Congratulations continue to pour in for prominent calypsonian Sir
McLean Leroy Emanuel – more popularly known as “King Short
Shirt” – on being selected to receive an honorary degree from the
University of the West Indies (UWI).
Sir McLean is among 14 eminent regional personalities who will be
honoured during the University’s 2023 graduation ceremonies,
starting next month.
He will become the first recipient at the first ceremony, which will
be held in Antigua at The UWI Five Islands campus on October 7.
King Short Shirt, who was born and grew up in the Point community,
is also referred to as “The Monarch” for his outstanding
achievements in calypso.
He entered the arena in 1962 and has since produced hundreds of
top-quality calypsos, winning the local Calypso Competition 15
times. He is known mainly for his cutting lyrical content, sweet
harmony, and smooth melodious voice.
King Short Shirt was the first winner to “three-peat” in the annual
competition – in 1964, 1965, and 1966 – and took the Caribbean
Calypso Competition crown seven times. He also has seven Road
March titles to his name.
Some of his biggest hits include Tourist Leggo; Lucinda; Nobody Go
Run me; Our Pledge; Lamentation; Star Black; Run Shorty Run; and In
Spite of All.
Pundits say many of his social commentaries are still relevant today,
and they are often used by radio hosts to address national issues
and to condemn the government.
In fact, the United Progressive Party has traditionally utilized his
Handwriting on the Wall as a rallying call in its political campaigns.
On at least two occasions, King Short Shirt has been invited by
CARICOM heads of government to perform during their
independence celebrations – including in Belize, in 1981, when he
performed A New Beginning, a song he wrote especially for the
occasion, and in Saint Lucia in 2023.
Also being celebrated this year are several other well-known
artistes, including Barbadian soca queen Alison Hinds; Hugh
Beresford “Beres” Hammond, O.J. , the Jamaican reggae singer; and
Heather Headley, a Trinidad & Tobago-born singer and actress.