Diamond Queen cries for the youth
Diamond Queen

TWENTY years. That is how long ago Diamond Queen wrote a song calling on society to protect children and present more opportunities for the youth.

In late July, she finally released Mama's Cry, a rootsy, self-produced single. It is her first song as a solo artiste, after making a name with dance group Sha-Lor in the 1980s and 1990s.

Though two decades in the making, Diamond Queen says the message of Mama's Cry is relevant considering the global plight of children, even in first world countries.

"Our 'modern societies' are extremely careless when it comes to the care, compassion, love, safety and unity! It takes the villages/villagers to ensure our children and youths get a fair chance in life, though many times life's not fair," she told the Jamaica Observer. "For 20 years Mama's Cry, like many others in the womb, have been in incubation, patiently waiting for the time of their birth."

Diamond Queen chose an old-school, roots-reggae feel for her solo debut, to complement the song's sensitive topic. According to her, "I needed to sound as true to the actual recording as possible."

That sound is worlds apart from the tracks she made with Sha-Lor. I'm in Love and My Love (Has Gone Away) were club jammers that earned that duo a following in their hometown New York City, and Europe.

Born Sharmelle John in Kingston, Diamond Queen migrated to the United States at age eight. The music of artistes from her homeland, such as Bob Marley and Dennis Brown, were constant in New York City's boroughs. She counts them along with Buju Banton, Sanchez, Michael Jackson, Whitney Houston, Mahalia Jackson and CeCe Winans among her biggest influences.

The sound may be different from her Sha-Lor days, but Diamond Queen hopes Mama's Cry will have a similar impact with fans.

"I have no limitation for Mama's Cry, because it is a song that speaks to the entire world about the well-being and upliftment of children in particular, and the state of our present humanity. So, I am expecting [it] to be universally loved and appreciated by the masses," she said.

Howard Campbell

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