KINGSTON, Jamaica – In his 44 years living in New York City, Thomas Bailey has seen it all in terms of the evolution of Jamaican culture.
This week, Bailey is one of the ‘head cook and bottle-washers’ for New York Caribbean Carnival Week.
He is the president of the West Indian American Day Carnival Association (WIADCA) which oversees the annual five-day spectacle which culminates on September 7 with the New York Caribbean Carnival Parade along Brooklyn’s Eastern Parkway.
According to Bailey, ‘Carnival Week’ is a big deal for the West Indian community in the tri-state area which also includes New Jersey and Connecticut.
“WIADCA’s year-round programmes as well as New York Caribbean Carnival Week not only breathes energy into the daily routine of many Caribbean-Americans, but also provides a solid economic stimulus to New York City during Labour Day week,” he said.
The Big Apple’s Labour Day celebrations are the most extravagant in the United States. It is also the most diverse, a reflection of the city’s cosmopolitan demographics.
Carnival Week is an economic boon for all concerned.
“It is a known fact that NYC and the borough of Brooklyn sees an increase in tourism, commerce and visibility while many local businesses and vendors have the opportunity to participate at New York Caribbean Carnival Week by vending, advertising and showcasing their products, services,” Bailey explained.
Queens-based radio station Irie Jam, Caribbean Airlines, Digicel, One Caribbean TV, and Golden Krust are some of the companies involved with Carnival Week this year.
Irie Jam, an influential outlet for Jamaican culture in the tri-state area for 22 years, has signed with WIADCA to help promote the event.
Carnival Week begins on Thursday with Caribbean Freedom Festival, featuring KES the Band from Trinidad and Tobago. The following day is the annual Stay In School Concert and College Fair, with Ricardo Drue, the 2015 Antigua Soca Monarch among its artistes.
On Saturday, the highlight is the annual Panorama Showcase, in which 11 steel orchestras compete for Steel Band Champion.
Sunday’s closing day is the most hectic. In addition to the parade, there is Irie Jam Radio’s 22nd Anniversary Celebration at Roy Wilkins Park; and a Legends in Caribbean Music event with the Mighty Sparrow and David Rudder of T&T, Swallow from Antigua and Barbados’ Edwin Yearwood.
With the exception of the parade and Irie Jam concert, the events will occur behind the Brooklyn Museum.
At a public meeting in Enterprise last night, Warner said it was former government minister Winston ‘Gypsy’ Peters who had to make an excuse for her non-attendance at that meeting.
He alleges that the Prime Minister was intoxicated and it was Peters who had to take her to a car back to her hotel room.
“The following morning she couldn’t get up and Gypsy had to make an excuse. She couldn’t attend the meeting.”
He said it was for that reason she had spent five days at her private home in Phillipine.
Warner said the country has been given a bad name because of the Prime Minister.
An alleged neighbour of Reggae super star Barrington Levy went on a social media rant in protest of the reggae icon who she claim is a ‘sexual predator’. She posted several negative comments on her timeline in an effort to get her point across and prove that she had the facts about Barrington Levy. To date we have not heard from Mr. Levy or his PR team on the matter.
MR Vegas Coincidentally or Incidentally posted a video in which he blatantly ‘Bun Out’ All Sexually Predators or what he referred to as ‘Bill Cosby’s’ (Person’s with great influence and popularity that are sexual deviants). The time period in which he decided to release his video would indicate that he was making mention of Barrington but at this time all we can do is speculate
Although Buju Banton is sentenced for a lesser crime than Vybz Kartel, if it was up to Jay Z and he could free only one, he would free Vybz Kartel.
Buju Banton is serving a 10 year sentence on conspiracy drug charges, while Vybz Kartel is saving a life sentence on murder charges. Both entertainers were leaders in their respective niches of dancehall/reggae. While Buju Banton catered more to the cultural/Rasta fans, Vybz Kartel was for the rude boys in the streets and the girls in the dancehall.
So why would Jay Z, the Hova of hip hop, free a convicted murderer over a convicted conspirator to deal drugs when he himself is an admitted former drug dealer? Well for Jay Z, it comes down to realness and he has no patience for hypocrisy.
In a recent interview with Clash Magazine, Jay spoke about his love for dancehall including sampling the music of dancehall star Mavado. The rapper was asked if he had a chance to release VybzKartel of Buju Banton from prison, but it could only be one, which one would it be. Without hesitation Jay said it would be Kartel:
“I would have to go with Vybz even though I love Buju and his music. I am not saying either brother is guilty because we all know how the system works. However, for you to be charged and convicted means that somewhere along the line, you were playing it close. Now, I don’t expect no Rasta to have anything with cocaine, whether selling or tasting. If it was marijuana, I would understand. Hearing that that is a video of Buju Banton tasting coke is like reading that Bob Marley’s family was coming out with Marley beer. It makes no sense. Now for Vybz, when you listen to his music, he let you know that he doesn’t play. So just for the realness, I would free Vybz, am not one for the hypocrisy.”
Even if you don’t agree with Jay Z, what he is saying does make sense. As a Rasta and from the message in Buju’s music you would not expect him to be involved in cocaine in any shape or form. On the other hand, when listening to Vybz Kartel, especially in an intro when he said, “Dem a DJ turn badman, mi a badman turn DJ”, it was not shocking to hear of his charges.
Two Jamaican men were fined when they appeared in a St Kitts court on Monday to answer a charge of stealing a laptop computer. One of the men is a well-known booking agent, Karl Larmond, while the other is Howard Kennedy, a member of dancehall artiste Macka Diamond’s entourage.
Allegations are that Larmond stole a laptop computer and placed it in the room of Howard Kennedy. Surveillance footage captured the act and both men were arrested by police authorities.
“The case is before the court and I don’t want to comment before it is resolved, but I can confirm that the incident happened and that lawyers are dealing with it,” Macka Diamond said in a statement issued through her publicity team. Both men were fined US$2,200 each, or 18 months imprisonment if the money is not paid by midday on Tuesday.
Larmond reportedly booked the show for Macka Diamond, Vanessa Bling, Pamputtae and Spice. According to a source close to the artistes, the deejays are all feeling embarrassed over the incident, especially against the background that the promoter of the show had given them “red carpet” treatment that included the chartering of a private jet for the entertainers.
“We are all embarassed, not just Macka Diamond, because it is a fellow Jamaican and the booking agent for all the artistes,” said the source. This is the second such incident involving members of an artiste’s entourage in St Kitts. Only weeks before, Bounty Killer’s brother was arrested by authorities after stealing a phone in the airport. He was heavily fined and then released.
Reggae Dancehall artist Munga Honorebel said his latest track, Another Prayer, was inspired by brutal attack on his life on Friday evening.
“The song is real and it’s because of prayers why I am here today. Instead of thinking about retaliation, I just expressed my emotions and gratefulness in song,” he said.
The entertainer, whose given name is Damian Rhoden, was attacked and chopped as he sat with friends in the Jackson Town area of St Andrew. The incident has left the artiste nursing 34 stitches to his left shoulder.
Produced by Jah Ova Evil Records, Another Prayer is slated to be released on Friday.
When 18 Karat Reggae visited the inner-city community of Jackson Town yesterday, a group of teenage boys were seen enjoying a game of dice. To their left, the dancehall artiste sat on the sidewalk with a towel draped across the wound.
“That is where it all happened,” Munga said as he recalled the incident.
“Me and mi fren dem just deh on the corner a make a mixtape. My back was turned to the road and only mi head deh inside the shop as I was instructing my brethren how to mix the tracks. Next ting me know is that me a get chop up,” he said.
The singjay said he didn’t get a chance to see his attacker.
“Me know a lot of persons expect retaliation, but that will not happen because a music my ting deh,” he said.
Munga said he intends to make a formal report to the police.
Despite being in pain, Munga said he is eagerly awaiting the release of his 34-track mixtape called Smooth Road on Thursday. Smooth Road will consist of tracks such as Stainless, Excuse Me, Steppings and Paper Chase.
Fans blasts Spice over a video making its rounds on Social Media. This all occurred during her performance in Belmont, Westmoreland.
In the video Spice can be seen coaxing a male, who appears to be a child, to dry hump a female on stage while the crowd raved.