Archive for December, 2013

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

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

Active Voice

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 accused…

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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

Art Piece by Legagnour

Art Piece by Legagnour

Caribbean Fantastic Brings Haitian Spice To Art Basel In Miami-3rd of December to the 2nd of January

There is about to be a dramatic injection of spice and diversity into Art Basel, one of the most popular Art events that occur in the United States, with the introduction of world renowned, critically acclaimed and gorgeous art. Art Basel draws tens of thousands of persons from inside and outside of Miami. However although the event has been around for 40 years, it is not known for showcasing artists or art that come from the African Diaspora.

Fortunately this has been changing recently with the efforts of several people and organizations. Multitudes Contemporary Art Gallery owner and curator Babacar Mbow is committed to bringing forth some of that change. Mbow has a highly acclaimed, diverse and longstanding career in education and art and is uniquely equipped to source and present art from the African Diaspora.  This year’s exhibition will focus on Haiti. Haiti is the country that 1st represented African freedom and independence and the beginning of the end to slavery in the Western Hemisphere, and hence a source of great inspiration for artists. This works perfectly as South Florida has a large Haitian population and by extension a large Caribbean population.

The change towards greater diversity will go into high gear with this exhibition called “Caribbean Fantastic” that runs from the 3rd of December 2013 to the 2nd of January 2014 at the Multitudes Contemporary Art Gallery. Caribbean Fantastic features the works of the extremely talented and exciting Jean Claude Legagneur. Jean Claude Legagneur is a very successful artist whose critically acclaimed works have been seen in places like New York, South Florida, DC, Tokyo, Port-Au-Prince and Santo Domingo. His monumental Mural adorns the American Airlines Terminal at John Fitzgerald Kennedy Airport in New York.

Jean Claude Legagneur is an integral part of African Diaspora history. Legagneur is a relentless painter that has produced a large treasure of artistic gems that has been moving people since 1963. Born in Haiti in 1947 Legagneur travelled to the United States at an early age and was soon working with some famous artists and would eventually make beautiful and engaging imagery for the world to see. Besides the positive accolades given earlier, Legagneur consistently received the descriptions of sensitivity and sincerity from the critics that have reviewed his works over the years.

Caribbean Fantastic takes this history and brings it forward and makes it relevant today. “Jean Claude Legagneur defies mainstream contemporary art’s boisterous claims and enters the realm of 21st century aesthetics”

Caribbean Fantastic runs from the 3rd of December to the 2nd of January during Art Basel at the Multitudes Contemporary Art Gallery. The opening reception for Caribbean Fantastic will be Wednesday the 4th of December at 7pm. The reception will be at the Multitudes Contemporary Art Gallery 5570 NE 4th Avenue Miami Florida 33137. For more information please call 954-338-8670 / 786-597-3042.  Media Contact: Harris Public Relations at 786.897.8854 or publicity@harrispublicelations.com

 

Caribbean Fantastic Schedule during Art Basel Week

Gallery 10am-11pm

Free and open to the public

December 4 : 7:30 PM-10 PM NIGHT OF HAITIAN DIPLOMACY : Opening Night

Under the patronage of the Consul General of Haiti in Miami , The Night of the Haitian diplomacy is at the heart of the dynamics of the new Cultural Diplomacy policy of the Haitian government. The presence of Haitian diplomats in the United States as well as those in the Caribbean and beyond is anticipated. With artists, Hollywood stars, great collectors and other guests of the city, this night will present Haiti in all its potentials.

December 5 : 8 PM-10 PM

Hollywood Artists United: An Evening with Jimmy Jean Louis

The actor who masterfully interpreted historical consciousness through Toussaint Louverture: The Battle of the Eagles is also a humanitarian whose work focuses on the construction and operation of a school in the Haitian countryside. This fund raising event will be attended by Hollywood stars with his fans and colleagues.

December 6 : 8 PM-10 PM CARIBBEAN LITERARY ART: LECTURE & BOOK SIGNING Caribbean Spaces: Escape from the Twilight Zones by Carole Boyce-Davies

Persuasive and comprehensive, Caribbean Spaces achieves an intriguing sequence of intricate journeys through Caribbean and African diasporic cultural spaces, political landscapes, historiographies, and literary-artistic terrains, each keenly observed.

 

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Ted Lucas

Ted Lucas

Ted Lucas Foundation Honors Pioneering Individuals At Holiday Reception

Miami, Fl- Music Philanthropist and Hip-Hop Success story, Ted Lucas and the Ted Lucas Foundation launched the Don’t Stop The Music Campaign and will honor individuals who have successfully created platforms to foster instrumental music education at his fourth annual holiday party on Thursday, December 5, 2013 in the Fusion Mia tent during Art Basel. Red carpet arrivals will take place at 5:45pm-6:30pm. Music will be powered by Lucas’ label Slip-N-Slide Records, new classically trained R&B singer and songwriter Sebastian Mikael who will perform at 8pm. Walmart will make a check presentation the honorees that include: Amy Rosenberg, Founder Overtown Music Project; Abebe Lewis-Circle House Studios and Maestro Edward Marturet- Miami Symphony.

Music has always been a passion of Lucas and is the catalyst of his successful career in the music industry at the helm of his independently-owned Slip-N-Slide Records. A South Florida native, Lucas has been responsible for selling over 16 million albums. However he credits his greatest achievements to his involvement with charitable organizations focusing on children and his community.

Music builds character and confidence for our young people, expands their outlook and helps them to navigate a path to success in life. I am proud to provide support and celebrate the work of these individuals and their organizations who are leading the efforts to fill the gap of music instruments that have been taking out of schools”, states Lucas.

Lucas will focus the  Don’t Stop the Music campaign on lending support to organizations in addition to spearheading initiatives to providing access to instruments for young people in South Florida.

For more information on the Ted Lucas Foundation, please contact visit www.tedlucasfoundation.com. Media inquiries: Harris Public Relations at 786.897.8854 or publicity@harrispublicrelations.com

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