Gospel artiste Lieutenant Stitchie has made history after being conferred with an honorary doctorate from the Cornerstone Christian University in Orlando, Florida.
The artiste, whose real name is Cleve Laing, received the award for his contribution to gospel reggae music at a ceremony yesterday. The event took place at The Word Church of God, located at 1733 Mercy Drive, Orlando, Florida.
Stitchie, who became a Christian in 1997, says he is extremely grateful.
“I must first give honour to my Lord and King, Jesus The Christ, because without Him, I would not even exist, let alone to be given such an honour. Psalms 75:6-7 is made manifest in my life once again as the Lord continues to show me His favour and fulfil His purpose in my life. I feel a great sense of accomplishment and humility, simultaneously recognising that I have been given a greater responsibility and a new assignment in enhancing the Kingdom of God, as this continues to be my sole mandate, since I was called from the secular dancehall music on August 7, 1997 to the Kingdom of God,” he said.
“I am honoured that Cornerstone Christian University chose to afford me the commendation of being the first gospel reggae minister and dancehall artiste to have ever been given such an honour and I will continue to “wear my size” in this walk of humility, as a citizen of the Kingdom of God and with integrity as a son of the soil of Jamaica, and the Caribbean as a whole.”
Prior to becoming a Christian, Stitchie was a famed dancehall artiste and was rated among the top artistes in Jamaica. Since his conversion in 1997, he has made a name for himself as a gospel artiste.
He got Most Outstanding Reggae Vocalist of the Year and Song of the Year at the Caribbean Gospel Music Awards (Marlin) for Solid Rock. In 2002, he got the top gospel album at the Canadian Caribbean Gospel Award and was named the Top Gospel Artiste for 2003 at The French International Caribbean Awards.
Numerous awards later, he released Real Life Story in 2007, which earned two Marlin Awards in 2008; Best Gospel Solo Performer of the Year and Most Outstanding Packaging. In 2010, he released another album, Serious Message.