STAR of the Month: Beenie Man - King of Fashion

February 12, 2018
Beenie Man 100 Live, held at 100 Old Hope Road, St Andrew, earlier this month.
Beenie Man performs at his Sizzle event, held on August 6, 2008, in Halse Hall, Clarendon.
Beenie Man (left) and his girlfriend, Krystal Tomlinson.
Beenie Man
Ninja Man (right) and Beenie Man in combination at Mirage in 1995.
Beenie Man performing at Port Royal Seafood Festival Stage Show, held at Port Royal Football Field on October 20, 2014.
Beenie Man
Beenie Man
Beenie Man
When you are the doctor you dress for the job.
Beenie Man
Beenie Man on stage at Reggae Sumfest 2008.
Beenie Man wears a Martin Miller White Skyy design at Curefest in 2007.
In this 2012 photo, Beenie Man, dressed as 'Moses' found time for these fine ladies at Stone Love's 40th Anniversary party.
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At any major performance, fans can expect that Beenie Man will show up in a three-piece tailored suit or an on-trend sartorial ensemble. This veteran's style cues come from a 'taller' time, going all the way back to the beginnings of his career as a child star in the '80s.

"Me is a man weh like vest and pants and shirt. Mi like dress up. You have to look the part - you want to be an artiste, you have to dress like an artiste. You have to get your thing tailored. As an artiste, you have to do different from everybody else. You can't do like the man weh a fix mic. Dat nuh mek nuh sense," Beenie Man told The Star.

His elders, the men who regularly clashed over sound systems at Lee's Unlimited, a past recurring session held at the former Goodyear factory in St Thomas, became a benchmark for a young, impressionable Beenie Man.

 

VISUAL CUES

 

"Dem man deh have on some pants with belly-band and shirt put down in yasso - tuxedo and tuxedo tie and bere tings - well swags!"

The aspiring deejay digested those visual cues and sought to match the swagger of his elders. "Suh mi wah look suh! But how yuh ah guh look suh? Yuh cyaa tief people clothes - 'cause dem ah run yuh down and chop yuh. So you have to find the hustling."

Winnings from Beenie Man's career-propelling win in the Tastee Talent Competition in 1981 afforded the aspiring deejay the means with which to expand his then-meagre wardrobe. "When mi win the Tastee's now, mi have the money - mi guh downtown and buy the pants them," he told The Star.

However, the shopping spree for the future 'King of the Dancehall' was a bit more complicated than just buying some pants.

"People might check seh a true me small mek mi name Beenie Man - dem nuh know a true mi inquisitive and faas. Mi grandfather call me suh, because I was a very inquisitive kid. Mi ask the biggest and the oldest questions. Dem always seh me is a big man trapped in a likkle bwoy body.

 

CHALLENGED

 

Suh him call me Beenie Man. But the name fit, because mi features small - very likkle. Mi never name Papa Dean, Father Anthony, Puppa Moses - Beenie Man mi name from start," the Star of The Month revealed.

Still, the aspiring toaster, a small-bodied boy with a 'big man' personality, needed a wardrobe that compared to the suits of the older performers he challenged. "Because me did suh small, mi couldn't find nuttin fi fit me. So if me walk go into a store, not even the kiddie's part mi coulda find a pants fi put on," the Tear Off Mi Garment singer said.

Instead, Beenie Man had to buy 'pants-length' and 'shirt-cloth' to have his outfits tailored to fit. To this day, the practise has stuck with the stalwart dancehall performer. "You have to do that - even Gucci mi guh to make clothes, even Versace. It's a little bit more expensive, but ah your suit. When you put it on, it cyaa fit nobody else, and nobody can say 'mi have one like that'."

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