Dancehall Queen Carlene honoured
Jamaica's first Dancehall Queen, Carlene Smith, was recently rewarded for her contribution to the music industry at the first annual Queens of Reggae Island Honorary Ceremonies (QORIHC), on Sunday at the Courtleigh Auditorium, in New Kingston.
Carlene was a trendsetter in the 90s and was known for her exotic dances and fashionable outfits. Her reign on the dancehall scene also saw her giving birth to to a generation of female dancers as well as the now popular dancehall queen competition. Her signature dance move, the Butterfly, continues to be one of the most popular dance moves in dancehall's history and was recently featured in Rihanna's hit music video Work, which is a dancehall-inspired record.
Carlene was also one of the first dancers to embark on solo tours as well as to receive an endorsement from corporate Jamaica, namely her classic Slam Condom campaign. She was also the leading female in Chaka Demus and Pliers' Murder She Wrote music video which went on to sell millions in the US. Carlene believes her award is well deserved.
"Oh my gosh I can't explain how it feels to be honoured. I am excited, elated, humbled. I am very appreciative for the fact that somebody felt that my contributions to dancehall and Jamaica are worth being recognised,'' she told The Star. She also had some advice for the current crop of dancehall queens.
'Dancehall needs more structuring. Everybody is in it for the money and not for the love of it. So to me it's lacking in that passion. I advise the young dancehall queens try to be unique, be yourself, be original, because when you try to be in somebody else's shoes they will compare and it holds you back. My advice is to try and come original and don't do what people want you to do and that is the best way going forward ` she told The Star.
QORIHC was founded by New York-based reggae artiste Mye Laurell in association with her NyteNursePro foundation.
"I believe that women are the backbone of the Jamaican creative industry because we do so much to support it. NyteNursepro organisation's mission is to inspire, nurture, and entertain, so this event is perfect, as it intends to motivate the current honourees to continue doing great work and to inspire other females to work hard and eventually their work will also get recognised," Laurell told THE STAR.
Other honourees included Culture Minster Olivia 'Babsy' Grange, veteran DJ Sister Nancy and Audrey 'Goodas' Farquharson.