While many people hope 2022 will be a year when the world finally defeats COVID-19, it continues to bring tragedy, claiming the life of beloved Soca Parang artiste Kenwrick “Kenny J” Joseph.
Kenny J, 69, of Coora Road, Siparia, died at the Augustus Long Hospital in Pointe-a-Pierre at 11.25 am Sunday.
The retired Assistant Superintendent of Police leaves behind four children and ten grandchildren. His wife died 11 years ago.
His daughter Jeselle Joseph said he began experiencing flu-like symptoms two weeks ago and decided to get tested. The result showed he was positive for COVID-19. Joseph’s condition worsened, so he went to the Siparia District Health Facility and was transferred to Augustus Long.
“I spoke to him a couple of days ago, and he was doing OK, but he was a bit disoriented. He did not have the normal triggers to tell whether it was day or night. He would call and ask how I was doing. He was in and out of sleep as he was under medication. COVID-19 requires you to rest,” Jeselle said.
Doctors would call daily to update the family on his health. The family also kept frequent contact with him to let him know they were well and asked him to stay strong. Jeselle was satisfied that the doctors did everything required for her father’s recovery and found comfort in their calls.
Kenny J joined the fight against COVID-19 and featured in a Ministry of Health advertisement to encourage people to get vaccinated. However, some used his death to criticise the effectiveness of the COVID-19 vaccines.
According to his daughter, the singer had no known illnesses.
Born on Prices of Wales Street, San Fernando in 1952, Kenny J found a love for music. In 1987, he won the Police Calypso Monarch. On the national level, he qualified for the National Calypso Monarch finals four times, placing second in 1990 singing, Addicted to Sweet Soca and Leave She Alone.
Many would remember his hit Soca Parang songs De Paint Brush, Alexander, Cork in She Hand and Hush Yuh Mouth.
As for his daughter Jeselle, she would remember his ability to make people laugh.
“He could always tell a joke. His sense of humour was quite alive.”
The family will post funeral details to his Facebook page.
Tributes pour in
Steve “Ras Kommanda” Pascall, chairman of South Central Zone of the Trinbago Unified Calypsonians Organisation, offered his condolences to Kenny J’s family. Pascall said he knew that he was in the hospital with COVID-19 but learned of his death when Jeselle reported it via a radio station. He said that Kenny J leaves the art form behind after setting an example to many.
“I sent him a WhatsApp (message) to tell him that I am a COVID recovery and to give him some tips on how to handle it in terms of how he eats and the medication he got. He did not reply, so I suspect he was out of the zone. I got to find out from a close friend last week that he was battling for his life in Augustus Long,” Pascall said.
He believes sooner or later the vaccinated and unvaccinated will contract COVID-19.
“People will recover, some people will not recover, but I am of the firm belief that everyone will get COVID-19.”
Tributes for Kenny J also came from the likes of Crazy real name Edwin Ayoung, who took to social media saying, “Kenny J will live forever. He was a true friend and I will surely miss him.”
DJ Doctor Ross also remembered Kenny J as “a real good man with a heart of gold.”
Parang Queen Marcia Miranda also paid tribute to Kenny J’s “smile, laughter, wit and beautiful voice.”
Opposition Leader Kamla Persad-Bissessar described him as a “true cultural icon.”