Independence celebrations more than just performances, say entertainers

FROM LEFT Desmardo ‘Stileet’ Finley and Dillion ‘D-Mac’ McKenzie

Living up to their show stopping performances Bahamian entertainers – Desmardo ‘Stileet’ Finley and Dillion ‘D-Mac’ McKenzie – graced the stage this past Monday (July 9), for the island’s Pre-Independence Day celebrations on Independence Park under the theme, “We have come this far by Faith.”

The men were just two of the musical highlights of the evening, which also showcased Wilfred Solomon and the Magnetics Band, the Interdenominational Mass Choir (IMC) as well as a combined choir of young people – Independence Ensemble.

Following their performances, both men shared their thoughts on being a part of the event as well as what the country’s 45th Independence means to them.

“All I can say is the Lord is good. Bless God for the 45 years we have had in this beautiful country … giving me the opportunity, the health and strength to be able to go out in front of my people and give them a powerful and dynamic show. As always, I am more than happy to put together a band, which I call ‘Stileet and the Party Animals’ and go out there giving people pure waves of their own culture, in their own time right now. God is good,” said Stileet.

While on stage, Stileet made an appeal to Bahamians throughout the length and breadth of the country, to cease all forms of violence and bloodshed.

He also reminded Bahamians of the importance to unite as one.

Questioned what compelled him to make such a heartfelt appeal to the nation, the entertainer responded, “It was important for me to do because there are so many young people that have vision, but they get caught up in high school, they get involved in gangs and other distractions. The hardest thing in life is to stay focused, and the easiest thing is to be distracted.

“As long as people become distracted, start smoking, hanging with bad friends and not listening to their parents, it leads to gang involvement. Once you become involved with gangs it will lead to more problems. I always tell people, if you do not want to slip down do not go into slippery places,” said Stileet.

“We really have to put a hold on our country or we will have no value. We do not have any respect for one another. Most people do not know their neighbors’ last name and they have been living side-by-side, sometimes for over 25 years. Many of us do not take a plate of food, hand it over the fence and just live as one. They say this is ‘One Bahamas,’ but we are too segregated – not only by island or by Mother Nature, but also by culture, by politics and hating one another for another’s success rather than joining them to see how they got there, and everyone helping one another to get to the same place.”

He admonished Bahamians, from all walks of life, to truly live as one and do all in their power to lead the next generation on the straight and narrow path.

“The violence has to stop. There is too much killing. We need Jesus, more praying and we truly need to come together as one. The Bahamas needs to renovate our spirits and our culture. You, me, the doctors, the lawyers, everyone has to come together … each one, teach one. We cannot let it go like that. God gave each of us gifts and we have to help … there are some young persons that do not know that they have the gift, it is up to people like us, who have been on the road that can see their vision and their future. We have to step in,” declared Stileet.

He concluded by thanking all of his loyal supporters throughout his journey as a Bahamian entertainer, representing The Bahamas both nationally and internationally.

“I want to thank everyone for acknowledging me. Eleven years in the business and you all have not seen anything yet, because I am the ‘Party Animal.’ I am the Rake N’ Scrape General.”

D-Mac also thanked Grand Bahamians for their tremendous support over the many years that he, too, has been in the entertainment industry.

“First of all, I am so grateful and honored to have been asked to come here to Grand Bahama to perform. A lot of people focus on Nassau so much and when I was asked to come here I said, ‘Yes, I want to be in Grand Bahama.’ The production here is amazing, this is incredible. This is a surprise to me, but it is a pleasant surprise. I am just so happy to be here, humbled and honored by the Grand Bahamians, to invite me to be here.”

Also humbled by the love he received by attendees while performing, D-Mac said, “Every time I have been here – for five days and have done four performances in those five days – that is how it has been for me. It is just amazing to be here in Grand Bahama. The people and the love that they give is overwhelming. To see the love that Grand Bahamians have for the Independence of this country is amazing as well.”

Asked what the 45th Anniversary of the country’s Independence meant to him, D-Mac answered, “Forty-five years, from 1973 until now, there have been so many strides. We have come such a long way, we have accomplished so much as a small country per capita. When you look at other things that have been happening around the world, in other countries, we too are getting Olympic medals, we have persons in the NBA; we have so many brilliant musicians, Baha Men and the like within this small country.

“For us to be an independent country, so small yet doing such magnificent, huge things, I am so glad. I would not want to be born anywhere else other than in The Bahamas. This is the place that I love, and I thank God every day for being born right here in The Bahamas.”

Questioned regarding his hopes are for The Bahamas in the next 45 years, the entertainer said, “My hopes for the next 45 years are even greater – more accomplishments of course, we are getting there. We have come a long way, but we are still young. We still have a lot of growing pains that we have to go through and that we have been going through as a country. I see us in the next 45 years ironing out those things and I would love to see more unification.

“I like to see the young persons and how they are becoming more active in things that are going on. That shows me that there is a bright future for The Bahamas and that there is a lot ahead for us. I am excited for it, and I am open to it.

“I do not know if I will be here in the next 45 years to see it, but I know seeing what the young persons are doing, seeing how the older persons are now training the younger persons, I am assured that we will be in good hands in the next 45 years,” concluded D-Mac.

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