In recognition of his contributions to the promotion of the calypso art form, King Short Shirt has landed another title.
Sir Leroy McLean ‘King Short Shirt’ Emmanuel has been conferred with the Degree of Doctor of Letters Degree honoris causa from the University of the West Indies, Five Islands. This comes after the veteran singer received a knighthood from the Antiguan and Barbudan government in 2014.
During the University’s ceremony last Saturday, Sir McLean accepted the award donned in his red graduation gown, blue stole, and black cap. The 81-year-old artiste and father of 10, has been singing for more than 60 years having entered the calypso arena in 1962 and has won over two dozen titles.
He won the calypso title 15 times in Antigua and Barbuda and was the first to ‘three-peat’ in the annual competition 1964, 1965, and 1966.
He also has seven regional titles and seven Road March crowns. Some of his songs are – Lamentations, Tourist Leggo, Power and Authority and Nobody Go Run Me.
In accepting the Honorary Degree, Sir McLean says he is both chosen and blessed to have carried the mantle of culture and thanked his wife Lady Esther and others who helped and supported him along the way.
In tracing his footsteps to success he said “to be the standard bearer of genuine Antigua and Barbuda music, an apex of calypso, a recipient of this precious title, requires dedication, determination, commitment, diligence, attention to detail, and aggressiveness.”
He added that calypso had given him a unique opportunity to build Antigua and Barbuda’s identity.
“But more importantly, to embrace humanity, inspire others to aspire to the fullness of their human potential, to rally for the greatest good of our nation, to address social, economic and political issues of the day,” he added.
The degree, will be conferred on a notable list of 14 recipients from the entertainment sector across the four landed campuses, according to a release from the University of the West Indies, Five Islands and “…commemorates the outstanding contributions made by these individuals to their communities and the wider society.”
The honorary degrees coincide with the 75th jubilee celebrations of the regional university and were presented as part of the wider UWI’s class of 2023 graduation ceremonies.