They’re legends in their own right, and it was these legends — Franklyn “Zhivargo” Young, Elon Moxey, Freddie Munnings Jr., and Pat Rahming — who turned out to honor the legendary vocalist Priscilla Rollins, who was recently recognized by the Nassau Beach Hotel Reunion Alumni Association.
Rollins, 74, was honored at Junkanoo World: The Home of Barabbas & The Tribe, at an event dubbed “It’s A Family Affair” ,as the association remembered the musical legend who was the featured female singer with the “Mighty Makers” at the hotel in the 1960s, paired with male singer Bedie McKenzie.
Her vocals can be heard on singles such as “Killing Me Softly”, “Independence Morning”, “Letter from Miami”, “The Blacker the Berry”, “Self-Discipline” and “I Win”.
Rollins, who has gospel roots, got into secular music when she started to frequent local nightclubs such as The Zanzibar, The Silver Slipper, The Cat N Fiddle and Central Highway Inn. She was the opening act at both The Zanzibar and The Cat N Fiddle for international artists such as Roy Hamilton, Sammy Davis, Jr., Joe Tex, Frank Sinatra, Harry Belafonte and Nat King Cole.
To her credit, Rollins also toured New York in the 1970s with Tony McKay (Exuma The Obeah Man), who wrote “Independence Morning”, which she recorded for him. The song was utilized as the featured song during the Independence Celebrations in 1973 at Fort Charlotte Park (Clifford Park) during the government changeover.
In the 1980s, while living in Toronto, Ontario, she was awarded the Top Female Reggae Singer in 1984-85 after producing several reggae records – “Lover’s Choice” and “I Love You” for Paradise Records. She also traveled to Paris, France, with the National Dance Troupe under Shirley Hall-Bass, where she performed in a cabaret show.
Most recently, Rollins formed the “Together Band”, for which she was manager and lead singer; they performed on Junkanoo Beach.
Rollins’ recognition came about after a decision was made in mid-2015 to form a committee to honor former employees of the hotel. The committee, which was formalized in early 2016, is comprised of Brendan Foulkes, chairman; Bryan McCartney, vice-chairman; and committee members Creselle Dean, Kelvin Leach, Gloria Young, Paula Brown and Val Smith.