Words by Jesse Serwer and Lady Laleebella
2014 was much like any other year: Filled with endings and new beginnings. Within the Jamaican reggae community, the losses seemed to pile particularly high, however, beginning with the February departure of William Clarke, better known as Bunny Rugs of Third World, just days shy of what would have been his 66th birthday.
As the year went on, several other vocalists and musicians whose contributions to reggae culture (and the related genres of ska, rocksteady and dancehall) could only be described as monumental were lost as well. These included digital pioneer Wayne Smith (also lost in February), Roots Radics drummer Style Scott, and the iconic singer John Holt (both of whom passed in October.) The losses weren’t limited to reggae, or music: Also lost were the great Trinidadian-born actor and dancer Geoffrey Holder, and one of los reyes de la salsa, Cheo Feliciano. Here at LargeUp, we attempted to pay homage to these lost legends, and contextualize their careers, as best we could (including publishing Wayne Smith’s final interview), though these tributes perhaps only scratched the surface of what each brought to the culture.
Here’s one last look at some of the iconic Caribbean entertainers lost in 2014.