Veteran dancehall artiste Shabba Ranks oozed gratitude and respect as he paid tribute to his mother Constance ‘Mama C’ Christie at her burial site on Saturday.
“One time when I was like seh 14, 15-years-old and a struggle with this music yah… there was prominent people within this music that try to stop I,” he said before a group of attendees.
“We supposed to go a foreign and a man bounce mi out and seh, ‘Don’t carry Shabba go a foreign cause him a go run weh’. I walk from Jammy’s go straight a Seaview — is a long walk that and a taxi I tek go a Jammy’s.
“When I reach inna I house I look at I madda and I seh to I madda, ‘Hear me nuh man, mi done with music. A straight kill people and badness’.”
“She seh, ‘Wah? Kill people and badness? Mek mi tell yuh something, nuh murderer nuh inna mi generation. Nuh blood nuh deh pon mi generation hand and to how me love yuh as a son, don’t mek mi cry. Yuh see any weh yuh did come from and a talk bout kill, go back deh go wuk harder because when God open up fi yuh door, nobody can close it’.
“Mi siddung in front a har and she seh, ‘Siddung yah so. Cry if yuh want cry. Bawl if yuh waan bawl. Holla if yuh waan holla, but remember seh is only the love a God can bring you through’.”
There were scores of applause and agreement as he spoke, with one person even belting out, “Rest in peace.”
Shabba responded, “She nuh rest in peace, she stand up inna glory because God open up the red carpet and seh welcome home.”
The 81-year-old Seaview Gardens stalwart was praised by her son for not only being a good mother to him but others in the community.
“I see I old lady work hard inna life fi mek I alright because me is a youth weh grow inna di ghetto but mi nuh know what ghetto life is because my madda make sure seh she work hard for her seven children and not only her seven children but everyone else children,” he said.
“From mi know my mother my mother never yet cook a pot a food and har seven pickney alone eat that. Everybody else come een and get a plate and her favourite word to me is, ‘Give to all the people you can as long as you can, however you can’.”
He added that his mother taught him how to love, which now reflects in his relationship with his wife.
Turning to his mother’s golden casket,Shabba sent her off with these final words.
“I thank you for everything that you have done for me…and the reason I don’t cry, cry, cry, cry over har is because I know seh I madda know seh I love har because if it did come fi I lose I life fi she live mi woulda dead bredda… There is nothing too great where I couldn’t give to my madda. The only thing I couldn’t give to her is the pearly gates open up so she can see Jesus.”