DENNIS BROWN: Still without much
Friday, 30th January, 2004
Sunday, 1st February, will mark the 47th anniversary
of the birth of the late reggae star, Dennis Brown.
The 'Crown Prince of Reggae", as
he was know to his many fans at home and abroad, provided
the impetus to generations of Jamaican singers who developed
on his style, including the late Jacob Miller, Richie
Stephens and George Nooks.
But, since his death on July 1, 1999
at the age of 42, hardly anything has been heard about
Not so, says businessman Junior Lincoln,
who heads the five-year-old Dennis Brown Foundation,
which seeks to foster his name and achievements.
"Just give us another five years and you will be
surprised at how much we will have achieved. We are
making a lot of progress," Lincoln said.
However, some Dennis Brown fans maintain
that not enough has been done to cherish his achievements.
They still rue the fact that he was not given a state
funeral, no national honour or a monument over his grave
at National Heroes Park.
"That was probably due to his lifestyle
or people's perception of his lifestyle," said
one former colleague who did not wish to be named.
Lincoln says that in time the Foundation
will address all the issues left in the wake of his
untimely death. He claims that the reason Brown was
not given a national honour was because these honours
are not given posthumously. But, according to Jamaica
Federation of Musicians president, Desmond Young, that
was not an official explanation and in addition, up
to recently other artistes have been honoured posthumously.
"I think he should be honoured,"
said Tommy Cowan, who handled Brown's bookings up to
the time of his death.
"His talent and contribution outweighed
that of many people who have been honoured but, unfortunately,
they look more at the perception of him rather than
what he actually achieved."
According to Young, the JFM will be
putting forward his name for national honour this year.
"We will be doing our part and
we wish that all the people who feel the same way will
make their voices heard, too," Young said. He added
that being buried in Heroes Park was a signal honour
for Brown, but not enough.
Brown certainly has held the respect of his fans and
Last night (Thursday) at a press reception
at the Knutsford Court Hotel, a five-day programme to
honour his memory was revealed by his former associates.
The Jamaica Association of Vintage Artistes
and Affiliates (JAVAA) will be playing an important
role in these celebrations starting with a show at their
headquarters, 30 Haining Road, Kingston tonight, featuring
Brown's former backing band, Lloyd Parkes And We The
People, and artistes performing the late singer's best-known
Saturday again at the same venue, they
will be taking turns selecting his recorded music. On
Sunday, several radio stations are expected to pay tribute
by playing his songs.
Kool 97 will be running a marathon of his music from
10:00 am to 10:00 pm.
On Monday, two of London's best-known
reggae radio disc jocks, Miss P from Radio London and
Ernie from Choice FM, will be doing a live link-up from
Since its inception, Brown's Foundation
has concentrated on offering scholarships in his memory
to students of his primary alma mater, Central Branch
in West Kingston. So far 15 children have benefited
from these scholarships.
"It is our intention to take them
all the way through to their tertiary education,"
said Lincoln. He says that the scholarships were funded
from the Foundation's own fund-raising efforts and not
from Brown's estate.
In terms of Brown's estate, they have
now completed sorting out the administration of his
publishing, sources have confirmed. The next step was
to sort out the complicated discography entangled in
a web of producers.
Now the estate is looking at repackaging
his material over the years to be released in box sets
over the next few years. All of this is being done through
agents in London, however.
"Our vision is to rebuild him into the icon he
should really be.
It will take time, but we are making progress,"
At last count, Brown has approximately 100 albums, starting
with No Man's An Island for
legendary producer Clement "Sir Coxsone" Dodd
back in 1970.
His hits include No Man Is An Island,
Silhouette, Should I, Stop Your Fighting, Revolution,
Cassandra, Westbound Train, Love Has Found Its Way,
Money In My Pocket, Love's Gotta Hold On Me, Inseparable,
Some Like It Hot, Love And Hate, How Could I Live and
Wolves and Leopards.