Entertainment News Views

Written & compiled by Stan Evan Smith, Music Editor

Silver Spring/New York City:

Ziggy for White House gig

Reggae singer Ziggy Marley is scheduled to perform at the White House on April 13, as part of President Barack Obama’s Easter celebrations.

Marley, the eldest of reggae legend Bob Marley’s sons said he was contacted last week by the office of First Lady Michelle Obama to appear at the event which is a White House tradition.

“I’m really excited about it; we get the chance to spread the message all the way to the White House,” Marley told The Gleaner.

Marley is a five-time Grammy winner. Four of those came with the Melody Makers, a group which also included his brother, Stephen, and sisters, Sharon and Cedella. His 2006 solo album, Love Is My Religion, won the Grammy for Best Reggae Album in 2007. Marley’s latest album, Family Time, is a collection of children’s songs. It will be released on May 5. Source The Star

Marley Marketing split?

Howard Campbell

Rita Marley. – Contributed

THERE ARE conflicting views from relatives of Bob Marley on a recent decision by the family to use his image on a new line of products, including snowboards and beer.

The singer’s wife, Rita, is defending the deal with Canadian company Hilco, which has been mandated to boost the Marley legend through a worldwide marketing blitz. But Ziggy Marley, the reggae singer’s eldest son, says he is concerned about his father becoming a product.

“We have a brand that is a loaded brand, but there are areas where we could be doing better, so they (Hilco) have said, ‘Come on guys, we are going to help you’,” Rita Marley told The Gleaner recently.

The deal will see Hilco tracking illegal use of the Marley image and name. But the company’s main thrust is overseeing the revival of daughter Cedella’s Catch A Fire clothing line and launching a series of products, which include a Marley lager.

Speaking to The Gleaner from Los Angeles last week, Ziggy Marley said he was ‘skeptical’ about the Hilco arrangement.

“It’s a family decision, but I’m not in total agreement with it. I want to make sure everything is in accordance with my father’s message, so I’ll be watching to see how things go,” he said.

His mother sees nothing wrong with producing a Marley beer. “I drink beer, Bob drink beer, his boys drink beer. He never drank alcohol but him love him Guinness and him roots,” she said.

Crack down

Hilco’s Toronto-based CEO Jamie Salter has been given the task to broker licensing deals and crack down on Marley bootlegs. She told Canada’s CBC News recently that Marley products make US$1 billion annually.

Bob Marley was a Rastafarian and a steadfast opponent of the ‘system’. Many of his songs had anti-establishment themes which made him an icon of the counterculture of his era.

Message musicians like Bob Dylan and Bruce Springsteen have turned a blind eye to commercialism. But others, including the Rolling Stones, have done mega tours sponsored by corporate giants like Budweiser beer.

Significant growth

Marley’s mystique has grown considerably since his death from cancer, at age 36, in 1981. Legend, a compilation of his best-known songs, has sold over 15 million copies worldwide and is one of the most enduring albums on Billboard magazine’s catalogue chart.

The Marley family have endorsed or launched several ventures bearing the singer’s name, including a theme park in Florida and a spa that opened in The Bahamas in 2007.

IMIJ & CO. to hit bacchanal stage

the main attraction at Bacchanal 2009 this week will be the long awaited performance of Trinidadian soca band Imij and Co. Imij and Co. has been rocking the Caribbean and world stage for several years now and has also graced the shores of Jamaica on numerous occasion. The group is now a favourite among hard core soca fans and new converts as well.

Bacchanal 2009 has been a tremendous success with large crowds converging at the Mas Camp in New Kingston. Over the past few weeks Bacchanal 2009 in association with Digicel has brought quality entertainment to Kingston including the tremendous performance of Alison Hinds on March 6. Patrons at Bacchanal 2009 can expect a safe, clean environment with a different theme every Friday night. Bacchanal has definitely ‘Gone Hollywood’.

Digicel is proud to welcome Imij & Co. to the Bacchanal Stage. Digicel has been a part of Bacchanal for six years and sees its relationship as a fulfilment of its desire to contribute significantly to the Jamaican cultural and entertainment scene.

Over the past five weeks Digicel has offered patrons a chance to sample the concept of the Moulin Rouge at Bacchanal. Digicel has created what can be described as a magnificent replica of the French Red Windmill Cabaret Building. The building is similar not only in architecture but also in decor, from the French interlaced silk drapes embroidered with gold trimmings to Parisian lamps at the entrance. To continue the theme Digicel has also brought to the Mas Camp; Mimes, Moulin Rouge Dancing Girls and Caricature Artists.

Imij and Co. is one of the top Soca bands to come out of Trinidad and Tobago and based on their past performances fans will not be disappointed.

About Imij and Co.

Every so often a band comes along, adding variety to the already colourful musical genre landscape of Soca Music. Some merely melt into the existing mural, while a few supply it with fresh peaks. Imij & Co. fits snugly into the latter category. Since it’s inception in March 2001, the band has played the Gamut of top-drawer shows in the Caribbean, Canada, Europe and the USA.

In the band’s years of existence, Imij & Co. has performed with international acts such as Enrique Iglesias, Usher, Glen Washington, Junior Kelly, Barrington Levy, C&C Music Factory, Rupee & Dot Com, Ray of Light, UB40 and Nina Sky; testimony to Imij & Co.’s versatility. They also won the “Best Playing Band Award” at the Miami Carnival and performed at the prestigious Billboard Live Club in South Beach Miami.

In 2004 the band made history as the image of Imij & Co. appeared on the Coca-Cola label. It was the first time a band from the Caribbean was featured on the Coca-Cola label.

The band consists of manager George Ng Wai, vocalists Michelle Xavier, Hilton Dalzell Jr. and Russell Cadogan, band leader and guitarist Joey Ng Wai, bassist Stephan Brijlal and drummer Roger Campbell.( Source: Headline Entertainment)

Pliers sings of ‘Sex and Religion’ – Solo set first since teaming up with Chakademus

Mel Cooke,


It has been a long time since singer Pliers did a solo album. He has, of course, done quite a few as part of Jamaica’s most successful, consistent singer/deejay duo ever, Chakademus and Pliers, including the Murder She Wrote set based on the Billboard-certified hit of the same name.

In the middle of next month, though, he plans to add to a solo output that began with Barbara, before he hooked up with Chakademus, as the 14-track Sex and Religion is slated to hit the streets.

Pliers knows that the title will spark some interest and even controversy, but points out that there are “a lot of love songs on it that talk about the stuff that lovers go through and what lovers do to be together. The religion part now, we talk about the people who just use religion to be together.”

He has already released Melonie, the first single from the album, with Rough Times hard on its heels. His brothers Richie Spice and Spanner Banner have a voice on Sex and Religion, but not Chakademus. Pliers points out that “Chakademus and Pliers is a team same way. We have this big tour in July in Europe. We reason together same way.”

Significant impact

He says, though, that “we hear talk” to the effect that without each other they would not be effective, this despite both having a significant impact before forming a team. “What we want to do is when the people call Chaka and Pliers we ready. But when they call for Pliers we can give them something nice,” Pliers said. He said that Chakademus is also doing songs on his own.

Among the other songs on Sex and Religion are Love Makes it Better and Remix.

Pliers does not fear that those who are used to him as part of a duo will not care to hear him on his own, as he has his own fans.

“Even though me is a singer and Chakademus is a deejay, Chaka still have him different fans from me,” said Pliers. “So some of my fans would love to hear me by myself and them sit down, relax and listen to me.

“The music I am making is songs that can play in your house, because even the songs that we (Chakademus and Pliers) perform together, people carry their children come full up the stage, 20 to 30 children you can hardly turn,” Pliers said. Source: The Star online

Sean Paul Gears Up For New Album

NEW YORK, NY: Jamaican dancehall star, Sean Paul, is hoping to make another crack at the music charts. Paul is reportedly gearing up for the release of another album this year. `The Next Thing,` will be the long-awaited follow-up album to 2005’s platinum-selling album from the deejay, `The Trinity.` Released by Atlantic Records, The Trinity was driven by the songs We Be Burnin’ and Give It Up To Me. It sold over three million units Since then Paul has done collaboration with Rihanna and with British singer Estelle in `Come Over.`

His current collaboration with T-Pain, rapper Flo Rida and Latin reggae act Pitbull on DJ Felli Fel’s Feel It is currently number 29 on Billboard Rhythmic Top 40 chart. Source CaribWorldNews,

RIHANNA AFTERMATH: Jay Z And Rihanna’s Dad SPEAK OUT In SUPPORT Of Rihanna!!!!! has learned that finally Rihanna’s family and friends are speaking out in support of her. Until now, all you’ve heard were Chris people talking.

People magazine caught up with Rihanna’s dad and Jay Z. Here’s what Rihanna’s dad had to say: [When I learned about the incident] I didn’t believe it. I know my daughter But [Chris] you think you know somebody, but you really don’t.” At some point, she will speak out. I hope she will stand up for women all over the world.”

Heres what Jay Z had to say: “This is a real situation. You have to have compassion for others. Just imagine it being your sister or mom and then think about how we should talk about that.

“I just think we should all support her. She’s going through a tough time. You have to realize she’s a young girl, as well. She’s very young.

And when Jay Z was asked whether he’s seen her since the incident, Jay responded, I can’t go into that.  (Source:

Did Rihanna and Chris make a sex tape

The rumours mills are at it and again and this time its news surrounding Rihanna and Chris Brown that they made an explosive sex tape.

According to gossip web site which quoted from their source the Star Magazine. The pop princess worries those other shocking images could go public – wild sex tapes of her with her abusive boyfriend Chris Brown.

“Rihanna has no issues with her sexuality … She can be really out there. But she’d be mortified if her friends and family found this out.”

Other comments given on the site were: “Chris and Rihanna enjoy an aggressive love life that would shock many people … Rihanna loves dressing up – including as a dominatrix – and role playing. They both have kinky sides.”

Rihanna isn’t always the little goody-two-shoes everyone thinks she is, and Chris doesn’t want or need another scandal.” Well for their sakes yardflex hopes this just remain a rumours as we think they have both had enough. (Source:

RETV High School Tour – “Abstinence Mek Sense”

The fifth season of the RETV School Tour kicked off on Tuesday March 17 at the Edith Dalton James High School in Duhaney Park, St. Andrew (Jamaica). Under the theme “’Abstinence Makes Sense”, Part one of the tour will invade five other schools across the island over the next few weeks bringing the message of abstinence to students and young adults alike.

Musical ambassadors who will be assisting with the spreading of the theme for this season of the Tour include Etana, (who was special surprise guest last Tuesday) D’Angel, Terro 3000, Alaine, Konshens, Timberlee, Tifa, Natalie Storm, Chino, Prodigal Son, Laden, Goddy Goddy and dancer Mystic.

The large turnout of students was entertained by the much prized and popular entertainers on the tour who not only performed their famous hits, but also spoke to the students about the importance of abstinence.

At Tuesday’s kick off, the students at Edith Dalton James High were also entertained by surprise performances from their fellow school mates, who sang and danced their way into the hearts of the school population. In fact, the programme was extended to an extra hour due to the inclusion of several non scheduled performances including that of fast rising artiste Brammer.

It was scorching hot all around and artiste, students and RETV dream team celebrate the launch of what is posed to be the best School tour of the season.

Jerry D the Vibes Master and RETV VJ Supa Hype provided entertainment and giveaways in between the performances. While Lady Renae kept the FAME FM flame blazing by hosting the LIVE radio coverage to be heard exclusively on FAME FM.

All the artistes are exclusive to the RETV High School tour with D’Angel, Alaine, Timberlee, Tifa, Natalie Storm, Prodigal Son, Goddy Goddy and dancer Mystic.

Ninja Man – Turns himself in and get slapped with 4 charges

Veteran artist Desmond Ballentine aka Ninja Man, the self-proclaimed leader of the “One Umbrella Movement”, which ironically seeks to promote peace in the said area, where the shooting took place, has indicated his decision to cooperate, and turn himself over to the cops (CCN), based on the much published warrant for his questioning and investigation, about the homicide of Ricardo Johnson aka “Ricky Trouper” (not the renowned selector/ DJ).

Murder, illegal possession of firearm among them

Dancehall deejay Desmond ‘Ninja Man’ Ballentine was charged with murder, conspiracy to murder, shooting with intent and illegal possession of firearm following a shooting incident after an interview with detectives from the Major Investigation Task Force. Head of the Major Investigation Task force (MIT), Assistant Commissioner Les Green, confirmed the charges and added that the case might be mentioned in court as early as next Friday. Ninja Man is now being held in custody.

Police reports stated that about 11:15 a.m. on that day, Johnson was sweeping his yard in the company of a friend in the Marl Road area of Kingston when a grey motor car with three men aboard drove up.

An argument reportedly developed between one of the men and Johnson’s friend before the vehicle left. The car later returned and the occupants opened fire, hitting Johnson, who later died at hospital. (Source:

Christine Hewitt’s husband in police custody over her death

Almost three years after her fiery death, her young husband, David Gordon is back in police custody waiting questioning in the incident.

David Gordon, now 27, was picked up by the police last week Friday and is scheduled to do a question-and-answer session on Tuesday, after which he will either be formally charged or released. Shortly after Hewitt’s death, Gordon turned himself into the police, was questioned and subsequently released.

In June 2006, Hewitt’s charred remains were discovered in a burnt-out Town ace minivan, registered 3451EU, along a lonely rural road at Bamboo District in Riversdale, St Catherine. (Source:

Benjy Myaz strikes the right note for autism

Basil Walters: With an increasing number of local entertainers becoming more caring and reaching out to the less fortunate among their fellowmen, recording artiste, vocalist/musician and producer Benjy Myaz once more strikes the right chord.

Joining the growing list of Jamaican artistes who are a part of the trend of going beyond just highlighting in their music unsavoury social conditions affecting their communities and the world at large, Benjy Myaz, has decided to use his multi-faceted talents in championing two well-deserved causes for which he is seeking the assistance of the United Nation.

The vehicle he intends to use to achieve this goal is his latest project, which is his first instrumental set out of four recorded albums to date. The proceeds from the sale of this 16-track product, titled You’ve Got Me, will be donated to help children suffering from autism in Jamaica as well as starving kids in Darfur, Africa.

“A part of this project will be dedicated to the Autistic Association or whatever organisation that deals with autism in Jamaica,” Benjy Myaz told Splash. “That’s within my mission for a very long time,” he goes on, “That’s within my mission statement to help autistic kids in Jamaica, those talented ones. I’ll be using the money from that production to help them to be trained in music. So that’s already an established thing in my mission statement.”

Autism is a brain development disorder characterised by impaired social interaction and communication, and by restricted and repetitive behaviour among young children. Explaining his other commitment about which he speaks passionately the highly professional musician has added his voice to the international crusade called Save Darfur Project.

“Darfur has become a second project for me. So we’ll do autism in Jamaica, helping kids who have musical talent who have autism, and we’ll go outside of Jamaica and we’ll be assisting Africa where we can in terms of starvation. So this project is dedicated to the whole Save Darfur Project. So that’s why I am planning to address this whole thing with the United Nations and try to get them on board before I release the project. As a part of a global commitment from them to me to help me launch the product even in other places apart Jamaica,” Benjy Myaz said.

Sharing with this reporter, the reason behind his motivation for taking on the Save Darfur Project, he related the following experience. “In 2000 I had the opportunity to play with Jimmy Cliff at the International Telefood Festival in Ocho Rios, at James Bond Beach. And while I was eating backstage, I recognised why we were there playing. I recognised we were there playing to raise money to buy food for starving children around the world. I decided to get involved by seeking out which country would appeal to me more to be part of such movement and Darfur seems to be one of the countries with nuff, nuff, nuff starvation and whole heap of drought and all these things. Seven years no rain. ”

It’s not surprising therefore that included on You’ve Got Me are covers of Marvin Gaye’s What’s Going On and Dennis Brown’s Love Has Found Its Way (in my heart today), now taking on a deeper meaning than the original. Then there is also the Randy Crawford smash, Knocking on Heaven’s Door.

“Sixteen tracks on the CD, all instrumentals. The album is called You’ve Got Me. It features my bass guitar because that’s my passion instrument. I play several instruments, but that’s the special instrument because of the inspiration from Stanley Clarke and all the great bass players. I wanted to do an album that would feature the bass guitar up front as a melody instrument to bring forward a different presentation of the bass. There are certain songs with harmonies and scathing, because it is a jazz-fused album with reggae fusion….but there’s no song featuring a lead vocal… it’s a different concept. This will be my fourth album. But my first instrumental project. This project has been in production even before I recorded vocals (for the first time) in 1993. This is a gift from me to the world,” explained Benjy. Source: Jamaica Observer

Brooklyn Music Festival with Reggae and Ska Music,

June 2009 will be the hottest month in New York as it heralds in BROOKLYN Music Festival formerly JAMMINS Music Festival. Celebrating the dynamics of Brooklyn, on Sunday, June 21st, 2009, Jammins Entertainment will produce the 2nd Annual Brooklyn Music Festival at the spacious Aviator Sports and Recreation – Floyd Bennett Field in Brooklyn, New York.  Since Brooklyn is known as the “melting pot” borough with too many nationalities to count the Brooklyn Music Festival is guarantee to reach across all ethnic lines.

This huge festival will showcase the diverse genres of music that Brooklyn has the offer such as Reggae, Ska Music, Old School, R&B, Calypso, Hip Hop and Reggaeton. Artists already confirm to perform are: Beenie Man, Big Daddy Kane, Serani, Capleton, Tarrus Riley, Mavado, Marcia Griffiths, Elephant Man, Benny Bwoy, Leon & The Peoples Band, Brown Rice Family Band and Bounty Killa.
(The Star)

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