By Brittany Somerset, Intrepid Reporter, Manhattan, New York Forget Carrie from Sex In the City. On Wednesday, June 4th, there was a Cari-Fest in the City, at the Carifest CARES: Keep A Child Alive launch party and benefit at 40/40 on 25th Street, and the Sumfest launch party at Negril on West 3rd Street.The launch for Carifest CARES was attended by scheduled performing artists Matisyahu, Caution, Kayla Bliss, Meta & The Cornerstones, Uriel Hamilton and Midnight. Joseph Israel greeted the crowd via a pre-recorded message played on 40/40’s many flat screens. He offered his regrets at not being able to attend the event because he is currently on tour; however, he will also be performing at this year’s Carifest. Lee Scratch Perry did not attend; however, his new album’s producer, Andrew WK, did.Carifest, an annual, New York-based, Caribbean diaspora celebration that combines food, crafts, and a concert, will also include a charitable theme this year: “Carifest CARES: Keep a Child Alive (KACA)”. Keep a Child Alive is a non-profit organization founded by Leigh Blake, in response to the desperate cry for much-needed AIDS-combating medicines in Africa.Marie Davis, a woman living with HIV, gave a powerfully poignant speech to the evening’s attendees about the need for HIV and AIDS testing within the community. She stated, “The African and African- American community is the largest community living with HIV and AIDS, yet we are the least frequently tested voluntarily. Too often, I hear people, especially parents, say they don’t want to get tested because they are afraid to know if they are infected, or not. If you are a parent, you have a moral obligation to find out of you are living with either HIV or AIDS, so you can protect your children.” Her speech was met with thunderous applause from the rapt audience. She also stressed the importance of the use of condoms, and explained the difference between HIV and AIDS, emphatically stating that they were not the same thing.People living with HIV and AIDS can prevent or delay some of the more serious symptoms and complications, if given anti-retroviral treatment (ARV) medication. These medicines are easily accessible in the United States, but are virtually non-existent in Africa, where the AIDS pandemic has reached its peak, killing tens of millions of people. That is where Keep A Child Alive comes in. According to KACA, ARV medicines can miraculously prolong the lives of those dying from AIDS. KACA forwards 100% of their donations to this cause, and supports 14 clinical and orphan care sites in 7 countries. According to KACA, there are over 15 million children worldwide who have lost one, or both, parents to the AIDS pandemic.To learn more about what you can do to help this cause, contact , or attend Carifest CARES on Sunday, July 6th, at the USTA National Tennis Center, in Flushing, Queens, from 5pm until 11pm.Meanwhile, across town, at Negril, media, friends and Jamaican government officials came together to support the launch for Sumfest, an annual concert event which takes place in Montego Bay, Jamaica on July 13th-19th.Sumfest organizers, Johnny Gourzong, Executive Director, Robert Russell, Chairman, Sydney Reid, Director of Sites & Services, and Marcia McDonnough, Promotions Director, were at Negril to answer questions from the media about this year’s upcoming event. The organizers were joined by Jamaican political bigwigs such as Edmund Bartlett, Minister of Tourism, Carole Guntley, Director General in the Ministry of Tourism, Basil Smith, Director of Tourism, David Shields, Deputy Director of Marketing, and Donnie Dawson, Deputy Director of Tourism. The Jamaican politicians attended alongside their New York-based counterparts like Guillermo Linares, Commissioner of Immigration Affairs, and Genieve Brown Metzer, Jamaican Counsel General to New York.Despite the withdrawal of former Sumfest sponsors, Red Stripe, due to what they expressed as a disdain for the increasingly violent and inflammatory lyrics in dancehall music, the show must, and will indeed, go on. If the love and support that was apparent at the jam-packed launch was any indication of the support for the actual event, this year’s Sumfest will be just as successful as before, without sponsorship from Red Stripe.If you were unable to attend the launch parties, there is still plenty of time to get tickets to either, or both, of the events. Between Carifest CARES and Sumfest, it will certainly be a memorable Summer-fest of Cari-fun.
June 6, 2008 No Comments
By Brittany Somerset, Intrepid Reporter, Portmore, Jamaica.During a previous trip to Jamaica in July of 2007, I was told by a customs agent in Montego Bay airport that Jamaica was a malaria-free island. After perusing my passport, and noticing that I had been to Peru, I was subsequently ordered to the Minister of Health’s office, to be examined for malaria. I explained to the customs agent that I was on the anti-malarial medicine Malarone the entire time I was in Peru, and did not pose a health threat to the citizens of Jamaica. I further explained that malaria is not spread by airborne proximity. Unless I had managed to carry a malaria-infected mosquito back from Peru as a pet, kept it in New York, and then brought it to Jamaica with me two months later, I was probably safe to enter the country.Unfortunately while the customs agent impressed upon me that Jamaica was a malaria-free country, she completely failed to inform me that Jamaica wasn’t a dengue-free country. I didn’t pose a health risk to the island, however the island, unbeknownst at the time, certainly posed a serious health risk to me. I definitely should have periodically checked the Internet for health risk factors associated with visiting Jamaica. I usually do that when traveling to any other destination, however since I’d lived on and off the island since the year 2000, I thought I was aware of all the specific Jamaican health risks. I was completely unaware, however, of the 2007 outbreak of dengue in Portmore and Kingston. On a more recent trip to Jamaica in April of 2008, I fell deathly ill. At first, I assumed I had the flu, and took over-the-counter acetaminophen accordingly. My naive attempts to self-medicate with aspirin, acetaminophen or ibuprophin, were completely detrimental to my health, and in this particular case, could have been fatal. This is terribly unfortunate, as in most situations, aspirin may be the first readily available drug of choice to treat a broad spectrum of painful ailments.According to the New York Times “Aspirin and aspirin-like drugs must be avoided at all costs when treating Dengue, because they can lead to bleeding and complicate matters. Children with Dengue who take aspirin could develop Reye Syndrome.”After a few days of pure agony, when I could no longer stand the pain and was too sick to fly home, I went to a clinic in Portmore. I was diagnosed with dengue fever on the spot. Dengue is often referred to colloquially as “breakbone fever” because of severe muscular pains. I certainly felt like my bones were breaking. Never in my life had I previously experienced that magnitude of pain. I was immediately referred to a hospital in Jamaica. I was told the government would be notified and I would be placed under quarantine.It was Friday evening, and my heart sank as I realized the US State Department or Embassy wouldn’t be open until Monday morning. As the hospital nurse drew blood from me, for testing purposes, and asked me to wait two hours for the results, I contemplated activating my Medivac insurance. I imagined being airlifted by helicopter to St. Vincent’s hospital in New York. Unfortunately the Medivac pin # was programmed in my Sidekick PDA, which I didn’t bring with me to the hospital. General germaphobia and loathing of hospitals prompted me to give the nurse my local mobile phone number and beg her to call me in two hours with the blood test results. I became increasingly irritable and cranky, and was unable to think clearly.It’s a good thing I decided not to wait the estimated two hours for the blood test results. In typically Jamaican style, the doctors periodically called me over the weekend to inform me that the blood results would “soon come,” and reminded me that I was under quarantine and couldn’t leave the island. I returned to my friend’s house, exhausted, where I slept on and off for two or three more days.My symptoms included severe body pain; my muscles, joints, bones, toenails and hair hurt, accompanied with delirium, hallucinations, irritability, mental confusion, paranoia, (like an absinth binge gone horribly wrong), and severe sweating. I soaked the bed sheets through my pajamas and my hair was wet with sweat. I urinated in a bedpan, because I was too weak to make it to the bathroom. At one point, I couldn’t tell if I wet the bed with urine, or with sweat. I also had fever, chills, and other flu-like symptoms. I was so hot and slicked with sweat I wanted to strip naked and lie under the fan at one moment, and then I was shivering while wearing two sweaters over my pajamas, the next. I also developed deep vein thrombosis (DVT) in my left leg.I would have a day or so of activity and lucidity and then relapse into a dark abyss of pain. I later learned that the feeling of being cured and then relapsing is common, as the fever may be biphasic (i.e. two separate episodes or waves of fever).At one point, I was so incredibly weak, I couldn’t carry or even open a bottle of orange juice. Nothing quenched my thirst or swollen lymph nodes. In my sleep, I feverishly cried out, “Maman” repeatedly (French for “Mommy”). I had developed bleeding of the gums, and was vomiting. I dumped out my medical kit and searched for anything besides aspirin that would help alleviate my symptoms. Antibiotics were useless, as dengue is a viral, not a bacterial, infection. Luckily, I had 18 Vicodin painkillers remaining from a dentist’s prescription, following the removal of a wisdom tooth, weeks earlier. The last time I took two Vicodin for pain, I overdosed, passed out and slept like the dead. Perfect. The Vicodin was much more effective (and less deadly!) than aspirin and was the only thing that dulled the pain. I took the maximum dosage of 500mg every four hours and slept fitfully, sweating and thrashing, for three days, but mostly, I literally couldn’t move.After the fever broke, my body temperature was low and I had abdominal cramps. Having gone untreated properly for nearly a week, the disease had progressed to its more dangerous form, Dengue Hemorrhagic Fever (DHF).After a few anxious conversations with my doctor in New York, I learned that dengue is not an airborne virus (like the flu) and, therefore, I didn’t need to be quarantined, although the Portmore area probably did, because the infected mosquito might still be at large. I didn’t need to sit around waiting for blood test results that would probably never come, while my health was rapidly deteriorating. On his advice, I fled the country, and returned home.The entire time I was at the airport, I was nervously waiting for government officials in Mylar bio-suits to snatch me up and carry me away. Scenes from the movie “ET,” where Drew Barrymore’s house in quarantined, flashed through my mind. I hid from the imaginary quarantine police in the Air Jamaica business class lounge. My mind was still muddled, however, so I repeatedly shook out the contents of my purse, to make sure there were no hitchhiking mosquitoes hiding in it. I didn’t want to evolve from my current social standing of intrepid reporter, to Manhattan’s answer to Typhoid Mary. I thought if I arrived home and a mosquito in New York bit me, and then bit someone else, I could cause an outbreak. Remaining in Jamaica, however, without a private medical practitioner, was not the best option for me.Considering most types of mosquitoes breed in water, any quantity of water, from a swamp to a puddle, it makes sense that Portmore, Jamaica, which is built on land that was excavated from a swamp, and is divided by a canal, would be endemic and thriving with mosquitoes, some dengue-infected. Despite taking every precaution while in Portmore and in Kingston, such as using a mosquito zapper, sleeping under a mosquito net, burning citronella candles, wearing Avon Skin So Soft mosquito repellant, and wearing long pants and sleeves at night, I was still bitten hundreds of times. My morning and evening ritual consisted of slathering myself in Gold Bond medicated anti-itch lotion, as the itching of the non-dengue infected mosquito bites became increasingly unbearable. Being itchy, however, ultimately proved to be the least of my concerns.I took similar mosquito-bite precautions in Africa and Peru to what I did in Jamaica; however, in Africa I had the essential malaria-preventative measure of Malarone. Although malaria is more deadly than dengue, malaria can be prevented and is curable with doses of Quinine or Artesunate. There are no specific preventives, vaccines, or cures for dengue. Microsoft millionaires Bill and Melinda Gates have contributed over 50 million dollars towards the development of a dengue vaccine, and for treatment of those afflicted with the virus. As far as dealing with dengue, you just have to patiently ride it out, drink plenty of fluids, and hope it goes away, rather than develop into Dengue Hemorrhagic Fever (DHF). There is nothing else you can do.Clinically speaking, the Dengue virus is a flavivirus, (like West Nile, Yellow Fever, etc), of which there are four serotypes (variations). Dengue fever is transmitted by the Aedes Aegypti mosquito, which bites during daylight hours, not at dusk, as other mosquitoes do. The infected mosquito transmits the disease by biting someone and then biting someone else. There is no direct person-to-person transmission, which is why no one else in close proximity to me caught my “flu”.On one hand, one exposure to one of the variants of infection usually grants the afflicted with a lifetime of immunity to the disease. On the other hand, you are still at risk for catching the other three types of dengue. Studies indicate that it is the second infection that can lead to the more advanced form of Dengue Hemorrhagic Fever. DHF causes the capillaries (tiny blood vessels between the endings of the arteries and the beginnings of the veins) to leak fluid. If this isn’t treated in an expedient manner, DHF causes life-threatening loss of blood volume and death from Dengue Shock Syndrome.According to the World Health Organization (WHO), “Dengue Shock Syndrome supervenes in a small proportion of cases. Severe hypotension (low blood pressure) develops, requiring urgent medical treatment to correct hypovolaemia (a blood disorder consisting of a decrease in the volume of circulating blood). Without appropriate treatment, 40-50% of cases are fatal. With timely treatment, however, the mortality rate is 1% or less.”Many cases of dengue produce only mild flu like symptoms that last for 3-5 days, or no symptoms at all. Even if a first infection goes by undiagnosed and undetected, the second infection will increase the risk of the more severe DHF. The average incubation period of the virus is 3 to 14 days. In my case, it is highly probable I was infected during one of my frequent trips to Jamaica, left the island during the incubation period, and returned to Jamaica a week or two later to experience the onset of the virus on the night I arrived, without ever having known I was previously infected. Or perhaps I was infected once before, albeit mildly, passed it off as a cold or the flu and was re-infected, much worse the second time around. Considering how many mosquito bites I unavoidably sustained in Jamaica, it seems like it was only a matter of time before I caught dengue.After a lengthy recovery that is currently still in progress, I can only hope my experience can prevent others from experiencing this virulent virus. As I gear up for Sumfest in July, 2008, don’t be surprised if instead of seeing me in my normal attire of shorts, a tank top and flip flops, I am sporting a new fashion – an entire body camouflage mosquito net. Having been once bitten, I’m now twice shy.For more information about Dengue Fever please view:http://www.jamaica-gleaner.com/gleaner/20070928/news/news3.html http://sped2work.tripod.com/dengue.html http://www.wordtravels.com/Travelguide/Countries/Jamaica/HealthAdditional Sources:The New York Times, Personal Health by Jane E. Brody, Tuesday May 13th, 2008World Health Organization website
May 20, 2008 No Comments
By Brittany Somerset, Intrepid Reporter, Manhattan, New York.There are a growing number of marijuana activist organizations and they have all had their hands full this month. On Wednesday, May 14th, the most corporate-looking conscientious objectors came together in support of The Marijuana Policy Project’s (MPP) Medical Marijuana Benefit. Even though they gathered at -no pun intended – the Highline Ballroom, this wasn’t the Stony Awards. A mostly white-collar collective of pro-cannabis constituents consorted and caroused with one another, while donating $250-$300 to a noble cause.“It is barbaric that seriously or terminally ill patients should be classified as criminals and incarcerated for using a plant, prescribed by their doctor to alleviate their suffering,” stated party attendee Dr. Thomas H. Haines, a Neuroscience professor at Rockefeller University.After the benefit began, MC Steve Marshall took the stage and told some self-deprecating Jewish Jokes. Then the Marijuana Policy Project’s Executive Director, Rob Kampia, welcomed everyone. John Stossell of American Broadcasting Company (ABC) and MTV News pioneer Kurt Loder addressed the party. Joel Peacock was presented with an Outstanding Patient Advocate award. His epiphany, that pot was more effective than pills for chronic pain, spurred him to appear in MPP’s ad campaign as the poster child for medical marijuana legislation.Senator / Senate Majority Leader Joseph L. Bruno was also honored for his tireless efforts to pass a medical marijuana bill. Three years ago, Mr. Bruno announced his support for enacting a medical marijuana law.Additional activists who attended the benefit included Montel Williams, Michelle Phillips (from the band The Mamas and the Papas), Steve Bloom, editor of CelebStoner.com, and Tony award winning choreographer, Savion Glover.When MPP was founded in 1995, as a lobby organization for legalization legislation, pot was prohibited in the United States. Period. At a median rate of 1 state per year, medical marijuana is now legal in 12 states, however At the rate the MPP is going, it won’t take another 38 years to legalize the entire United States.Similar efforts to support decriminalization legislation are simultaneously spearheaded by the National Organization for the Reformation of Marijuana Laws (NORML), founded in 1971. Incidentally. NORML’s founder, Keith Stroup, a lawyer, was found guilty in a Boston courtroom just yesterday of the crime of possession. Naturally, he plans to appeal. Mr. Stroup was arrested on Sept 15th, just prior to delivering a keynote speech at the Boston Freedom Rally, an annual event which supports legalization of marijuana. Approximately 15,835 people are arrested weekly for weed. Nearly one million people are in jail in the United States for pot possession.Other organizations that believe the reefer madness needs to end, because cannabis is not a crime, are nojailforpot.org and Safer Alternative For Enjoyable Recreation (SAFER). While MPP wants marijuana to be legal with a prescription for the terminally ill, NORML wants marijuana to be legal for everyone. SAFER believes pot is a better, less risky recreational and social lubricant than alcohol and should be used more frequently. On May 3rd SAFER organized a rally of over 10,000 people for a “smoke-in” in Boulder, Colorado. All of the aforementioned organizations propose to repeal pot prohibition by classifying it in same league as alcohol and taxing it.
May 17, 2008 No Comments
On April 8th, 2008, Cedella Marley Booker, or “Mama B” as she was affectionately known, passed away peacefully in her sleep, surrounded by her loved ones, at her home in Miami, Florida, at the age of 81.
Although her final home was in Miami, where she lived close to her musical grandchildren, she spent several years living in Delaware with her second husband Mr. Edward Booker, where she ran The Roots record shop.
She was also known to reside from time to time at her original home in Nine Mile, Jamaica, which is now the Bob Marley museum and his final resting place.
Cedella, a Jamaican, was married to Norval Marley, from Great Britain, who was 32 years her senior, and they lived together in the early 1950’s. From this union, Bob was conceived. Cedella was the primary caregiver in Bob’s life and remained staunchly by his side during his meteoric rise to fame.
She wrote two biographies about her famous son entitled, Bob Marley: An Intimate Portrait by His Mother (1997), and Bob Marley, My Son (2003).
Besides being an author, and the mother of one of the most influential musicians of all time, she was also a musician in her own right. She recorded three albums, entitled “Awake Zion!,” “Smilin’ Island of Song: A Musical Adventure for Children” and “Woman Divine.” Her song “Brown Girl In The Ring” is the title track on a World Music compilation CD for children in the “Music For Little People” Series. As a grandmother of 52, her penchant for children was widely recognized.
Cedella is survived by two children from her second marriage, Claudette Livingston and Richard Booker, and 52 Grandchildren.
A loving, maternal woman of remarkable courage and strength, having prematurely buried two of her sons, Cedella undoubtedly reunited with her two deceased children in Zion.
Rest In Peace Mama B.
April 20, 2008 No Comments
Unlike most annual Jamaican festivals where batty riders and bandanas are the normal attire, the second annual ‘Symphony Under The Stars,’ whose patrons were politely seated in rows of white chairs on the lawn of the Cable & Wireless National Golf Academy in New Kingston, was an elegant, classy, black-tie affair. On the evening of Saturday, March 15, guests were decked out in blinding white suits, tuxedos, cocktail and evening dresses for a night of tranquil, sophisticated entertainment.
Notable attendees of Symphony Under the Stars included Richie Spice’s back-up singer Nina Karlett, flamboyant artist LA Lewis, Sean Paul’s father Garth Henriques, Jr., Gong Marley’s mother, Cindy Breakspeare, Minister of Information and Culture – The honorable Babsy Grange, and Billboard Magazine writer Pat Meschino.
The line up of supporting artists included Courtney John, who was attired in a black, pin-striped suit, bejeweled with symmetrical rows of rhinestones. Courtney John (formerly known as Yogi) performed his hit, ‘I go Crazy’ and songs from his new album, “Unselfish.”
Supporting artist, dapper Don, Da’Ville looked like a million dollars. He was decked out in a blazing white suit, with a coordinating cream white vest and tie, white pork pie hat, crisp white patent leather shoes and clear, futuristic Versace sunglasses. He wowed the crowd with his hit, “Always on My Mind.” The ladies in the audience swooned as he glided across the stage. His smooth, sexy dance steps harkened back to the height of the Motown Era.
Both Courtney John and Da’Ville have recently won ‘Excellence in Music and Entertainment’ awards, presented last month in a ceremony by Jamaican radio host Richie B., of Hot 102 fame. Richie B. was also the host MC for Symphony Under the Stars.
Artists Duane Stephenson, Chalice, LUST, and AJ Brown rounded-out the event. All five opening artists used the same backing musicians, in the band as well as the orchestra, and shared the same five harmony-backing vocalists. This virtually eliminated the notoriously tedious set changes that tend to drag down other popular festivals. Each opening artist performed three songs, with the exception of AJ Brown and LUST, who performed an encore. The headliner for the evening was legendary Rhythm & Blues singer, Roberta Flack.
Miss Roberta Flack looked radiant in a fuchsia silk blouse and a black, multi-tiered, mermaid skirt, which showed off her svelte figure to a T. She played a black baby grand piano while performing her signature classic ballads, “Killing me softly,” and “The First Time Ever I Saw Your Face,” which moved members of the audience to tears. She was accompanied by the masterful sounds of the New York orchestra, which was led by Jon Williams.
After the performance, Executive Producer Ruby M. Robinson of S.H.E.M. Music Production and Tourism Minister Edmund Bartlett presented Roberta Flack with a hand made piece of artwork, which was created by production team-member Charl Baker. Ms. Baker was so touched by the experience, she burst into tears backstage. “I grew up listening to Roberta. To be able to give her a piece of my artwork was a dream come true.”
March 19, 2008 1 Comment
By now, most of us are familiar with the musical exploits of the Marley children; however, one member of the extended musical Marley family that you might not be familiar with yet, but you should be, is Bunny Wailer’s daughter, Cen C Love. Jamerican based Love’s headquarters are in Hotlanta, Georgia, although she makes frequent trips to Kingston, Jamaica.
High Times magazine had the pleasure of being introduced to Miss Love through her friend, Bonner Cornerstone Music CEO, Fontano Thompson, whom she became acquainted with when she performed at his nephew Richie Spice’s All Spice Festival in the Hills concert event last year.
More recently, during the Bob Marley birthday month of celebrations, the day after her stellar performance in Negril, we sat down with Cen C Love, AKA N’geri Livingston, on a cool night in Kingston. She described her love of fashion design and music. While her cousin, and producer Bunny Wailer’s nephew, is constantly trying to pull her focus off fashion design and deeper into music, fashion design will always be on the back burner for her, when she has the time to make clothes. In the meantime, she is riding high on the success of her debut single, “A Little More Time.” Read more about this cool chick in the June ’08 issue of High Times magazine.
February 12, 2008 No Comments
AFRICA UNITE DOCUMENTARY DEBUT:By Brittany Somerset, Intrepid Reporter, Kingston, Jamaica.In celebration and recognition of the 63rd birthday of the honorable Nesta Robert Marley, the Rita Marley and Bob Marley Foundations jointly presented the Jamaican debut of the documentary film, Africa Unite. Notables, such as prime minister Bruce Golding, opposition party leader Portia Simpson, self-proposed front runner for the 3rd political party, the Rastafari party, Ras Actor Black, Bob Marley’s widow Rita Marley, actor Danny Glover, Angelique Kidjo, and Pliers from legendary musical duo Chakademus and Pliers, were all on hand for the documentary premiere of Africa Unite, which debuted at the Carib 5 Cinema in Kingston on February 6th. At the premiere, it was announced by the MC that Robert Nesta Marley’s name was actually meant to be Nesta Robert Marley, although a mistake was made on his birth certificate. The documentary, directed by Stephanie Black, chronicles the birth of the Rastasfari religion and, more specifically, the journey of Marley brothers Damian, Stephen, Julian, Kymani, Ziggy and Rohan to Ethiopia for the first time together as a family, which took place in 2005. Also included in their entourage was Bob’s old friend Skye High, from the group, “Skye High and the Mau Mau”. Most spectacular is their trip to the palaces and the final resting place of his imperial majesty, “The Conquering Lion of the Tribe of Judah,” Haile Selassie. Also included in the documentary are bits and pieces of the “Africa Unite” concert the Marleys performed while in Ethiopia. Cameos in the documentary include Haile Selassie’s granddaughter, Princess Mary. Actor Danny Glover, who is a goodwill ambassador for UNICEF, and African songstress Angelique Kidjo, also appear in the film. A sub-plot of the documentary is the pilgrimage of an elderly, 70 year old Rastafari gentleman named Ras Tawney, who has kept his faith for 50 years. Watching him leave his homeland of Jamaica for the first time, and approach the tomb of his Lord in Ethiopia, and get down on his hands and knees to thank his Lord for blessing him with the culmination his entire life’s dream, was so endearing and poignant it moved the audience to tears. The film also includes rare archival footage of Bob Marley. The 2005 Africa Unite concert was a re-enactment of and tribute to the now-historic Zimbabwe concert that Bob Marley performed at in 1978. During that event Bob shared his ambitious, utopian vision of African continental unity. His heirs have taken up this cause as should we all.
February 12, 2008 No Comments
By: Brittany Somerset, Intrepid Reporter, Manhattan, Kingston, Jamaica. The 4th Annual Excellence in Music and Entertainment Awards, hosted by radio personality, Richie B, of Hot 102, took place in the gardens of the Pegasus Hotel in Kingston, Jamaica. The previous 3 years of this annual awards ceremony took place on-air, at Hot 102’s studio. With really cool, intimate performances by I-Octane, Courtney ‘Yogi’ John, Dean Fraser, RDX, Brick and Lace, Queen Ifrika, Anthony B, Etana, Busy Signal, Tarrus Riley, and Beenie Man and Barbee, this was a really fun event to attend. A-list guests included Tony Rebel and the Rebel daughters, Jahyudah and Kenya. Unlike a festival vibe, guests were dressed to impress at this posh, private party. D’Angel looked really glamorous in a sleek black gown, slicked back hair with long ponytail, and glittery drop earrings, although she looked pained at having to be subjected to the ridiculous antics of Beenie Man and Barbee, who were carrying on like teenagers. Oh wait, isn’t Barbee still a teenager? My bad.Barbee, looked like an ’80’s prom dress threw up on her, in her fish-tail, black, see-through, lace & gold lamé dress. Her blond weave was a virtual helmet of thoroughly tacky hair, arranged with a strange, fist-sized bun on the top of her head. Barbee should have taken the award for worst dressed; however, she did take the award for “Best New Dancehall Artist”. She completely missed her cue for that by being in the ladies room, supposedly, when called to the stage to receive her award.Even though she was due to perform later on in the show, and could have delivered her thank-you speech then, Beenie insisted she be allowed back up on-stage, out of turn, in the middle of the program, to accept her award. While it is disgusting enough for Beenie, who is sporting more than a few grey hairs, to be disrespectfully cavorting with a teenager, in the presence of his wife, whether they are separated or not, it is more disturbing that the public seems to wonder if they are lovers or not (duh!). Watching the spectacle of the two of them together is like watching a train wreck. Even in Jamaica, where men are allowed to get away with much more then in America, one has to wonder where the line of good taste and decency should be drawn. As a public figure, you have a responsibility to conduct yourself in an appropriate manner. Well, they say, “No press is bad press,” and Beenie has certainly proven himself to be a (media) whore. While the duet between the two Bs was supposed to close the event, guests were already leaving in droves as soon as they took the stage together. It seemed the only people left to appreciate their performance were the wait staff.
February 9, 2008 No Comments
The Black Mystory concert produced by Triple B entertainment started off a bit slowly and then took off with a bang by the time Queen Ifrika took the stage. Looking completely opposite from the African Queen she presented herself as at the Rebel Salute concert, Ifrika looked more like a soldier as she kicked off her stiletto heels backstage and performed barefoot in denim capri shorts and a khaki military jacket. No matter what she wears however, she always brings down the house. The best surprise of the night was when she called two adorable little youths to the stage to perform a cameo. These kids had the crowd screaming with appreciation.
I-Wayne, attired mostly in black, with his pants rolled up above his ankles, raggamuffin style, revealing sneakers worn without socks, performed even better than he did at Rebel Salute. Lutan Fyah ‘s performance was similar to his performance at last year’s Smile Jamaica concert in Nine Mile. The next Smile Jamaica event takes place on Bob Marley’s Birthday, February 6th, in Nine Mile.
Richie Spice performed well, as usual. He always shines in Red Hills, as he was born not far from Red Hills in Rock Hall. It was Richie in fact who was the original person to present concerts in this particular venue. Richie threw his ‘All Spice Concert in the Hills’ at this very same venue last year. When I first heard about Black MyStory, and saw its African continent logo, I assumed the concert was a Richie Spice production. Well we now know whom the promoters got their ideas from… After Richie’s performance, he was presented with a special framed certificate, and the entire Bonner Family were praised for their myriad contributions to society.
The show ended well after dawn and the pink and yellow sunrise was gorgeous.
February 4, 2008 1 Comment
The annual Bob Marley birthday celebrations this month in Jamaica are kicking off with lots of fun filled activities. We will see how many I will actually be able to attend. I am hoping to watch the Africa Unite Film Premiere on Wednesday, February 6th at the Carib 5 Cinema in Kingston, at 4pm. The price is $1500J (approximately $21.) The proceeds go to a good cause. Africa Unite is a documentary by Stephanie Black, which chronicals the Marley family’s first trip to Ethiopia, and the 12 hour concert that was held there in the capital city of Addis Ababa.
February 1, 2008 1 Comment