Laing Says Sting Deserves Award For Longevity, Impact On Dancehall

Supreme Promotions chairman Isaiah Laing says he believes Sting, which he founded 40 years ago, is deserving of an award, due to its “longevity and impact on Reggae and Dancehall music and its ability to bring people together from across the world”.

“It’s our 40th year and no other show has ever run this long in the industry.  I’ve been out there toiling; it takes so much out of me to keep the show running for so long and people don’t give we the regards,” Laing told The Star tabloid in a recent interview.

“I’ve done my work by bringing Dancehall to the forefront and the four corners of the world and, if dem nuh think that’s important, then that’s okay. We will soon start our own award show I will dub ‘The Unsung Heroes,’” he added.

According to Laing, the record-breaking Sting will be streamed to 179 countries and “will soon be hosted in international spaces such as England, parts of Africa and Japan by 2024”.

Sting was first staged by Laing, at Cinema 2 in New Kingston back in 1984, whilst he was a policeman in the Jamaica Constabulary Force (JCF).  At the time, it featured singers such as Sugar Minott, Tenor Saw and Michael Palmer.

Sting, which has cemented its place as an institution in Dancehall, has been the place where the reputations of some artists have been made, and the egos of others shattered.

Among the artists who “made their names at Sting” are Bounty Killer and Beenie Man, Mavado, and Vybz Kartel

Super Cat and Ninjaman are two of the artists who participated in clashes at Sting.  Their face-off was the event’s biggest turnout ever, with 42,000 paying patrons. Super Cat was pelted with bottles during the event, which was staged at the National Stadium.  This led him to threaten a section of the jeering audience.

Super Cat and Ninjaman at Sting 1991.

Sting has also set records as Jamaica’s biggest-viewed event online on several occasions.   Last year, the drama that unfolded between A’mari “DJ Mona-Lisa” and Queen Ladi Gangsta, at Sting 2022, caused the event to “trend” globally for two days in a row, according to Laing.

In January 2014, The Gleaner also reported that Sting 30 broke yet another record as the first locally produced show to receive over 14 million viewer impressions via Google.   The event, which was produced at the time by Supreme Promotions in collaboration with Joe Bogdanovich’s DownSound Records, had gone pay-per-view for the first time in its 30-year history.

The Gleaner had also quoted a Sting official as saying that the event did “extremely well in the cyber world, though this is not the first time that the annual attraction, dubbed The Greatest One Night Show on Earth, has pulled global attention via the Internet”.

Sting was also the second-most trending topic in the world in 2012.  At that time the event, which featured a lyrical tag team involving Ninja Man, Kiprich, Merciless and Tony Matterhorn trended for 18 hours, from 1:00am on December 27, to 7:00pm that night.  

Over the years, there has been some lows and highs.  In 1999, the event which was held at Jamworld, flopped after headliner Capleton withdrew three days before show-time, refusing to perform because Beenie Man was on the line-up.

Laing has also revealed in the past that he has made huge sacrifices to keep Sting alive, including the loss of five apartments and a house.

The now 66-year-old had launched Sting after promoting several successful dances at the Spanish Town Prison Oval and Cinema 2.   He retired from the Jamaican Constabulary Force at the rank of detective sergeant after 20 years of service.

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