STAR of the Month : Partying kept Ding Dong out of trouble
Ding Dong's family history is similar to that of many inner-city youth.
His father was gunned down when he was just a toddler. In such circumstances, the stereotype is that inner-city young men take to the streets, following paths similar to their predecessors.
Ding Dong, however, guesses that he was about eight or nine years old when he came to truly understand the circumstances of his father's death, decided then that he would not pick up the gun.
The dancer-turned-recording-artiste took on a different stereotype and grew into someone who frequented and profited from dancehall events.
Though taken care of by his grandmother, mother, and the help of his aunts, the artiste had no constant male figure.
As a solution, Ding Dong told THE STAR that he sought the company of older males in the community.
"I was usually the youngest person in the crew. I would try get 'fathership' from the older guys. Never had the father figure to go to. We just haffi hold it out inna di streets," Ding Dong said. "We haffi lean to them."
Ding Dong, led by his older compatriots, found an alternative to the 'camaraderie' of gangship and guns. Instead, he was pulled into the party scene.
"Wi use to go party fi just enjoy wiself around elder youth going to the party. We want to go, too! At that time, you seeking somewhere to fit. I usually tief out at night fi guh party with them," he confessed, noting that sometimes he suffered the punishment of being locked out by his grandmother and aunts.
Though mischief alights in the midnight hour, Ding Dong and his friends took on an entrepreneurial spirit, learning how to feed themselves after a night of partying.
"We usually pick up the bottle dem inna party, sell dem back inna di morning. Wi guh with crocus and scandal bag, pick up bottles to sell it and run boat," Ding Dong told THE STAR.
Additionally, Ding Dong took on other odd jobs for the sake of his family as well.
"Wi pick mango, help unload truck anywhere we can get likkle work. Di only ting we tief dem time a ackee and mango off a people tree, and people run we down," the artiste joked.
"It's not sumn we proud of now, but at that time, yuh haffi duh wah yuh haffi do. Mommy nuh have it, granny nuh have it. But we nah guh pick up nuh gun. It was never that," Ding Dong said.