Twenty-seven years ago today, popular dancehall entertainer Dirtsman, known for songs like Hot This Year, was murdered in St Catherine.
The artiste, given name Patrick Thompson, was just 27 when he died. His brother, reggae gospel singer and ordained minister Papa San, recalled that the entire family was shaken by the tragedy.
“Dirtsman’s death was a shocking thing for me and for many years it was a struggle,” he told THE STAR. “We have learned to move forward but it doesn’t mean the memory isn’t there. It happened close to Christmas, around his time of the year which we know if he was alive he would enjoy every moment with us.”
The youngest brother, musician Maurice Gregory (they all have the same mother), said he did not have as many childhood memories of Dirtsman, as he lived with their mother while his brothers lived with their dad.
“But I honour him as my brother. When he passed I was just emerging but the memory lingers,” said Gregory.
Both Gregory and Papa San, given name Tyrone Thompson, said that many of their best childhood memories involved Christmas and getting toys.
Papa San created a tradition for him and his immediate family to host banquet-sized dinners at his South Florida home for the Christmas, with up to 200 persons being treated to a wide selection of food.
“But we are not able to do that this year because of COVID-19,” he said. “We cut it down considerably, maybe about 13 of us of close family. Usually, no matter where we are in the world, we make the time for it.” Gregory said he has “spent a few Christmases on tour, but I have had a few dinners with Tyrone and his family.”
Papa San urged persons to go back to the original reason for the season, despite the restrictions of the pandemic.
“You can’t push yourself into a hole. As a family the best thing to do is celebrate life and remember, we still have Christ,” he said.