A report by Nelson A. King for Caribbean Life News.
A Brooklyn-based Vincentian group recently honored former National Calypso Monarch D Man Age for 41 years of calypso and social commentary.
Vincy Liberators New York bestowed the extraordinary award on D Man Age, whose real name is Errol Rose, at a gala ceremony in Brooklyn devoted exclusively for him.
In a joint statement submitted to Caribbean Life after the ceremony, Ian Sardine, vice president, and Lavern Williams, public relations officer, said the group wanted to honor D Man Age “while he’s alive and not waiting until he’s dead to take flowers to his grave, where he [obviously] would not be able to appreciate it.”
Sardine and Williams stressed that D Man Age “needed to be acknowledged and recognized for his contribution and hard work over the years,” adding that they were “disgusted with the Ministry of Culture and Calypso Organization in SVG [St. Vincent and the Grenadines] for not honoring D Man Age over the years and for not recognizing him as a Cultural Ambassador for his years of service, commitment and contribution.”
D Man Age, one of the founders of Vincy Liberators New York, was presented with a plaque and a check for US$1000.00, in addition to all proceedings from the ceremony that was broadcast live on Nice Radio in St. Vincent and the Grenadines and Success Radio in Canada, according to Marissa “Lady M” Gregg, a former radio personality in Brooklyn, who served as Mistress of Ceremonies, along with calypsonian Scorpian.
“This is not something that was part of my agenda since singing,” D Man Age told Caribbean Life in a brief interview after the ceremony, alluding to the honor. “I got into calypsos in the ‘70s to be more politically conscious. [Social activist and political activist] Renwick Rose, my cousin; Patches Knights [calypsonian], [the late social and political activist] Caspar London and even [Prime Minister Dr.] Ralph Gonsalves were conscious individuals.
I wanted to sing to set the example for those guys who made me politically conscious about the administration that was suppressing and repressing them at that time,” he added, stating in the same breath: “That’s still going on now.”
“That’s how songs like ‘Ghetto’ and all those things came out,” he continued.
Before pursuing his singing career, Vincy Liberators New York said D Man Age, was “a dedicated and devoted educator / teacher at the Kingstown Methodist School.”
D Man Age also attended and completed two years at the St. Vincent and the Grenadines Teachers Training College, and was later transferred to the Questelles Primary School “because of his song, ‘Dey Go Ban It,’” Vincy Liberators New York said.
“After being politically victimized for his calypsos and political and social commentaries, he showed his dedication for the teaching profession by walking to and from Kingstown [the capital] to fulfill his duties as an educator in St. Vincent and the Grenadines,” the group said.
The group said D Man Age also had a passion for the steel pan at a very young age, stating that he will visit the pan yard after school on afternoons and played the instrument, becoming an official member of the Starlift Steel Orchestra, perennial panorama champions.
Vincy Liberators New York claimed that he inherited the name “D Man Age” “because he was much smaller for his age as a youngster growing up in his village [Rose Place in Kingstown].”
Vincy Liberators New York said D Man Age — a member of the Brooklyn-based Dynamite Calypso Tent, the lone Vincentian calypso tent in the United States — has taken part in numerous calypso competitions over the past 41 years.
Over the years, he was crowned Calypso Monarch in St. Vincent and the Grenadines three times: 1978, with “Dey Go Ban It” and “In De Ghetto; 1999, with “Country to Build;” and 2000, with “If Ah Coulda Ah Woulda.”
Vincy Liberators New York said D Man Age has over 100 recorded songs/tracks and 10 recorded albums, adding that the diverse calypsonian has recorded songs in other genres, such as ballad and reggae.
But the group said D Man Age is renowned for his hits, such as “This Society Needs a Spectacle;” “Who have Eyes to see Let them See;” “Dey Smoking Too;” “Take Back We Country;” “We have a Country to Build;” and “What More Do You Want From We.”
“D Man Age is known and described as best calypsonian: fearless, calm, focused, a people’s person, role model, mentor, humble, selfless, hardworking, great father, disciplinarian, respectful,” Vincy Liberators New York said.
Douglas “Doug” Howard — the Edinboro, Kingstown-born former president of the Brooklyn-based St. Vincent and the Grenadines Progressive Organization of New York, an affiliate of the main opposition New Democratic Party (NDP), known by the acronym SPOONY — said that he has known D Man Age for most of his life and that he admires the calypsonian “because he doesn’t brag, boast, beat his chest, nor wear what he’s done on his sleeves.”
Howard — who, along with some members, broke away from SPOONY, a few years ago, over a bitter internal dispute to help form Vincy Liberators New York — further described D Man Age as “someone who touches lives in a tangible way, through the message in each song.”
“This honor for D Man Age is long overdue,” said Howard in a statement in the souvenir journal, adding that D Man Age, over the years, has been “consistent with his songs and deliveries.”
The ceremony also featured performances by calypsonians Rejector, Fabulous T, Jose Juan, Lively, Gregory Olive, Denis Bowman, Ziggy and D Man Age himself.