Getting the word out…

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The electrifying eight ‘charged up’ Magnum Kings and Queens of Dancehall last Saturday, leaving behind pleased and not so pleased patrons, as the survivors of the ‘Magnum Mansion’ battled it out at D’Entrance.

With only three weeks of voting left in the competition, the Contestants were naturally putting their best efforts forward.  However, not before the previous week’s lowest was to be sent packing.

BUCK 1, who had more or less got an extension the previous week, had his rights revoked. But there was a slight tremor from fans when MINORI and KONFYDENCE were announced in the bottom two, because the former was way better. As fans bellowed MINORI’s name, host Yanique told KONFYDENCE that she was safe to a much disappointed audience.

TIME FOR ACTION
With that out of the way, SASSY SILVA started the night with a reinvented version of her with a very teenage-esque appearance. JONNAH, who followed, was lauded for his usual creativity,  melody and stage craft.  Guest Judge MAD COBRA said to him, “nuh whale can’t swallow you. You good…every four bar yuh have a farwud”.

MAKARIE showed a softer side by singing against pedophiles. The judges thought it was a risk, because she needed to tighten some of her keys, but said the lyrics resonated well. JAH BOUKS injected his usual smooth and confident “haile” self, picking up comments of “having traits for crossover potentials” for the international market.

KONFYDENCE, after surviving another week, failed to spark any electricity among the judges given her weak performance. Skatta had a problem with her lyrics, saying it wasn’t representative of the level the competition is at. Miss Kitty thought the lyrics were basic. Miss Kitty added, “your shorts and your whole outfit, a do better than your performance. And when that’s happening, its a problem.”

PAYNE, CHARLENE SKYLAR and SHACK pulled the curtain on the show ahead of Guest Judge MAD COBRA’s closing performance.

PAYNE was told his song had the appeal of a jam one could play in their car or groove to. He was commended for his interactivity that got D’Entrance shouting “Payne a di boss”. CHARLEND SKYLAR regressed to her old self (problems with breathe control) somewhat and got a challenge from Skatta to bring stage craft and a better performance if she survived another week. While SHACK was asked to add more punchlines and sharpen his exit.

CLASH ANTICIPATIONS
MAKARIE declared she hopes to take on SASSY SILVA for the crown. While declaring a position SASSY SILVA however said, “mi a de General fi di army and things a go get stormy.” CHARLENE SKYLAR also said she would tackle anyone.

Princes JONNAH and PAYNE spoke candidly on the topic, but stayed far away from declaring war against each other because they’re good friends outside of the competition. However, JONNAH insinuated that he would do what’s needed to cop the top spot.

JAH BOUKS spewed true rastafarian vibration,  saying he wouldn’t be clashing with no man and that they would need to send Miss Kitty for him to clash. SHACK, the 18-year-old kid on the block, shot that being a singer will not hamper his quest for the crown; and only said “silent river run deep.”

EDITOR’S NOTE: ALL CONTESTANTS HAVE RETAINED THEIR VOTE NUMBERS SINCE MAKING THE TOP 10. VOTING HAS ALSO BEEN EXTENDED TO SATURDAYS AT 1PM.



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Jonnah making his rounds on stage, including singing to Miss Kitty. (Photo Credit: Ishango Photo)

Last Saturday, Magnum Kings and Queens of Dancehall was mostly about strong performances, as the remaining 10 contestants showcased their talent in the second week of ‘the Magnum Mansion’.

The night had its surprises, including GLAMITY (Professor Nuts’ Wild Card) who was featured heavily in the contestants’ lyrics the previous week, was sent packing as she had the lowest votes. We all were in for another surprise as two of the better contestants, JAH BOUKS and TURBO J, agonizingly had to face-off for a single spot in the next room of ‘the Mansion’.

In the end JAH BOUKS was given a pass by Professor Nuts and Miss Kitty, for what they termed his “consistent performance”.

REAL DEAL

Fresh from his face-off, JAH BOUKS started ‘the Mansion’ show and earned top commendations from the judges. MINORI and PAYNE followed; earning a modest though notable response from the D’Entrance.

MAKARIE performed a song from her 2011 appearance in the competition with much more confidence and versatility, as she proclaimed herself to be a lyricist and the female version of Kartel.

BUCK 1, the contestant many believe should have been sent home, had to contend with an almost stiff audience. Skatta Burrell knocked him, “da performance nah buck a swear… It was almost annoying. You never settle pon di riddim.” The audience agreed, paving the way for a grieving KONFODENCE who took the stage. However, she fell short in connecting with the crowd and the judges.

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SHACK creating a 'Shack-Attack' on stage and SASSY SILVA in shorts showing off legs.

It was star-boy SHACK who got the tempo going again with his “clean, ever fresh” chorus. Champion rider Charlene Skylar followed suit fully loaded with punchlines and better breath control than previous weeks.

JONNAH diverted from his usual theatrics to capture Miss Kitty’s heart with an Usher-like performance. In the midst, dancing, singing and popping a ring as he proposed to Miss Kitty on stage, which earned him several salutes, ‘farwuds’ and audience requests for more.

SASSY SILVA, whose relatively advanced age has been a mocking discussion by fellow contestants on stage, stepped out in a look we barely recognized backstage to show her 29 year-old age. She too received several salutes and found favour with the judges to cap a spot among the 10 contestants in ‘the Mansion’.

The show ended on a high, as guest judge for the night I-OCTANE took rounds as he performed several of his top singles, while TANYA CARTER, out of Belize, treated the audience at D’Entrance to her chart rising single “Ex-Boyfriend” produced by Christopher Birch.

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I-Octane performing on the 10th Live at Magnum Kings and Queens of Dancehall on March 23, 2013. (Photo Credit: Ishango Photo)



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Mrs. Donna Parchment Brown

A public education campaign on the National Policy for Gender Equality was launched March 8th by the Jamaican Government lead agency for gender matters, the Bureau of Women’s Affairs (BWA) along with the Dispute Resolution Foundation through the Way Out Project.

The launch took placed at the Wyndham Kingston Hotel as an initiative out of the Office of the Prime Minister (OPM) to recognizes International Women’s Day (IWD) held under this year’s theme, “The Gender Agenda: Gaining Momentum”.

NPGE was launched in 2011 by former Minister of Youth,  Sports and Culture, Olivia Grange aimed at gender mainstreaming in national development, thereby enabling men and women to contribute equally to the country’s growth, while having equitable access to the protection and privileges of Jamaican citizenship.

Several persons including the Minister without portfolio in the OPM with responsibility for Information, Senator Sandrea Falconer, before having to leave underscored the importance of the policy and her government support.

While Kelly Tomblin, CEO of Jamaica Public Service Company Ltd (JPS) challenged private and public sectors to latch on to the policy. The JPS boss said her company had began the trailblazing. Tomblin also pointed, “companies with women on boards and decision-making positions see 35% more return on equity.”

Fulling the launch we caught up with Mrs. Donna Parchment Brown, CEO of the Dispute Resolution Foundation and asked tge question: “Women are doing so much better than men in Jamaica… haven’t we done enough now to re-balance the gender game?”

Her response:



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Dean Palmer

As Jamaica’s boxing fans gear up for the first match in Season 3 of the Wray & Nephew Contender tonight, a boxer has withdrawn from the competition.

Our team was informed that Dean Palmer, a member of the Andrew Boland led Yellow team, has tossed his boxing gloves in following the first challenge for the show set to kick off at 9:30pm tonight on TVJ.

One source told us, “him ketch him ‘fraid and never want lose so early”. Members of the promotion team were mot immediately available for comment on the causality for the Yellow team.

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The international trailer for Iron Man 3 with Robert Downey Jr starring as Tony Stark is out. The two minutes plus trailer is action-packed, exciting, moving and pulling you to watch it over and over again. Don’t believe? Check out the trailer for a sense of what I mean.



Season 3 of the Wray & Nephew Contender kicks off Wednesday, March 6th at the popular Chinese Benevolent Association, Old Hope with live action at 9:30pm.

The show will don a new host in that of Kamila McDonald, as it returns to the middleweight feature division, with two-eight-man teams competing for one million dollars and the 2013 Contender title. The teams remain unchanged at Yellow and Green, the latter led by Joseph Harrison of Heavy Metal gym out of St. Ann’s Bay, whilst Andrew Boland of Savanna-la-mar’s Hard Knocks gym the Yellow.

Contender Fact Sheet2

The series is expected to assume the format of challenges for 7 weeks during Stage 1, and will see the 2 teams engaging in a series of weekly physical challenges.  The winning team will then have the advantage as they will nominate a boxer from their camp as well as choose the opposing fighter from the other camp.  These 2 boxers will then fight Live on TVJ to determine who stays and who goes. For the eighth week that format will be abandoned as the 8 remaining boxers will be seeded and drawn for matchups.

The participants this year is a good mix, comprising youth and experience. At least two familiar faces, Devon Moncrieffe and Ramel ‘Sub Zero’ Lewis, two beaten finalist from 2010 and 2011 are expected to join the action as they compete for prizes of one million for the winner, second J$500,000, 3rd Place J$250,000 and 4th Place J$200,000.

Wray & Nephew is the name sponsor, while Foska Oats and TVJ are associate sponsors. The event is promoted by MJK Productions and approved by the Jamaica Boxing Board of Control.

STAGE 1 8 Fights 6 rounds each 8 fighters left standing
STAGE 2 4 Fights 6 rounds each 4 fighters left standing
STAGE 3 2 Fights 8 rounds each 2 fighters left standing
STAGE 4 Final Fight 10 rounds 1 Middleweight Contender


With just two weeks before ‘the Magnum Mansion’ the 7th live show in the Magnum Kings & Queens of Dancehall talent show was nothing short of emotions, as the top 8 of Castle Red displayed their talents.

Pressure got mounted on the unfortunate contestants in the bottom two in the beginning for face-offs and followed by the night’s performance. CHARLENE SKYLAR and SEXY KAYDA got the ball rolling first. However Charlene’s lyrics gave her the nod over Kayda. While the judges had a little difficulty choosing between MOVAC and CHECK who to send forward. Miss Kitty initially said,  “the two a oonu get mi vote,” while Professor Nuts voted MOVAC. Host Yanique wouldn’t allow diplomatic immunity and insisted Miss Kitty selected someone. Kitty balance the scale, however, it Skatta’s vote that gave CHECK another chance at the crown. The decision saw mixed responses both from D’Entrance and Social Networking site Twitter. Many felt the decision was motivated out of biases because it is said that CHECK had linkage with the label Skatta works with, Down S  



Magnum Kings and Queens of Dancehall Judges

Magnum Kings & Queens of Dancehall Judges (from left) Skatta Burrell, Miss Kitty, Professor Nuts & Dexton Ennis, Promoter of FOLLOW DI ARROW & guest judge last Saturday.
(PHOTO CREDIT: Ishango Photos)

Last Saturday the remaining contestants in Castle Blue for the Magnum Kings and Queens of Dancehall fought viciously to stomp their mark for the weekly talent show in a two-fold facelift; to be selected by Guest Judge and promoter of Follow Di Arrow to perform on the show of the said name and to send a warning to Castle Red they would be no walkover ahead of the Magnum Mansion, when they would combine with Castle Red. As was promised in promos Castle Blue got a facelift, with the introduction of two Wild Cards, one of whom was brought back by Professor Nuts, and injections of confidence among all.

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TOP PERFORMERS
MAKARIE triumph over JADE in the faceoff to return to the stage to cruise to an engaging performance beckoning “mi nah fi beg fi mi nails dem do”. PAYNE got an easy chance to perform again as JAH B literally got nervous and messed up, singing off key and without confidence. PAYNE used it to his advantage, delivered and returned to the stage later using a creative concept with a tin to recount experiences on the campaign trail. Several persons from the audience liked it and dropped coins and paper monies in the tin he had, he also got a $1000 note from Judge Skatta Burrell while Host Yanique dropped $10 saying “$10, 20 anything”.

A motivated GLAMITY was reintroduced to the competition as Professor Nuts’ Wild Card, spinning lyrics about her early departure in a song and gave her word that she was back to stay. GLAMITY received several ‘forwards’ (local dancehall terminology for endorsement) and pushed “mi badda than a category 5 hurricane”.

JONNAH who followed later tackled “Young Unemployed” on the Life Riddim echoing sentiments of not being able to find a job despite being qualified, a recurring cry among recent graduates. He was celebrated for his efforts by audience members and got a standing ovation from Miss Kitty.

SASIQUE and the Producer’s Wild Card pick MAD ATTITUDE followed the previous contestants delivering memorable performances. The former left the audience with ‘any man inna bed after 9 a waste a time’, while the latter got head bobbing to “Creep In” as they did just what the lyrics said.

BAD PERFORMANCES
Though KONFYDENCE and SHACK started off the performances last Saturday they were weak when compared to the others. So too were REAL STEELE and HALONI, who performed close to the end.

KONFYDENCE, who has been lacking in confidence over the weeks, took some confidence to the stage but it wasn’t enough for some audience members and the judges. REAL STEELE delivered a less than favourable performance about ‘Fren-emies’. While HALONI complemented his performance with a guitar for an acoustic vibe. At the end he got commended for bringing something different, but doubts were left in some minds as to whether or not the guitar helped or hindered him. Though votes are what determined the return of the contestants, it wouldn’t be surprising these contestants would be in the bottom two to face-off.

OTHER HIGHLIGHTS
In the end Follow Di Arrow promoter Dexton Ennis selected GLAMITY and JONNAH as the top performs for the night.

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Other highlights of the evening came with fashion designs by Minka, showcasing her latest embroidery designs and her website http://www.minkaluv.com. While rising dancehall sensation from the JOP Camp DIABLO sang “We Run Road” and other songs from his catalogue.

Castle Red takes center stage this Saturday with face-offs expected with CHARLENE SKYLAR vs SEXY KAYDA, for the Princesses, while MOVAC vs CHECK for the Princes.



In recent weeks Jamaicans have been captivated by two online viral videos, mainly the VW Superbowl Ad and the Harlem Shake craze. The latter has topped Gangnam Style attracting what Andrew Rauner dubs a ‘Psy-level mass phenomenon’ featuring Skydivers, underwater stormtroppers, newscaster (local and international) and more. The craze started after a man named Filthy Frank made this video dancing to Harlem Shake (by Brooklyn-based producer Henry Rodrigues aka DJ Baauer) without doing the ‘Harlem Shake’. Hundreds of copycat videos have since followed.

For Baaucer, much has come of this for a pretty much unknown fellow, except if you were a nerd scouring SoundCloud. Baaucer earned  himself a place in music history by virture of being the 21st song to debut at No. 1 on the Hot 100 Chart, since its launch in 1951; and it’s the Brooklyn DJ’s first song on the chart. According to Philip Sherburne in Spin, this is luck on top of luck. One thing for certain, Baauer should thank amateur videographer and Billboard for adding YouTube streaming data to the pile of numbers that determines where a song is placed on the Hot 100. A good addition since YouTube is where persons go first to check out songs, not Spotify, iTunes, or Radio–this is debatable but I won’t delve into that here.

The VW ad, which everyone should have seen, features an American office worker from Minnesota who owns a 2013 Volkswagen Beetle (I think they are cute – yes cars can be cute; I won’ accept an alternative opinion LOL) adapting a Jamaican accent to spread smile among his gloomy coworkers on a Monday morning. All this is done to the tune of 2013 Grammy Winner, Reggae Category, Jimmy Cliff, who happens to be Jamaican . The commercial done to air during the Superbowl, with an early release on YouTube, caused controversy with characterisations and opinions ranging from uncomfortable and racist to likes and appreciation. Jamaican tourism officials, including the poirtfolio minister, affirmed their support of it in articles carried by USA Today and the Associated Press; both with a combined audience exceeding 190 million readers.

John Lynch, director of tourism at the Jamaica Tourist Board (JTB) in a Jamaica Observer article had this to say, “The interest this commercial has generated is incredible and speaks to the power of the Jamaica brand…We hope this sparks an interest in persons who have not yet experienced the destination to come visit; enjoy a memorable Jamaican vacation, our people and most important, Get Happy in Jamaica.”

There seems to be a fascination with Jamaica in the Western and Central European nation of German, or otherwise as another company (the electronics store Saturn) in that country showed favour to Brand Jamaica though in a highly controversial ad. The commercial intended for German TV made its way on YouTube in late January and shows two coffee shop attendants trying to brew coffee, which results in the burning of the Jamaican Flag. The experience is captured through CCTV and out of respect for the Jamaican flag leads to a demonstration. Here is the video:

The following subtitles are scripted in German; the following is the translation in English using Google Translate:

Wenn sie meine Fahne verbrennen, verbrenne ich ihre – If they burn my flag, I’ll burn their

Wir alle lieben Jamaika diese leute verbrennen die Jamaikanische Flagge- We all love these people burn the Jamaica Jamaican Flag

The words of the soundtrack are familiar because it’s that of Murderer by another famed Jamaican, Barrrington Levy. In school I was taught to burn a flag was offensive, in fact it is considered desecration. Friend and Attorney-at-Law, Stephen Greig notes: “under German criminal laws it is illegal to damage the German flag and it is also illegal to damage or revile flags of foreign countries. What we do not know is if there is an exception for dramatic works such as a play or a commercial.”

I couldn’t resist sharing the video with friends and associates, particular since at the time my Twitter timeline by the twitter-heavy-wigs, or anyone for that matter, but I saw everyone talking about who was doing Harlem Shakes videos locally et cetera. The opinions I got were varying and included references saying we couldn’t expect better particularly because the old Nazi ideology that demanded the purification of ‘the Aryan race’ and ‘the German blood’ originate in the said country, upset and ‘what if’ questions.

On the German AD

Could the baring of the Jamaican Flag in the kitchen speak to the presence of the Jamaican Blue Mountain Coffee being used by the coffee shop or is it the coffee of choice? Should we think of this more deeply? Should we as a people, and through our Tourism Minister and agencies like the JTB, condemn this (after all like the Volkswagen commercial this has gained traction with over 450,000 views on YouTube) and ask for its removal? Or should we accept?

To be frank, I’m not outraged as some of my fellow country folks with the Saturn Ad, I’m okay with it. I think it helps put us (Jamaica) in the international scope and once again make us relevant and leaving Jamaica in individuals’ minds. It is clear from all intents in the video they wanted to be associated with the Jamaican brand, it immediately took me back a couple years when Sydney Bartley (former Director of Culture now Permanent Secretary in the Ministry of Youth and Culture) said in a presentation, “anybody who wants to be somebody wants to be Jamaican, the only person who doesn’t want to be Jamaican is a Jamaican”. I have no idea about his views on the matter at hand, but I hope you get the picture that clearly Jamaica sells. The Germans did it with the VW Ad (that so many persons got up in arms about, including persons who don’t recognize Jamaican Creole as a language) and Saturn is at it again.

We can agree that the flag should never have been burnt or stomped on, but should we not be making a hullabaloo? @mrsseven65 in responding to Dr. Sonjah Stanley Niaah, Senior Lecturer in Cultural Studies at the University of West Indies, Mona, on Twitter said it well. @mrsseven65 puts it well there are other things to be up-in-arms about like the Tivoli Incursion, a very topical and pertinent issue, which we’re yet to get answers on.

Protocol experts and others might say pull the ad, but come on folks the Saturn ad is daring, it’s brilliant; yes I like it! Perhaps it is because I’m a rebel why I like it. Let’s snap out of the talks about asking for the ad to be pulled since it touches on so many issues, chief among them cultural sensitivities & free speech. My honest gut opinion: let’s not get tied up in this flag furore, certainly the folks at JTB can find a way to take advantage of this free publicity and marketing. Go Jamaica!

As always, I welcome your thoughts on the matter, do share with me below.



Last Saturday TVJ aired the 5th episode in the 5th season of Magnum Kings & Queens of Dancehall. The show featured ten of the 20 remaining finalists, down from 24, competing for the coveted first place to be called King & Queen, and be rewarded 1 million with other prizes.

The last seven weeks (counting the combined audition shows on January 5th & 12th) we’ve seen performances to laugh at, questioned and downright send packing. Last Saturday, we got VIP Access to experience the weekly talent show, and boy-o-boy the comments were brutal. From the comments we put together a review in the first of our weekly MKQ Scoop until the final show.

PERFORMANCES
The face-offs were first with Princesses Charlene Skylar and Glama, while the duo Ziphead & Elegance faced Buck 1 for the Princes. The obvious choice for the crowd were Charlene and Buck 1 the judges agreed and gave them a second chance.

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Magnum Kings & Queens of Dancehall contestant SUSPENSE.

The 5th live show got on the way with Castle Red’s SUSPENSE giving a value-for-money performance, while sporting a hairstyle of pencils, rubbers, a lunchbox and a small knapsack that got tongues wagging. Asked by us to explain her style she said, “mi affi keep dem inna ‘suspense’ everytime”. In her song SUSPENSE counseled young girls on engaging in relationship with bus drivers and conductors.

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