Brooklyn Councilman Jumaane Williams Tuesday night paid tribute to legendary Trinidadian calypsonian the Mighty Shadow, who died Tuesday morning in his native land. He was 77.
The Mighty Shadow, whose real name was, Winston Bailey — who was to receive an honorary doctorate from the St. Augustine Campus of the University of the West Indies (UWI) this weekend — died at hospital following a stroke over the last weekend, relatives said.
“Today, we lost a legend in the art of calypso music,” said Williams, the son of Grenadian immigrants, who represents the largely Caribbean 45th Council District in Brooklyn.
“Shadow was an extraordinarily influential figure in the world of calypso,” added the activist politician, stating that “in the Caribbean and across the world, people mourn his passing and celebrate his music.
“As a young boy, before I became a proud hip hop head, the captivating sounds and energetic rhythms of soca and calypso played in my home, including the likes of The Mighty Shadow,” Williams continued. “The Mighty Shadow leaves behind a vast and incredible body of work that generations to come will enjoy just as they have throughout his career.”
Williams — who on Monday, announced his intention to run for public advocate of the City of New York after opening a campaign committee with the Board of Elections in anticipation of the race — said Shadow’s music speaks to the social, political and cultural realities of his home nation of Trinidad and Tobago.
He also said Shadow “created the mystique with his black-clad persona,” which “enabled him to connect with his audiences in a way that few others have achieved.
“I, along with many, am grateful for his extensive contributions to that culture, and I have no doubt his innovative music and persona will continue to serve as an inspiration long after his passing,” said the unsuccessful candidate for Lieutenant Governor of New York State.
Shadow was among five people, including former West Indian international cricketer Shivnarine Chanderpaul, who was to receive honorary degrees from UWI.
Shadow and Chanderpaul were to be conferred with an Honorary Doctor of Letters and an Honorary Doctor of Laws, respectively, at UWI’s 2018 graduation ceremonies on Oct. 25.
The former Trinidad and Tobago Calypso Monarch and Road March winner celebrated his 77th birthday on Oct. 4.
Born in Belmont, a suburb of Trinidad’s capital, Port-of-Spain, Shadow grew up in Les Coteaux, Tobago.
He won the Road March in 1974 with “Bassman” and, in 2001, with “Stranger,” making him the competition’s oldest winner.
He was also was the second calypsonian to win both the International Soca Monarch and the Trinidad Road March competitions simultaneously. He made that accomplishment in 2001 with “Stranger.”
A year earlier, Shadow won the Trinidad and Tobago Calypso Monarch with “What’s Wrong with Me” and “Scratch Meh Back.”