CPR Reggae

CPR Reggae

CPR Reggae

Saturday, 09 February 2013 11:31

DJ Could Loose Visa

Dancehall Artist Mavado

DJ could lose visa

Published: Saturday | February 9, 2013

The Jamaican entertainer at the centre of a bribery case involving a former security official at the United States (US) Embassy in Kingston will automatically lose his American visa and could face criminal prosecution, a US-based attorney has revealed.

Dahlia Walker-Huntington, who practises immigration law in the state of Florida, told The Gleaner yesterday that the revelations made in a Virginia court by David Rainsberger, the former assistant regional security officer at the US Embassy, could also bar the entertainer from obtaining citizenship in the US.

"This person who is alleged to have bribed a US official did so to obtain a benefit and that is where the immigration fraud comes in," Walker-Huntington explained.

"Any visa that you obtain by fraud is not valid and any benefits you get from that fraud will be taken away," she emphasised.


Yesterday, the US Embassy declined to comment on the visa status of the entertainer, whose identity has still not been released. The embassy referred queries to the US Attorney's Office in Virginia.

Rainsberger pleaded guilty on Wednesday to accepting two luxury watches valued at US$2,500 in exchange for helping the entertainer gain a visa to enter the US. He said he also received backstage passes to concerts, free admission and a birthday party hosted by the entertainer.

Walker-Huntington said because Rainsberger was employed in a very senior and sensitive position that will automatically trigger a wide-ranging probe by US authorities.

"He was put in a position of extreme trust … . To have violated that trust, you can rest assured that further investigation will take place to make sure it is a deterrent to US employees all over the world," she reasoned.

In a statement released yesterday, Yolonda Kerney, head of the Public Affairs Section at the embassy, seemed to echo Walker-Huntington's assertion.

"The government of the United States of America takes its own anti-corruption mandates seriously. No one is above the law, even embassy employees," Kerney said.

Walker-Huntington said if the entertainer is already in the US and marries an American citizen to obtain permanent residency, the fraud could become a major obstacle.

"To change your status, you must be in the US pursuant to lawful entry to be able to change your status, through marriage, from a visitor to an immigrant," she explained.

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**Reprinted with Kind Permission from The Jamaica Gleaner**


Saturday, 09 February 2013 11:21

State Department Officer Accepted Bribes

Dancehall Artist Mavado

State Department Officer Admits to Taking Bribes From Dancehall Star Mavado For U.S Visa


By Patricia Meschino, Kingston | February 08, 2013 11:59 AM EST

According to a February 7 report by Scott McCabe, staff writer for the Washington Examiner, a U.S. State Department law enforcement officer has pleaded guilty to accepting bribes from popular dancehall artist Mavado, (born David Constantine Brooks) as the entertainer attempted to secure a US visa. David J. Rainsberger, an officer with the State Department’s Diplomatic Security Service, admitted to unlawfully accepting two luxury watches worth about $2,500.00 from Mavado, while stationed at the U.S. Embassy in Kingston, Jamaica. Among the other gifts prosecutors said Rainsberger received were free admission to nightclubs, backstage passes to concerts and a birthday party hosted by Mavado.

In April, 2010 Mavado’s visa was revoked in an unprecedented en masse cancellation of U.S. visas belonging to dancehall stars Beenie Man (Moses Davis), Bounty Killer (Rodney Price) Aidonia (Sheldon Ricardo Aitana Lawrence) and sound system selector Ricky Trooper (Garfield Augustus McKoy). No reason was ever given for the mass revocation initiated by the Fraud Prevention division of the United States Embassy in Kingston. Mavado and Beenie Man’s Visas were reinstated in 2011.

Thus far no charges have been brought against Mavado, whose career has been dogged by controversy. Also known as the Gully Gaad (a reference to the Kingston community of Cassava Piece, bordered by a gully, where he was raised) Mavado shot to fame across Jamaica in 2005 with a series of extraordinarily violent dancehall singles sung in a deceptively sweet, compelling tone, including “Real McKoy” and “Wah Dem A Do”, the latter reaching no. 27 on the Hot R&B/Hip Hop Chart. Mavado’s acclaimed debut album Gangster For Life: The Symphony of David Brooks (VP Records) reached no. 6  on the Reggae Album chart.

His second album for VP, Mr. Brooks... A Better Tomorrow, spent seven weeks at no. 1 in 2009 and featured “So Special” (produced by Linton “TJ” White), which became a U.S. radio hit on the Top 100 Hot R&B/Hip Hop Airplay and Song chart for over a month, peaking at no. 52.

Mavado made international headlines for his longstanding musical war with fellow dancehall artist Vybz Kartel (born Adidja Palmer) leader of a consortium of artists called Gaza. The Gully-Gaza feuds raged throughout 2009 until the two artists made peace publicly by performing together at the annual West Kingston Jamboree in December 2009, an annual concert that was promoted by the now incarcerated drug lord Christopher “Dudus” Coke.

In 2010 Mavado asked for a release from his VP Records’ contract. He is currently signed to DJ Khaled’s label We the Best Music Group, which is distributed through Def Jam Recordings. Mavado’s album for We The Best is scheduled to drop sometime in 2013.

An email sent to Mavado’s management for comment on this story went unanswered.

**Reprinted with Kind Permission from BillboardBiz.com**


Bishop Howard Gregory
Indiscipline and the unravelling of the social fabric

Sunday, February 03, 2013Howard Gregory

SEVERAL years ago when the municipal authorities in the city of Montego Bay decided to introduce a system of traffic lights and an accompanying one-way flow of traffic on many streets, I pointed out that it would not create the kind of improvement for which it was intended, if all that was taking place was the addition of technology to a system of indiscipline and disorder without some intentional process of sensitisation and education.
Not surprisingly, the system was brought on stream with minimal public notification and has made little difference to the flow of vehicular and human traffic. The centre of Montego Bay remains one of the most congested and chaotic places in which to do business. Pedestrians do as they like, while taxis set their own rules for the roads daily.

It should not come as a surprise then, that the recent attempt to introduce a technologically controlled pedestrian crossing outside the Half-Way-Tree Transportation Centre should run into problems from the outset. The graphic image carried in the news media of a pedestrian wrestling himself from the grip of a policewoman who was restraining him from crossing at will, should serve as a paradigm for where we are as a society when it comes to matters of discipline.
It seems that over time we have become a people lacking in personal discipline which requires external authorities to enforce the same, and even then, there is defiance of such imposition of discipline.
This did not happen overnight. While each individual must develop a personal sense of discipline, and the home and school should be primary agencies in this regard, it is also true that the institutions of public governance and authority have allowed manifestations of indiscipline to blossom into full-blown chaos before attempting to take corrective steps, usually taking the form of draconian action at that stage.
Many of our homes are failing our children with regard to the inculcation of discipline, and many of us are quick to blame persons from the lower social strata of society for these problems. We quickly point to the teenagers who are becoming parents, and argue that if children are begetting children, then what else can we expect?
I do not give this position the credence which some are quick to attribute to it. The truth is that many of these children still fall under the care of grandmothers and great-grandmothers who have traditionally been the mainstay in the inculcation of values and discipline in our nation's children.
What I see happening is that the breakdown of discipline is at every level of the society, as many better positioned parents in our society believe that they are above enforced codes of discipline, in the belief that these are for the lower placed ones in the society.
The police will tell you about the attitude of many of these persons if they are stopped in any routine operation. The police are somehow to just look at them and know that they do not fall in the category of those who are to be subjected to such an experience.
In the same way, many of these parents believe that their children should not be subjected to discipline by anyone other than themselves, and at times pose a serious challenge for the enforcement of discipline in schools.
Whatever is the cause for this breakdown in discipline, the fact is that all around us there is now the need for institutions to begin to set codes of conduct and discipline for those who would seek to access their services. Hospitals, schools, offices, and restaurants have to insist that persons be appropriately attired to enter public spaces, especially as this relates to matters of public health.
Not to mention the fact that many offices and business places now have a challenge getting their workers to understand that there is an appropriate mode of dress for work, which is different from that for the weekend bashment.
Even more telling is the challenge many schools face in which the administration is seeking to inculcate discipline in the students by way of adherence to the dress code where uniforms are concerned, while some of the teachers are sending a contradictory message by the inappropriateness of their attire and conduct.
On the issue of indiscipline, it is futile for us to spend the time seeking to exonerate ourselves from this social malady and merely to cast blame, because in the culture which has emerged, most of us have slipped into the mode that, if persons are getting by doing it, I may as well try it. Nowhere is this more evident than on our roads.
We cannot, however, resign ourselves to this situation, as it not only makes for social disorder and chaos, but it is also the breeding ground for violence and loss of human lives.
I believe that stemming the tide at this time involves the enforcement of external control. In this regard, I believe that the police need to pay greater attention to acts of indiscipline on the roads and not focus primarily on the ultimate outcome of such behaviour, which is the commisson of crimes.
So, for example, the indiscipline which is evident each weekday morning at a location like Dunrobin Avenue in which motorists deliberately use a left-turn-only lane to create a third lane, thereby creating disorder and risking the safety of motorists who are obeying the law, must be the recipients of traffic tickets without fail. I have no problem with this being the route to filling the Government's coffers.
It is the same manifestation of indiscipline which led to the recent accident involving 18 students of Holmwood Technical High School, at the hands of a driver who only minutes before had been ticketed for dangerous driving. So often motorists are able to engage in various forms of indiscipline and violation of the law, as they know that policing is too predictable, lacking the element of surprise and does not focus sufficiently on these violations which, left unchecked, lead to greater risk-taking with costly consequences.
External enforcement of discipline is only one aspect of social discipline, but constitutes an important aspect of the pursuit of social order. At the same time there are voices within the society who seem to resent any form of external discipline. This, I must point out, is not about the perpetration of social injustice and the abuse of the rights of citizens.
There seems to be still ingrained in our psyche that legacy of slavery which makes us want to conform to rules and to exercise what we know discipline demands of us, when there is an authority figure watching over us. It is for this reason that persons can use as licence the expression, "This is Jamaica," in order to justify some act of indiscipline, while the same persons observed in the United States of America or other nations of the north will act with self-control and discipline.
The more serious challenge confronting us is the matter of personal discipline. I know that there are persons who have given up on the society and the prospect of any return to order and discipline in our social interactions. While the task is a mammoth one, I believe we must begin with the children from the earliest stages of their development.
So alongside the preoccupation with getting the literacy and numeracy right, we must focus on the cultivation of appropriate attitudes and values which provide the foundation for the inculcation of discipline. In addition, we cannot give up on our adults. Our men folk must develop a sense of personal discipline so that every light pole or wall does not become a public urinal.
We need to focus on parenting education through all kinds of channels including the church, parent/teachers associations, the workplace, and civil society.
This will only be possible if we are prepared to acknowledge that the nation is on a slippery slope of chaos and disorder, and that each person cannot simply decide what level of discipline or lack thereof he/she will follow.
There must be some parameters on which we can agree because, without that, the fabric of our society will be irretrievably damaged, and we shall become, not the failed state which economists often highlight, but the disintegrated and ungovernable state in which each does as he/she pleases.

Howard Gregory is the Lord Bishop of Jamaica and the Cayman Islands.
**Reprinted with Kind Permission from the Jamaica Observer**
Monday, 04 February 2013 21:20

Superpower Jamaican Accent for Super Bowl

Dr. Carolyn Cooper
Superpower Jamaican Accent For Super Bowl

Published: Sunday | February 3, 2013 14 Comments

Carolyn Cooper, Contributor

Don't mind the IMF. Thanks to Volkswagen of America, Inc, we're being reminded yet again that Jamaica is a cultural superpower. According to Wikipedia, "A superpower is a state with a dominant position in the international system which has the ability to influence events and its own interests and project power on a worldwide scale to protect those interests."

Of course, the meaning of 'power' in that definition is, essentially, political, economic and military. Superpowers are the big guns of the world. The British Empire in the bad old days of in-your-face colonisation was the first 'modern' superpower. Britannia ruled the waves, captured lands far and wide, and now evades reparations. After all, Britons never, never, never shall be slaves - not even to fundamental principles of natural justice.

Eventually, all across the globe, exploited colonies demanded independence and the sun finally set on the British Empire. The Soviet Union and the United States of America both inherited the superpower mantle and aggressively fought for supremacy in the cold war. These days, China, India, Brazil and the European Union are all ready to claim superpower status.

Clearly, Jamaica is not in this big league. We're not in the 'Group of Eight': Canada, France, Germany, Italy, Japan, Russia, the United Kingdom, and the United States. We're not in the 'Plus Five': Brazil, China, India, Mexico and South Africa. We're in no group. We're in a class by ourselves.

Long ago, Marcus Garvey gave us the formula for our greatness: "God and Nature first made us what we are, and then out of our own created genius we make ourselves what we want to be. Follow always that great law. Let the sky and God be our limit and Eternity our measurement."

Garvey also wickedly said, "The whole world is run on bluff." But he certainly wasn't bluffing when he conceived the Universal Negro Improvement Association and African Communities League (UNIA-ACL). Garvey had a grand vision of what black people could achieve. Although he was born on a small island, Garvey was not insular. His consciousness was continental.


Like Garvey, Louise Bennett celebrated the unlimited potential of the Jamaican people. In one of her most amusing poems, 'Independance' - yes, 'dance' - Miss Lou creates a raucous character, Miss Mattie, who gives a most entertaining account of what independence means to her. It's not the song and dance of constitutional arrangements. It's much more primal:

Mattie seh it mean we facety

Stan up pon we dignity.

An we don't allow nobody

Fi teck liberty wid we.

Independence is we nature

Born an bred in all we do

An she glad fi see dat


Tun independant to.

Miss Lou here wittily suggests that so-called 'ordinary' people like Miss Mattie are way ahead of politicians in their understanding of power dynamics. Perhaps Peter Phillips should ask Miss Mattie to come along to the IMF negotiations. She would not be afraid of proposing her own conditionalities.

Indeed, Miss Mattie has a rather expansive view of Jamaica's geopolitical location:

She hope dem caution worl-map

Fi stop draw Jamaica small,

For de lickle speck cyaan show

We independantness at all!

Moresomever we must tell map dat

We don't like we position -

Please kindly tek we out a sea

An draw we in de ocean


Miss Mattie shows up in another humorous poem by Miss Lou, 'Colonization in Reverse':

What a joyful news, Miss Mattie

Ah feel like me heart gwine burs -

Jamaica people colonizin

Englan' in reverse

Taking their cultural 'bag an baggage' to the stepmother country, Jamaicans turned history upside down, reversing the flow of influence.

These days, our distinctive Jamaican 'Patwa' is the preferred language of youth culture in England. Last summer, in a moment of deranged grief as the embers of widespread riot died down, the British historian David Starkey lamented the success of Jamaica's reverse colonisation of England: "black and white, boy and girl, operate in this language together, this language which is wholly false, which is this Jamaican Patois that's been intruded in England, and this is why so many of us have this sense of literally a foreign country."

It's not only England that's been colonised by Jamaican culture. It's the whole world, as Miss Mattie would say. Which brings us to the VW Super Bowl ad that had 4.6 million hits by Friday morning. Why does it feature a white man from Minnesota speaking with a stilted Jamaican accent?:

a) The man was born in Jamaica, migrated as a 'yute' and hasn't been back in a very long time. But he tries his best to sound Jamaican.

b) The man was born in the US to Jamaican parents and has never visited Jamaica. But he tries his best to sound Jamaican.

c) The man was born in Minnesota, went to Jamaica on vacation, fell in love with the language, and tries his best to sound Jamaican.

d) The man was born in the US, has never been to Jamaica except on the Internet, fell in love with the culture, and tries his best to sound Jamaican.

e) The man is a pretty good actor who was coached by a Jamaican and tried his best to sound Jamaican.

In an excellent interview with Jamaican blogger Corve DaCosta, the star of the VW ad, Erik Nicolaisen, said, "I have been a lifelong reggae fan, and as a voice actor I have tried to put a little Patois into my repertoire." Jamaican popular music has been a potent medium for spreading our language across the globe. Jamaica is not in the Caribbean Sea; we're in every ocean of the world.

As was to be expected, some very clever Jamaicans have produced a brilliant spoof on the VW ad. It features a happy-go-lucky black man speaking English with a German accent. He dances off-beat and gets everybody in the nightclub to follow suit; he eats jerk chicken with sauerkraut and inspires the jerk man to do the same; he arrives to work seven minutes early and, when he is chided by his boss, cheerfully promises to return in 10 minutes.

The Jamaican dub version of the VW ad slyly mocks German efficiency. It also takes a crack at our own willingness to follow fashion. We often copy others who are copying us. But since the inspiration for the original ad appears to be the perception that Jamaicans set standards that the whole world can imitate - whether it's exceptional happiness or inventive language - it's all in good fun. Jamaica is a superpower. Be happy about it. Yeah, mon!
**Reprinted with Kind Permission from the Jamaica Gleaner Company**


Carolyn Cooper is a professor of literary and cultural studies at the University of the West Indies, Mona. Visit her bilingual blog at http://carolynjoycooper.wordpress.com/. Email feedback to This email address is being protected from spambots. You need JavaScript enabled to view it. and This email address is being protected from spambots. You need JavaScript enabled to view it..
Monday, 04 February 2013 21:04

Introducing Dave from the VW Ad

'Respect, Boss Man' - Introducing Dave From That VW AD

Published: Monday | February 4, 2013

Janet Silvera, Senior Gleaner Writer

Western Bureau:

Like much of the world, Erik Nicolaisen's primary relationship with Jamaica is through reggae music.

"When I was nine or 10, my older cousin gave me a mixtape of Yellowman, Burning Spear, Eek-a-mouse, Pato Banton, Jacob Miller, Culture, Steel Pulse, Shinehead, Peter Tosh. That was the beginning of my obsession with the music," Nicolaisen told The Gleaner.

Nicolaisen has been the focus of both criticism and praise for his role in Americanising Jamaican Patois in the 'Get In. Get Happy' VW Super Bowl advertisement, which was aired to some 110 million viewers on United States television networks on Sunday.

Asked how well he thinks his accent came across, he said: "Obviously it was important for the wider viewing audience to be able to understand the words and phrases in the commercial, as such, it was necessary for the creators of the commercial to "Americanise" my Patois just a little bit ("sticky bun soon come" vs "sticky bun come soon", etc)."

Under the circumstances, he felt it still came across as fairly authentic, and the outpouring of messages from citizens of Jamaica seem to confirm that.

The ad, which went viral a week ago, has since attracted some 6.8 million views on YouTube.

VW's insight
Admitting that the idea of using the Jamaican accent was not his, Nicolaisen credits Volkswagen with their inventiveness and foresight.

"I was hired two days before filming began. All credit goes to Volkswagen, the advertising agency Deutsch LA, and the amazing director Tom Kuntz. I'm just the actor hired to bring life to the 'Dave' character they created, and I am deeply grateful for that opportunity."

It didn't hurt that Nicolaisen's relationship with Jamaica was cemented with the things he learnt from the book that became his bible years ago - Reggae International by Stephen Davis & Peter Simon, which he said was a definitive source on everything Jamaican.

"Island history from the Arawaks to modern day; the evolution of reggae, a Patois glossary, Rastafari history, etc. I studied that book like the bible, reading and rereading it until it eventually fell apart."

More recently, his younger sister married a Jamaican man and they have a son together, further cementing his ties to the island.

This is not Nicolaisen's first ad, but his first Volkswagen commercial. He has done many ads with soft drinks, orange juice, fast food, cars, beer and video games,

"As a long-time owner of a Volkswagen Passat TDI, it's nice to be pushing a brand that I believe in," he noted.

He admitted that at no time did he anticipate the reaction the ad has received. "Not a clue. I knew that if I didn't deliver acceptable Patois, the advertisement would fail and, even worse, I wouldn't hear the end of it from my Jamaican friends and family."

As it relates to the controversy that the ad has garnered, he is indifferent.

"People are entitled to their opinion on the matter, and it really isn't my place to affirm or deny the controversy, or how the advertisement made people feel. I'm just an actor, hired to play a role in a television commercial," he said.

He admitted that as a fan of German dancehall artiste Gentleman, Matisyhu, and Albarosie, he was certainly surprised at the initial controversy that his Patois created.

"On the other hand, I'm not blind to the social construct of race, and I recognise both sides of the controversy."

A native of Portland, Oregon, in the United States, Nicolaisen has been to Jamaica once in 2003.

"I travelled only as far as Bluefields (Westmoreland), and then into the Cockpit country, but I didn't exactly get to explore like I would have liked."

He, however, finds Jamaica to be an exceptional, beautiful and complicated place, one you can only truly appreciate if you go and experience it for yourself.
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**Reprinted with Kind Permission the Jamaica Gleaner Company**
Les Green: Arrival in Jamaica was like stepping back in time

Published: Monday | February 4, 2013

Former Assistant Commissioner of Police Les Green, who spent eight years with the Jamaica Constabulary Force after being seconded by Scotland Yard to assist with improving the investigative capacity of local enforcement, has painted a picture of an island with a backward policing system and officers who were next to lazy.

In a story published in yesterday's edition of the United Kingdom (UK) newspaper, The Mirror, the now retired police officer was quoted as saying his arrival in Jamaica was like "stepping back in time."
Said Green: "When I first went there, the forensic capability was very poor and ineffective. There it still takes up to two years to get DNA results, unlike in the UK where you can get them in two days."

He added: "In Jamaica, there is nothing like the sense of urgency I had in the UK where I would send someone out to take a statement and they would do it immediately. There, I could send someone out for weeks on end and eventually they would come back with a statement.

"If a pretty girl walks past, they will look at the pretty girl instead of what they are doing. There is always tomorrow, always another time to do something. There's always a drink or a pretty woman to distract them."

Green, 54, who is credited with bringing about significant improvements to Jamaica's criminal investigations, particularly homicides, described his eight-year tenure as frustrating because of the level of violence and weak systems of investigation.
**Reprinted with Kind Permission from The Jamaica Gleaner Company**


Monday, 14 January 2013 22:20

Lisa Hanna Calls for return to culture

Lisa Hanna calls for a return to culture

Published: Sunday | January 13, 2013

Minister of Youth and Culture Lisa Hanna is calling for a cultural revolution in Jamaica anchored in traditional cultural values in order to stem the negative influences she says are affecting the foundations of society.

She notes that a withdrawal from traditional values serves to weaken the Jamaican spirit and the society as a whole.

Speaking at the annual Maroon Celebrations in Accompong last weekend, Hanna lamented the many manifestations of the problem.

"Some people retreat from parenting, withdraw from community engagement, and develop indifference to governance. It is when there is a move away from the wholesome values of the Ashanti and the Maroons that there is the bleaching of faces and hearts, the creation of warfare against each other where there should be constructive engagement; and some people delight in each other's failures where there should be compassion and support," said Hanna.

Devaluation tendency

The culture minister said in addition, our artistes and musicians have much work to do in reversing the tendency towards the devaluation of Jamaican women, the promotion of brutal and unwholesome behaviour and the reinforcement of negative stereotypes.

She called for more dialogue between stakeholders in the music industry and the wider society, focusing on content and expression that promote national development and social upliftment.

The Accompong celebrations this year commemorate the 275th anniversary of the signing of the Treaty between the British and the Accompong Maroons as well as coincide with the 175th anniversary of the emancipation from slavery in 1838.

Reprinted with kind permission from the Jamaica Gleaner

Monday, 14 January 2013 22:10

Jamaican artistes priced out?

Jamaican artistes priced out? Decline in stage shows partially blamed on expensive stars

Published: Sunday | January 13, 2013

Davina Henry, Staff Reporter

The number of stage shows hosted locally are already on a decline and now overseas promoters are also limiting the number of shows due to the exorbitant fees and seemingly ridiculous demands from artistes and their riders.

According to Walter James, a popular promoter in Atlanta, based on the demands of artistes, it is sometimes impossible to make any money from the show.

"Some of the artistes start from US$50,000 for us to book them, especially when they have just had their visas returned. You have to sell your house and car just to book them! Then when you tally up your overhead you don't make a cent, and that makes no sense," he told The Sunday Gleaner.

He added that one particular artiste who he has been negotiating with for a show, had 15 persons in his entourage.

"He had 15 people travelling with him, so I have to find plane fare for all of them, plus put them up in hotel plus give them per-diem every day. These artistes say they have to bring their cook, spiritual advisers etc., it's ridiculous," he continued.

Unrealistic prices

Jerome Hamilton, of Headline Entertainment, also reiterated James' point, saying that some artistes were not being realistic with their prices.

"Some of the prices of the artistes aren't practical. Promoters are shying away because of the travel fees, travel party and the requirements. Enough artistes aren't adjusting to the economic climate.

"This does not go for everyone, but for the most part, the industry is overpriced. When one starts to starve and have to eat the food they didn't want, then they will adjust."

While the excessive fees of the artistes are costing promoters, James also stressed that the riders are also of concern.

"Some of these artistes want the most expensive equipment. They want the most expensive drum sets and keyboards, and they don't even use those in Jamaica. I have had artistes request cheese, crackers, peanuts, bottles of Merlot etc. and when I bought them, they did not even touch them. Plus, when they come with the entourage, they expect to be paid US$80 per-diem and I have to pay their departure tax, custom fees and stamp duties," said James.

Bobbi Clarke, promoter of the popular Irie Jamboree show in New York, told The Sunday Gleaner that artistes need to adjust their prices.

"This is an old issue that promoters have been having with artistes. A new artiste with two new songs in one year wants to charge money that is equivalent to be paid to an established R&B artiste," he said.

He added that while artistes may want to travel with an entourage, anything over six persons would not make sense for him based on the cost of airfare and hotel rooms.

Although some promoters believe that the high demands of artistes have led to the decrease in stage shows, not everybody agrees with this stance.

The real problem

According to artiste Mr Vegas, the problem lies with artistes not being able to entertain.

"I think it's the decline in the production that's coming out of Jamaica that is the real problem. Another problem is that we are also lacking entertaining people. Ninja Man, General Trees - they use to entertain the crowd, and that's what we need need more of," he said.

He also stated that many promoters do not have an issue when overseas artistes have demands, so they should not have a problem with the demands of the local artistes.

Sharon Burke, CEO of Solid Agency and promoter of Fully Loaded also sided with Mr Vegas, explaining that the decline in shows should be blamed on the quality of the music being produced.

"I don't think exorbitant fees are the problem. I think stage shows are declining because our music needs to be played more in the USA. The artistes need to learn to promote their music better and they need to start producing quality music," she said.

She, however, does concede that too many artistes are following the American standards.

"When we see some American artistes travelling with 20 people in their entourage, it's because they can attract a crowd of 40,000 persons! The promoter makes back his money so he isn't too perplexed about that. However, when some of our artistes can only attract 200 people, how will the promoter make back his money? They need to understand these things."

Burke suggested that the managers of the artistes show the artistes a breakdown of the budget in terms of what the promoter will spend on airfare and hotels and also the amount of persons the venue can facilitate. She believes that when this is done, both parties will be more likely to come to amicable solutions.

Name changed upon request.

Reprinted with kind courtesy from The Jamaica Gleaner Company.


What music industry players want to see in 2013: Diversity & professionalism

 Published: Monday | January 14, 2013

Curtis Campbell, Gleaner Writer

With the rise of several new roots reggae bands as well as the exposure of a new crop of reggae artistes, the world renowned genre appears to be fighting to regain its rightful place in local dancehall and local radio stations.

The rise of new acts like Chronixx, Kabaka Pyramid, Protoje, Jah 9, Nature, and Droop Lion is an indication that the island still possesses the capacity to produce world-class reggae artistes.

However, aside from breaking new talent, what will be done to ensure that the genre experiences positive growth in 2013?

Reggae industry players have varied visions.

Brendon Sharpe, manager of Zinc Fence Band, wants to see more professionalism.

"We want to see the music become more professional, from the production to the artiste management. The Jamaican music industry just needs more professionalism," he said.

Chronixx, who also falls under Sharpe's management, shared a similar sentiment.

"Along with the steps I have taken, I just want the artistes to unite and reclaim the integrity of our music. The music is not easy to get commercial backing but we can aim to make it more professional and reduce back-door dealing. It's a shame that the more professional reggae artistes are not from Jamaica. Kabaka Pyramid, Jah 9, Protoje ... we are taking steps to professionalise the thing, but we hope to see others being more professional in 2013," Chronixx said.

International appeal

Richie Spice hopes 2013 will see reggae music earning for itself wider international appeal.

"My vision is to see reggae music on a higher dimension and the whole world chanting reggae music. Reggae music is a family genre and the voice of the truth. We need to get it out on a wider scale so that the world can get to hear it. The more mainstream we get, the greater the development of the reggae fraternity will be," Richie Spice said.

Herbie Miller, former manager of Peter Tosh and curator of the Jamaica Music Museum at the Institute of Jamaica, revealed that his vision is to see artistes staying out of trouble.

"I want to see the artistes exhibit a better attitude and avoid trouble that can be avoided on a personal level. On the creative level, I want them to be more innovative and creative," he said.

Miller also wants to see diversity.

"I want musicians to be more diverse than just for the ethnic market, be more like people like Burning Spear who are appealing to the broadest market. Producers might have to look into things that they are producing in order to appeal to a wider market. I want to see broader topics like what was done by Third World and the Marleys. There is so much to sing about, like global warming, the world's financial problems, the abuse of women and so much more. We can still be sexual in our music but but not downrightly lewd and x-rated. I want to see conscious music that is reflecting the real issues," said Miller.

State minister in the Ministry of Tourism and Entertainment Ministry, Damion Crawford, told The Gleaner he wants to see the music industry handled like a business.

"We want to see it run more like a business, so that it can be more substantial and people can generate more income from it," he said.

The minister is also gearing up to reveal his plans for the entertainment industry in the weeks to come. Issues such as the noise abatement act are hot on his agenda.

Reprinted with kind permission from the Jamaica Gleaner Company


Monday, 10 December 2012 18:24

John Maxwell Revisited

John Maxwell photo courtesy of Leah N. Gold

The abomination of cowardice; The just and the unjust:

Reprinted from the Jamaica Observer
Monday, December 10, 2012

Today marks the second anniversary of the passing of iconic journalist John Maxwell. In the following
excerpts culled by his widow, Dr Marjan deBruin, from two of Maxwell's columns (December 2004 and February 2007) published in the Sunday Observer, the journalist is at his trenchant best on issues over which the society continues to agonise.
SEVERAL years ago, various media outlets carried a rumour that homosexuals were planning a march on Jamaica House. I don't remember anyone believing the story, but the media ran with it anyway. On the day appointed, dozens of idiots armed with cutlasses descended on Half-Way-Tree square prepared to teach the homosexuals a lesson. None, of course, appeared.

As I have said in an earlier column, it was a uniquely Jamaican occasion, because I don't believe that anywhere else in the world would the press have been so willing to spread such a plainly ridiculous and dangerous story, given the homophobic environment; nor would there be, anywhere else in the world, people idle enough to assemble for a sporting massacre, as it were. It was a low point in Jamaican civilisation and none of our leaders said a word.
Unfortunately, on the question of homophobia and homosexuality, the press is at least as backward as the majority of Fundamentalist Jamaica. Reading the advice columns demonstrates just how ignorant and illiterate people — including some counsellors — are about anything concerning sex.
Betty Ann Blaine, a very nice lady who is also a well-known social worker, delivered herself of the dictum that homosexuality is 'learned behaviour'... There is no authority anywhere for anyone to say that homosexual behaviour is learned.
On the contrary, controlled experiment with rats under environmental stress produced 'homosexual' intercourse which surprised the investigators because that was not what they were looking for. And homosexual pairing is well established among certain birds. There is also some evidence that there may be genetic predispositions which may or may not be reinforced by nurture. The fact is that no one really knows, which, I suppose, is as good a reason as any for murder.
Be fruitful and multiply...
Diversity is the key to survival with species and among species. If we do not 'love' one another, ie respecting the rights of all, if we destroy those who are different, we are sabotaging our own chances of survival by reducing the diversity and complexity of life, which is what enhances the odds that we will survive.
To be fruitful and multiply is not, as some of us imagine, a prescription for uncontrolled breeding; it means that we should provide equal opportunity for the survival of all. Fitness arises from diversity, not the other way round.
The more diverse we are is the more likely that some of us will survive, which is directly opposite to the views of the sectarian bigots who now presume to lay down rules to decide who we should love and who we should allow to survive.
The prophet whose teachings they claim to follow, Jesus of Nazareth, was in fact a supremely practical philosopher whose teachings seem to contradict most of the stuff handed down by the new rule makers. When Jesus said that the Sabbath was made for man and not man for the Sabbath, it was clear that He was not discarding the Sabbath and what it stood for, but making the point that while ethics and principles and the rules derived from them were prerequisites for a healthy and productive life, they were designed to fulfil human purposes and not to frustrate human happiness.
They needed to be adjusted and fitted to serve human purposes from time to time, to advance the human. Our ethical principles needed to be developed out of experience to serve real needs and not to be accepted simply because they had existed for a very long time or because some old geezer claiming to be a prophet said so.
Our absolutists who want to burn homosexuals and other sinners appear to reject one of the most fundamental arguments advanced by Jesus: that while the law and the prophets were to be taken into account, he was promulgating a new principle in total defiance of Mosaic Law: a new commandment give I unto you, he said, "that ye love one another."
...The Christian Taliban
Much of the homophobic plague now disfiguring our society is incited by those I call the Christian Taliban, a gang of prideful know-nothings who come not to call sinners to repentance, but to deliver them into the hands of the vigilantes. Some have acquired their second rate theology for a couple of hundred US dollars from some self-styled Bible college.
What riles me is that, in the heat of their newly bought holiness, they want to crucify the rest of us, or more accurately, to stretch or cut us to fit their own Procrustean beds of sublime ignorance.
They depend on the Old Testament, a collection of some of the oral history of nomadic tribes wandering about the Middle East 4,000 years ago. This accumulated wisdom was life-preserving at that time, surrounded as they were by enemies and eating unreliable food, but as Jesus of Nazareth said, it isn't what a man consumes that defiles him, but what comes out of him.
Because the Israelite nomads wanted to build up the numerical strength of their tribes they encouraged men to impregnate their sisters-in-law if their brothers died, and buggery — then and now the poorest but surest means of birth control — was an abomination as was, for the same reason, 'Onanism' or masturbation.
To their modern-day successors, like the Pharisees and Sadducees with their phylacteries and other tokens of holiness, what is good is not what one does but what one says, forgetting another apothegm from Jesus -- that the Devil can quote scripture to his own purpose. As far as they are concerned, the idea that God is Love is nonsense: God is a terrible God, full of wrath, vengefulness and thunderbolts.
These whited sepulchres understand Jesus' advice that we should be our brother's keepers to mean that they should be their brother's jailers. My old friend Peter Walker used to call these hypocrites "God-Botherers" because they seemed to have exclusive hotlines to their divinity.
Now they counsel us based on misinterpretations of 4,000-year-old 'science', that abortion is always wrong, that life begins at conception and a host of other nonsense, including the belief that sex education makes children pregnant.
The latest outrage is the idea of raising the age of consent, an idea some would interpret to authorise the jailing of anyone who had sexual intercourse before that age. Just say no, they blather — ignorance is literally bliss. I have news for them: if they really want to protect young people they should promote the raising of the age of consent to 24, because scientists have discovered that the brains of human children do not completely mature until about that age.
As I write this my friend Canute James has shown me a story from The Guardian (London) about a Jamaican who has, for the last 27 years, successfully pretended to be an expert forensic psychologist. This conman even had a motto which must have come straight from Jamaica: 'Exposing Unrighteousness for the Sake of Righteousness'.
This man, one Gene Morrison, who didn't even have a 'genuine mail order' degree, duped judges, barristers and their clients for almost three decades. He gave "expert evidence" in cases involving armed robbery, rape, death by dangerous driving, unexplained death and drug offences. Police are now having to re-assess about 700 cases looking for miscarriages of justice.
Never underestimate the power of a righteous Jamaican, especially one armed with the Wrath of God.
Read more: http://www.jamaicaobserver.com/columns/The-abomination-of-cowardice--The-just-and-the-unjust_13169644#ixzz2Eh9UvtqT

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