Multi-Grammy Award-winning dancehall artiste Rexton 'Shabba Ranks' Gordon returned to Jamaica for his mother's funeral and delivered an impassioned speech at the graveside gathering that tugged at heartstrings with its sincerity, raw grief and the force of the entertainer's personality.
"All I can tell you about this woman ya is just love. She no teach I nothing more than love, she no give I nothing more than love. . the greatest weapon , the greatest machinery to live life, to face life and to defeat the struggle of life , my mother give me the blood of Jesus Christ...you can't survive, you cannot live without Jesus inna yu life...so today, over my mother's body, if you don't know God, you need fi get to know God , see the product of God ya," he said.
There was reportedly a viewing at Pastor Blair Deliverance Centre at 104 (Waltham Park Road) on Saturday. After that, the family travelled to her birthplace in Sturge Town, St Ann where she will be buried in the family plot.
Looking dapper in a white jacket, black shirt, gold chains, white pants, white shoes and a white bandana with 'Mama' written in gold lettering wrapped around his head, Shabba Ranks recounted the tenets of love, peace and empathy towards others that his mother imparted in his life while growing up in the Seaview Gardens community of Kingston.
"My old lady raised me in this manner. This lady put on the boxing gloves and show I how to strive and survive life. Wah mi say? When you hear Shabba say him love him mother and I man work hard inna life fi mek sure I mother alright. Mi is a yute grow inna the ghetto but mi don't know what ghetto life is because my mother work hard for her seven children, but for everyone else's children," he intoned to nods of agreement and cheers of approval from a small gathering of family and friends, some dressed in masks.
"From mi know my mother, she never yet cook a pot of food and her seven pickney alone eat that...everyone else get a plate. Is a woman who show I love, empathy. She had no animosity towards no one...she no rest in peace, she stand up in glory," he said.
He related an anecdote when he was 14-15 years, and how he almost gave up on music to resort to a life of mayhem and violence, but his mother's stern but gentle words returned him to his chosen path.
"There was prominent people inna this music that try to stop I , everything I try to do, dem try stop I, it happen when supposed go foreign, a man bonce me out and say 'don't carry Shabba cause him ah go run way'. I walk all the way from Jammys go straight ah Seaview and is a long walk that, and is taxi mi tek go down a Jammys," Shabba reminisced.
"When I reach in I house, I look at I mother, I say to I mother 'mi say I done with music...straight kill people and badness,' and she say 'wah? Kill people and badness?'. She say "no murderer no in my generation'," he continued while a woman shouted "ah my auntie say that".
"No blood no de pon my generation. To how mi love how mi see yu a son, don't mek mi cry. Anywhere yu did a come from and ah talk bout kill, go back de and work harder, cause when God open up fi yu door, nobody can close it. She say 'siddown ya so, bawl if yu want bawl, cry if yu waan cry, holler if yu waan holler' but remember say is only the love of God can bring yu through," he said, as his voice cracked a little with emotion.
Then in closing, he turned to the beautiful casket.
"Hear mi woman, I thank you for everything that you've done for me, everything that you've done for me, I thank you. I know I live I life, and I know I mother know me love her, cause if it come for me to lose I life to let her live, mi woulda dead fi she live, brothers, mi woulda dead fi she live, sisters," he said.
He lamented that the only thing he couldn't give his mother was "the opening of the pearly gates to see Jesus' face'. Shabba said that his love for his mother set the precedence for him to love his wife.
"My mother is my first girlfriend, she taught me how to love my wife, people, mi love you all, thank oonu for your support," he concluded to cheers and applause from the gathering.
Mama Christie, 81, had been ailing for three years and passed away on February 23 after a short stay in hospital.