STAR of the Month: Beenie Man sang to cure his 'stamma'

February 19, 2018
Beenie Man

Most people are familiar with dysfluency, but perhaps not with the term. It is the condition in which a person has difficulty forming and expressing their words.

Colloquially, Jamaicans call it having a 'stamma'.

So, it will come as a surprise to many that the world-renowned 'girl's dem sugar', the accomplished vocal performer Beenie Man, had to overcome dysfluency in his youth.

Some would even deduce that this dysfluency encouraged the start of this STAR of the Month's musical journey to international stardom.

Arguably Jamaica's most successful child star, Beenie Man told THE STAR that his musical life began from him 'have sense'. He also added that he didn't begin by deejaying, but singing.

The 'king of the dancehall' confessed that in his early years, he was incapable of correctly stringing his words and syllables together.

"I was a kid that 'very stamma' I couldn't make a statement straight. I couldn't say one word. It haffi take me 10 minutes," he said.

But it didn't take him long to realise that whenever he sang, the stammer went away. He estimates being about three or four years old at the time.

According to the University of Iowa's Stuttering Research lab, whenever a child or adult who stutters talks differently than the way they usually do, they will be fluent.

That includes using a stage voice or a foreign accent or dialect, whispering, singing, speaking to a rhythmic beat, or speaking at a lower or higher pitch than normal.

"Suh me get fi realise seh when mi sing, mi don't stop. Suh mi start sing everything every reading book. Sing Miss Lou book dem. 'Dis long time gyal mi neva see yuh' ... " he sang in demonstration. "When mi modda send me go ah di shop with the list, mi sing the list. Mi get fi realise seh when mi start do that, me speak more fluently."

Beenie Man said that after that, relatives, including his uncle and grandfather, started encouraging him to be a singer. Only his mother did not support the idea.

"She don't want me do no type of music. She want me grow up as a good, nice Christian church kid," he recalled.

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