He’s the dancehall entertainer that deejayed, “you want a proper fix, call me” and a celebrity father who has been put on the spot more than once by persons questioning his role in his children’s lives. But Beenie Man has never allowed criticism to cloud his thoughts and he proved exactly how he keeps going by putting on an unforgettable performance at Scrubs, the fourth annual charity showcase staged by the Association of Surgeons in Jamaica on The University of the West Indies, Mona grounds.
The 46-year-old recording artiste, whose real name is Anthony Moses Davis, pulled out all the stops on Saturday night as he entertained the guests, some of whom were doctors who, for just one night, retired their surgical scrubs for tailored suits and form-fitting dresses to attend the ultra all-inclusive party that raises funds for the treatment of cancer.
Dressed casually in a graphic tee, patent leather pants and jacket, trainers and an Amsterdam knit tam, the ‘Girls Dem Sugar’ hitmaker let his music do some of the talking while he injected thought-provoking lessons in the hour-long set.
Having a catalogue of 187 songs, Beenie Man explained to his audience: “With so many [songs] I can only do so much, and I put together a good set for the people to enjoy every minute.”
Close to midnight, the ‘King of the Dancehall’, with support from the invincible Ruff Kutt Band, ensured all eyes were front and centre as his set featured a plethora of originals and several musical interludes and covers, with choreography that included Michael Jackson’s signature moonwalk across the stage.
Belting out some of dancehall’s timeless tunes like Wickedest Slam, Tell Me, Let Him Go, Bookshelf, Romie, Who Am I, I Want You To Be Mine and Memories – over 30 songs, Beenie Man expressed that he was in good spirits.
The dancehall entertainer was also in good company in the early a.m. hours as members of his family, children: 20-year-old Ikyra, 17-year-old Mosiah and baby Xiah and her mother, “the queen” Krystal Tomlinson danced side stage.
Speaking to The Gleaner during her father’s performance, Ikrya said, “It’s always great to watch my father, he is truly a performer.”
He said: “We can’t do without family; they are the ones that keep us going, comfortable and keeps your brain where it should be, which is levelled. Without family you are no one and my family is always present; it’s just that the children are bigger now so instead of backstage, they are side stage.”
“The problem is that when, you, the entertainer at the show and you are the protector for your yard, the best way to protect them is to take them with me. Now, my youngest daughter is growing to love music.”
He also humoured us with the reason for not showing up in his doctor’s scrubs: “Me get a younger dressing, me daughter dress me, so wah, me just go with what Ikyra chose.”
The lessons about the importance of family were not absent from Beenie Man’s performance and, in that moment, baby Xiah sort of stole the show. The proud father asked for her to be placed on stage (though her bouncing to the rhythms off stage already had the audience’s attention); she joined him in clapping and dancing to the sounds of the 2011 track Let’s Go on the Overproof Riddim played live.
This was after the forever unique jazz presentation of “man fi have nuff gyal, and gyal inna bungle; gyal from Rema, gyal from Jungle”, declaring at the same time, “One gyal me have enuh, I am a one burner”.
“When I sing Nuff Gyal, people will say, “A wah dat?”, so I have to make them know it’s just a song, make them aware that song is just part of the performance but they need to know I am still a one-woman man,” Beenie Man said about including the controversial track in the set.
And fitting into the entire scheme of things, Beenie Man did a freestyle about the rapidly spreading coronavirus – Covid-19.
“It kinda puzzling, as an entertainer who has to travel. The song is just part of raising awareness, not an official track; now we have to get serious … . I have to get a mask and gloves as I prepare to fly to Nigeria. I will be passing through other airports in Europe,” he shared.
Professor Denise Eldemire-Shearer, widow of Jamaica’s fourth prime minister, Hugh Shearer, who was in attendance, made her way backstage to congratulate ‘The Doctor’ on a stellar show, hailing Beenie Man for being, “one that never disappoints”.
She told The Gleaner, “He is why I am here”.
“Beenie Man brings us back to reality and makes us realise who we are as Jamaicans and there are several messages he sends, one is we must live for the day and not forget tomorrow as well as others around us, like family. There are not many like us that uphold certain standards like we are our brothers’ keepers,” the professor said.