12 Days of Christmas: Laa Lee brightens Jones Town for the holidays
On the first day of Christmas, The WEEKEND STAR whitewashed the streets of Jones Town, St Andrew, with Laa Lee.
A visit to the dancehall deejay's home on Septimus Street unlatched a few memories for him.
"This is where I grew up. right there is the first place I broke my left hand playing ball after I was warned to stay inside," he said, pointing to the street in front the multifamily dwelling in which he spent much of his life.
The dancehall deejay, who recently returned from London after completing a seven-show tour, said that he is not used to the big family celebrations during Christmas period because it is usually spent downtown.
"My mother, Jessmi Ricketts, is a vendor downtown, and most Christmases are spent helping her to sell in the weeks approaching Christmas Day ... . and then we sleep over are town for Grand Market," he told The WEEKEND STAR. "It is an amazing experience, especially when she is asleep and the children of other vendors link up and we go play ball in the bus park."
He said that each Christmas stands out in his memory.
"There is one Christmas that my father, Rupert Ricketts, actually came with us downtown, and he slept over, even though he does not like the idea. That was a good one," the Watz On Sale deejay said.
This Christmas, Laa Lee decided to start a new tradition with his family and friends who were on hand to help.
"I chose to whitewash the sidewalks as it's something I have watched the persons in my community do, usually earlier in the year, around Labour Day, and it is fun, and the people unite to do it," he said.
While the 21-year-old did not have any idea how to mix the chalky, white concoction, his friends demonstrated, and he caught on quickly.
One member of the community said, "It was a good idea, and it was needed."
Another, an elder, added, "It nice fi see the young people get together and do something with meaning."
Laa Lee, who watched as the pale wash that he had daubed on to the sidewalks turned to a bright, almost sparkling white, was glad to have brought Christmas cheer.
The entertainer, surprised at the transformation, said, "I had no idea it would be so white; at first, I kept telling them the mix was too thin."
"I would continue this tradition. It is something the people should continue even if I take bookings during the holiday season and I am not able to be present," he said.