TRINIS from all walks of life celebrated the memory of Dexter “Blaxx” Stewart as they best knew how – by taking to the streets, singing and dancing to his music.
It was a Carnival-like atmosphere as hundreds danced, sang and walked along Frederick Street and onto Brian Lara Promenade as they followed the hearse carrying Stewart's body. The life of the popular soca artiste was celebrated by friends, family, fellow musicians and fans alike.
People also came out of their offices and business places along Frederick Street to listen to the music coming from a music truck while Carnival characters and hundreds danced to his many hits including Leh Go, Mash Up, Carnival Jumbie and Tantie Woi.
Stewart died on March 28 due to complications from covid19. He was 60.
The versatile artiste’s funeral was held earlier on Wednesday at the Grand Stand, Queen’s Park Savannah and drew many from varying sectors of society including fellow musicians, politicians and cultural practitioners.
He was described by various speakers as an icon, legend, mentor, caring father and soca lover. Many, during their individual tributes, called on TT to honour its artistes and entertainers while they are alive.
The service began at 10 am and people entering the Savannah were greeted by the Caribbean Steelpan Connection ensemble which played some of Blaxx’s hits.
His children Mickello, Melicia and Terell delivered the eulogy. His sister Avelia Stewart also spoke on the family’s behalf.
Artistes including Destra, SuperBlue, Voice, Preedy, St Lucia’s Teddyson John and others paid tribute to Blaxx in song while Roy Cape, Port of Spain South MP Keith Scotland, Anthony “Chinese Laundry” Chow Lin On and Stewart's manager Giselle Gellineau-Penrose all spoke about him and his contribution to TT’s musical landscape.
Gellineau-Penrose said, “He was a son, a brother, a father, a business partner, a musician, a friend, a mentor and so much more to so many people.”
She was a part of Stewart’s management team for the past 20 years and he became more than "a dear friend, he was my brother.”
“Blaxx more than the music he made. He was an icon of his time, a mentor to many. He was passionate and supportive of developing young talent within the soca industry.
“Blaxx loved his country TT and his diverse culture. The country’s flag soared high whenever he performed both on and off stage. He fiercely defended the artform of soca earning him the nickname the soca police,” she said.
Stewart affected many lives both locally and internationally, Gellineau-Penrose said.
She thanked Fay Ann Lyons-Alvarez and Ian “Bunji Garlin” Alvarez for their support during his illness.
She also thanked Elizabeth Montano for “always being a source of support and a voice of advice during Stewart’s time of illness.”
Destra’s tribute of To God Be the Glory moved the audience to a rousing applause and Preedy also had the audience moving as he sang Stewart’s 2022 hit, Mash Up.
Following the parade from the Savannah, along Frederick Street and then the Brian Lara Promenade, Stewart was cremated in a brief, private ceremony in Tacarigua.