Hard to separate Minister Marion Hall from Lady Saw – Hope
Professor Donna Hope believes that it will be difficult for Minister Marion Hall to "divorce herself 100 per cent" from her 'Lady Saw' persona.
Hope praised Minister Hall's gospel debut on the Reggae Sumfest stage on Sunday morning, dubbing it "powerful".
"In terms of her delivery and her performance, powerful! Powerful and resonating! I know the audience on the ground was a little thin because of the time she came on, since she was closing the show, but the audience online was very strong, very big and I know a lot of people are watching the feed that has been archived," she said.
Minister Hall's return came with much controversy, as the weeks leading up to it saw much speculation as to whether this was a gateway to the former Queen of the Dancehall's grittier roots.
"He told me my calling is unorthodox. So you don't understand that God has called me, so many persecute me," she said on stage.
Hope opined, "It's hard for her to divorce herself 100 per cent from who she is. She was a dancehall artiste for decades and she was at the top of her game as the reigning dancehall artiste for females, so she exited dancehall in 2015 at the top of her game. It would be difficult, I think, for her to not have some of the performance aesthetics and the delivery style. She is a Jamaican, she's gonna hold on to her language, her culture and because we have this hybrid that brings the popular music with the religious music, it's gonna be difficult to separate her from it."
She continued, "I can't expect her to be any other way but this kind of person, which is why for me, no offence to her, but for me in my head, I still have a kind of Lady Saw image connected to the Minister Marion energy. It's hard to separate them from each other, very hard. So people are gonna have this concern whether she is serious about her religion."
Further illuminating her commitment to her new calling, Minister Hall kept her promise to hand out Bibles to the audience.
Hope said for her, Minister Hall's past as 'Lady Saw' really showed in her gestures, like putting the foot on the speaker box and the way she delivered her Bible-focused lyrics.
"She brought her pastor on stage, he read the scriptures, then she reflected on the scriptures in the song and in her delivery. So it's a kind of hybrid, Lady Saw-Marion Hall for me. I know she doesn't want us to call her that, but you could see that element of her earlier journey has been fused now with her movement into this religiosity and this gospel framework," she said.
Hope noted that she was present the last time Minister Hall was on a Reggae Sumfest stage in 2015.
"So for her to come back in this new form as Minister Marion Hall, I know it's kind of a triumphant return for her and she claimed it and owned it and delivered to everyone who was waiting to see her," she said.
Minister Hall's tracklist included hits like Kiss Out Mi Bible, Room in My House, and I'm Doing Better before ending the morning by receiving the Red Stripe 2023 Living Legend Award.