the artiste known for songs including It Wasn't Me, Boombastic, Angel and Strength of a Woman.

Here in Jamaica came word that the funds raised at the biennial Shaggy & Friends charity concert last held in January of 2018 have yet to be handed over to the sole beneficiary, the Bustmante Hospital for Children.

This raised red flags for the executives at Disney, who were behind The Little Mermaid Live.

“Sunday morning, me get a call from my publicist while I was in Los Angeles telling me that they spoke to the Disney publicist and I need to explain this $100 million. This led me into a meeting with them. Luckily enough, I could explain myself and I have a great relationship with them and they have great faith in me. This came out conveniently three days before The Little Mermaid aired, so you can imagine how that affected not just the brand but my relationship in moving forward in the business,” said Shaggy.

He noted that it was a distraction he didn't need at this time. Shaggy shared that he told his team that he did not want to hear anything about Shaggy & Friends and he had to focus on The Little Mermaid.

“ I said let's just calm down and breathe easy. Let me get through this. I was doing a live television show and I'm trying to learn a song... and Im sitting there looking at the head of Disney and the head of MGM; that was a little bit of pressure.”

“It was nerve-wracking, especially for the first song. I don't usually get nervous for things like this, but it was tough. It was the first time I was doing anything like this. I have never done anything in theatre or close to this. But I figured if I'm gonna jump off a cliff, might as well I jump off with Disney, because they are the best at it, so I just ran with it,” he shared.

Meanwhile, following the airing of the show, Shaggy's outfit came in for its fair share of criticism on social media. Many argued that the red jacket, trousers and shoes bore no likeness to the character.

Shaggy explained that initially the costume had other elements, but these were scrapped ahead of the live telecast.

“We had a hair piece at first and glasses and claws. I actually posted the claws on my Instagram. In rehearsals going through after a couple of takes somebody high up in Disney decided that no. They came to me and the director Hamish [Hamilton] looked at me and said I want that Shaggy thing. I don't want to cover your eyes, I don't want to cover your ears; I want Shaggy. I want that big smile and that Shaggy thing, and I just went ahead and did my best,” he expressed.


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