Jamaicans gathered in their thousands inside the National Stadium on Saturday night and were mesmerised at the fantastic drone show segment of the Jamaica 60 Independence Grand Gala.
The first ever independence drone show, not only caught the undivided attention of 30,000 proud Jamaicans celebrating inside in the stadium, but those across the island and in the diaspora.
The show began with a local rendition of ‘Kings of Kings and Lords of Lords’, followed by Toots and The Maytals’ ‘Sweet and Dandy’; Shenseea’s ‘Blessed’ and Buju Benton’s ‘I am a Jamaican’.
Decked in black, green and gold, the gathered Jamaicans sang and danced while being entertained for around four hours.
The festivities included cultural presentations, performances from some of the island’s top entertainers, groups of costumed dancers and tributes to musical stalwarts Derrick Morgan and Sanchez and Jamaica’s frontline workers who toiled hard while the COVID-19 pandemic raged.
Tributes to Jamaican icons included cultural stalwart Louise Bennett-Coverley, more popularly known as Miss Lou and reggae stars Dennis Brown and Bob Marley.
The event also charted some of the achievements by Jamaica at the international level, from sports to the Miss World contest which Jamaicans have won on four occasions through Joan Crawford, Cindy Breakspeare, Lisa Hanna and Toni-Ann Singh.
Singh sang the National Anthem and also performed Jimmy Cliff’s ‘Many Rivers To Cross’ in tribute to the frontline workers,
The patrons were treated to the display of 300 drones, which lit up the night’s sky with a colourful pattern of different formations to the sound of different reggae music. Peter Tosh’s ‘Creation’ started and ended this section.
The entertainers also were at their best, with Glacia Robinson, Sister Pat and Kukudoo giving praise in the gospel, before Teejay stayed at his ‘Owna Lane’ in ‘Rags To Riches’.
Barrington Levy ended with ‘Here I Come’, ‘Black Roses’, ‘My Woman’, ‘Living Dangerously’, ‘Too Experienced’, ‘Prison Oval Rock’ and ‘Murderer’.
Meanwhile, sprinter Shelly-Ann Fraser-Pryce is one of ten people who will be inducted into the Order of Jamaica (OJ) as the island prepares to honour 143 persons with national awards this year.
The OJ is awarded to Jamaican citizens of outstanding distinction. A decorated Olympian, Fraser-Pryce recently stormed to a historic fifth 100m title at the 2022 World Athletics Championships.
Also among the OJ recipients is business pioneer Joan Duncan, who played a pivotal role in the development of the country’s banking sector, in particular the money market, with the establishment of Jamaica Money Market Brokers Ltd (JMMB).
Rounding out the OJ recipients are Monty Alexander, Olivia Grange, Justice Karl Harrison, Rita Lewin, Professor Maureen Samms-Vaughan, Audrey Sewell and Professor Alvin Wint. American actress Sheryl Lee Ralph, who is of Jamaican heritage, will receive an honorary OJ.