The Fort Lauderdale Marriott North was certainly the place to be on Friday May 5th (Cinco de Mayo), as the hosting venue to celebrate the musical legacy and achievements of Spice, ‘Queen of the Dancehall’. Dubbed ‘Spice up the Vision’, this special occasion was well attended with a festive atmosphere. What’s more, there were a number of government officials from various South Florida cities in attendance, including the City of Tamarac’s Vice Mayor Marlon Bolton (who is the youngest and first-ever black vice mayor of Tamarac), Commissioner Morey Wright; Miramar City Commissioners Alexandra P. Davis, Maxwell Chambers, Vice Mayor Yvette Colbourne; City of Westpark Commissioners Joy Smith, Dr. Katrina Touchstone; Mayor John H. Taylor, Jr. of Opa-locka; and Lauderhill City Commissioner, Ray Martin.
A Red Carpet Welcome
MC duties for the evening were handled by Julie Mango with DJ Fergie on the wheels of steel for tune jugglin’. A special musical performance was also given by Costa Rican violinist, Steven Avi.
Spice Has Had an Illustrious Career in Music Spanning Well Over a Decade
Born under the name, Grace Hamilton, Spice is widely recognized as one of the most prominent and accomplished Jamaican dancehall artists in the world. These days, Spice is not only a dancehall recording artist, singer, songwriter, but also an established business woman and entrepreneur. With her career kicking off in the early 2000s, Spice really made her mark with her smash hit collab alongside dancehall juggernaut Vybz Kartel aka ‘World Boss’ with their racy single—‘Romping Shop’. The duo later followed up with ‘Conjugal Visit’ which has garnered over 100 million views on YouTube. And not only is Spice known for her lyrical dexterity and epic on stage performances—especially at the Annual Reggae Sumfest festival in Montego Bay, Jamaica—but also her creativity where her outfits are concerned.
In 2018, Spice was featured as a cast member of VH1’s reality TV series, Love & Hip Hop: Atlanta in its seventh season as a follow up to her guest star appearance on the show in season six. And so it was only fitting to see her former cast members and good friends, Erica Mena and Rasheeda in attendance to celebrate the ceremonious evening alongside Spice.
Awards Ceremony Segment
Spice was born in the hard-scrabble, gritty city of Spanish Town, St. Catherine and was raised in Braeton, Portmore. She lost her father when she was only nine years old. During her ‘Key to the Region’ acceptance speech, Spice spoke very highly of her late dad, while touting her mother’s strength and endurance in raising her, her siblings and guiding them through their many stretches of hard times.
Spice as a child was an avid church goer and often lead the choir as a singer. She had aspirations of becoming an accountant, but later decided on a career path in music and enrolled at the Edna Manley College of the Visual and Performing Arts in Kingston to further that pursuit. During that time and thereafter, Spice made her foray into the dancehall music genre as a deejay on local stage shows. And as they say, the rest is history.
Bashment Time: Spice Took the Stage to Get the Party Started
In taking to the stage and then joining the crowd on the dance floor, Spice capped off the wonderful evening doing what she does best. A special thanks to all who made this marvelous event possible, especially City of Tamarac’s Vice Mayor Marlon Bolton, who was a primary sponsor and event organizer. And last but not least, congrats to Spice for all she has contributed to Jamaican music and culture with her remarkable career achievements and accomplishments both on and off the stage.
Photos – Nick Ford