In honour of Jimmy
Jimmy Tucker

George Allen Jr, publicist for Street People Entertainment Inc and nephew of the late Jimmy Tucker, says an event slated tomorrow for his uncle's honour is also aimed at paying homage to Marcus Garvey following his 135th birthday on Wednesday.

"We chose to have it on the Marcus Garvey weekend because he [Jimmy] took up the mantle of Garvey's work. We thought that since Jimmy passed recently we didn't want to honour his legacy in the far future, so we chose to pair it with Garvey's birthday celebrations. With the blessings of Jimmy's wife Janet and the Garvey family, we are taking up the initiative that he left behind. Jimmy is a Jamaican's Jamaican. He embodied everything that is good about being Jamaican," Allen Jr told the Jamaica Observer's Splash.

Marcus Garvey was Jamaica's first national hero. He is renowned for his advocacy for black people around the world. He died on June 20, 1940, aged 52.

Meanwhile, Tucker — who was Jamaica's first child star — died on May 24 at his home in Fayetteville, Georgia. He was 80 years old.

There will be a six-a-side football tournament between 8:00 am and 6:00 pm at the Trench Town first street park in Kingston. First-place winners will walk away with $30,000.

The celebration will continue with a live concert in the evening at the Trench Town Multipurpose Centre that will be headlined by Ken Boothe.

Allen Jr added that not only was Tucker a musical great, but he also had immense influence in sports and theology, and therefore deserves to be remembered.

"Jimmy Tucker, my uncle, is recognised as a great patriot for his choices to sing patriotic and cultural songs about the Jamaican legacy. He has been awarded the Order of Distinction and Lady Musgrave Silver Award, but those are almost secondary. No disrespect to the people that gave him those awards, but Jimmy inspired the entire Trench Town musical population," he said.

"It was not only in music, but also in cricket and football. He advocated for the rights of Jamaicans to express Rastafarian when it was very unpopular in the country and was integral in the first Ethiopian Orthodox Church coming to Jamaica. He was given the Manley scholarship to study abroad where he studied theology. He was a very educated and influential man," Allen Jr further said.

Noting that there are already plans in motion to educate the younger generation about his uncle's legacy, particularly through a partnership with the Ethiopian Orthodox Church, Allen Jr believes that even more can be done to help to spread the knowledge.

"He was a successful scholar and finished his studies. There are academics who have followed him; he is a published author so there are materials available for children to learn more about them and we are working to have this as part of the curriculum in schools. He was the first Jamaican voice to reach the world stage… he was up there with Nat King Cole…," he said.

Allen Jr says his family hopes to revitalise cultural appreciation and patriotism with the event that will be held every year going forward.

"We want to rekindle the interest in the community of Trench Town and in the entire Jamaica, that's why we'll be having an international livestream of the event. We're going to be reaching out to youths so that they have an idea of entire artistic and influential history in Trench Town," he said.

Tucker emerged in the 1940s from Trench Town in Kingston from a talented family. He is uncle to former child star-turned-preacher Junior Tucker and singer Sharon Tucker. He is also the uncle of Marlon Tucker, Jamaica's most successful cricket captain.

During the 1950s, Jimmy Tucker performed in clubs, schools and churches. During that period he performed music written by Clyde Hoyte, including Have Faith and Sweet as a Dream.

Kediesha Perry

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