CPR Reggae

CPR Reggae

CPR Reggae

Saturday, 31 January 2015 23:47

Homage To A King

majestic 8 --hselassie

HOMAGE TO A KING

 

Conflicts between nations will continue to arise. The real issue is whether they are to be resolved by force, or by resort to peaceful methods and procedures, administered by impartial institutions. This very Organization itself is the greatest such institution, and it is in a more powerful United Nations that we seek, and it is here that we shall find, the assurance of a peaceful future.”

H.I.M. Emperor Haile Selassie I, October 4, 1963 United Nations Address.

 

Early Days: Haile Selassie, born Tafari Makonnen in 1892. was named regent and heir to Ethiopia’s throne in 1917 but was too young to assume such an awesome responsibility.  During 1917 through 1928, he traveled aboard, the first Ethiopian leader to do so, visiting cities like Rome, London and Paris.  In 1930 when Empress Zauditu died, he assumed his role as ruler of Ethiopia, the 111th emperor in the succession of King Solomon. At his coronation on November 2nd 1930, he took his baptismal name, Haile Selassie “Might of the Trinity” given to him at his christening as an infant. His full title was His Imperial Majesty Emperor Haile Selassie I, King of Kings and Lord of Lords, Conquering Lion of the Tribe of Judah, Elect of God.

Emperor: As Emperor he established Ethiopia’s first written constitution.  By 1931 the Bank of Ethiopia was established and the Ethiopian currency was introduced. Despite numerous internal uprisings from factions who opposed his administration, Selassie was able to foster loyalty among his subjects by building schools and universities, establishing newspapers, and increasing the availability of electricity, telephone and public health services.  His focus was to modernize Ethiopia to rival that which he saw during his travels in Europe.

War: Juxtaposed to Ethiopia’s thriving growth and accomplishments was the threat of Benito Mussolini who mounted a campaign to strategically attack Ethiopia.  Sometime in December 1934, the Italians provoked an incident which involved an Ethiopian escort to the city of Wal Wal. When the League of Nations exonerated both parties in 1935, Mussolini embarked on hostilities, invading Ethiopia without declaring war and though the League of Nations condemned Italy, no action was taken.

Exile: In an effort to protect the monarchy, the Emperor went into exile in Palestine on May 2nd 1936 where he prepared to present a case before the League of Nations in Geneva, Switzerland. He travelled to England, settled in the town of Bath at the “Fairfield House” which he donated to the town of Bath as a

residence for the aged which remains so to this day.

The League of Nations: On June 30th 1936, when the Emperor entered the hall to address the League of Nations assembled in Geneva, a large group of Italian journalists in the galleries erupted in a loud outburst which was revealed to be orchestrated by the Italian Foreign Minister. When he finally spoke, he eloquently relayed the need to protect weak nations against the strong, detailing the death and destruction delivered by the Italians and asking the League to live up to its promise of collective security. His eloquent address prophesying “today for Ethiopia, tomorrow for you…” moved all who heard it and catapulted him into international fame.

Toast of the town: He was named Time Magazine’s “Man of the Year” and the toast of the anti-fascists around the world for his efforts towards humanitarianism and Ethiopian sovereignty.  Nonetheless, he failed to get the assistance he needed to help his people. It was patriot forces from Ethiopia and the United Kingdom that defeated the Italians, allowing the Emperor to return home in 1941.

The Statesman: In 1963 the Emperor presided over the establishment of the Organization of African Unity with headquarters in Addis Ababa. He continued to enjoy enormous prestige and respect as an elder statesman at international events, such as the celebration of the 2500 years of the Persian Empire, summits of the non-aligned movement and the state funerals of John F. Kennedy and Charles de Gaulle.  His travels around the world helped to raise Ethiopia’s international image.

The BBC: In an orchestrated effort to undermine the Emperor, a BBC documentary revealed a devastating drought in the Province of Wollo during 1972 to 1973 seriously undermining the government and the Emperor’s popularity. At the same time, economic hardship caused by rising oil prices and widespread military mutinies in the country further weakened his rule.

The Coup: Eventually, the military took advantage of the government’s disarray and deposed Emperor Haile Selassie on September 12th 1974. He was placed under house arrest and declared to have died on August 27th 1975 following complications from prostate cancer, a story his doctors deny. Some believed he was suffocated in his sleep.  Others believe he never died.  However, witnesses came forward after the fall of the Marxist government in 1991 to reveal that the Emperor’s remains had been buried beneath the president’s personal office. On November 5th 2000 Emperor Haile Selassie was given an Imperial funeral by the Ethiopian Orthodox church.

IMPORTANT TIMELINE:

1906 – Makonnen’s father dies; Tafari becomes advisor.

1911 – Marries Wayzaro Menen.

1913 – Menelik II dies; Tafari does not become Emperor.

1917 – Ras Tafari is name Regent, heir to the throne.

1922 – Benito Mussolini and his fascist army march into Rome. Mussolini is named Prime Minister. He builds up army over next 13 years to become world power.

1923 – Makennon brings many modernizations to Ethiopia. Ethiopia admitted into the League of Nations.

1930 – Makennon becomes Emperor of Ethiopia; takes the name Haile Selassie (Might of the Trinity)

1934 – Border incident at city of Wal Wal give Italy excuse to attack Ethiopia.

1935 – Italy attacks and invades Ethiopia without declaration of war.

1935 – League of Nations declares Italy an aggressor but takes no action.

1936 – Selassie forced into five year exile; settles in Bath, London, at times in Jerusalem.

1936 – Italian army enters capital city of Addis Ababa. Italy annexes Ethiopia, ending seven month war.

1936 – Selassie makes eloquent, yet emotional speech to League of Nations in Geneva, Switzerland, forewarning of Italian aggression throughout the world. “It is us today. It will be you tomorrow.” League of Nations takes no action.

1941- Selassie returns to Ethiopia at end of second Italian-Ethiopian war.

1955 – Selassie introduced revised constitution during Silver Jubilee celebration.

1963 – Selassie presided over the establishment of the Organization of African Unity (OAU)

1963 – Selassie addresses United Nations on October 4th.

1966 – Selassie visits Jamaica. Over two hundred thousands Rastafarians greet him at the airport.

1966 – Selassie commissions Archbishop Abuna Yesehaq to set up Ethiopian Orthodox Church in the West.

1966- Selassie offers Rastafarians land in Shashamane.

1967 – Selassie denied being an emanation from divinity during interview with Canadian Broadcasting Corporation’s Bill McNeil.

1972 – Selassie celebrates 80th birthday in grand style.

1972 – BBC documentary reveals famine in Province of Wollo, undermines Selassie’s government.

1974 – Selassie deposed by the Derg in a coup on September 12th.

1975 – Allegedly dies on August 28th.

2000 – Given Imperial funeral by Orthodox Church on November 5th.

2005 – CPR celebrates the 75th anniversary celebration of Emperor’s coronation at New York’s World Famous Roxy.

2006 – CPR Celebrates the 76th anniversary celebration of Emperor’s coronation at New York’s Hammerstein Ballroom.

2007 – September 11th Ethiopia observes the advent of the 3rd millennium with year long celebrations.

2007 – CPR celebrates the 77th anniversary celebration of Emperor’s coronation at New York’s Webster Hall.

2008 – CPR celebrates the 78th anniversary celebration of Emperor’s coronation at Brooklyn’s Cultural Performing Arts Center.

2009 – CPR celebrates the 79th anniversary celebration of Emperor’s coronation at Nazareth Regional High School Performance Center.

2010 – CPR celebrates the 80th anniversary celebration of Emperor’s coronation at Nazareth Regional High School Performance Center.

Saturday, 31 January 2015 23:46

Reggae Culture Salute


Reggae Culture Salute is more than an event, it is a campaign to increase understanding of the development and significance of reggae music which culminates in an event commemorating the November 2nd 1930 coronation of Emperor Haile Selassie I of Ethiopia and Empress Mennen. It underscores the unique relationship between Reggae, Rasta, Selassie and Jamaica.

The process begins with determining the theme of the event and selection of artists. Throughout the campaign, the publicity about the event shares information about the history and development of the genre with particular attention to the event and its theme. The event furthers the mission of CPR by presenting a high quality production of a reggae music event in an atmosphere consistent with the music’s foundation of upliftment. This family friendly event, produced by TSO Productions LLC, is recognized for its reflection of reggae’s old fashion values.

Proceeds from the event benefit CPR, helping to enable it to conduct free workshops and its online broadcast activities throughout the course of the year. It also provides the opportunity for various sectors of society to contribute to the work of CPR.

 

 

 

 

MEDIA RELEASE

April 15, 2014

 

Chronixx “Dread & Terrible Tour” is alive and well

 

 

This is an official statement from Chronixx Music Group, the managers and booking agents for Chronixx. 

 

Members of the Chronixx Music Group management team are currently on tour with Chronixx for the Dread & Terrible European Tour which features Chronixx, Kellissa, and Dre Island. We have been present at all concert performances presented so far, as we are responsible for the supervision of all aspects of the artists' production, presentation and security on tour. Our responsibilities including interface with show promoters and personnel hired by them.

 

It has come to our attention that a false report is being circulated by Platinum Camp by way of an email under the name of the Platinum Camp CEO. This false report includes a story alleging that Chronixx and members of his team were beaten by security personnel after their performance at La Cigale in Paris on April 6, following an alleged earlier altercation between the team members and the security providers for the show.

 

We would like to take this opportunity to categorically state that there was no altercation whatsoever between members of the Chronixx team and security providers at the show. There was also no incident involving Chronixx or any member of his team where anyone was beaten, nor was there any incident involving security personnel with high powered weapons and baseball bats as alleged in the report above mentioned. The “Dread & Terrible Tour” has continued with successful performances by Chronixx, Dre Island and Kelissa in various cities around Europe every night since the April 6th date in Paris. There are now 4 more dates remaining before the tour ends on April 20.

 

We consider the false report issued by Platinum to be not only unprofessional and irresponsible, but also very damaging to the credibility and good name of Chronixx and members of the Chronixx Music Group team. We have therefore consulted our attorney and will be seeking to have all necessary action taken to have this false report corrected, and any damage done repaired.

 

For Further Information, contact:

 

Chronixx Music Group Ltd.

Phone number on the road in Europe:

             +00447418418774

Email:  HYPERLINK "mailto:This email address is being protected from spambots. You need JavaScript enabled to view it." This email address is being protected from spambots. You need JavaScript enabled to view it.

Skype: daddibarnz

Website:  HYPERLINK "http://www.chornixxmusic.com/" www.chronixxmusic.com

 

Wednesday, 16 April 2014 21:07

CPR's Sharon Gordon to Receive Emerald Award

SHARON GORDON TO RECEIVE  2014 

WOMAN OF GREAT ESTEEM EMERALD AWARD   

April 16, Brooklyn, N.Y., Coalition to Preserve Reggae Music, Inc (CPR) is pleased to share that Sharon Gordon, co-founder and chairperson of the organization is among five women who will receive a 2014 Emerald Award from the Woman of Great Esteem organization. Since 1995, more than 150 women from 27 countries have been honored with the Emerald Award for their relentless efforts to nurture and serve their communities. Women from diverse fields, including medicine, politics, law, academia and science have been honored. Sharon will receive her award in recognition of her accomplishments in the field of arts and entertainment as well as journalism. The 2014 Emerald Awards takes place on Saturday May 3rd at the New York Ritz Carlton, starting at 7:00PM.

In addition to co-founding and chairing the nine year old CPR, a 501(c) (3) organization, Sharon is president of TSO Productions LLC, and has been an accomplished journalist, radio personality, media specialist and event producer for more than two decades. Since 1992, her distinctive voice has been heard on several radio and television programs. Currently, she hosts the popular Reggae Calling, on CPRLive and her role as host and moderator of the CPR Community Conversation Series aptly demonstrates her prowess as an effective communicator.

Sharon's writing has graced the pages of several publications. She is a regular contributor to the North American edition of The Jamaican Weekly Gleaner, where she writes a weekly column, Views on the News. She is also a proficient publicist and event coordinator whose tried and proven guerrilla tactics spearheaded some of the most successful reggae concert marketing campaigns in the tri-state area long before social media existed. Sharon has also been producer, road manager, M.C. and publicist for entertainers, touring with the likes of Beres Hammond, Buju Banton, Marcia Griffiths and others.

Sharon, an authority on the customs and language of the Jamaican people, is a well sought after lecturer and speaker on things Jamaican, known for her uncanny ability to intersperse her native vernacular (patois) with the language of the mainstream in her presentations. She has consulted with numerous media and production houses on Jamaican music and culture. She has served as Caribbean Consultant and marketing consultant for films including Brooklyn Babylon (1999), Africa Unite (2008), and Better Mus' Come (2013), and recently fulfilled dual roles as consultant and actress in a principal role for the soon to be released, Respect The Jux. 

In 2003, Sharon co-founded TSO Productions, a full service community economic development company which has produced and hosted several events including the phenomenally successful Black History Month tri-state presentation of "Tep Ova Makka" featuring the award winning Cari-Folk Singers (2004), Reggae Culture Salute, now in its 10th season, The New York Roots Reggae Family Festival-The Caribbean Family Reunion (2006); and Reggae Cabaret, the upscale after work networking series (2007). TSO, which means turning solidarity into opportunity, offers services in marketing, public relations, promotions, publicity, advertising, event coordination, editorial and media services, strategic planning and project management.

Sharon, who migrated to the United States with her family from Jamaica in 1979, attended Samuel J. Tilden High School in Brooklyn and earned her Bachelor of Arts in Corporate Communications from Baruch College where she later lectured in Black Institution and Culture. Before migrating, Sharon attended Convent of Mercy Academy (Alpha) and St. Joseph's Primary School, where she excelled as a dancer and was one of several students who frequented the studios of the Jamaica Broadcasting Corporation as a regular on Romper Room and later on Ring Ding, hosted by the late Louise Bennett Coverley (Miss Lou), and often performed at State events for visiting dignitaries. 

Sharon has been recognized for her advocacy of Jamaican music and culture with many awards and certificates. In 2000, she was honored by Women Celebrating Women and in 2012, received a Congressional Proclamation from Congresswoman Yvette Clarke for her tireless work as a cultural activist, media specialist, event producer, promoter and journalist and continues to perform and host events throughout the tri-state area and beyond.

Sharon is the mother of her only child, Omar. 

For more information, contact Woman of Great Esteem

Wednesday, 16 April 2014 20:49

18th Annual Woman of Great Esteem

Dr. Rachnilda Lynch

18th ANNUAL WOMAN OF GREAT ESTEEM EMERALD

AWARDS CELEBRATION AT THE NEW YORK RITZ CARLTON 

April 16th, Brooklyn, N.Y., The Board of Directors of the distinguished Woman of Great Esteem (WGE) Organization is pleased to announce that the 18th annual staging of the prestigious Woman of Great Esteem Emerald Awards happens at 7pm on Saturday, May 3rd at the New York Ritz Carlton, Battery Park, 2 West Street in New York City. The Woman of Great Esteem 2014 Emerald Honorees represent women who develop and advance their communities without regard for race, ethnicity, sexual orientation, religiosity, gender, age or national origin. 

The 2014 Honorees include the newly appointed Director of the Pan American Health Organization/World Health Organization, Dominican native, Dr. Carissa F. Etienne who resides in Washington D.C. Dr. Etienne will be honored for her outstanding work in the field of medicine as it relates to global research and policy around primary health care and HIV/AIDS.  US Virgin Island's Dr. Suzette Graham will be honored in the field of medicine for her exemplary work as a Cardiologist and Professor at Downstate SUNY and Brookdale Hospital in Brooklyn.  Sint Maarten's first Ombudsman, Dr. Rachnilda Lynch-Arduin is known as the "Guardian of the Constitution" in the Netherland Antilles. She will be honored in the field of politics for her pioneering work as a scholar and lawyer, whose dedication to making the Constitution understandable and accessible to the general public has been highly regarded. She is also a well known television host who was born in Curacao. Native New Yorker and attorney, Yolande Nicholdson, will be honored in the field of law for her unprecedented work in preserving home ownership and promoting community stabilization through her work as a foreclosure advocate. Through her work at Chase Manhattan Bank, Attorney Nicholdson has  implemented the "Turnaround Plan" for communities targeted by foreclosure.  New York resident by way of Kingston, Jamaica, Sharon Gordon, will be honored in the field of arts and entertainment for her work as a media specialist and as co founder and Chair of the Coalition to Preserve Reggae Music, Inc. She's a seasoned journalist, publicist, broadcaster, event coordinator, promoter and event host. Sharon's work as a cultural activist for more than twenty years has made her a well respected figure on the New York Jamaican cultural scene.

The Women of Great Esteem Emerald Award was founded in 1995 by Brooklyn based, Bishop Sylveta Hamilton - Gonzales, who had a vision to recognize the increasing contribution of women who have excelled beyond normal expectations in a multi-cultural society. Bishop Gonzales points out that, "The Emerald Award is a vehicle used for the empowerment of women, honoring them for their relentless efforts to nurture and serve their communities."  To date, the organization has honored over 150 women from twenty-seven countries from North America, Africa, Europe, Asia, Bermuda, the Caribbean and Central America.

The annual event is a fundraiser for MACADEMY, School of Science and Technology in Brooklyn. For further information on the 2014 Woman of Great Esteem Emerald Awards at the New York Ritz Carlton Hotel on Saturday, May 3rd, please call 718.221.5566 or email This email address is being protected from spambots. You need JavaScript enabled to view it..

Friday, 28 March 2014 19:15

Jimmy Cliff Calls For Reparation

Jimmy Cliff calls for reparations

Thursday, March 27, 2014

JIMMY Cliff has added his weight to the longstanding call for reparations from European countries which benefited from the Trans-Atlantic slave trade.

The singer's support comes on the heels of a renewed pact by Caribbean leaders to seek financial compensation from eight European states — Britain, France, Spain, Portugal, The Netherlands, Norway, Sweden and Denmark — which participated in the trade that captured Africans and brought them to the West Indies to work sugar plantations from the 16th to 19th century.

In an interview with Britain's The London Evening Standard newspaper, Cliff made his case.

"You know, you have all these bredren (sic), they were saying, 'Look, the Queen is supposed to pay us back.' There were lots of them who were very serious about it too and they have a logical point to prove. But look, the Jews have always highlighted what has happened, their plight, what has happened to them, and also say, 'Ok, you did that, you're supposed to pay us something back.' So why not other people, like my ancestors? I think it's a fair deal," Cliff is quoted as saying.

Cliff is no stranger to controversy and standing up on the grounds of human rights.

Though he performed in racist South Africa in 1980 he was one of the major acts to denounce that country's Apartheid system during that decade.

Along with Bonnie Rait, Bob Dylan, David Ruffin, Keith Richards, Hall & Oates, Eddie Kendricks, Big Youth and Run-DMC, Cliff vowed never to perform in the South African entertainment mecca, Sun City.

The group recorded the single Sun City and an album of the same name.

***Reprinted with Kind Permission from the Jamaica Observer***

http://www.jamaicaobserver.com/entertainment/Jimmy-Cliff-calls-for-reparations_16327668

Friday, 28 March 2014 19:04

Altar Call For Dancehall

Altar call for dancehall

BY CECELIA CAMPBELL-LIVINGSTON Observer reporter This email address is being protected from spambots. You need JavaScript enabled to view it.

Saturday, March 22, 2014

WITH the image of dancehall music taking a beating after the March 13 conviction of deejay Vybz Kartel and three accomplices (Andre 'Mad Suss' St John, Kahira Jones and Shawn 'Shawn Storm' Campbell) for murder, members of the gospel fraternity believe it is time secular artistes and fans seek salvation.

Gospel deejay and pastor Goddy Goddy (given name Howard Reynolds) says dancehall music has failed the youth miserably.

"I do believe that it's not just now, but it's about time we take over things and deal with it because of the negative impact dancehall has been having on our younger generation and the society overall," Goddy Goddy declared.

But the toaster, best known for favourites such as Chaka Chi, Mi Nuh Sure and Back It Up, said gospel music has always had its own place whether Kartel is in jail or not.

"He (Kartel) calls himself the World Boss but God is the only World Boss. That (Kartel being put away) doesn't stop or enhance the work of God," he said.

Thrillers United and former Grace Thrillers singer Leroy Smith says gospel should have been at the forefront of Jamaican music from day one.

"Gospel is all about bringing the good news and that is what the world needs, whether Kartel is there, yes or no," he stressed.

Smith joined Grace Thrillers in 1978. His distinct tones can be heard on Can't Even Walk, Amen and He Brought Me Out.

For him, had gospel been embraced more by secular fans the local music scene would have been different.

"I still maintain that in the eyes of many Kartel was never an influence where gospel is concerned. Just because one of the biggest influences in the dancehall world is out, doesn't change the position that gospel has been in," he said.

As for the popular notion that dancehall music has lost its way, Goddy Goddy disagrees.

"It's the artistes who have lost their way. Music in itself is innocent, music just don't get up and create itself. Music will always be here," he said.

****Reprinted with Kind Permission from the Jamaica Observer****

http://www.jamaicaobserver.com/entertainment/Altar-Call_16324816

Garnett Roper, GUEST COLUMNIST
Garnett Roper, Guest Columnist

Dancehall Dulls The Senses, Poisons Minds

Published: Wednesday | March 26, 2014

Garnett Roper, GUEST COLUMNIST

When Minister of National Security Peter Bunting asked for divine intervention in Jamaica's crime situation, he could not have anticipated the speed and nature of the intervention. The murder conviction of Adidja Palmer aka Vybz Kartel is of such proportion that it is a mortal wound to the dancehall ethos. Kartel has risen to prominence through dancehall music; he has become its icon. Indeed, he calls himself 'World Boss' and uses terms like 'Gaza Empire' to describe his fiefdom.

By all accounts, children in their formative years have given Kartel cult status and his lyrics have become their anthem.

What may have been lost on the society in terms of the nexus between the lyrical content of dancehall music and the ready resort of violence at the community level has become palpably clear after the verdict was announced in court on March 13. Many of those whose comments have been available through vox pops appear to have lost any sense of the rule of law and the fact that murder is a crime. One person said that since no body was found, Kartel ought not be convicted. Another said that Kartel and Lizard were friends, so killing him ought to have been nothing (between friends.) Whatever the defenders of dancehall may wish to say, the outcomes on those who imbibe its ethos is a loss of nobility, the eroding of conscience and the pitting of neighbour against neighbour. Where has dancehall ever promoted unity or civility? Are these no longer essential social values?

I make no apology for saying that my tastes never allowed me to listen to Kartel before this case, when upon hearing the details of the plot, I took the time to do so.

The Observer juxtaposed the story of Kartel's murder conviction with some his lyrical content. Born Bad includes: "Chop him up fine and fling him in a bush fi yo rotten an stink and swell up an pop."

In Buss mi Gun, he chimes "Bwoy a beg fi him life like kids beg money at di stoplight. Mi put di glock right up inna him face an buss it till him red like mi bimmer backlight. No bwoy nuh bad like me dem just act like."

Betrayal of reggae

How does somebody sing that? These are evil words. Kartel is not an aberration in dancehall, he is its icon, its legend.

I have always maintained that dancehall is mercenary music and a betrayal of the legacy of reggae.

Dancehall has no metanarrative or big story, only fragments, discontinuity and nihilism. It has made the poor appear to be a people without imagination of the ideal. The poor are made to appear that they cannot see beyond their existential struggle, or see a bigger and greater good for which to strive. Their god is money, and their desire the consumption of consumer durables and consumer items.

Contrast the lyrical content above with Marley's angriest song Crazy Baldhead.

Them crazy, them crazy

We gonna chase those crazy

baldheads out of town

Chase those crazy baldheads

Out of town

I and I build a cabin

I and I plant the corn

Didn't my people before me

Slave for this country

Now you look me with a scorn

Then you eat up all my corn

"I and I plant the corn" is in reference to Rudolf Franklin, the Rastaman whose plot of ground the police raided in 1963, leading to the infamous Coral Gardens uprising near Montego Bay. The uprising resulted in the death of eight people, including two members of the police force and the declaration by Alexander Bustamante that all Rastafari should be brought in dead or alive.

Marley's song is full of subtleties and is layered. It is protest against a wrong, but is full of restraint. One difference between dancehall and reggae is what dancehall does to ordinary people. It makes them gullible to buy shoddy goods, clothes, shoes, bleaching cream, hair, jewellery, cars and most of all, guns. It dulls their senses. It is the new opiate of the people. Dancehall divides the poor, it promotes paranoia and self-hate.

We must do everything to hasten the demise of this sponsored music and allow the people to dream again to sing again, to laugh again and love again.

Email feedback to This email address is being protected from spambots. You need JavaScript enabled to view it.

http://jamaica-gleaner.com/gleaner/20140326/cleisure/cleisure5.html#.UzL6hSu-Wdg.facebook

***Reprinted with Kind Permission from the Gleaner****
Thursday, 20 February 2014 14:09

Cindy Breakspeare speaks on Bob Marley

Cindy Breakspeare said she knew the King of Reggae, the man who would later become the father of her love child, because they would say hello to each other in passing.

"Yes I knew him, but to be a devotee of the music, part of an elite group of spiritual rebels was one thing. But to be intimate, involved personally with this man, be the woman who would stand by his side and reflect all that he was about was entirely something else."

Breakspeare wasn't a Rastafarian, didn't fit the bill, and wasn't sure she wanted to be one.

"Once again was that word religion, full of rules and regulations -just what I wanted to be free of," Breakspeare told the gathering who sat transfixed by her revelations at the Undercroft of the University of the West Indies, Mona, last Thursday during the Annual Bob Marley Lecture.

In her mind, it was uptown meets downtown. "How on earth was that going to work," she questioned.

However, that questioned was answered by the charming Bob Marley, who made her feel special with small gifts like a freshly picked mango and an invitation to walk in the cool night air. This became the norm, she reminisced.

"And I could not deny that we were fiercely attracted to each other. Fascinated and separated simultaneously by our differences, so we began to build a bridge. The same bridge that has brought me here today. Bob was strong, fit and virile. Tough as nails and boyishly charming, all at the same time."

She describes him as a man's man who wore denim and khaki, frequently used chew sticks to clean his teeth and smelled of phetamine soap, superconfident and more driven than any human being she had ever met.

INTIMIDATING FELLOW

"He was not only attractive, but intimidating for a young girl like me. I knew instinctively if I were to enter into this relationship with him, it would change the trajectory of my life forever."

Cindy and Bob would stroll out to the fence at the front of the yard and stand there talking for hours about life, Rasta, consciousness and whether or not one knew what one's purpose on earth was.

"It was unsettling for sure, the company of this man, who was different from anyone I had been involved with thus far."

She said he was so serious about his own purpose in life that she didn't know "how and where [she] could possibly fit in".

During their tentative dance around each other, Marley went off on tour for 10 to 12 weeks.

Allan 'Skill' Cole and the gang continued to visit her from time to time at the nightclub in Northside Plaza where she worked, to check if she was behaving herself and to bring greetings from her suitor.

"Greetings to let me know that he was always thinking of me while away and would return soon - a return filled with expectation and anticipation. Finally, he was back, I knew the day was imminent. I heard the VW bus come through the gate and I just knew he was in it. His footsteps up the stairs to my front door confirmed this not long after. He was back. The waiting was over. There were no more questions which seemed to matter. It was what it was, and it would become what it would become."

Another piece of the bridge fell into place.

"Naturally, I had continued to pursue my own career goals and that pursuit led me to a job at Spartan Health Club as an instructress in June of 1976. She took to the job like a duck to water. To be totally immersed in physical culture was a wonderful way to spend every day, which fit in perfectly with her now-vegetarian lifestyle, as a result of Marley's influence.

Her involvement at Spartan and the encouragement of Mickie Haughton-James led her to compete in the Miss Jamaica Body Beautiful. The prize for winning that was to compete in the Miss Universe Bikini in London.

"Again, I won, and I remember being in New York with Bob at the Essex House where he often stayed waiting for the call from Jamaica to say whether or not I had been accepted to compete in the Miss World, also held in London."

The phone rang and the answer was yes, she had to compete in the ultimate beauty pageant, Miss World 1976 in London.

"The Miss World competition for me was an opportunity more than anything else. With no family backative and no university education, I made a conscious effort to exploit my God-given talent."

It turned out to be the best job she ever had.

"I told them to work me as hard as possible. I would go anywhere in the world they wanted to have me, and, consequently, had an amazing year getting to know the world as an unofficial ambassador for Jamaica."

Unparalleled & unforgettable

Being Jamaican was the thing she was most proud of when it came to facing the microphones. That exotic blend of cultures, colours and ethnic backgrounds, a melting pot that was truly diverse, was now sprinkled with a heavy dose of Rastafari, she said.

The night she won stands out in my memory as an overwhelming moment, unparalleled and unforgettable.

"Until this day, watching the videos of it, still fills my eyes with tears and floods my heart with emotion."

Wherever she went, Jamaica was the subject and, of course, Marley.

"The tabloids went crazy," she quipped, adding that her chaperone, Nancy Burke, was convinced she would be terminated for the scandalous press her relationship with Marley was receiving.

The age-old adage proved to be true - The only bad publicity is no publicity.

The Jamaican community, including those of the Rastafari faith, she said, supported her wholeheartedly through the length and breadth of the United Kingdom.

A few days after winning, her exploration of London took her down to Porto Bello Road, where in search of a restroom, she made her way into a Jamaican restaurant called Back-a-Yard.

"As I pushed the door dressed in full regalia, having just come from a personal appearance, the two Jamaican women who were tidying the place looked up in total disbelief, elbowing each other. 'See her yah, see her yah,' they whispered loud enough for me to hear. Says me now brightly. 'Wah a gwaan in yah, me ears a ring unno een yah a chat me'. 'Yes,' one of them stated unapologetically, we want to know why when you have so much black girls in Jamaica, Bob would a tek up with you?'."

"Well see it yah now, a say to miself, baptism of fire. I took a deep breath, swallowed my spit and prayed for courage. Within five minutes, I kid you not, every Jamaican in a five-mile radius was in that restaurant to witness the impromptu trial of the newly crowned Miss World."

Reprint with Kind Permission courtesy of the Jamaica Gleaner

http://jamaica-gleaner.com/gleaner/20140220/ent/ent2.html

Thursday, 20 February 2014 13:49

Dennis Brown Concert at Kingston Waterfront

Dennis Brown concert at Kingston waterfront

Thursday, February 20, 2014 | 1:02 PM

KINGSTON, Jamaica -- The Jamaica Reggae Industry Association (JARIA) says that this year’s 5th Annual Dennis Brown Concert will take place on the Kingston Waterfront, on Sunday, February 23 starting at 5:00pm. 

The concert will feature “some of the biggest names in reggae music, all performing for free, in paying tribute and continuing the love and respect for the reggae icon who died on July 1, 1999” He was 42 years old.

JARIA said that the line-up also includes Beres Hammond, Freddie McGregor, John Holt, Ken Boothe, Jah Cure, Tony Rebel, Big Youth,  Johnny Clarke, Suga, Exco Levi, Dalton Harris, Nature, Iba Mahr, Phillip Fraser, Prophesy, King Sounds, Georgia Henry, Mala Brown, Stranjah Cole, Junior Sinclair, Sangie Davis, Brian Gold, Dalton Brownie, Macka Ruffin, and surprise performers all backed by Lloyd Parkes and We The People Band, Warrior Love, Chinna Smith and the Inna De Yard Crew, and Genesis.

In addition Teejah Prayze, “Song for Jamaica” contest winner, 2013, will be coming in from the United Kingdom to perform on the show, JARIA said in a release. 

Speaking on behalf of the organisers, Julian ‘Jingles’ Reynolds, CEO of Sounds & Pressure said the main intent of the annual concert as the highlight of Reggae Month is to reposition Kingston, in particular, west Kingston and downtown Kingston as the Mecca of Reggae music, “the place where a culture originated that has captured the emotions of music lovers globally. And we intend to see it grow as a major tourism attraction for Jamaica.”

This year a VIP section is being introduced, and a J$5,000 contribution for access to this section will go towards the Dennis Brown Trust which continues to provide scholarships to several children attending the Central Branch Primary school in west Kingston to get a college education. Brown was a stickler for a sound education for the children of west Kingston.

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Reprinted with kind permission from the Jamaica Observer

http://www.jamaicaobserver.com/latestnews/Dennis-Brown-concert-at-Kingston-waterfront

 

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