Sharon Gordon

Sharon Gordon

Sharon Gordon

Tuesday, 03 January 2017 01:22

Tribute to Ma B... Mrs. Pat Bailey

Pat Bailey was a renaissance woman, a pioneer who blazed her way into the hearts and households of millions for nearly half a century. I am humbled to say she was a mentor to me. She along with her husband Gil were the first to put me on the air. It was sometime in 1992 and I can still hear her voice now, "Sharon Gordon, Mr Bailey and I would like to meet with you." Nervous as ever, we met and the rest as they say is history. Ms Pat and her husband took me under their wings; my mother had just passed and she became my surrogate mom. Gil and Pat taught me all I needed to know about the radio side of things.

It was the early 90's and reggae music and Jamaican culture were "crossing over." Ms Bailey taught me how to be a broadcaster; how to interact with the many small business owners like Sista Cuchy of Roots Groundation  and Jennifer Ewers of Brawta Jamaican Restaurant, two of my first sponsors. Ma B would say, get them as an advertiser and then ask them to sponsor. It was Ms Pat who taught me how to go out in our community and develop relationships that have remained in place all these many years later. My weekly community round-up was just a little segment on the Gil and Pat Bailey Show but for me and my family it was huge!!!


In addition to teaching me how to sell ads, she taught me how to present music, news and interviews on air. She would caution me about the balance that was necessary to keep your audience engaged and not change the dial.


There was a time when I had to "hold the gate" or be a "gateman" for many of Gil and Pat's events. Best believe it was no easy feat, but Ma B would coach me and tell me how to deal with those who would try to "beat the gate" or not pay their admission. Yes, she was something else, strong, compassionate, and a shrewd business woman who loved her people and her culture and it was she who taught me the industry and how to survive with the sharks in these murky waters.


Mrs. Bailey and I are born a day a part she Oct 28 me Oct 27; different years of course. Let's Hear It was a segment that she conceptualized and I was elated to be invited to be a part of it in 2008, when President Barack Obama was campaigning for the presidency. Ma B and I were staunch supporters of the Obama candidacy while my sister/name sake, Sharon Goldbourne, and Bro Jose (Richards) were not. Oh, those programs were dynamic… we would review the topics for each week's program and be ready for them when they called. Oh, I learned a lot from Mrs. Bailey.


With her passing, we see the end of an institution... what Gil and Pat did was trailblazing. Because of them, we can! As trendsetters, they paved the way for many. Her legacy lives on in the work that I do as the co-founder and chair of the Coalition to Preserve Reggae Music; as a producer and host on my own Internet broadcast platform CPRLive.org; as a promoter of cultural events that highlight our heritage; as a renaissance woman who learned from the best. Yes, Pat Bailey, Ma B will always be with us and I can hear her now saying, "Mi daughter, how you be?" I am good Ma B and I know you are too. Your work here is done good and faithful servant. Rest in eternal peace.


Oh how I miss your laughter!!

Thursday, 29 December 2016 11:09

Remembering Dy Dy

My grandmother was the sweetest person I ever met.

She never got angry or upset.
She always laughed and had a good word to share.
She never used "foul" language; I never heard her swear.

She always sang or hummed a tune. She taught me to be respectful, kind and understanding of others.
She was a gentle soul. I am convinced that "Mama" was an "angel" sent to walk among us mortals. She taught us so much! Grandma was the BEST seamstress, cook, baker and gardener/farmer ever!!!
Oh by the way, every time you hear Beres Hammond singing sweet songs, that's my grandma Dy Dy. She was his mother.

We were so blessed and privileged to have had her in our lives. I am the wiser because of my grandma. Since I was a little girl, people have always said that I acted much older than my age… well, that's what happens when your grandma is your best friend growing up!! ?

Love you and miss you Mama, always in my ❤

Tuesday, 27 December 2016 10:21

Be a Beacon and Channel Positive Vibrations

Hey Family, been keeping quite these day but I have to say something...why do so many folks get on social media and shame people for believing in Christmas? For celebrating Christmas? "Oh, it's a pagan holiday," they say and on and on. This practice speaks volumes about them, more than the folks they are looking at with the scorn.


The shaming and the vitriol it spews are so unfortunate. You can educate people without denigrating them. I can hear my grandmother saying "Live and let live" and my mom would chime in, "People versus people." How come some are so very vocal about certain ism and schisms and then turn and around and practice those very ism and schisms on others...that is hypocrisy.


We need to turn that energy into a spirit of tolerance; a spirit of respect, a spirit of allowing people to practice what works for them. Let's celebrate our humanity at this time, we need it right now. Do you see what is happening in the world? These are the best of times and they are the worst of times. Being alive right now, in this time, is to be thankful. Yes, we, in the land of the living, let's be more respectful of each other.


Can you do that "Mr and Mrs Be On Your High Horse" and "Oh Learned and Conscious Ones?" Cause, say what you will, you too are probably with your family and your loved ones celebrating right now. It's a good thing for us to be with our families and loved ones...life-long friends as well as new ones. It's the Holidays.


What's sad is so many people wish they had loved ones to celebrate with. Many are lonely, having regrets about not being of good spirit in earlier years with loved ones and now find themselves estranged and alone. So, if people want to celebrate Christmas, let them. If you don't, then do you.


Celebrate you and yours! Channel love and healing into to the universe. The poison of hate is ramped up so high it's causing a serious imbalance. Look at the weather patterns. Have you noticed the rate at which folks are dying? It's scary...


So, my wish for the holidays, is that we commit to turning on and turning up the love vibration!! Shine your light, be a beacon and channel positive vibrations where ever you are in the universe. After all, if puss and dog can get along then what happen to us humans?


Wishing you all peace and love. Merry Christmas. Happy Kwanzaa, Happy Hanukkah...happy you!!

Sunday, 07 June 2015 10:04

Views on the News - May 29, 2015

The 6th Jamaican Diaspora Conference is fast approaching and there has been much discussion about state of things. Representative for the North East Advisory Board, Immigration Attorney Joan Pinnock, has been making the rounds hosting town hall meetings with the community about the conference in Montego Bay, June 13th through 18th why they should attend.  All while she is fighting off a what she described as a "smear campaign" accusing her of promoting an immigration seminar prior the conference" which her accusers say will accrue to her benefit. After all she is an immigration attorney. Attorney Pinnock, says, she stands to "benefit in no way from this forum" and as a matter of fact,  she "has had to pull back on her work load in her four offices located through out the New York tri-state.

During an interview with CPRLive hosts, Damani Saunderson and Carlyle McKetty on Diaspora Dialog, Attorney Pinnock, told the audience and the hosts, that "under advise from counsel" she cannot comment further on the situation as it relates to her former "running mate" who lost to her in the recently held elections for North East Diaspora Advisory Board representative and is the current "Alternate." However, says Attorney Pinnock, "This individual lost" but "refuses to concede" and is making my life a very difficult. Albeit it, Attorney Pinnock was in good spirit throughout the interview and spoke strongly about the "Mapping" project which seeks to have a true sense of "who makes up the Jamaican Diaspora" and "where they are located" and "what skills sets" exist that can be marketable.  By encouraging folks to register at the website online and complete the questionnaire, Attorney Pinnock assured the integrity of the process saying that, it is "private and confidential."

One group that is busy getting ready to travel to Jamaica for the Conference is the Education Sector who are excited that finally, Education will hold its own "front and center" at the upcoming conference. According Karlene Large of the Diaspora Education Task Force and former President of the Union of Jamaica Alumni Associations, (UJAA) "Quietly and diligently, we have been at work collaborating with key stake holders to advance education in Jamaica," she says,"We're nowhere near our dreams and goals but go day by day and today there is much to be proud of." The Task Force's many accomplishments are a direct result of sticking to the "take aways" from the 2013 conference and the subsequent Education Summit that was held in Jamaica, February 2014. The Task Force will present a Report Card at the 2015 Conference to highlight these accomplishments. Of course, UJAA will be in Montego Bay inside the MarketPlace to continue to advance the education agenda and also to expose corporate Jamaica and other key organizations to their mission. 

Speaking of Education and Jamaicans in the Diaspora. One Jamaican who made his mark in the early 20th Century was Jamaican born author and self made scholar, Joel A. Rogers  (J.A. Rogers) whose many books including his seminal work, From Superman to Man have become collectors items. The  famed book which helped to change a generation's attitude towards race and race relations was recently returned to the spotlight with the production of a play of the same name, by native New Yorker, Jamel Wade. Wade transforms the novel into a play that outlines the conversation between a Dixon, a black porter and  a racist white bigoted Senator from Oklahoma.

The setting is post WWII during the heights of the Jim Crow era when lynching was as American as Apple pie. The play which ran at the Black Spectrum Theater in Roy Wilkins Park, Queens, New York on May 22nd and 23rd zeroed in on racial tensions that are at an all time high in major cities across the America in places like Baltimore, Ferguson and Chicago at a time when a Black President occupies the White House. Those harboring sentiments of a "post racial society" are being challenged by what is being reported on the nightly news and on social media. Jamel Wade's ambitious attempt to present From Superman to Man at this time, is a stroke of brilliance.

Though the play moves a little slow, due to the cerebral nature of the conversation, it shines a well needed spotlight on this "third rail" issue within American society. In his genius, JA Rogers wrote a story the presents Dixon, as a well educated black porter who was able to destroy the illusion of superiority held by the Senator. Dixon does this in a manner that highlighted his display of logic, compassion and knowledge for European history and literature. Dixon is  well educated and the Senator is by far no match for his intellectual prowess. The story pretty much is a full blown commentary on the state of things with the Republicans and their behavior towards the President and his administration. "We have the smartest president in the White House, yet they treat him like a little boy," says one audience member, "I really identify with this story, can't believe it was written so long ago." 

Sunday, 31 May 2015 17:45

Views on the News - May 22, 2015

News comes out of Hackensack, North Jersey that 35 year old Jawara McIntosh, son of the late, Peter Tosh, reggae legend and founding member of the internationally known Wailers, of Bob Marley and the Wailers fame, will head to trial in September for charges against him and a companion, 24 year old Carlotta Z. Leslie for possession and intent to distribute 65 1/2 pounds of marijuana, found in the trunk of  a rental car he was driving in on Route 17 in Mahwah over the Father's Day Weekend 2013.

According to reports, the youngest son of the reggae legend, known as Tosh 1, did not have a drivers's license and was driving with "open bottles of liquor on the front seat" of the rental when was pulled over.  It is alleged that McIntosh was stopped for "recklessly cutting off another motorist on Route 17."  McIntosh and Leslie pleaded not guilty and said, they have no knowledge that marijuana was in the vehicle.  On May 18th, in Hackensack, the pair refused to accept a plea offer of 5 years in state prison from Assistant Bergen County Prosecutor Keith Travers who offered them to plea guilty to first degree possession of marijuana with intent to distribute it. They would have to serve 12 months before being eligible for parole.

Championing support for McIntosh is a California/Colorado based non-profit group called Cannibas Patriots Unite (CPUnite.org). The group asserts that McIntosh was "arrested for driving while dreadlocked." They also posit that the herb that he "allegedly" had in his possession is  considered to be medicinal in "dozens of states."

Cannibas Patriots Unite believes that, "It [marijuana]belongs into the hands of the people, for it provides treatment at a fraction of the cost of currently sanctioned by healthcare." It is ironic that Peter Tosh was among the first to champion the cause to legalize marijuana in his song, "Legalize It" which has become an anthem for those wanting to see the decriminalization of marijuana. A picture of McIntosh in court wearing a green hoodie with the words LEGALIZE IT emblazoned on the front above a large image of a marijuana plant.  McIntosh is also charged with "two counts of driving under the influence of drugs, driving with a suspended license, improper passing and having an open container of alcohol in a vehicle."

Many are still talking about the very disappointed elderly white passenger, who startled passengers and staff at Charlotte International Airport last Wednesday, May 20th, when, he got completely undressed at the gate, after he learned that his flight to Jamaica was overbooked.  Apparently he was overcome with disappointment. "I can understand his frustration," says Michael Jones, of Queens, New York "but to get all undressed, is just a little much." Jokes and Memes of all types have been posted on Social Media based on reportage by Sherry Ketchie of WBTV who shared a picture of the naked passenger being led away by security. "He had his clothes on, at that point, and then he started standing there with his arms crossed and hollering at the lady at the desk,” Ketchie reported. “He stood there for a moment and then started taking off his clothes. I ain’t never seen nothing like that in my life” she said. Reports from authorities are that the passenger will not be charged.

Kudos to Toronto's own roots reggae sensation Tasha T in her capacity as Musical Ambassador for  the twelve year old, Read Across Jamaica Foundation, headed by CEO, Ja'Nice Wisdom. After traveling to Jamaica for Education Week, Tasha T, helped Ja'Nice sort through school supplies and books for the children.  Tasha T then set out to visit some of the schools on the first leg of Educational Week which started on May 4th. Since their start in 2003, Read Across Jamaica Foundation has served more than 25,000 students and have donated more than 50,000 books and school supplies to students across the island. As part of the bus tour, Tasha T, visited schools like Portsmouth Primary School in Portmore and also the Mustard Seed facility in Kingston. During her visit, Tasha T read for the children who delighted in her reading but especially the loved gifts that she brought for them. "The students were great and we had lots of fun," said Tasha T in speaking about the success of the tour.

There is excitement about a ground breaking exhibition titled The Rise of Sneaker Culture coming to the Brooklyn Museum from July 10 through October 4, 2015 that will feature approximately 150 pairs of sneakers on exhibition. The exhibition makes it debut in Brooklyn before traveling to three other museums and originated at the Bata Show Museum in Toronto.  The touring exhibition is being organized by the American Federation of Arts and the Bata Show Museum. The exhibition explores the evolution of the sneaker from the late 19th century to the present where sneakers have gone from humble beginnings to it's current role as status symbol and urban icon. Included in the exhibition are works from the archives of NIKE, Puma and Reebok as well as private collectors such as hip hop legend Darryl "DMC" McDaniels, sneaker guru Bobbito Garcia and Dee Wells of Obsessive Sneaker Disorder. Excerpts from the documentary Just for Kicks which covers sneaker culture from the 1970's to 2004 will be screened within the exhibition.

Wednesday, 03 September 2014 19:06

Views on the News

A group of twenty Jamaicans participated in a peaceful protest outside of the Jamaican Consulate in New York City on Wednesday, August 27th. Organized by Michelle Bradshaw, the protest grew out of an online petition she started on the Facebook page she created, "Demanding Justice for Mario Deane."  During an interview Bradshaw revealed that she originally wanted about one thousand signatures, but it has since soared to more than 100,000. "I'm a little overwhelmed," she said, about the level of support that she has received. She then organized a peaceful protest to call international attention to the case of the 31 year old construction worker who was arrested and detained by police who searched him and found a small portion of marijuana on his person. Deane would be pronounced dead on Independence Day, at the Cornwall Regional Hospital three days after being in Police custody at Barnett Street Police Station. it is reported that Deane died from head injuries he allegedly sustained while in police custody. Speculations are that, he was brutally beaten by the police because when he was being bailed, he dared to say in the presence of the female police officer processing his paper work that, he didn't like police. As the story goes, at that moment, she told the person bailing him to come back at 5pm and returned Mario Deane to the jail cell. The story is that the person returned at 3pm and learned that Mario Deane was at the hospital. Deane remained in a coma until he died.  This incident has sparked many protests in Montego Bay and helped to encourage folks to participate in New York's protest.  "Many people could not make it due to the time of day and they had to be at work," said Michelle Bradshaw who has vowed to continue protesting and calling attention to the case. 

During an interview with Carlyle McKetty host of Real Talk via CPRLive the day following the protest, the family's attorney Miguel Lorne, who traveled to New York to participate in the peaceful protest and to present the signed petition to the Consulate, said he was "not pleased" with the way the police investigations are proceeding. He shared that two mentally challenged inmates have been charged in the beating and that  "There is a lot of conflicting information now coming out as the investigation proceeds." Lorne said, provide a history of the police force in Jamaica, having come out to the aftermath of the Morant Bay Rebellion. Lorne said it's a mind set that needs to be changed. He said that as a result of Mario's death, they are calling for some fundamental changes to the attitude and the laws of the land. Lorne also advised those gathered that attorney Jasmine Rand, who was part of Trayvon Martin's legal team, has joined the legal team seeking justice for Mario Deane. Miguel Lorne also advised that noted medical examiner, Dr. Michael Baden, who was the Chief Medical Examiner for New York City and who recently performed the independent autopsy of slain Ferguson teenager, Michael Brown, has traveled to Jamaica and to conduct an independent autopsy on Mario Deane.  After the protest, the signed petition was handed to Consul Darren McCreath inside the Consulate.  Michelle Bradshaw and others announced their commitment to continue raising awareness about police brutality in Jamaica and in seeking justice on behalf of Mario Deane and his family. A Mario Dean Memorial fund has been established online and his family is asking that folks make donations there to help them offset the cost of the medical and legal expenses they are incurring in their efforts to seek justice.

Later on that evening a significant number of Jamaicans converged on Sunrise Cineplex in Valley Stream, Long Island, for the premier of the movie, Jamaican Mafia starring Paul Campbell. Written by Mykal Fax, the movie premier was hyped and promoted by Irie Jam Media. Based on that promotion the venue was oversold. Many folks were seen scurrying around trying to purchase a ticket, but there was none to be had. Many were stood on line for a long time waiting with tickets in hand, waiting to gain entry.  Earlier in the day, Bobby Clarke, president of Irie Jam Media Group, was heard saying that "We are completely sold out." It seemed that some folks decided to try their luck and they ended being disappointed. Upon arrival at the premier, celebrities were on hand, from D'Angel to Paul Campbell to everyone in between, they were walking the red carpet and the vibes was "tun up." DJ Roy of Irie Jam Radio was spinning some sweet selections that kept the audience in a merry mood. 

After waiting for a very long time, almost two hours for the movie to begin, folks started to get a bit uneasy and by 10pm it was announced that due to unforeseen circumstances the screening would not happen. The audience learned that the director, Donzo, was on his way to the screening when he suffered a stroke and had to be rushed to the hospital. He had the only copy of the movie and as such, the movie never made it to the cinema. "You can't make this stuff up," said, Anmour, who had travelled from Maryland to come to New York to be a part of the premier." "Who does that?" asked Andrew B, "Who doesn't have a copy of their own movie for their own screening at the venue in advance?" Continuing, he said, "I"m not buying the trying to shut down the bootleg business, wasn't there anyone in his team he could trust to take the movie to the theater?" Needless to say, patrons were extremely disappointed but there were not outbursts or incidents.  "I am proud of my people," posted Michelle A on her Facebook page, "This could have been a whole other story." 

To their credit, Bobby Clarke and DJ Roy took to the airwaves the following day to apologize to the patrons and to inform folks what they had to do to obtain their refund. In speaking with Bobby Clarke, he advised that, "Everyone who has a ticket stub should go back to the ticket outlet and obtain their full refund. Irie Jam will provide them with free access to any future screening of Jamaican Mafia, if it happens, or to an Irie Jam event," he said. Clarke and others associated with the event, had to admit that their brand suffered a major blow as a result of this incident. They have so far been refunding people their tickets as folks have been positing on Facebook that they have gotten their money back. 

As for Jamaican Mafia, there was a private screening the night before at Medgar Evers College in Brooklyn and from the stories shared, it  too was an official "none screening." According to folks who were there, after waiting for hours, they showed up with a copy of the film and advised that it was a "raw uncut" version of the film. People so eager to view something, only got a chance to watch one hour of the movie, as they had to shut it down and leave the building as the curfew was already passed. From all accounts, the folks at Jamaican Mafia, need to "step up their game," says Michelle A, "You can't want to be in the big leagues and not be ready to play like a professional." According to Andrew Clarke, founder of Braata Folk Singers, "This is a sad day for the arts, for media, for Jamaican culture in general." He like many others feel that this incident has churned consumer confidence and it will take a lot to win back that confidence. 

 

** Reprinted with Kind Permission from the Weekly Gleaner**

Wednesday, 03 September 2014 18:48

Spirit and Harmony Festival Comes to Queens

With a perfect title and concept for these turbulent times, the first annual “Spirit and Harmony Festival” will be held on Sept. 13 in Queens, featuring family-oriented activities, a fashion show and performances by reggae great Freddie McGregor; his son, Chino; renowned jazz vibraphonist Roy Ayers and Nigerian performer Wunmi.

The event the result of a productive partnership between the Black Spectrum Theater in Queens and the organizers of Brooklyn’s famous International African Arts Festival will be held in Roy Wilkins Park, Baisley Blvd. and 177th St., from noon to 6 p.m.

There will also be vendors’ marketplace, a fashion show, a Civil War exhibit, activities for youngsters and a natural hair show presented by Karen’s Body Beautiful.

Families are encouraged to bring their chairs and blankets. Festival admission is $20 in advance and $25 on the day of the show. Tickets for children aged 12 and under are $5.

There are also $75 VIP tickets available, which include special seating, a buffet and access to an artists’ reception.

For information and tickets, visit www.blackspectrumtheater.com or call (718) 723-1800.

Read more: http://www.nydailynews.com/new-york/growing-caribbean-american-clout-article-1.1922816#ixzz3CHug79Ky

Wednesday, 03 September 2014 18:25

Reggae Culture Salute Marks Ten Years

REGGAE CULTURE SALUTE MARKS TEN YEARS OF PRESERVINGROOTS REGGAE WITH A CELEBRATION OF COLLABORATION

Brooklyn, New York, September 3rd, 2014…The Board of Directors of the Coalition to Preserve Reggae Music., (CPR) is pleased to announce that the milestone 10th Annual Reggae Culture Salute will be a true reflection of the organization’s motto “working together to make things work” with two stalwart fraternal organizations joining with CPR in co-presenting the event.   Union of Jamaica Alumni Association (UJAA), under the stewardship of Karlene Largie and Jamaicans Abroad Helping Jamaicans At Home (JAHJAH Foundation), under the guidance of founder, Dr. Trevor Dixon will endorse CPR by co-presenting the event on Saturday, November 1st, 2014 at Nazareth Regional High School Performance Center in a show of solidarity.

The 10th Annual Reggae Culture Salute features the queen of reggae, Marcia Griffiths celebrating five decades of performing. The annual benefit for the Brooklyn based, 501 (C) (3) organization, co-founded by Sharon Gordon and Carlyle McKetty is the longest running event of its kind in New York. "The CPR motto - "Working together to make things work" - aptly describes what the Union has been doing through their members for some time now," says UJAA's president. "Our family of educational associations continues by extension to set a standard to educate our community and to do so with the collaboration of those organizations like Coalition to Preserve Reggae Music (CPR) who seek also to educate.” In recognizing the collaboration imperative, Karlene Largie says, "We join them, not only because of the collective resources, but because it is the right thing to do.  We are excited about co-presenting the 10th Annual Reggae Culture Salute."  

For Dr. Trevor Dixon, founder of JAH JAH Foundation, Reggae Culture Salute "is a campaign to increase the understanding and development of reggae music." He points out that, “Since ,the JAHJAH Foundation mission is to provide upliftment for Jamaica, and since reggae is a part of Jamaica’s culture, the JAHJAH Foundation supports this unique initiative." He is especially mindful that "Proceeds from the event will benefit CPR’s workshops and online activities and overall assist them with their undertakings and bringing the message of reggae to the world." 

 

Reggae Culture Salute is sponsored by Dennis Shipping, VP Records and Transcontinental Express Shippers, Proceeds from the event will benefit programs conducted by CPR as well as co-presenters, UJAA and JAH JAH Foundation. 

For information call 718-421-6927 or email

About CPR:

The Coalition to Preserve Reggae Music, Inc. (CPR) is a 501 (c) (3) organization that works to preserve the reggae art form and its traditional message of healing and unity. The mission of the Coalition is to raise the bar in the creation, development, promotion and presentation of reggae music; to elevate the profile of its purveyors; and to research, codify, curate and disseminate information about the genre so as to increase understanding of its development, its significance, and its influence around the world. CPR conducts forums, presents events and broadcasts radio programs via CPRLive about reggae music and is open to all reggae lovers.

About UJAA

The Union of Jamaican Alumni Associations (USA) Inc.(UJAA) is a 40 member not for profit umbrella organization of alumni associations of basic, primary, secondary and tertiary schools in Jamaica.  Formed in 1990, through its various programs, UJAA's mission includes strong support for early childhood education in Jamaica, being active participants in Diaspora affairs that involve all aspects of education encompassing culture, arts and academia, and supporting those endeavors in our adopted community to make it the place to raise our families and do business.

About JAHJAH Foundation:

The JAHJAH Foundation is a nonprofit organization that has been participating in the upliftment of Jamaica since 2007. The foundation engages support from the Jamaican Diaspora and friends of Jamaica all around the world. We concentrate our efforts in the health, social and education sectors and through partnerships with Jamaica's public hospitals, schools and orphanages. We have been making a difference through our foundation’s initiatives, which include renovating medical facilities, donating equipment and tools, health fairs, school supplies, providing furniture and refurbishing to several institutions, conducting workshops for medical personnel, and much more.

Thursday, 19 June 2014 14:10

Views on the News

Carlyle McKetty, president of Coalition to Preserve Reggae is miffed as to why there is "no reggae representation" at the annual Caribbean American Heritage Month celebration organized by the New York Police Department Community Affairs Bureau New York Immigrant Outreach Unit in partnership with the New York CARICOM Consulates and West Indian American Day Carnival Association (WIADCA). The evening's program begins with "a cultural exhibition depicting various aspects of the distinct heritage of each Caribbean island," says the press release sent by Chris Castriota, the community relations officer at the Jamaican Consulate in New York. The release, further stated, "At 7pm sharp there will be a very entertaining concert featuring talented artists and performances from the islands and the infectious sounds of calypso, soca, coma, folk and gospel music, limbo dancing and more. MC's for the evening will be E. Wayne McDonald and George "Lion" Bartholomew and music provided by a popular local DJ." McKetty responded to the email sighting, " I note with interest that the music of Jamaica which is played and enjoyed throughout the Caribbean is not represented as included in the "very entertaining concert" to be performed in celebration of Caribbean Heritage. The Coalition to Preserve Reggae Music wishes to know why." Mr. Castriota responded, "Dear Mr. McKetty, Thank you for your observation. Jamaica will be represented under the "folk" segment listed. Braata Folks Singers will represent Jamaica at the event." McKetty responded as follows, "Thanks for the response and the clarification. While I appreciate that the presence of Braata Folk Singers will represent Jamaica at the event, I ask that you convey to the organizers that reggae music has been one of Jamaica's and by extension, the Caribbean's most significant twentieth century contribution to world culture and any celebration of Caribbean Culture, especially in an international context is seriously lacking if it does not give reggae music the consideration it is due.

 The Coalition to Preserve Reggae Music is committed to seeing that this recognition is accorded to reggae music, and is proud to be instrumental in having Jamaica's Third World Band open the 43rd International African Arts Festival taking place in Brooklyn from July 3 to 6, 2014.

 We ask that you bring the significance of reggae music in world culture to the attention of the organizers of the Caribbean Heritage Celebration and that this be given due consideration in future initiatives."

 No sooner is the community recovering from the passing of Maya Angelou, word comes of yet another, in that of actress, screenwriter, poet, activist, humanitarian and mother of three, Ruby Dee. Her sudden passing on June 11th, caught many off guard. At 91, Dee was still active with a body of work that spanned a generation. On Facebook, many commented that they "had no idea, she'd passed." She died of natural causes, peacefully at her home in New Rochelle. She had been a long time citizen of the 325 year old community and was inducted in their hall of fame in November 2005. Though she was born in Cleveland, Ohio, on October 27, 1922, Ruby Dee lived in Harlem for many, many years before moving to New Rochelle. As a civil rights activist, she spoke at the historic "March on Washington" in 1963. Championing labor rights. Ruby Dee and her late husband, Ossie Davis who transitioned in 2005, were very involved in the civil rights movement at the time and were great friends of Dr. Martin Luther King, Jr. and Malcolm X. It was Ossie Davis who eulogized Malcolm at his funeral in 1965. Both would continue to champion the rights of the oppressed and the voiceless. Rudy Dee was a pioneer, in theatre and on screen as an actress and playwright opening the door for many to follow. Back in her early days, when she joined the American Negro Theatre, she hung out with the likes of Harry Belafonte and Sidney Poiter, both from the Caribbean. They would go on to act in ground breaking films like "A Raisin In The Sun" on stage with Poiter as her husband in 1959 and in the film version which was released in 1961 and 1971's ground breaking film, Buck and the Preacher which saw Belafonte and Poiter in starring roles along with Ruby Dee. In 1999, when African immigrant Amadou Diallo was shot repeatedly by NYPD, Ruby Dee and her husband was among the many protesters who were arrested that day at One Police Plaza. She got her first nod for an Oscar for her role as Mama Lucas in the 2008 film American Gangster. Ruby Dee and Ossie Davis were also featured well in Spike Lee's 1988 Do The Right Thing and 1991 Jungle Fever. Keeping true to their motto of being "in this thing together", Ruby Dee's body will be cremated and her asked placed in the same urn as her late husband.

 Successful Asset Manager, Alsion, Roach, founder and CEO of the Alsion Roach Group LLC and The Alsion Roach Business Group Inc., was the recipient of the Entrepreanuer Award from the Long Island Caribbean American Heritage Ball on Friday, June 13th. Roach who continues to reinvent her self as a "renaissance woman" has just expanded her offices spaces in New York City at 45 Rockefeller Plaza to a more spacious space. The Alsion Roach Group LLC, source funding for emerging markets transactions. The Jamaican born business woman, is also a philanthropist who gives generously to the Guys Hill High School and Redwood Primary School in St. Catherine; Annotto Bay Basic School in St. Mary; Barrett Town Primary in Montego Bay and many others. The Alsion Roach Business Group Inc, handles high end entertainment transactions such as the upcoming Jamaica Open New York Golf Championship Tournament scheduled for Monday, August 4th at Marine Park Golf Course in Brooklyn, New York. Proceeds from the tournament will benefit two foundations that are close to her heart, the New York Urban League, a local affiliate to the National Urban League, a multi ethnic social service organization celebrating 90 years of serving underprivileged and underserved communities by helping to "improve social and economic conditions and opportunities for African Americans and other people who face barriers to full participation in American society" especially children and the Palmyra Foundation, registered in Jamaica. Their aim is to "eradicate illiteracy and promote a positive outlook of prosperity for children." Since their start up in 2007, the Palmyra Foundation has "donated more than 100,000 books to 25,000 children in over 125 schools across Jamaica's 14 parishes." To date the value of the books donated are in excess of $670,000 (USD). Alsion Roach continues to be lauded for her philanthropy both in America and back home in Jamaica. As sign of the time and her standing in the community, her Facebook announcement of her new her new office spaces, elicited enumerable inquiries of job opportunities in the company.

Jamaica-born, New York-based co-founder and chairman of Coalition to Preserve Reggae Music Inc (CPR), Sharon Gordon, is among five distinguished women who will receive a 2014 Emerald Award from the Woman of Great Esteem organisation.

Gordon, who migrated to the United States (US) with her family from Jamaica in 1979, will share the spotlight with the director of the Pan American Health Organization/World Health Organization, Dominican native, Dr Carissa F. Etienne; US Virgin Island's Dr Suzette Graham, a cardiologist and professor at Downstate SUNY and Brookdale Hospital in Brooklyn; St Maarten's first ombudsman, Dr Rachnilda Lynch-Arduin; and native New Yorker and attorney Yolande Nicholson, known for her 'Turnaround Plan' with Chase Manhattan Bank.

Gordon joins the ranks of Prime Minister Portia Simpson Miller, who has been a recipient of the Emerald Award.

special ceremony

The five will be recognised at a special ceremony next Saturday at the Ritz-Carlton New York , Battery Park, in New York City.

The Woman of Great Esteem 2014 Emerald honourees represent women who develop and advance their communities without regard for race, ethnicity, sexual orientation, religion, gender, age or national origin.

Since 1995, more than 150 women from 27 countries have been honoured 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 honoured. Gordon will receive her award in recognition of her accomplishments in the field of arts and entertainment as well as journalism.

In addition to co-founding and chairing the nine-year-old CPR, Gordon is president of TSO Productions LLC, and has been an accomplished journalist, radio personality, media specialist and event producer for more than two decades.

effective communicator

Since 1992, her distinctive voice has been heard on several radio and television programmes. 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.

Gordon'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.

She has also been producer, road manager, MC and publicist for entertainers, touring with the likes of Beres Hammond, Buju Banton, Marcia Griffiths and others.

He pointed out that she has consulted with numerous media and production houses on Jamaican music and culture and has served as Caribbean consultant and marketing consultant for films including Brooklyn Babylon (1999), Africa Unite (2008), and Better Mus' Come (2013).

She recently fulfilled dual roles as consultant and actress in a principal role for the soon-to-be-released, Respect The Jux.

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Reprinted with Kind Permission from the Gleaner Company

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