Carlene Smith is not only the original Dancehall Queen for life, but a humanitarian for life.
The pop culture phenom will be donating proceeds from her birthday party at The Meca in St Andrew on Tuesday to the Bustamante children’s hospital.
“Apart from celebrating my birthday and life, myself and Whirlwind Entertainment will be donating to the cancer section of the children’s hospital from my proceeds of the party,” Carlene told The Gleaner. “Nothing I get is for myself so it’s free to come in but people who attend can always donate and proceeds from the bar will be put in my charity because you know I also have Sassa Frass and Tiger.”
Her interest in cancer patients come as one of her sisters undergoes chemotherapy, but Carlene’s philanthropic efforts go way back, even before she became the island’s premier ‘Dancehall Queen’ in 1992. As a teenager, she would host treats and varied charitable events, and went on to assist institutions like the Mona Rehabilitation Centre when popularity brought her increased resources. She has also been involved in safe sex and HIV/AIDS awareness campaigns.
She said giving back will pervade in this forthcoming chapter of her life.
“I just want to live, be happy, keep loving people, keep worshipping people as I do and love friends and family more than ever, but even people who I’ve been meeting along the journey. I’m happy I’m able to give back in my life. I know when I leave this space my name will live on because I worked hard for it and I stamped my mark in Jamaica’s culture and history. I just want to know that while I’m here, I did contribute and not just to my life and family’s life, but to people on a whole and I don’t want to stop that.”
@DHQueenCarlene) / Twitter" data-noaft="1" />Carlene’s birthday is actually on May 1, but she wanted to celebrate the occasion at her ‘Dancehall Tuesdays’ event at The Market Place. A host of celebrity friends are slated to attend and “take the mic”, including Mr G, Richie Stephens, Patra, D’Angel, Lisa Hyper, Pamputtae and Deca. Her dance peers including Latonya Styles, Keiva Di Diva, Mad Michelle, Chinny Unique and former dancer Sher Luxury are always slated to be there.
Carlene expressed gratitude to her business partner Michael Dawson of Whirlwind Entertainment and others for supporting her throughout the years.
“Mr Michael Dawson, that’s my strength of all that I’m doing,” she said. “That man stands with me and he’s a gentleman to the fullest; he’s never been inappropriate so big up to him. Thank you to the public on a whole, my daughter Crystal, Ryan, and just all who have been there with me. We’ve had our ups and downs in life and in the last two years, it’s been even worse. Every charity that I’ve done comes out of my pocket. Even if somebody else gives something towards me in the last three years, it still comes out of my pocket. I’m not rich, I don’t even have it sometimes, but it’s not about that. I’m healthy, alive, I’ve never been hungry or homeless, so, I have a lot to be thankful for.”