Hercules sings “50 Years” on way to winning Golden Jubilee Independence Monarch.
Photo by Nelson A. King

With roaring crowd approval, six-time Grenada-New York Independence King, Hercules, was crowned Sunday night the Grenada Golden Jubilee Independence Monarch in New York at the American Legion Hall on East 92nd St. in Canarsie, Brooklyn.

Hercules, whose real name is Paul Williams, dethroned reigning Grenada-New York Independence King, Zingo, and defeated eight other contestants in capturing the coveted crown before effervescent calypso fans.

Singing “50 Years,” Hercules attained 327 points in the competition, organized jointly by the Brooklyn-based Grenada Cultural Festival Group, Inc. (GCFG) and the online Rampoon Radio.

Ello (Edwin Mark) was first runner-up with 302 points; Pet (Harriett Jeremiah) was second runner-up with 294 points; and Quako and Cheryl V (Burgess McPhie and Cheryl Vincent, respectively) competed jointly, a first in the Grenada-New York Independence Competition, taking the third runner-up spot, with 290 points.

Quako and Cheryl V say "Thank You.”
Quako and Cheryl V say “Thank You.”Photo by Nelson A. King

The other contestants were: Zingo (Evelyn Alexander, 286 points); Lady Gloria (Gloria Jones, 283 points); Muscles (Patrick George, 280 points); Derrick LaTouche (Derrick LaTouche, 273 points); Frost 473 (Shakeil Prosper, 264 points); and Prince Milo (Robert Cox, 239 points).

The contestants were judged on lyrics (30 points); melody (25 points); rendition (20 points);  originality (15 points); and presentation (10 points).

Ello sang on “Celebrate”; Pet on “Celebration”; Quako and Cheryl V on “Thank You”; Zingo on “Wave”; Lady Gloria on “Happy 50th”; Muscles on “We Unique”; Derrick LaTouche on “We Celebrating 50”; Frost 473 on “Happy Birthday Grenada”; and Prince Milo on “Grenada Will Rise”.

Hercules with his wife, Shenell Williams, and their daughter, Chloe, after winning the crown.
Hercules with his wife, Shenell Williams, and their daughter, Chloe, after winning the crown. Photo by Nelson A. King

Besides Hercules, who received the crown and huge trophy, the other contestants received small trophies from the organizers.

In addition, all contestants received citations and proclamations from Congresswoman Yvette D. Clarke; State Sen. Roxanne Persaud; and Public Advocate Jumaane Williams, the son of Grenadian immigrants.

Clarke, the daughter of Jamaican immigrants, who represents the 9th Congressional District in Brooklyn, was on hand to personally deliver the citations.

Guyanese-born Persaud, who represents the 19th Senate District in Brooklyn, was represented by Community Liaison Grenadian Jennifer Viechweg-Horsford. Williams was not present, but his citation was handed over to the competitors.

“What a wonderful expression of Grenadian culture!” Clarke told the ceremony at the conclusion of the competition. “Calypso is the strength of Grenadian resilience.”

Tallpree, of “Ole Woman Alone” fame, made a guest appearance; and Nathifa Lewis paid a tribute, “Your Legacy,” to her dad, Patrick Roberts, who died last October at 68.

Nathifa Lewis pays tribute to her late dad, Patrick Roberts, with "Your Legacy.”
Nathifa Lewis pays tribute to her late dad, Patrick Roberts, with “Your Legacy.”Photo by Nelson A. King

“This performance and song, I wrote this last week,” Hercules told the ebullient crowd after Master of Ceremonies Harold Pysadee, a popular Grenada radio personality, announced the results just past 11:00 p.m. “I wrote it back-and-forth. I thank you.

“I have to celebrate with Val (Adams, a four-time Grenada Calypso Monarch in New York, who was among patrons),” he added. “Congrats to all the competitors. Remember, I love you.”

Shortly afterwards, Hercules told Caribbean Life that he was “happy with the turn-out”, stating that, for the last three years, because of the COVID-19 pandemic, there was no Grenada calypso competition in New York.

“I finished writing the song this week,” he said. “It (award) came in the right time. I’ve been doing this a very long time. It’s nice to win on the 50th anniversary (of Grenada’s independence).”

Hercules, who competed last Sunday night, said “50 Years” sought to address “the situation that people are going through – problems, things people have to fix.

“Yes, we’re going through independence, but we have to know what to make our country run properly and to upgrade in 2024, because COVID put a damper on what we have to do,” he added.

New Grenada Consul General to New York Michael Brizan said that “it’s history that’s taking place today.

“Our calypsos are part of our education,” he said. “Don’t take it lightly. I want to applaud the quality.

“We continue to celebrate our 50th Anniversary,” he added. “Grenada belongs to we (us), and we can make a contribution to our island. As we look forward to the next 50 years, each and every one will take on the mantle. I compliment the organizers.”

In his opening remarks, GCFG Chairman Michael Vincent said: “This event is long overdue. There are nine other calypsonians waiting to dethrone the reigning calypso monarch. They are all winners.”

Later, George Bartholomew, of Rampoon Radio, said he was “so happy to be part of the organizing committee. I want to thank the calypsonians.”