“Ijahman had three shows in France, and before leaving Jamaica, he had a COVD test which came back negative. He traveled to France, did shows, including the No Logo Festival, and then he was supposed to work in the studio, but he said he didn’t feel good. I told them to take him for a COVID test, and he came back positive, ”Stephenson said.
The 75-year-old reggae singer, who tours Europe regularly and is a British citizen, having migrated there with his parents decades ago, is now in a better place than he was ago one week. But Stephenson, who is happy the virus was discovered early, admitted that, nonetheless, there had been a scary few days.
“When I spoke to him a few days ago, he looked very weak. He said he hadn’t eaten and had no appetite. We keep him on a special diet recommended by the doctors, but I told him to make sure to take his medications and vitamins to strengthen his immune system. I also told him to grab a French bread, put some jam in it, and get a black coffee maker. He said he didn’t want it so I called the hotel myself and placed the order and told them to bring it to his room. This morning he told me he was feeling a lot better and the black coffee worked, ”the manager said happily.
Stephenson, like Ijahman Levi, remains optimistic about a full recovery soon. “I told him I wanted to see him go home soon, and he says he wants to go home with his family, so as soon as he tests negative for COVID he will go home,” Stephenson, who was also the director of Toots, said.
According to his biography, Ijahman Levi was mentored by musician and vocal teacher Joe Higgs. His first album, Hi I Hymn, was released on Island Records in 1978. He became Ijahman Levi after a religious conversion to Rastafari while in prison between 1972 and 1974. His records preach the Rastafarian movement as well as the doctrine of the Twelve Tribes of Israel.
Ijahman Levi isn’t the first reggae artist to fall ill while on tour in recent weeks, and the issue of health insurance is on the rise. Stephenson is no stranger to this game in particular, having been around when Gallimore Sullivan of the Gladiators fell ill while touring the United States and racked up a bill of US $ 35,000.
“We had a first-class doctor and nurse with him when he got home and we organized an ambulance to meet them at the airport and take him directly to the teaching hospital. It was all covered by insurance. I always make sure that in my contracts or endorsements, the question of insurance is well addressed, both for the artist personally and for the place. And another good thing is that many European embassies insist on insurance coverage as part of visa requirements, ”he noted.
Stephenson is currently in discussions with the agent in France regarding insurance coverage for Ijahman. He also calls on artists and their managers to train in this area, because these are “different periods for touring musicians, artists and their entourage”.