“The undisputed People’s Calypsonian!” Gov’t pays tribute to the late Black Stalin

“[…] Black Stalin was a standard bearer of Carnival traditions whose work spans from pre-independence to the present. In the 1950s, Stalin began as a limbo dancer, then later devoted the next 60 years of his career to developing the Calypso art form…”

The following statement on the death of Dr Leroy “The Black Stalin” Calliste was submitted to Wired868 by the Ministry of Tourism, Culture and the Arts:

Calypsonian Leroy Calliste, the Black Stalin, passed away on 28 December 2022.
(via Flickr)

The Ministry of Tourism, Culture and the Arts joins the national community in mourning the loss of Dr Leroy Calliste – The Black Stalin. The five-time Calypso Monarch and Calypso King of the World (1999) passed away earlier this morning, on 28 December, at 81.

Senator the Honourable Paula Gopee-Scoon, Minister of Tourism, Culture and the Arts (Ag), says:


“We are deeply saddened by the loss of the undisputed People’s Calypsonian. Stalin was one of our cultural icons whose impact transcended generations, geography and social strata. Through his music, many could better appreciate the Calypso art form whilst simultaneously being educated and entertained.

“We will forever be grateful for his contributions to the advancement of Calypso locally, regionally and internationally.”

Black Stalin was a standard bearer of Carnival traditions whose work spans from pre-independence to the present. In the 1950s, Stalin began as a limbo dancer, then later devoted the next 60 years of his career to developing the Calypso art form.

In 1962, he entered the Southern Brigade Calypso Tent. This veteran Calypsonian began his career in the late 1950s and won the love of many with an extensive repertoire that includes timeless hits like Black Man Feeling to Party, Wait Dorothy, Caribbean Unity, Ism and Schism, Bun Dem, and his popular Chutney composition, Tribute to Sundar Popo.

For his artistry, Stalin was endowed with many well-deserved accolades as the Trinidad and Tobago Humming Bird Medal Silver (for Culture) and inclusion in the Sunshine Awards Hall of Fame.

Five-time Calypso Monarch, the Black Stalin.
(Courtesy NCCTT.org)

In 2008, the University of the West Indies (UWI) conferred the Doctor of Letters (DLitt) for his tremendous contributions to the Calypso tradition and insightful social and political commentary. Black Stalin’s work has indelibly impacted all facets of society.

The Ministry of Tourism, Culture and the Arts extends its deepest condolences to his family, loved ones and the cultural fraternity. May he rest in peace.

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