Jesse Jendah loved the emperor
Jesse Jendah

Firebrand artiste Jesse Jendah was remembered for his unyielding commitment to Rastafari during a thanksgiving service on September 16 at Eternity Funeral Services in Mount Vernon, New York, USA.

The singjay died August 7 in New York at age 58.

Dr B of the DARC Foundation, who officiated at the event, told the gathering of family and friends that his life and work should be celebrated, not mourned.

"This is a celebration of life, don't mek it look too dreary an' contrary because wi celebrating di life of a griot. Wi know what a griot is? A great storyteller, an' dat is what Jesse Jendah is and was," he said.

The service was attended by Jesse Jendah's wife Natasha, mother Sylvia, his brother Dinsmore, daughters Khashanti, Cassandra and Jessica.

He is also survived by a son Jafari and daughter Jazarah, brother Lennox, sisters Saffron and Paula.

A tearful Natasha said it was "love at first sight" for her and the controversial artiste who was born Otis Campbell in Clarendon.

She said he was a "fair, very kind, social, spontaneous, and strict man" whose love for Rasta was unwavering.

"I never met someone who loved the king [Emperor Haile Selassie I] so dearly. He loved Rastafari," Natasha declared.

Jesse Jendah launched his recording career during the 1980s but made his mark with producer Philip "Fatis" Burrell's Xterminator Records a decade later with songs like Mark of The Beast.

An advocate for the legalisation of ganja, he infamously offered a stash of the weed to Prime Minister P J Patterson during a 1999 meeting with music industry figures at King's House in St Andrew. Patterson, who was not amused, refused the 'gift'.

Howard Campbell

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