Words, Photos and Video by Martei Korley
I first met “Tyquan Di Girl Dem Ikon” when he was just a skinny youth hanging out at the Sandhurst Hotel in Kingston’s Barbican neighborhood, Summer 2006. I passed through there to see my now dearly departed friend, Natasja, who had then just landed in Jamaica, eager to participate in Red Stripe’s “Big Break” song competition. Ikon Tyquan was then a mildly under-stimulated gangly youth, but Natasja took a shine to him and incorporated one of his dance routines in her Sumfest Show.
I didn’t see Tyquan until the following year, under the worst of circumstances: After attending the Portmore Awards dancehall showcase, Natasja died in a car accident on Hellshire Road early on June 24th. Tyquan had also been a passenger in the ill-fated vehicle. Trying to make some sense of the whole thing, Karen Mukupa, Natasja’s closest and our common friend, and I set out to Spanish Town hospital to retrieve Tyquan and bring him home to his family, after he was knocked out cold with headtrauma. It was obvious that he would be forever changed. Nastasja had meant the world to him and her encouraging words and love had inspired him to truly exploit his talent.
Our mutual friendship with her would prove to be our link in the future. Later that fall Tyquan appeared in Tarrus Riley’s “Lion Paw” video directed by yours truly. Now he’s on TV! A regular on In The Dance, you can now see him any number of dancehall videos, too. With his name rising up in Jamaica, I decided that it was time to let him speak his piece in a webisode so the world could see his cool, powerful style, too. Tyquan agreed and invited me to shoot footage of him at two of his family’s yards: One uptown and one in Waltham Park. As easy at both locales just as he is comfortable with both breakdancing and dancehall styles, the inventor of original moves like “Wackie Rebirth,” “Roop-Rap Di Dancer Dem Strap” and “Obama Rock” demonstrated why even if he isn’t the best, he’s still the greatest.