Spice was officially crowned Queen of Dancehall at Reggae Sumfest ahead of her sophomore album, Emancipated.
Reggae Sumfest has a special place in dancehall history as it has often offered a stage to upcoming artists and is responsible for many history-making moments over the course of Jamaica’s rich music history.
Known as the largest music festival in Jamaica and the Caribbean and the Greatest Reggae show on earth, the event began in 1993 and has etched its mark in history when it comes to music and entertainment.
The festival returned on July 22 and 23 of this year. While it did not maintain the usual format of Dancehall night on Night One and Reggae Night on night two, it still had several history-making moments as it paid tribute to dancehall heavy-hitter and icon Dave Kelly and artiste Spice, who was officially crowned “Queen of the Dancehall.”
After Spice wrapped up her energetic performance that left fans raving, Reggae Sumfest gave Spice her flowers for her two-decade career contributions to dancehall music and helping to raise Jamaica’s profile worldwide.
On Friday night, Sumfest host Miss Kitty commended Spice for her commitment to her craft and overcoming obstacles in her life before surprising her with the crowning moment.
“As a Queen of stage and Queen of Dancehall, we are here to crown you tonight,” Miss Kitty said as Downsound Entertainment Ceo Joe Bogdanovich came out with a silver crystal crown to bestow on Spice.
While basking in the praise, Spice reacted with surprise and, in her usual hilarious mode, interrupted the CEO as she asked to put her shoes on because she wanted proper photos to be taken.
“Weh me boot deh,” Spice asked as fans reacted with laughter at her personality and ability to leave fans entertained.
Minutes later, Spice was crowned with the diamond-encrusted tiara by Bogdanovich.
Spice is immediately embraced by her handsome son Nicholas Lall Jr. as he rushes on stage to share his delight at his mother being recognized.
The Queen of Dancehall title has long been in contention as Lady Saw, now known as Marion Hall, previously held the title.
Hall has, however, turned to gospel music, and Spice, who has maintained the style of music that is original to the genre, has often been named as Hall’s replacement.
However, Hall has appeared bitter about Spice seemingly replacing her even though fans still appreciate the music she created, which will no doubt live on.
Saw was first crowned Queen of Dancehall in 2012.
“How many years has it been since Marion Hall was here?” Bogdanovich said after crowning Spice. “How long ago was that? You (Spice) have been on this journey for so long to get to where you have been. Good luck to everybody else. Congratulations!” the CEO said.
Spice continued her performance as she closed out with “Needle Eye.”
Spice working on sophomore album Emancipated
Despite being in the business for two decades, she recently released her debut album ‘10’ and received a Grammy nomination for Best Reggae Album and a nomination for the track “Go Down Deh” featuring Shaggy and Sean Paul.
Spice also made the big announcement that just a year after her first album was released, she is dropping her sophomore album Emancipated on August 19.
Over the course of her career, Spice is respected for her fearless attitude, not only for her music which goes against the status quo due to its raunchy content but also for her outspokenness when it comes to social issues, whether in music or commentary.
During Friday night’s performance, Spice paused her set to address recent criticisms of Jamaica’s Prime Minister Andrew Holness, who has been an ardent critic of dancehall music, which he says contributes to violence on the island. The country has been battling not only rising murder rates but also white-collar crimes like lottery scamming, fraud, and money laundering.
Spice spoke directly to the Prime Minister, who was in attendance at the festival.
“The Gleaner Company said Honorable Prime Minister is disappointed with ‘Whap, Whap’ and ‘Ensure’ so let me address the Prime Minister in a respectable manner. Honorable Andrew Holness a.k.a. Mr ‘Bro Gad’ I wanna reason with you tonight and when mi reason with you tonight, mi want the people dem lef ya and find the White House, the one wah deh uppa Hope Road desso and tell him fi ave me as MP and a member of the board cause mi affi reason wid him,” she said.
The veteran performer who previously congratulated Holness in 2020 for his prudent management of Jamaica through the Covid-19 pandemic said she wanted to see the Prime Minister actively addressing pressing issues that have nothing to do with music.
“yuh nuh like ‘whap whap’ yuh nuh like ensure, mi have couple things mi wan u fi ensure…ensure say police stop harass the poor, stop fight the higgler dem weh sell pan di floor,” Spice said.
“Visit down a Portmore same place have backroad weh have plenty whore, not to buy, I want you try to mentor women and try to restore…black women needs support some more…When dem have a baby and can’t buy ensure,” she said and also called on the Prime Minister to deal with the root of the problem as to crime and youths turning to violence.
The Queen of Dancehall has always used her freestyle to address social issues in the country, including discrimination, corruption, and other issues.
Spice also asked to be appointed on boards by the Minister of Health to support poor people, especially those who earn a living from dancehall music.
The Prime Minister has been accused of fighting out dancehall, and the Jamaican government scored poorly in the public’s eye in the last two years as the entertainment industry closed down due to the pandemic, and no support was given to people in the industry who relied on events to earn a livelihood.
This led to many illegal events being held, and many, including artists like Beenie Man and Jahshii, were charged for breaching public health regulations, while politicians like Floyd Green, Babsy Grange, Tufton, Nigel Clarke, and others did not receive the same kind of treatment after being caught violating the same regulations.
Many Jamaicans have become critical of the government’s blatant hypocrisy and the Prime Minister’s critique of music and linking it to crime while failing to put forward some feasible solutions.
Spice shared a big thank you to her supporters after the event.
“Jamaica Thank you for loving me and Supporting me the way you have for the past 20 years,” she wrote. “It wasn’t an easy road but you’ve stood beside me and watched me jump over every hurdle, kick down every door, despite all the naysayers we’ve beat the odds together. Besties I love you all so much @reggaesumfest organizers and Joe Bagdonavich THANK YOU for acknowledging my hard work. To all the female artists in this business, I know the journey isn’t an easy one, and so I pray we can do it together, I love you all. I have too many people to thank so I don’t want to start tagging but just know I’m humbled and grateful for the love and support. #QueenOfDancehall MY ALBUM DROPS AUGUST 19th called Emancipated.”