Vin and flag

VIN MARTIN

Vin Martin, the former Jamaican Honorary Consul to Atlanta has died in Atlanta.  He served as Jamaica’s honorary Consul from 1997 until he retired last year after 16 years of dedicated service.

He was awarded the  Jamaica Diaspora Award of Excellence in 2013 for contributions to the development of the Jamaican diaspora in the United States.

Vin was born in Jackson Town, Trelawny and attended Excelsior High School before migrating in 1965 to the United States to attend College. He earned an undergraduate degree from Howard University (1969) in Washington D.C., an MBA (1972) in Finance and Investment from Pennsylvania State University and a Juris Doctorate (1976) from the Washington College of Law of the American University in Washington DC.

In 1972, Vin commenced work as an Accountant with Fannie Mae but upon graduation from law school, he was transferred to Atlanta and commenced work in Fannie Mae’s Atlanta legal department. After 30 years at Fannie Mae, he retired to open his own law practice in Stone Mountain.

Vin is survived by his wife, Hazel, their two sons and three grandchildren.

Courtesy of JAMATLANTA

Marley-StephenSTEPHEN MARLEY

HERE IS AN EXCERPT OF AN INTERVIEW I DID FOR CARIBBEAN TODAY MAGAZINE. WHICH WAS ALSO AN EXCERPT OF A MUCH LONGER INTERVIEW, WHICH I PROMISE TO PUBLISH IN FULL IN THE FUTURE.

STEPHEN MARLEY TALKS TO JASON WALKER

Stephen Marley is one of the most successful and decorated artistes and producers around. He is the son of late reggae king Bob Marley and a member of the Melody Makers, the group his father started with his siblings.

“Ragga” Marley runs the Ghetto Youths International (GYI) label where he produces music for himself and other artistes, including his brothers Damian and Julian, along with Wayne Marshall. Stephen holds the record for the most reggae album Grammy award wins – three with Melody Makers.

 

Caribbean Today freelance writer Jason Walker recently caught up with Stephen Marley. The following is an edited version of that interview.

 

Jason Walker: Tell us about GYI.

 

Stephen Marley: Well GYI is a label whey we form that consists of Damian, Julian, Stephen (Marley) and then you have youth like Black Am I, Jo Mersa (Stephen’s son), and Wayne Marshall who just joined the force and we a build; we building.

 

J.W: Tell us how it got started?

 

S.M.: Ghetto Youth United (GYU) is something (eldest brother) Ziggy Marley had started with myself, where we were producing and releasing records for the youth dem in the ghetto of Jamaica. From that now I man had branched off with GYI. It was a platform where if artistes in Ghetto Youth United were doing well would be pushed up to the more upstream label, which was GYI, where we could spread out our wings a little more. That was the whole concept of the label.

 

J.W.: Tell us more about the artistes on GYI.

 

S.M.: GYU was more of a mass thing; maybe 10 or 15 youth would come to the studio and they would have their songs and

 

we would have our riddims. That was going on in the late ‘80s and early ‘90s. Now when we are concentrating on being a label, that is when we came up with GYI and that is where we really started to take on artistes. In the beginning it was myself, Damian and Juju (Julian).

 

J.W.: How are artistes evolving at the label?

 

S.M.: Damian a start from a little youth to now where he is taking on artistes and producing. We are a house of music; really that is what it is. When you come amongst us, you are definitely going to grow. I live at the studio; that is my home. We live this, we don’t just talk this and prepare like a job. We live this.

 

J.W.: Tell us about your evolution.

 

S.M.: Well, the whole evolution, we started in 1979 when we released our first official record as the Melody Makers (“Children Playing In the Streets”). We started from then on a professional journey and a profession career, that is what we did.

 

We were privileged to be around great musicians and great artistes helping to raise the bar. We have to exist! It couldn’t be just because we are Bob and Rita youth and we are singing. We went through all of that. We have to prove that this is what we were meant to do.

 

The evolution came from there and then I started doing a little production with my grandmother and then I started slowly taking on my younger brothers. They nurtured me as much as I had to nurture them. All of my elders Ziggy, Cedella, Sharon etc. gave me the guidance necessary to be as strong as we can be.

 

They are always there when we need them. All of those things we take and move forward to today, where I have two solo albums and I am looking to come with a third, Damian gone three and looking to come with a fourth and Julian likewise.

 

J.W.: You have been an artiste, producer, performer, label owner and manager. Which role do you enjoy the most?

 

S.M.: I man is a skipper, in that sense. I was born in April. April is from the tribe of Reuben. In the Bible Reuben was the first son of Jacob, so I man is a general like that. Is a natural thing, I do not have any position. I cook, clean, wash, sing and do everything, anything that is to be done. I man is the man.

 

J.W.: Tell about the music coming from GYI.

S.M.: There was the Set Up Shop compilation, which summed up all the artistes on the label – myself, Julian and Damian. Then it had Wayne Warshall,,,,,,, (Read the rest of the article here http://caribbeantoday.com/entertainment/item/17901-musical-weapon-stephen-marley-armed-and-fighting-the-revolution.html)

WYLCEF JEAN SITS WITH JASON SKYWALKER ON CROSSOVER MEDIA

Wyclef Jean and Jason Sky Walker

Wyclef Jean and Jason Sky Walker by Tiffanny Stennett

          Jason Sky Walker had a sit down with hip hop legend and superstar Wyclef Jean for Cross Over Media TV. On this archived podcast the producer, artist, politician, and author speaks on many topics including the Haiti earthquake, his career, the Fugees, his book, family and more.

http://youtu.be/Gdp9RPGIV2E

          Play the video to watch this interview from one of the most talented and successful artists to come from the Caribbean. Please feel free to comment and give feedback.

Blessed New Year 2014

Blessed New Year 2014

HAPPY NEW YEAR TO ALL

I believe that 2014 will be a great year for my family and myself, my family and my people. I will take the lessons that God has graced me with and I will apply to my rise in being a better husband, father, son, brother, uncle, friend, Christian and human being.

Happy New Year to all. For all those who I interact with regularly and those I have not interacted with in a long time. May 2014 be a year of nurturing, love, progress, justice, wisdom, healing, advancement, prosperity, unity in the family & community and all positive blessings! Did I mention love? Biggup all and lets mek 2014 #TUNUP!

Jamaica's Tessanne Chin winner of the 2013 season of the Voice

Jamaica’s Tessanne Chin winner of the 2013 season of the Voice

TESSANNE CHIN win’s NBC’s The Voice representing Jamaica well with Excellence, Quality, and Humility.

TESSANNE CHIN WINS NBC’S THE VOICE

By Jason Walker

Tessanne Chin made history Tuesday night December 17 when she became the first Jamaican and the 2nd Caribbean person (Melanie Ann Amaro whose parents were from the British Virgin Island won  X-Factor in 2011) to win a USA mainstream singing talent competition by winning NBC’s The Voice. Not only did she make history in that regard but also some of the activity that was occurring around her appearances on the Voice.

For several weeks Jamaicans in Jamaica and around the world along with Caribbean people mobilized to support Tessanne in her bid to win the reality show competition. The feeling that was created for Jamaicans everywhere mirrored the emotions that Jamaicans felt when Jamaica’s Football team the Reggae Boyz had qualified for the finals of the World Cup in France in 1998, the Success of the 2008 Track and field Olympic team in Beijing, and Jody-Ann Maxwell becoming the first non-American to win the Spelling Bee Competition at age 12 (1998) to name a few memorable events. All these events including Tessanne’s victory had Jamaica on display showing Jamaicans in a very positive light and united Jamaicans. Jamaicans behaved in a manner that demonstrated that they felt all the aforementioned achievers were a part of their extended family.

Tessanne’s victory had all the characteristics of all the previous historic moments but this moment had an added and very engaging feature and that was the high level of interaction that Jamaicans had with Tessanne being on The Voice. In order to win the contestant had to not only win over the judges perspective of their talent but also had to then convince those watching to vote for them as the best and to buy the songs that were performed each week. The votes and sales would establish the winner of the competition.

Jamaicans, Caribbean people and those who love Jamaica spread the word, mobilized and got people involved to vote and buy songs. It started out slow as in the beginning her sales were not that strong and one week she was in the lower end and had to be saved to be kept in the competition. Eventually, especially after singing “Many Rivers To Cross” by Jimmy Cliff, Tessanne began to surge ahead with voting and sales of her songs on Itunes. Jamaicans, Caribbean people and her supporters were hitting social media heavily, hosting watch parties in cities throughout the Jamaican Diaspora and they were encouraging people to buy her music. The fact that votes and purchases from outside the United States did not count did not deter Jamaicans in Jamaica and the non-US Diaspora as they mobilized family and friends in the US and kept up the powerful social media campaigns.

The groundswell of the grassroots mobilization led to Tessanne being featured in main stream outlets in the US which led to creating new fans and more support. The timing and choice of songs by celebrity coach Adam Levine and of course Tessanne’s powerful voice with an amazing vocal range once heard enthralled large crowds of new fans.

Some defining moments included her audition where in a very dramatic way all four celebrity judges gave her instant approval (a rare feat) in record time. Other defining moments that followed included:

  • Winning the 1st round battle with Ms Donna
  • Coverage of her husband, Mother, Father, sister and brother-in-law at the event
  • Singinig “Many Rivers To Cross” by Jimmy Cliff (led to strong sales)
  • Performing No doubt & Lady Saw’s “Underneath It All” (Injected new energy into her growing fan base)
  • Singing Simon & Garfukel’s iconic “Bridge Over Troubled Waters” (showcasing her ability to master complex songs, her vocal range and endearing her to the mainstream US audience)
  • Singing Whitney Houston’s “I Have Nothing” (Slam dunk! Proved she could stand with the greats)

The last two songs went to number one on the I-Tunes chart and since sales of each song in the top ten represented 5 votes these songs helped her surge ahead.

Throughout the competition not only was her heavenly voice on display but her humility and loving spirit. Tessanne the daughter of two musicians and the younger sister of a very popular artist in Jamaica (Tami Chynn) had not enjoyed major success since she began her career. The Chins had moved to England when she was younger (she is now 28) and at around 16 she returned to Jamaica. The audience would learn she was always singing and once she arrived in Jamaica she tried to make a career of it. Tessanne would come to focus on a fusion of Reggae and Rock and created a small cult following for this. All would agree that her voice was majestic, one of the best in Jamaica, even the Caribbean. There were comparisons to a young Aretha Franklin and more.

However there was not much Commercial success. She would be chosen by Reggae Legend Jimmy Cliff to back him on tours and eventually by Shaggy to collaborate on several projects that he was doing. In all these areas her voice shined. So it was probably a no brainer when Shaggy, who had signed Tessanne to his new label Ranch Entertainment, had lobbied for Tessanne to be on the Voice, and the timing could not have been better since Tessanne was beginning to have doubts about the economic sustainability of her career.

Tessannes performance will now go down in the annals of Jamaican music history, according to the host of the show the amount of voting and sales of songs were at record levels. The winner gets a record deal and of course instant fame. Tessanne performed at the highest level and won, she did this while showing great humility and poise and inspired a movement of mobilization that could be compared to the 2008 mobilization that helped President Barack Obama win his 1st Presidential election.

Jason Walker is a freelance writer for Caribbean Today Magazine who has had an award winning journalism career that spans 20 years. He can be followed on twitter at www.twitter.com/jasonwalker_ or emailed at jasonarticle@gmail.com

Photo Image Courtesy of Corey Hamilton

jasonskywalker5:

Amazing piece written by Annie Paul about Crime by the most powerful in Jamaica

Originally posted on Active Voice:

Desmond Panton, Daily Gleaner, August 17, 2010

News broke yesterday that Desmond Panton, a prominent Jamaican car dealer and general wheeler-dealer,  was arrested for tax evasion . As the Gleaner reported:

The Jamaica Customs Department yesterday closed down the operations of Key Motors Limited and arrested its owner, Desmond Panton, for alleged customs duty evasion.

The move came after a Customs Department audit of Key Motors’ operations reportedly discovered that some 50 vehicles were illegally removed from the company’s warehouse and illegally sold to un-suspecting customers, denying the government $40 million in customs duty.

A statement issued by the Customs Department late yesterday stated that Panton was arrested for customs duty evasion and taking steps to defraud the government of duties and taxes, after a meeting with Customs officials earlier in the day.

So finally a big fish has been arrested for a white collar crime. Interestingly in the eighties Desmond Panton’s brother Donald, was also…

View original 932 more words

KROMA IN COCONUT GROVE FLORIDA

KROMA IN COCONUT GROVE FLORIDA

Art Week Miami & Art Basel Miami Beach expands to Historic Coconut Grove with Celebrity Art Series II from December 3rd – 8th at KROMA, featuring modern art by African American, Haitian, and African artists. The exhibit and cultural programs showcase the talent of featured artists: Danny Simmons (who with his music mogul brother Russell Simmons, (co- founded Rush Philanthropic Arts Foundation and established Def Comedy Jam). Paintings by Andre Guichard, curator and co-owner of Gallery Guichard Fine Art gallery in Chicago and national curator of a nationwide artist contest with over 10,000 art submissions will also be featured. Other high-profile artists include: Charly Palmer, Joseph Grant Jr., Adrian Pickett, Najee Dorsey, and Derek Joshua Beard.

I have been attending Art Basel since its inception and I noticed the lack of diversity in the presence of black art galleries and attendees,” said Que Simmons, Celebrity Art Series Founder. With the encouragement and financial support of friends, I debuted Celebrity Art Series in Wynwood in 2012, and I’m delighted to present Series II, which will showcase some of the most talented African American artists of our time, while contributing to charities in our community.

Entrance to the events is free. However all of the art pieces are available for purchase. Proceeds from the art sales will benefit the Women’s International Film and Art Festival’s [501(c)(3)] initiative “Reel Girls: Real Women.” Added to the event is a spin on the annual “Taste of the Grove,” in which each nightly reception is sponsored by a local Grove restaurant with samples of their signature appetizers.

Dignitaries, art collectors, and the black arterati have been invited to join this high-quality exciting week of events in historic Coconut Grove. KROMA is located at 3670 Grand Avenue, Coconut Grove, Florida 33133. Everyone is welcome.

Celebrity Art Series II presents “Black: The Art of Color” Exhibit

at KROMA, 3670 Grand Avenue, Coconut Grove, Florida 3313

PROGRAM SCHEDULE:

Tuesday, December 3rd from 4pm-8pm || Vernissage

A Night in Tuscany Reception sponsored by STRADA in the Grove

Wednesday, December 4th from 6pm- 8pm || Art of Collecting

presented by Artist Joseph Grant Indian Delight Reception sponsored by Bombay Darbar Restaurant

Thursday, December 5th from 6pm – 10pm || Art of Investing presented by Artist Adrian Pickett

Lyrical Palette presented by Medium Four

Latin Flair Reception sponsored by TBC

Friday, December 6th from 6pm -8pm || Performance Art– featuring Artist Charly Palmer

American Bistro Reception by GreenStreet Cafe

Saturday, December 7th from 2pm – 5pm || Signature Art Auction

A Night in France Reception sponsored by George in the Grove

Sunday, December 8th from 12pm -5pm || Champagne Closing Reception

Thai Fusion Reception sponsored by TBC

 GALLERY HOURS:

Wednesday, December 4th –9th from 12pm – 7pm

Sunday, December 8th from 12pm – 5pm

 

KROMA is a new collective art space located on Grand Avenue in the heart of the historic Coconut Grove consisting of 18 artists studios and a communal gallery space. KROMA’s mission is to serve as an affordable, contemporary space for artists, whose creative output will contribute to connecting the spirits of Coconut Grove’s rich past, present and future.

As a premiere arts incubator and the latest initiative of the Collaborative Development Corporation, KROMA will host exhibits showcasing the myriad of perspectives that are a result of the African diaspora and beyond. KROMA looks to advance the knowledge and practice of the arts through education and programming, which will not only enrich the lives of the community, but further develop the careers of resident artists.

Celebrity Art Series was founded by Que Simmons in 2012 to promote art collecting and support non-profit organizations that work with artists and the creative arts community. She believes in finding your passion and living your joy! For over 27 years, she lives her joy as an avid art patron, promoter, and collector. Her collection ranges from Romare Bearden, Adger Cowans, Carrie Mae Weems, Gordon Parks, Joe Overstreet to James Denmark. She is consummate community advocate and volunteer, in which she has volunteered with Shake-A-Leg, an adaptive sailing program and the Miami Project. Ms. Simmons is a native Floridian, residing in Coconut Grove for the last fifteen years.

Florcy Morisset is a business executive, arts advocate, and community organizer, working at the intersection of culture and business. As the 2013 Celebrity Art Series art curator and consultant, she coordinated the art exhibition and fostered collaboration with local partners and business owners. Ms. Morisset is the founder and creative director of the Vivant Art Collection and Consulting, respectively, an international cultural art gallery and consulting firm focused on working with artist, museums, and arts institutions.

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  P.O. Box 331845 Miami, FL 33233     T: 305.4178ART     F: 305.728.7001     C: 305.934.8686