Archive for the ‘Dancehall’ Category

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.


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 or emailed at

Photo Image Courtesy of Corey Hamilton



Answer the 
QUESTION: Name 2 of the 3 high schools that Sean Paul Attended in Kingston Jamaica
695 North Ave Northeast  Atlanta, GA 30308
(404) 577-8178
The first correct answers at will be the winners depending how many tickets are available

On A Mission” the  Jamaica 50 Song produced by Shaggy and performed by Shaggy, Chevelle Franklin, Damian Marley, Beres Hammond, Romain Virgo, Tarus Riley, Wayne Marshall, Assasin and Tessanne Chin in order to promote JAMAICA 50

Please give us your thoughts on the song

Buju Banton needs your help

Supporters of Buju Banton Re-launch Letter Writing Campaign

West Palm Beach, Florida, September 19, 2011 – Supporters of jailed international reggae artiste Mark Anthony Myrie, popularly known as Buju Banton, re-launched the international letter writing campaign started last year. The main focus of the campaign was to get bail for the reggae icon. However, since Buju was unfortunately convicted and recently sentenced, the supporters are now asking the Attorney General Eric Holder to investigate the case and correct this grave injustice. The goal is to ensure the government is made aware that the public is concerned about the case and disturbed by Buju’s unjust incarceration.

Organizers of the Letter Writing Campaign want to receive at least 50,000 letters to send to the Attorney General on December 9, 2011 to mark the day Buju was first arrested. They plan on sending letters all at once to increase the impact. They are encouraging friends, fans and supporters worldwide to print out this letter, sign, date and mail it by December 5, 2011 to:

Buju Banton Campaign

2101 Vista Parkway

Suite 4035

West Palm Beach, FL 33412

Mr. Eric H. Holder
Attorney General
U.S. Department of Justice
950 Pennsylvania Avenue, NW
Washington, DC 20530-0001
Dear Attorney General Holder:
I am writing to ask for your intervention regarding a grave injustice against Grammy winner and reggae music icon Buju Banton (legal name Mark Anthony Myrie). The incarceration of this legendary musician is unconscionable. He is currently serving a federal prison sentence for drug related charges.
He was charged as a result of information provided by a professional informant who relentlessly pursued Buju for six months to participate in a drug deal. The professional informant in Buju’s case is a convicted drug trafficker from Colombia. During the trial it was revealed that the informant has been granted legal immigration status in the U.S. and has earned over $3.3 million U.S. dollars (tax-free) for serving as an informant to various U.S. government agencies. Despite his earnings, Mr. Johnson testified that he does not pay taxes, does not pay his credit card bills and has declared bankruptcy. Furthermore, during the trial the lead investigator on the case, Sergeant Dan McCaffrey of the Drug Enforcement Agency (DEA) stated that there was no evidence that Buju was a drug trafficker and that their 13 month investigation yielded nothing.
Buju produces uplifting, positive music comparable to the music of Bob Marley. His work inspires people worldwide. He has been nominated for a Grammy Award, the highest achievement in his field, four times since 1999 and won the Grammy for Best Reggae Album in 2011 for his album “Before the Dawn”. He is one of the leading voices of his generation, shedding light on such issues as the unrelenting violence and abject poverty pervasive in the Third World. He has also represented his country in performances at the Summer Olympics in Greece in 2004 and at the Cricket World Cup Opening in 2007. Buju commemorated Jamaica’s support for President Obama collaborating with Dave Stewart on “American Prayer,” a tribute to the President. Additionally, Buju is a family man, an employer and a generous philanthropist.
Buju’s situation is similar to that of the case of Senator Stevens of Alaska who was found guilty by a jury in October of 2008. The U.S. Justice Department subsequently filed a Motion to Dismiss the Case on the grounds that the prosecution was unfair and exceeded its bounds. This act by the Justice Department did much to increase the nation’s confidence in the justice system.
Given Buju’s cultural contributions, humanitarian efforts and the unfairness of the trial, he should not be languishing in jail at U.S. taxpayers’ expense. I urge you to investigate this matter and take the action necessary to correct this grave injustice.
Signature Address
Name City, State


TUESDAY, JULY 19, 2011
Rival Entertainment presents
1374 W. Peachtree St. ~ Atlanta, GA
Tickets available online at or at the box office (no ticketing fees at the box office)

Jason SkyWalker Interviewing Buju Banton @ Reggae Sunsplash

As the reports over the past year and a half have shown Dancehall Reggae Superstar Legend Buju Banton was arrested, held in jail for over a year, was then tried and convicted on conspiracy drug charges which could carry 15 years and the crux of the prosecution’s case rested on the testimony of a confidential informant and a recording done on Buju. Buju Banton AKA Mark Anthony Myrie has been such a positive contributor to Caribbean, Reggae, & Jamaican culture that this development will have a tremendous blow on the aforementioned communities not to mention his family, his children. There is a campaign on to ask as many people as possible to write Judge James Moody, who is to sentence Banton Thursday June 23, to ask for leniency and to share with the Judge the positive contributions that he has brought to so many. Below are the addresses of both the Judge and his probation officer who both need to get letter. Also I have an example of a letter that have been sent to the Judge.
Please send in a letter if you can.
Here are the addresses:

The Honourable James S. Moody Jr.
United States District Judge
Tampa Division
801 North Florida Avenue
Tampa, Florida 33602

Natasha Creamer
U. S. Probation Officer, P.O. Box 390
Tampa, FL 33601.

Dear Colleague;

As you are well aware, Buju Banton faces sentencing on June 23rd for his conviction on the charge conspiracy to possess with intent to distribute. We cannot change the conviction, however, our collective voices can influence the Judge to reduce the suggestion of a 15 year sentence.

Below is my open letter to the judge. If it is within you, add your voice and let the Judge know how you feel regarding the amount of time Buju serves. My letter is included below.
When addressing Ms. Creamer, we must specify that we are writing in support of Mark Myrie a/k/a Buju Banton. Based on the feedback, our letters are making a difference. Together, we will effect change for Buju!

Thank you
Natasha Von Castle

Open letters to Judge James Moody

Dear Judge Moody;
Your honour, I am writing you to make an appeal for leniency and a reduction in the time recommended for the case of Mark Anthony Myrie AKA Buju Banton who you will be sentencing on Thursday June 23. Buju Banton started his amazing career when he was but a teenager in the late eighties, he became a transcendent figure in the Reggae / Dancehall world very quickly. By the age of 21 Banton had already broken the record of having number one hits under the age of 21 in Jamaican history. By the early nineties he began to show the form that would mark his career, he began making music that would speak of positive themes, become a voice for the economically and politically oppressed and started to bring back the popularity of message music in the Dancehall especially.
Banton showed such music in the album Voice of Jamaica, but really blew this concept wide open with the album ‘Til’ Shiloh’ which would have the affect of changing the course of music for the more positive and conscious and by consequence encourage those influenced to be more positive and conscious. He has been a leading voice for the several causes such as the fight against AIDS (Banton launched Operation Willy the non-profit charity organization promoting safe sex education and dedicated to raising funds for children who are HIV positive or have lost their parents to the disease.)
Banton has consistently been a positive manifestation that has inspired many to be better and more than they thought they could have been and has represented the millions of Caribbean people and Reggae lovers around the world in only inspiring ways. All the positive Banton has done by all indications have been done for true sincere reasons, for he began writing such words and doing such deed before the lights and cameras of fame were on him. I know I was blessed to be around from the beginning.
Besides being such an icon for such a large community, he is a loving father, and in this period when so many of our children have been growing without fathers which only has negative repercussions for society in the long run, I appeal your honour to help lessen the time that these children should be away from their father. I leave you with a few of the powerful lyrics that Buju Banton AKA Mark Anthony Myrie has given the world.
Jason Walker,
A Fan, Friend, A lover of Reggae, A Lover of the Caribbean, A Jamaican, A Lover of the Positive

“Close One Yesterday”

One more day in the struggle
Have to get up and juggle
You done know, want a little sugar inna de pan
Me nah see fi trouble, no man
Oh oh oh

Said I had close one yesterday
Jah put an angel over me, be strong
Hold a firm meditation
One day things must get better, don’t you go down
Keep your head above the water
Say, one day things must get better, be strong

Said I had close one yesterday
Jah put an angel over me, be strong
Hold a firm meditation
One day things must get better, don’t you go down
Keep your head above the water
Say, one day things must get better, be strong

The rich is wise in his conceit
But the fool with over standing search him out
Poor man mourn, the rich riches increase
Be not grieved, riches are not forever

Envy not the oppressor choses none of his ways
Be not wise in his own eyes, only jah you must praise
Strive not with a man without cause
If he have done no harm, let by gone be by gone

Said I had close one yesterday
Jah put an angel over me, be strong
Hold a firm meditation
One day things must get better, don’t you go down
Keep your head above the water
Say, one day things must get better, be strong

This nine to five is a joke
Compare to the pressure the minister say
The economy is getting better
Misleading the people

The mass still suffer on jah
Scarce benefit and spoils
Jah know that we feel it day

Buju Banton

Dear Judge Moody;

In your many years within the justice system as a lawyer and Judge, I am sure you have come across cases that have either touched you, or touched the community which you represent. A touch could be a personal understanding of one or some of the components in a case, just as a touch can be pride in knowing that the justice system worked (the way it’s supposed to) in making sure the right people receive the right punishment according to their crime(s).

Your honor, I am writing this letter with the belief that I, on behalf of the community I represent, can appeal to you on a ‘touch’ level.

Before your court is the matter of Mr. Mark ‘Buju Banton’ Myrie who is due to be sentenced on June 23rd by you, for the conviction he received on the charge of conspiracy to possess with intent to distribute. I appeal to you to reduce Buju’s sentence from the recommended 15 years.

Buju is not like any man you will ever meet. He is a friend, a father, a husband and one of the pillars in the Caribbean community; not just Jamaica, but every Caribbean community in every city around the world.

As one of our pillars, he has given the community songs which nourish the soul. This nourishment has turned youths away from crime, has strengthened families and healed those who were not well.

How do we know this is true? The testimony of countless of which I am one. He spoke for me when he sang ‘I wanna go ahead without turning back / and now I see myself heading for the trap / I wanna break free but I feel trapped / a voice inside me saying don’t stop ….’ Those words were taken from the song “Optimistic Soul” which encouraged listeners to not give up, no matter how daunting the situation looks. Those were Buju’s words from 2010. If we go back 10 years before that, we have ‘there was good and evil / we chose good ….’

When an announcement is made that Buju will be performing, the show(s) sell out. Tickets are purchased by people who want a live touch of Buju’s nourishing words. Fans leave the concerts fulfilled and refocused on the right path.

We, the community, need Buju, and we need you to understand his importance to us. Because of these needs, I ask you to not sentence Buju to 15 years in prison. I ask that you consider his humanitarian works with the children of his homeland Jamaica and I ask that you consider his impact on the Caribbean community around the world. Once you’ve considered these, I ask that you set a sentence that will not see Buju away from us for a lengthy period of time.

Thank you,

Natasha Von Castle

Chief Executive Officer and President

L3 Group of Companies

Toronto, ON Canada

Kerrie and Jason Showing the Free Buju Shirt