Yeshie Renee: A star on the horizon Pt 2
Second of a seven-part series.
Yeshie Renee cannot remember the first time she met Eddie Seaga, a former Prime Minister of Jamaica.
“I was too young, but he was always in Denham Town and Tivoli Gardens where my family lives and people looked up to him, meaning they respected him very much.”
“I just didn’t see him on TV, as most people did. I actually knew him and was so close to him because I went around with him. This was because of my poetic talent. But I am also able to sing, dance and even act.”
“I remember walking along the street one day and a car drove up. It was that of Eddie Seaga who handed me two thousand dollars.”
“I didn’t beg him as my parents taught us not to beg, not just in the streets but just about anywhere. I was so glad that I took home the money and told my parents, who knew Seaga very well.”
“The money was used to buy a Jansport bag that I had wanted so much. It was the popular bag at that time.”
“I can’t remember if I were the one to purchase it (bag), but it was blue, which was one of my favourite colours.”
Yeshie recalls that her grandmother was Seaga’s first secretary. That’s what her parents had told her.
“Grandma had passed away, may her soul rest in peace. I was then about a year old, so when I met Eddie Seaga, I really don’t know if he had made the connection between grandma and myself.”
“As I became more recognized in my community, several persons wanted me to perform. And I have to give credit to my brother Majah Bless because he was the one who first took me along to perform with him.”
“Mr. Seaga was obviously impressed with my talent because everywhere I performed people would be clapping and screaming and requesting that I performed again and again.”
“I would be at school or over by Tivoli Gardens as there was a performing group called Tivoli Gardens Dancers where I would be doing my dancing lessons. And Eddie Seaga would send a car to pick me up.”
“I couldn’t leave my class by myself. Obviously, I got permission to do so and the Principal knew the occasion as well.”
Yeshie recalls that the first item she did was the people’s favourite titled ‘Chill Dem Children.’
A few lines read:
“How you seh yu luv di children
And yet still yu waan kill dem.
Yuh seh yu don’t luv di children
A pon ice yuh waan chill dem…”
“It was a poem written by my brother, Majah Bless. And there was also another poem called ‘Mi Hungry Till Mi Angry’ – the title of which speaks for itself.”
“I can tell you, people around really enjoyed my poetry as they would respond by the beating of a desk.”
“Some of these functions I attended had very high profile people by the way they dressed. I performed at functions far away from Denham Town and this had a lot of dignitaries. And, Eddie Seaga would allow me to meet and greet them.”
“Mr. Seaga made me believe in myself. He made me more confident. This has given me a lot of self-confidence on stage. And it is no wonder people are so amazed of my performances on stage. This, I know, will make me unforgettable like such singers as Tina Turner and Beyonce.”
Edward Philip George Seaga was the fifth Prime Minister of Jamaica from 1980 to 1989. He was the leader of the Jamaica Labour Party from 1974 to 2005. He served as leader of the JLP opposition from 1970 to 1980 and again from 1989 until January 2005. Seaga died on May 28, 2019, at age 89.
Coming next: Yeshie Renee jets off to London, England. Third of a seven-part series.
(Photos courtesy of Yeshie Renee)