I had the pleasure of meeting Stafford at the Reggae film Festival in Feb.2008 where he was honoured for his part in the great Jamaican feature film Kla$h. He looked very healthy and was in good spirits at the time and i could have never imagined he would not be around just over a year later.
Alot of people will remember Stafford for his role in the film Kla$h aswell as his long running and successful reggae tv series "Reggae Strong" which was shot on location in New York, England and Jamaica, between 1984 and 1994 with which he inspired many people and introduced them to reggae and the Rasta message of One Love. He also made a huge contribution to the history of Reggae music through the use of film. He interviewed hundreds of important artists for his show, some of which we would never have got to see on film if it wasn't for this show. This was just one of many of his great acheivements which he will be remembered for.
Our deepest sympathy goes out to all his family and friends at this difficult time.
Stafford Ashani succumbs to brief illness; to be buried today
By Yasmine Peru (Jamaican Observer)
Friday, May 29, 2009
Members of the film and entertainment industry are mourning the passing of Stafford Ashani, one of Jamaica's foremost actors, film-makers and playwrights who made his transition on Tuesday after a brief illness.
His sister, secular-artiste-turned-gospel-singer, Shelley Thunder, told Splash on Wednesday that Stafford, who was in residence at the Hope Institute had been diagnosed with cancer at the end of March this year.
"He did the operation . a stomach bypass . in April but things were worse than the doctors had thought, and he was later transferred to the Hope Institute. At about 3:30 yesterday (Tuesday) he just held on to me, looked me right into my eyes and passed away," a very brave sounding Shelley Thunder stated.
She recalled that her brother was "a fighter" and he held on to life until all the family members who were overseas came home to visit him.
"We asked him to hold on until his little brother got here . and he did . and then we asked him to wait until his two daughters who also live overseas got here, and he did. He was a fighter and brave to the end," Shelly said during a telephone conversation.
The father of four, one of the movie roles for which he can best be remembered is that of Raga in the movie Klash, starring Jasmine Guy. He also starred in the film, Just Like America.
One organisation, the Jamaica Association of Dramatic Artists (JADA) has expressed their regret at Ashani's passing. In their release they noted that he has been aptly described as "an artist of formidable intellect and focussed determination".
"Stafford Ashani recognised the value of the role that theatre can play in the development of a nation and its people, telling researcher Susanne Schwinghammer-Kogler that theatre can help a people find their identity, repair injured lives, and define the feelings which people have about their culture as a result of their experiences. 'Theatre does all of these things," he added; it is essential...like water, it refreshes. That's why I do it and love it.'"JADA noted that Stafford Ashani worked locally with many of the major writers and producers, including Trevor Rhone, Barry and Lloyd Reckord and Carol Dawes.
A New York University-trained film-maker, Stafford Ashani was also known for the high-quality music videos he produced through his production company, and one of his most recent productions - a video clip for singer Da'Ville romantic ballad Missing You Right Now which Stafford Ashani and Ras Asha directed - debuted at #3 on the RETV MVP Video countdown.
A service of thanksgiving is scheduled for this morning at 10 o'clock at the St Mark's Methodist Church in Harbour View, his sister stated.