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July 2, 2012
Star Entertainment


Carlene: The forever Dancehall Queen


She was once with a man who sang a song named Slam among his early hits (that would be Beenie Man, just in case). And she was the face and oh so glorious body of condoms named Slam, pitched squarely at the dancehall massive.

Carlene Smith owns the Dancehall Queen title, despite the many who have dressed in eye-catching gear and done bone-defying contortions at official contests, vying for a particular year's crown. It is a title bestowed upon her by popular acclaim for her overwhelming presence from the late 1980s into mid-1990s, a presence which went beyond the dancehall space into the everyday life of Jamaicans.

Carlene, along with the crew that she led (including her sister Pinky), went about creating her name in dancehall the time-honoured way - clashing. Among those she took on were established formal models, the ladies in dancehall-suited gear whupping them at every turn.

And while she gradually withdrew from the flesh-baring styles and public writhing of dancehall, Carlene has kept her space in popular culture. That included doing a popular free-to-air television show 'Our Voices' in the mid-2000s, along with now Member of Parliament and Minister of Government Lisa Hanna.

In an interview during her active dancehall years, posted in YouTube (see link below), Carlene spoke about her delight in men's reaction to her, and the questions "is that her butt? Are those breasts for real?" And the answer is "yes. Look but don't touch!"

In a 2007 interview with THE STAR, the lady who has been the life of so many parties spoke about a career objective that may have startled some. She was on her way to the morgue to examine a body, as she made another step towards fulfilling a lifetime dream of being a mortician.

Look back at the article about her dancing in Alaska, Cuba etc

Link to Murder She Wrote video: http://www.youtube.com/watch?v=-av7F1JBmj4

Link to Carlene on stage with Lady Saw in 1995 (before there was officially a '6:30' dance): http://www.youtube.com/watch?v=PBl-eCN_j9M

Link to interview with Carlene: http://www.youtube.com/watch?v=BYEAkBH1YmM

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