Nov 8 hero's burial for TootsWednesday, October 28, 2020
BY BRIAN BONITTO
Toots Hibbert, legendary frontman of Toots and the Maytals, is scheduled to be interred in National Heroes' Park in downtown Kingston on Sunday, November 8, the Jamaica Observer has been reliably informed.
“Plans are in an advanced stage... Prior to the interment, there will be viewings in Treadlight district in Clarendon and the National Arena in Kingston,” said a family member, who requested anonymity.
Hibbert – who hailed from Treadlight district – was slated to be interred in Dovecot Memorial Park & Crematorium in Spanish Town, St Catherine, on October 15. However, the family members were unable to locate the burial order, a requirement for interment. His body was subsequently returned to Perry's Funeral Home in Spanish Town, where a thanksgiving service was held earlier that day.
Recently, Minister of Culture, Gender, Entertainment and Sport, Olivia “Babsy” Grange made the announcement that the reggae legend would be interred at National Heroes' Park.
Grange said the arrangement became possible due to the generosity of the family of the late Charles Hyatt — the actor, broadcaster, director and author — whose remains were due to be re-interred in the last burial spot for cultural icons at National Heroes' Park.
“Toots is without question one of the pioneers of reggae music. He has even been credited with giving the genre its name. He is a national treasure, whose humble demeanour and affable personality belied his towering global stature. Interment in National Heroes' Park will suitably memorialise his contribution to Jamaica and reignite the unity in his family, among his peers and his fans which is required at this time,” said Grange in a release.
The minister also endorsed plans to erect a monument to Toots in his hometown.
Hibbert died at University Hospital of the West Indies in St Andrew on the evening of Friday, September 11, due to complications caused by COVID-19. He was 77.
He was active up to August of this year, as he was one of the 10 finalists in this year's Jamaica Festival Song Competition — a contest he won on three previous occasions with the songs Bam Bam (1966), Sweet And Dandy (1969), and Pomps And Pride (1972). He also released his latest album, Got To Be Tough, on August 28.
His other popular songs include Monkey Man, 54-46, Pressure Drop, and Country Road.
Formed in the 1960s, Toots and the Maytals helped popularise reggae music. The group's 1968 single Do The Reggay was the first song to use the word “reggae” – naming the genre and introducing it to a global audience.
In 2005 the group won the Grammy Award for Best Reggae Album with True Love. Seven years later, Hibbert was awarded an Order of Distinction for his contribution to Jamaica's music industry.
In December 2019 he received a Jamaica Observer Entertainment Award for his efforts in taking reggae to a global audience.
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