The eldest of 17 siblings; from age seven years, the performing arts was the light bulb illuminating the mind; started ballet and folk dance at age nine. This was local soca artiste Denise “Saucy Wow” Belfon. Dancer, football, gymnastics, Howard University Football Scholarship recipient, chef, mother, grandmother, mentor, pro-songbird characterise, but as a teenager, trying to rationalise how school education was going to fulfil the music and performing dream, haunted. Boys were on the mind a bit too; but who, besides the Creator, truly knows what’s in store for you.
Akin to T&T’s first Prime Minister, the late Dr Eric Eustace Williams’ last child, Erica Williams-Connell of herself in commencing her 25:54-minute oration on November 13, 2019, at the School of Education, UWI, St Augustine, on Williams the Man, and the Eric Williams Memorial Collection Research Library, Archives and Museum (EWMC): “When I was about 14 years old, without a single profound thought in my head, other than boys that is, I said: ‘daddy, when you die, all I want are your books and papers.’ I failed miserably at history in my rebellious years, I refused to go to university even if they would have me. Now the irony of all ironies is, I have become the founder and curator of the EWMC—a vast historical archive and deposit with the UWI, T&T…. In retrospect, I realise now, that I knew their (the books and papers) intrinsic value.”
The moral of the excerpt is: all children identify with ‘greatness’ from very young, and transport it with them though out life, and so, 51-year-old Belfon, from preteen, realised dance and performance had intrinsic value —it’s a spirit.
Belfon became musically-famed from 1991 with her first soca solo release Ka Ka Lay Lay, giving praises today, to Roy Cape and his All Stars band for initiating her big—stage opportunities from 1990. Saucy, knowing the power of dance, adopted every move in what she’s best faced for and morally criticised—raunchy, spicy, tantalising, provocative soca performances.
Having hit turbulent popularity waters in T&T classed as “no longer relevant” despite producing other mega soca hits as recently as this year, 2020, like Williams-Connell, you never know what “irony of ironies” will surface.
Refusing to be demeaned or to psychologically tussle up with local party promoters or radio stations to hire her or play her hits, Saucy took up residence in the US two and a half years ago, hit the ground running touring America, which halted the day the stay-home advisory started, but continued locking down major live viral concerts as recently as May 9.
In the 1970s, television lovers would remember the Six Million Dollar Man and Wonder Woman. Well, in 2020, amidst the current global pandemic lockdown, here rises a 60-plus-million-stream T&T soca artiste and a wonder woman with her home-delivery-hampers Covid-19 Put Yuh Back in It challenge as promoted by DJ Flex, popularising the Tik Tok site.
Perhaps T&T thinks the artiste can only evoke “the jamette” in you, but it has caused a flair of surfeit challengers globally, young and old, in and outdoors, and endorsing and embracing the song in varied healthful contexts, dance instructors have adopted it as a keep-fit and choreography tool, with testimonies realised.
“This was my last class before I went on maternity break,” reports London-based African Afro-Vibes Class dance choreographer, pro-dancer and dance teacher, Olufumilola “Fumy” Opayemi, subsequent to engaging her class in the Put Yuh Back in It challenge and workout. “Fifteen hours after this class, my new love was born (natural birth). Thank you everyone who came down on that day; it will forever be in my memory.”
Flexible in repertoire and character, Saucy transforms to sophistication and diplomacy when necessary.
Ground-breaking accomplishments, most loved, extremely prolific, best Caribbean wining queen, a major hit, a global fan, dexterous dancer, are some of the international descriptions canvasing Belfon.
How could T&T not recognise this?
“My children and siblings have seen me go through blood, sweat, grief, tears; hit rock bottom; bounced back. They see my success as a great blessing; they support me 100 per cent,” says Belfon.
Working with St Lucian international musical artist Ricky T (Ricky T Dunigan), Hahaha—another flavourful sauce—was released last month; already making waves.
There is a market and space for every genre of music, but strong backbone is needed to thoroughly respect T&T soca artistes.