Reggae Sumfest 2023: Tommy ... | Hapilos
It was like a homecoming parade for Tommy Lee Sparta when he returned to the Reggae Sumfest stage at the Catherine Hall Entertainment Centre in Montego Bay, St. James, at daybreak this morning.
The highlight of his 30-minute performance was an intimate reflection on his recent experience with incarceration. Sparta noted that prison had a positive impact on his mindset and he also commented on how Vybz Kartel, the imprisoned ‘King of Dancehall’, was similarly contemplative while serving his life sentence for murder.
“…Horizon warden, mi respect unuh! Wah day me and [Vybz] Kartel, we have a ting called recreation weh we go down deh go play football more while—a di only time sun touch mi… Wah day me and Kartel ah reason him ova deh suh [and] me ova yah suh fence off and di dawg ah seh, ‘Tommy Lee, when my youth a baby mi deh a prison and now dem have baby’…mi ah seh God know dawg, it rough in deh,” he said.
Tommy Lee Sparta added, “All mi can tell fi youths dem, yuh see prison, if unuh can do anything fi stay far from it—stay far from prison. Mi nuh regret guh deh ‘cause guess wah? Ah di best two year ah my life. Mi get time fi pree and find time fi mi family; find time fi mi self. Mi used to have all 15 girl one time, now it come like girl…mi get corrupt! Now it’s just like mi ease offa di girl ting.”
Sparta explained that prison allowed him to reconsider his lifestyle, which had been rife with unhealthy choices and drug use.
“Mi used to ah tek one heap ah drugs and dem ting deh and a pop pill and ova do it and mi come offa mi addiction and nuff ting. Suh, mi glad fi di like break. Ah God mek it happen suh. And mi wah seh respect to di police dem wah kinda give me a chance fi perform and understand seh youth can change. Nuff ah di youth dem wah change but dem nuh really get di chance.