Sting 30….Who Brought It And Why Did Lady Saw Get No Money? Pt. II

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Money Money Money!

Money O!? Really? If in name and name only there is something amiss about this Sting clash between Macka Diamond and Lady Saw. Where Lady Saw was clear from her tweets that the “first set” should not be missed (implying that there would be a second appearance to vie for the prized US$30,000), Ms. Money O did not live up to her name at all. She neither fought well nor for the money.  The real regret therefore is that Miss Money O did not ‘negotiate’ her lyrical death with impeccable timing. Instead she has apparently laid blame at everything from the backing band to various elements of the production for her lyrical failure. All the same, it is not easy to step up to Lady Saw, a veteran lyricist, performer and stage aficionado, and the Money Queen made history at Jamworld. Talk about haunting words of the bad omen type, Macka’s failure to bring it at Sting 30 was summed up in @PKisses4u’s tweet “RIP MACKA DIAMOND YOUR CAREER IS #DYEDYE”.

Let me get back to the politics of Saw not being paid. It is interesting that complete role reversal took place at Sting with the Macka / Saw clash. What is striking is that whereas in sex, transactional or not, the prize is usually left with the woman either in the form of cash paid for services rendered or a baby as the product for example, this time the females got no prize / money for their generally undervalued oratory and spice in a context where the males dominate and females provide the garnish to the enterprise in their dance and of course music. This must change, and I appeal to the Sting promoters to pay Lady Saw. She did much more for the event than the Kiprich / Black Rhyno clash.

D’Angel, D’Angel, D’Angel

I couldn’t complete a review on Sting 30 without saying anything about the recurring decimal of D’Angel, who much like L.A.Lewis, became insistent about her role and place in dancehall. She was not billed to appear at Sting 30 but obviously thought she needed to make her presence felt and forever archived.

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The commentary has ranged from the sublime to the ridiculous. Some have used the D’Angel interventions as cause to question the Jamaica Tourist Board’s long overdue sponsorship of entertainment events such as Sting.

“The JTB must take some responsibility for D’Angle (sic) or…whatever her name is’s (sic) conduct. Her conduct or lack of self control is the very reason why JTB should put some control, guidelines, screening etc. on who they allow to perform…for God’s sake….”

is how Heather Chisolm puts it in response to Silvera’s post on the disgrace of D’Angel entering unannounced, the sets of Ninja Man and husband Beenie Man from whom she has been allegedly separated. What was disgraceful is that she, like Macka Diamond and Lady Saw, were under the impression that they were eligible to contest the prize money at the times they were billed. D’Angel of course was not billed but announced she was there for a clash and wanted the money on offer to pay her son’s school fees due in January. Let’s not even think about whether she is getting child support from her husband, let’s think instead about how the females were taken for granted and not given the chance to rise to the occasion at a major clash. Why did Spice not return for example to finish the clash with Macka Diamond, perhaps in a ‘three the hard way’ scene with Lady Saw? Why did the females not get a significant place in the event and why were they not encouraged to enter the stage at the deadly 5:30am? Surely Lady Saw and Macka Diamond along with Spice and even the eager D’Angel could have handled the stage at 5:00am in a formidable clash. Why is it that the female artists are constantly having to battle that much harder for a space in this business? These answers are not clear to me and at the end of the day its all staged, but I will not be led into assuming that a solid show of the females was not deemed worthy of the pay per view bargain.

Kiprich and Black Rhyno

Could Kiprich retain the crown, and walk out with US$30,000? Ninja Man, the clash godfather brought the loot up for grabs on stage and Kiprich arrived in gear that at first seemed to be from a distant under-explored past. Kiprich’s gear was a sort of cross between desert seal / combat camouflage and Jonkonnu character pitchy patchy, linked to Egungun masquerades of West Africa. This was a highlight of the event, and perhaps within its very use, was a bit of irreverence. What came to mind is that understood or not, such symbols are critical and without performing important rituals of preparation, arrival and combat, maybe, just maybe, Kiprich took his role and mas a little too lightly and this may have led to his lyrical death. I thought the very same thing about using cocks in a fight spilling blood around Kingston without any reverence, a practice of Bogle’s prior to his death.

By the 3rd minute of the clash Kippo was stunned and had no lyrical foot to stand on. Quite frankly, though the clash lasted some 13 minutes, I was underwhelmed and moved right along to make my exit from the venue.

Overall Show Quality?

The clash-anticipating audience was now primed and prepared for lyrical battles of extraordinary proportion, but the shocking defeat by Black Rhyno left the crowd wondering why the Sting was so mild and no other artists of significance came forth to challenge Black Rhyno’s new found fortune. One could not help thinking that the pay per view imperatives of time, temperance and overall good decorum watered down the clash just a little, but even more, that the clash was way too staged and that the Supreme organizers knew the outcome. Most importantly the structure of the overall show once again did not achieve the orgasmic crescendo proportions I have been looking for since the Vybz Kartel / Mavado clash at Sting 2008. This crescendo can be achieved in a variety of ways and a show such as Sting needed to have mastered this by now at 30! As I wrote of Sting 2012, the year they got the release of Busy Signal from a brief incarceration, a serendipitous show cancellation for Konshens, and Jamaica 50 on a platter, the quality of different acts did not guarantee quality of the overall show. And, since quality acts do not a quality show make, more emphasis has to be placed on the running order of the show.

One tremendous positive of the show was that the veteran stage management by ‘Heavy D’ and the team was enough to control the likes of Macka and Lady Saw in the wee obituary-creating hours of Friday morning. Big tree or not, Lady Saw was the fired up small axe waiting to cut Macka down in fine style. As Ms. Money O ‘Dyed Dyed’, there was tremendous rage and tempers went through the roof making the clash completely volatile.

Additionally, emcees Richie B, Nikki Z, Nuffy and Miss Kitty for example were in top form as they ushered the show to the long awaited clashes. There were also no reported incidents of violence or physical damage.

Long live the Sting. I bet the promoters are proverbially laughing all the way to the bank, or let me say I hope so in these tough financial times. Afterall, it was a game changer for the dancehall promoters to utilize the available technology in promoting broad based viewership for a quintessential Jamaican product containing all the elements of dancehall culture from then till now.

As I tell my students continuously it is the lack of knowledge and respect for Jamaican culture which explains our angst over Jamaica’s entertainment product and culture. This is coupled with the overwhelming moralistic censorship stance we take in relation to cultural manifestations such as dancehall. There are definitely aspects of our culture which requires rethinking but that is a collective process which will not be advanced without respect. We must proceed on the basis of respect even as we critique ourselves. Productive engagement has to be on the basis also of understanding and knowledge. The people who create and perpetuate Jamaican popular cultural manifestations such as dancehall operate with an intrinsic understanding that they too want to achieve the universal imperative – bloom, bear fruit, be beautiful and be seen to be beautiful’.

Oh, while Dutty Paul was spotted at the Sting venue enjoying the show being given by some of his most admired dancehall acts, I’d love to see him next year on stage making a serious step in re-connecting with his Jamaican supporters. Selah.

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6 thoughts on “Sting 30….Who Brought It And Why Did Lady Saw Get No Money? Pt. II

  1. Wow this review was nail-biting! It brings to mind one question: Has”Sting” lost its venom? It certainly sounds like D’ Angel has lost her mind as while I can understand lyrical slackness, fashionable nudity, and dyedye’s lyrical melt-down, I cannot understand that Miley Cyrus wonna be,” wrecking ball-like” imitation that middle-aged D Angel tried to pull off. Tasteless!!!!!! Cho, madness from a quasi-talented artiste, and i say quasi because she does not spend time developing her talent and keeps trying to use stunts like these to cheat, the music buying public of good entertainment. Mi vex bad as women have come a long way in this business, ask Saw what she has endured to stay alive in the business and even ‘ole DyeDye.’
    Anyway, Culture Doctor, you are absolutely right on all counts, this event needs a kick in the rare. It needs a revival as its age is showing up, like a bad tooth that has decayed, instead of fineness of aging wine.
    Excellent review, I am especially happy about the point made about our women being under-rated, you did not say that of course, but if there was a clash and a woman won it, but did not get any money, well we the readers get it. The sad thing is, I am betting this weeks lunch money, that there were more female patrons in the venue than men. Aysah, when will Jamaicans get it? Women are men’s equals, wake up people! Women are more educated and smarter because they leave school and head to higher learning, instead of on street corners and in watering holes. Women, stop letting worthless underachieving men feel good by being subservient ego boosters. If Lady Saw won the ‘clash of clashes’ she needs to be paid; straight up! If you going to have women clashing and men clashing at Sting, you must have a prize for the winner of the clash of clashes. It is the 21st century everybody equal inna the dance hall, and money a money.
    Yeah, back to D’Angel, I have to go back there, she is one of the women who nuh get it. This self proclaimed dance hall diva, thinks she should play the slut role all the time in the men’s dance hall world, in order to be on their stage. Hello, Missy, Sting was never a place for Go-Go acts, wrong venue sweetie, I think Polly Royal would be more appreciative. Or wake up and claim your own stage presence and make it work for you, like Saw snd ole DyeDye and even Spice have done. The world awaits your presence in your own right, stop travel in the shadows of accomplished men. You can do it girl! Take heart from Tessanne’s bravery and the victory that it has yield.
    Culture Doctor, good job as usual. We who could not be present thank you much. Walk good, Mi gone!

    Guru!

  2. Has STING lost its VENOM ?
    What happens to a BEE after it/he/she STINGS ??

    Dancehall (and STING) have to evolve .
    How can a CLASH be anything MORE than what we got when 99% of NON-RASTA acts have been singing MORE about “summertime” and the contents of their “party cups” instead of “Badman / Street Reality” topics …
    Look back at the greatest clash of them all that took place 20 years ago …
    Beenie Man on stage for 6 minutes and then , AS PLANNED, out comes BOUNTY and they go on to PERFORM ALREADY HIT SONGS (not never heard before lyrics) … to RIDDIMS we all knew …
    IN the last the bands plays a “groove” that sounds unrecognizable and BY ITSELF coudln’t move a fly …

    Lady Saw v Macka Diamond was ONLY going to have one result.
    A Super Cat performance after 22 years could only leave ONE impression.
    Where was BUGLE who has MORE well put together lyrics than 80% of those on stage ( and they POSITIVE ONES TOO ) ?? May be there was “no demand” … and if that is true … then the problem lies just as much with the AUDIENCE as the promoters .

    People may often know what they WANT … but a lot of the time they DO NOT KNOW WHAT THEY NEED .

    Either STING (and Dancehall as a whole) will evolve BEYOND certain tings or we can fearfully look forward to the terrifying prospect of MORE US Rappers / R&B singers (and even SOCA artists) performing at STING by decade’s end …… and since we’re about to have a RAPPER be a favorite to win a Reggae Grammy, one should not be SURPRISED if my fears came true …

  3. correction : IN the last few STING concerts (especially during the CLASH segment) the bands plays a “groove” that sounds unrecognizable and BY ITSELF coudln’t move a fly …

  4. Pingback: ‘Reggae for a Cause’ as Shaggy and Friends Put Children First! | Dance hall

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