As our nation navigates through the pain and immense sense of loss in the aftermath of Hurricane Dorian, I was further saddened to hear of the passing of John “Chippie” Chipman, one of our nation’s leading cultural icons, legendary entertainer, Junkanoo hall of famer and member of the British Empire, among many other honors.
Chippie had significant impact on multiple generations of Bahamians, residents, visitors and diverse people the world over. Nobody could have ever doubted his love for our great Commonwealth. He loved his country, our people and he proudly served as a global ambassador for all things Bahamian.
My first recollection of Chippie was at the tender age of eight as a primary school student at the Willard Patton Primary School in Bains & Grants Town, New Providence.
Chippie and many others gave of their time and talents to teach young people how to beat goatskin drums and other instruments in preparation for the nation’s first Junior Junkanoo Parade in 1988.
He did this for many years and we were fortunate as a little school in Bain Town to be the beneficiaries of his God-given talent. This is just one small example of his immense love and commitment toward cultural development and sustainability in The Bahamas.
The legendary Chippie also promoted female participation in Junkanoo. His Junkanoo group, “Chippie and the Boys”, were the first to allow women to rush on Bay Street. This distinguished class included pioneers like his late wife – Rebecca “Queen Becky” Chipman, Maureen Duvalier and Naomi Carey.
A great son of the Bahamian soil has now taken his rest and will be missed by many. I am honored to have lived during his time.
Chippie was loved by Bahamians, but more importantly, he was loved by his family who always professed their love and respect for him both privately and publicly. My thoughts and my prayers remain with them during this hour of bereavement. May the soul of John “Chippie” Chipman rest in peace and may his legend live on.
– Arinthia S. Komolafe, leader, Democratic National Alliance