Bounty Killer Gives Aid To Reggae Legend Junior Byles As He Battles Mental Illness And Cancer

Dancehall veteran Bounty Killer has been moved by the story and viral videos of one of Jamaica’s legendary Reggae artistes, Junior Byles, apparently living in abject poverty.   Bounty has announced that he would make a cash donation through the Bounty Killer Foundation to the artiste who is battling mental illness and prostate cancer to help offset medical expenses.

A video, which went viral in Jamaica a few weeks ago, was filmed by a concerned Jamaican who happened to spot the icon showed Byles begging for money. The recorder follows Byles to spot where he sits munching on a jerk chicken neck.

Image result for Junior BylesShe expressed concern that Byles has a Facebook fan page and is so well known but still appeared to be struggling. He assured her that he has a place to sleep but he keeps insisting that she give him the money.

The woman even asks Byles if producer Lee Scratch Perry has helped him out to which he replies in the affirmative. Byles is best known for his contribution to Rock Steady Reggae and his song ‘Fade Away”, which remains a popular hit.

Byles celebrated his 72nd birthday recently and his daughter, Christine Byles, revealed to Jamaica Gleaner that he has also been suffering from mental health issues. She  said that he was being taken care of in spite of several videos surfacing of him wandering the streets in Kingston.

Christine also shared with the Gleaner, that even though her dad was a star he always put her first: “Although I knew he was a reggae icon, he was and still is my dad. Growing up with him was very normal and simple. He was a very humble, kind, loving, peaceful and friendly person. He was always gentle. I remember being such a daddy’s girl. I could get my dad to do anything so I have fond memories of him. I remember he used to swing me on his chest in our hammock while he sang. He was always singing.”

Image result for bounty killerShe went on to reveal that he has been experiencing mental problems for almost 40 years. She also shared that she would be returning to Jamaica soon to personally attend to him.

“As far as preventing his mental illness, there was no way we could have predicted or prevented this. The family has always done what they believe was best for him. We’ve always followed the advice from the health ministry/clinical department, but nothing we did could stop this,” she said.

She added that her father still lives with family and that their home was not very far away from where the video was filmed.

“As a family, we are forever grateful for the heartfelt support and concern. It makes me feel empowered because they (the videos) have shone a light on mental illness.”
“Looking back at his collection/catalog, they represent him and the Jamaican culture. He was a gift to music and he loved it 100 percent. His contributions helped put Jamaica on the map for reggae music,” she continued.

Image result for Junior BylesByles’ struggle with depression and mental issues began in 1975 and his health began to decline. He was so deeply affected by the death of Haile Selassie that he attempted suicide. He was admitted to Bellevue Hospital, after which his mental health continued to decline. Byles was very influential in the 1970s helping to shape some of Jamaica’s political landscape.

He has three albums Beat Down Babylon (1972) Dynamic/Trojan, Jordan (1976) Micron and Rasta No Pickpocket (1986) Nighthawk.

Source: Bounty Killer Gives Aid To Reggae Legend Junior Byles As He Battles Mental Illness And Cancer – DancehallMag

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