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05/08/10

Permalink 10:04:55 am, by amilnal
Categories: Entertainment, Culture

Stevie Face to help launch festival

Brixton 02 comes alive on June 19th 2010, when Reggae Lovers Rock artist Stevie Face hit the stage alongside veterans Coco Tea, Barrington Levy and Freddie McGregor in London, England. The show which is billed ‘The Reggae event of 2010,’ is the inaugural launch of the annual Uprising Music Festival. Stevie Face has won favour with various promoters throughout the UK and Europe since the release of his chart topping hit single “Tell it like it is” followed by his critically acclaimed top selling album of the same name. The album was voted, “Best Reggae Album” in the UK and continues to be a top seller there as well as in several territories worldwide. After making an impressive first performance at Brixton 02 in February 2009, Stevie has not been to the UK since and instead opted to continue promoting his album. One year later, the anticipation for his return has heightened and Stevie Face is confident that his UK fans are in for a treat he says, “The timing could not have been better and allows for a solid delivery of my album that the fans so obviously approve of.” News out of London is that the buzz from the advertisement of the event has sent fans young and old scurrying to get tickets to this monumental event. On the other hand, Stevie Face’s fans are said to be excited about seeing this sensational artist, as many were disappointed that he was not invited to a Valentine Day showcase held earlier in the year especially after having such a big album released in the UK. Face has this to say to his fans, “the idea is to give a performance my fans will never forget and I pledge to pull out all the stops to ensure that each and every one gets their monies worth.”

05/07/10

Permalink 11:25:10 pm, by Skillachi
Categories: Sports, Culture, Commentary

Prep Championships review

Today I had the pleasure of checking out for the first time the Prep School Championships. This is not to be confused in anyway with the High School level boys and girls championships, no instead this was an event for the kids. As a matter of fact, most of the competitors today ranged from ages of 4-10 being the oldest... and to be honest that is just a guess because I am pretty sure no competitor was above age 7. However this competition did highlight a few things to me regarding Jamaica's love of sports. But I'll talk about that later.

First of all the environment of the meet was, hot... and no I am not talking only about the fact that everybody there sweated until I am sure we all lost around 10 pounds just being there, instead I am talking about that these children were literally ready to race (well, most of them were). There were at least 20 schools there all clad in their school colours and all eagerly cheering on their athletes as they participated. Also I must say if you have never heard upwards of 200 children all cheering, then you would be surprised to know that there are some things in life which can annoy you to know end without even trying.

The piercing shrill of the children's voices were also joined by the shouts of teachers, parents and coaches (yes I said coaches), who were all trying to control the athletes and line them up to run. There was basically pandemonium around the track also as children began to run wild in their usual selves, but this did not make the day any less exciting, just a bit confusing, but this is to be expected, after all we are dealing with children here.

The events that were being participated in were things like lunch kit races, math races, relay races, sprints, and potato races. Just to give some clarification, the math race was essentially a race where the athlete had to run a short distance (roughly 10 meters) to a math book that had a problem in it, they had to solve the problem, and then pick up the book and run to the finish line. So there were two things involved, math genius and speed. The lunch kit races involved running to pick up 3 items placed roughly 5, 10, and 15 meters apart, and then placing them in a lunch kit which was at the start line, however you can only run with one item at a time (so you ran back and forth 4 times). Once you had packed your lunch kit you had to zip it up and run to the finish line. The potato race was the same thing as the lunch kit race, only with an open bucket instead of a lunch kit, so the challenge here was actually keeping things from falling out of the bucket.

These races were quite competitive and you could see that these kids had gone through weeks of preparation as they all had different strategies for tackling each of these events, also do not think for once that the coaching staff were taking this as a joke, they were all very serious. The level of competitiveness among the parents, teachers, and staff was quite obvious as they shouted their encouragement and showed their disappointment if they lost. However the kids seemed to not care either way... except for those kids who just really didn't want to compete, and made htis known by literally crying instead of racing. However I must say I believe good fun was had by all. The only thing missing was the media, who I guess did not see this as a major enough event to cover, but I think a photographer or two would have been in good order.

However when I stated that something in Jamaica's love of sports was highlighted to me, I was referring to our competitive spirit. I have also known Jamaicans to be competitive people, after all we are number one at everything, whether we like it (sprinting) or not (murder rate). But I really didnt believe I would see that level of competitiveness coming from chidlren, who while they were mainly there to have fun, still fought hard to win, there were a number of come from behind victories that made me realize this as well.

However as I stated before, this was certainly a fun experience for me, I think I'd like to be present at next year's staging as it was very exciting, and great fun was had by all.

05/05/10

Permalink 10:36:19 pm, by amilnal
Categories: Sports, Business, Commentary

Developing Countries: Hosting International Sporting Events 2nd Part

On the cost side, FIFA (Federation Internationale de Football Association)requires that the World Cup host country provide at least 8, and preferably 10, modern stadiums capable of seating 40,000 to 60,000 specators. For the jointly hosted 2002 World Cup in Japan and South Korea, each country offered to provide 10 separate stadiums. As neither country had a large existing infrastructure for football, South Korea built ten new stadiums at a cost of nearly $2 billion, and Japan built 7 new stadiums and refurbished 3 others of at least $4 billion. According to Executive Director of the Cricket World Cup, Ali Bacher, R500 million, South African currency, (US$66,719,578.89) was spent to bring the 2003 edition to South Africa while the upcoming FIFA World Cup in that country dwarfs that figure by some margin with the South African government spending over US$6 billion on stadiums, roads, airports and other projects.

When our region the Caribbean was about to host the Cricket World Cup in 2007. The Jamaican Minister of Finance, at the time, Omar Davies disclosed that the Caribbean Community (Caricom) heads of government decided to host the event because of the additional benefits expected to come to the region and not in terms of straight economic and financial analysis. He even quoted potential losses in the region of US$95 million, with the Jamaican government spending US$105 million and only expecting to earn US$10 million in revenue from the event. I don't know about you but I feel that this kind of financial hit for a third world country's economy, like Jamaica's, would be devastating. Numerous sectors of government will have to be neglected and the people of the country will continue to suffer in the form of increased taxes for years to come in order to help balance the budget. Three years on from the event and you see exactly what this commentator was afraid of. What benefits could you honestly say that Jamaica and her people got from the event? Forunately next week I will put forth the speculated benefits and allow you to decide if actually hosting a name tournament actually helps the conutry or countries it is staged in in the long run.

Permalink 08:30:21 pm, by amilnal
Categories: Entertainment, Culture

Jamaican music and it's effect on the Jamaican economy 2nd Part

In the seventies, while reggae music started to establish itself as an international force, Jamaican musical culture had begun to change and a new form of music was created: The final stage in the evolution of popular Jamaican music has been the development of ‘Dance Hall’ music. This form of reggae was created by the minimalising of the music, mainly through the removal of various instruments until only the bare minimum remains. The move to Dance Hall started with the Djs, who became popular in the early seventies, although they had been working on sound systems for a number of years previously. King Sitt, URoy, Big Youth, Dennis Alcapone and Scotty, among others, made rhythmic talking the craze of the dances during the Rock Steady era as they chanted on ’versions’ of songs sung by the popular artistes. This Dj phenomenon continued and intensified with Reggae, until it represented more than half of the new music being produced. With the arrival of the drum machine in the 1980s Dance Hall was born.

Because of reggae’s overseas success during the seventies and early eighties, the artistes, almost exclusively from poor economical backgrounds, were enjoying more fiscal rewards than ever was thought possible. Many of them who still resided in Jamaica came back with the idea of reinvesting that money into the creation of studios, sound systems and other music and non-music related businesses. This created new employment of hundreds of disadvantaged youth who might have had to elsewhere in order to “eat a food.”

Another effect of Jamaican music’s popularity, both locally and abroad, was the inception of the stage show. These live musical performances provided new avenues were people, and in some cases whole communities, could generate income on the day of the event. By far, the biggest event is Sumfest, an annual international music festival featuring reggae music, which attracts thousands of visitors from all over the world… Also, there are major annual dance hall concerts, like Sting, and Saddle to the East, which attract people from all over Jamaica, from the Jamaican migrant communities, and from the hard core fans of Jamaican music as far away as Japan. There is of course a plethora of income earning activities ancillary to the main musical event, whether it is the concert, the carnival, or the dance. Apart from the services required to set up the shows – promotional posters and radio ads, musicians, lights, sound, security, various specialized labour services, and so on – there are a variety of vendors of cooked food, fruits, refreshments, alcoholic beverages, cigarettes, souvenirs and other music related paraphernalia. Also of note is the expenditure on clothing and other articles of fashion that the dance and partygoers favour. All this expenditure, though informal in nature, has become critical to not only people from the lower end of the society in the last couple of decades, but to the middle and upper class as well. As pointed out by Michael Witter in his study Music and jamaican economy, “the house party gave way to the pay-party held at up-town locations, such as the big lawns of private homes, clubs and hotels. These events also used big sound systems playing similar music to what one would hear at the dances of the working class.”

05/03/10

Permalink 11:22:46 pm, by Skillachi
Categories: Sports, Commentary

Jamaican International Invitational meet review

On saturday I got the opportunity to attend the JN Jamaica International Invitational meet, this was a welcome event for me as I haven't been to any sporting events since the year has started which is unlike me because I like sports that much. This is an event I've attended for the past 3 stagings and I must say that this was filled with an unprecedented level of excitement. The first way in which I could see that the environment has massively changed was the massive crowd at the stadium. Unlike previous years the stadium was packed to the brim and I had to search high and low to gain seating for me and the crew of people with me. The stadium was also a buzz with noise and cheers of excitement coming from all angles, this excitement reached a fever pitch especially when star athletes such as Yohan Blake, Veronica Campbell, and Keron Stewart came unto the track... When Usain made his presence known I could barely hear myself think as the crowd cheered completely ignoring the other events that were also taking place at the same time.JNJII Crowd doing the wave**Taken from Jamaica Gleaner

The crowd came out to see some high quality athletic performances, and they were certainly entertained. The evening officially started with the Women's 100m sprint, and what a start to the evening that was. Kerron Stewart and Carmelita Jeter ran side by side all the way to the finish line but Jeter managed to pull  a victory through at the last second. Along from the exciting womens side was Novlene Williams-Mills pulling a victory in the 400 with a world leading time of 50.32 ahead of Monica Hargrove, while Kenia Sinclair set a meet record 1:58.62 to take the 800m. Veronica Campbell also stamped her class as a 200m champion by dominating in her race with a time of 22.60, ahead of Cydonie Mothersill and Bianca Knight. Another notable performance came from US High Jumper Chaunte Howard-Lowe who made a world leading 2.00m jump all while showing some skills in popular Jamaican dances much to the crowd's liking.

Jeter Winning 100m**Taken from Jamaica Gleaner

On the men's side Nesta Carter's 100m victory was marred by the elimination of up and coming sprint star Yohan Blake who made a false start and was eliminated from the race, however Carter still showed fine form taking the race in 10.09 ahead of World Championships silver medallist Darvis Patton and Olympic silver medallist Richard Thompson. Jermaine Gonzales also showed some amount of return to fighting form coming second to American sprint sensation Tyson Gay in the 400m race. Gay ran a quick 45.05 to stave off the challenge from Gonzales who was closing in on Gay towards the end of the race, however Gay seemed to have over-exerted himself in the race however as in the end he was throwing up all over the place, but all in all he seems to have been fine in the end. The excitement of the evening came in the 200m race where world renouned record breaker Usain Bolt was set to blaze the track. This he did successfully, setting a world leading 19.56 second run, finishing about 10 meters ahead of his closest competitor in Wallace Spearmon. This was made even more remarkable by the fact that as of that race Bolt has run 6 of the top 10 200m times and with the form he is in, it certainly looks like he will try to have all 10 times.

Bolt**Taken from Jamaica Gleaner

Notably missing were the majority of the MVP camp including Bridgette Foster-Hilton, Asafa Powell and Shelly Ann-Fraser. It is not strange to people who follow the local athletic scene however, as for the past 3 years the MVP camp has opted to not take part in the largest local meet much to the chagrin of the Jamaican public. However the lack of their presence was truly felt, as it would've been nice to see the current form of our stars.

Another notable annoyance that was shown in this meet is the one false start rule that the IAAF has put in place. It is an unwelcome rule because it is unfairly giving the athletes no single margin of error in the race, even though officials are given a chance to correct their errors as at any point they may call "stand up" to start over the race. However it is highly unlikely that the IAAF will see the error in this rule until a big name athlete such as Gay, or Bolt finds themselves eliminated from a race because of a simple flinching action. The subsequent riot in the stadium ought to be enough of a wake up call to the IAAf to change their stance.

However all in all the event was wonderfully put together, and the performances have certainly wet the lips of track and field fans who now have much to anticipate for the rest of the season.

 

05/02/10

Permalink 11:20:34 am, by Skillachi
Categories: Commentary, News

Police Brutality destroying Police Trust

When last have you watched a TVJ or CVM news hour? If it is anytime within the last 10-15 or so years when Jamaica's crime rate spiked, you would have heard a news story with the following storyline:

Police came upon (Insert name of location), where they met upon (Insert number) number of armed men. A shootout ensued where (Insert name[s]) was/were shot and killed, and (insert number) men escaped into nearby bushes. (Insert Name[s] of people killed) were found with a .38 revolver.

The story comes in either this form or something similar, the only difference is that the men probably "Alighted from a vehicle". However time and time again whenever a policeman kills somebody the story remains the same. The next thing that happens after this news story is that the stories given by the police are completely different from the stories that are given by the people in the surrounding community. The people within the community will always state that the policeman, pulled the victim(s) from wherever they were sitting peacefully, carried them out to the street, and then shot them execution style. The other part of the story that is always included is the part that states that well the victim(s) were always good people, who helped the community and who the community cant live without, followed by wailing and bawling by close friends and relative of the victim. Such is a typical news segment in Jamaica.

And this has been going on for as long as I can remember, as a matter of fact it would be quite surprising to see a news segment without this. The other thing about the behaviour of the police is this: They are always innocent... I have never seen a news piece where the police were just generally wrong. How is that possible? In my 20+ (not revealing my age hehe) years of life I have never even come upon an article where the police in a shooting incident shot somebody whether by accident or on purpose. Am I to believe that our Jamaican police are simply infallible and are always good guys? That would mean that we only hire aliens to be a part of our police force, because there is no way you can tell me that out of the thousands of people employed in our police force, absolutely none of them are in it for the wrong reasons, if that was the situation I think we would have a different kind of respect for the police force and not just hatred.

This would also mean that our police force is superior to police everywhere in the world because a quick google search will definitely bring me upon an article that is about some policeman somewhere killing somebody on purpose. As a matter of fact the only time a policeman involved in a shooting that has ever been brought to court (that I can remember) is in the Braeton 7 killings way back in 2001... Oh and they were all acquitted.

Now I am not here to say that all policemen who are involved in killings are bad policemen, I know that there are generally good policemen in Jamaica otherwise we would never have any crime being solved at all. In this same light I have no reason to believe that all the people who the policemen are killing are good guys, I am sure there were some bad guys involved as well. It just makes sense. However one has to ask how is it that we the Jamaican community can trust a police force that always seems to be in the right? That would mean that no matter what there is no way for the public to be right. What kind of situation are we living in where the police can never be challenged else the challenger's may just find their lives be put in danger?

A video done by Al Jazeera TV highlights the crime problem in Jamaica, as it tells the story of a man named Robert Hill who even when he had video proof of police brutality against him and his pregnant wife, his evidence was more or less ignored by the police high command. Mr. Hill even predicted his own death at the hands of the police, but yet again, nothing has come out of it, despite all the evidence of blatant police wrong doing.

All of this together shows just to what level the crime problem really is in Jamaica. With a situation like this there is surely no way to look for any solution to this problem in the near future, there have been repeated calls to disband and recreate the Jamaica Constabulary Force, while one can see how this may make sense I have to ask who do we replace the police with? And how can we be ensured of less corruption if we do this? It surely is a sad situation that we live in, when we cannot trust the people who are put in place to protect us.

05/01/10

Permalink 09:54:40 am, by amilnal
Categories: Entertainment, Commentary

Jamaican music and it's effect on the Jamaican economy Pt 1

Now Jamaicans usually fall in to two categories: Those who love reggae and dancehall music and those who have to tolerate it because the music is so interwoven in our culture that it is near impossible to completely ignore it. Over the years the latter set have spent their time deriding and discredited the nation’s music as slackness and the unintelligible rantings of the lower class. However, what even they cannot deny is the economical and social benefits that dancehall/reggae music and the culture emanating from it has given the country of Jamaica.

The music, the language, the fashion and most importantly the people of the Jamaican dancehall have influenced and inspired the world. Our people and our way of life have been mimicked, albeit often times not very well, in movies, T.V sitcoms, cartoons and commercials overseas. These applications are only some of the sources of revenues created as viable spin-offs from the dancehall cultural space. It is now even at the point where presently, those same people who wanted to have the music censored and the people who perform and enjoy it alienated are now trying to get their own slice of the pie. Jamaican corporations are now using the popularity and influence of Jamaica’s biggest musical stars to endorse and market their brands to the Jamaican masses and beyond.

Dancehall culture also has had a social effect on Jamaica. The lower class could now be able to earn a living without the acquisition of formal education beyond the secondary level. Youths from impoverished communities could be now inspired to find or create their own niche within the culture in order to generate income. The dancehall was originally a gathering and a space where dances are held and where sound systems and artists performed long before the technological innovations of the dancehall music we hear today. By all accounts the dancehall has its origins documented from mid to late fifties. Where it started as just a place where young people would hang out: “The chief legitimate rendezvous for adolescents were the ‘blues dances’ periodically held in outdoor settings around Trench Town, Denham Town and Jones Town. In 1957, the most renowned of these were sponsored by the great Sound System boss Sir Coxsone Downbeat on Love Lane and on Beeston Street. All of Kingston was abuzz with runnings about Coxone’s mighty “control tower,” a heap of hefty turntables and glowing gizmos studded with silver, black and gold knobs, all wired up to several columns of bass speakers, booming out murderously overamplified songs by Fats Domino, Amos Milburn or “Louis Jordan an’ de Tympani Five an da tekin’-nuh- prisoner attack!” as the “toaster” (Dj) would announce it”, excerpt from Timothy White’s Catch a Fire: The Life of Bob Marley.

At that time the only people making money were the vendors selling refreshments, the operators of the Sound System and the dance promoters. During the period of the sixties, the music created in the dancehall was starting to be recorded and manufactured in order to keep up with the new demand around the island for local produced acts. By the mid-1960s, just before reggae’s arrival, many small specialist record shops had opened around the country. This was chronicled by Economist John McMillan in his academic paper Trench Town Rock: the creation of Jamaica’s music industry: “To meet the shops’ demands for records, entrepreneurs started distribution firms. As a result, record producers no longer needed to operate their own sound systems to create a demand for their product, but could simply sell their records via the new wholesalers and retailers.”

Apart from a distinctive sound, a distinctive market emerged with unique products, such as dub plates and versions. The distribution of records was concentrated among a few relatively (for the industry) large companies, but was also extended by many small, and some informal, enterprises. Apart from the distributor, the central figures of the fledgling music industry were the artistes, the producers, often performing multiple roles – financing, recording, promoting, managing -, and the promoters of dances and shows.

Permalink 09:28:27 am, by amilnal
Categories: Sports, News

Mojo 6 called a success

The dust has settled, the results are in . . . but the real story is how the unique, new Raceway Golf format – which tests the limits of the world's best athletes through a faster, shorter, more cutthroat type of competition – will change the game. The hotly debated new format, debuted at the inaugural Mojo 6 (www.themojo6.com), proved to be everything it set out to be, and more, as 16 elite players battled for their share of the $1 million purse. And Jamaica's own, Usain Bolt, the world's fastest man, was on-hand to help kick off arguably the fastest, most intense format of golf, trading in his track spikes for a pair of golf spikes and teeing up with the help of Mojo 6 players, Christina Kim and Paula Creamer.

And Usain's golf lesson was just the first of many incredible, memorable moments. Eagles, birdies and long-shot chips highlighted what is sure to be "don't miss TV" on CBS May 1 & 2, at 2:00 p.m. EDT. "I love this format, it's really challenging, fun and you just never know what's coming," said Christina Kim, who made it to the second day. "I think this is the best entertainment women's golf has seen in a while. The format changes everything, the buzz among players and fans alike is high, and the head-to-head competition is even higher. "

Unlike the dry play of most tournament golf, the innovative Raceway Golf pitted 16 of the top players against each other in a series of six-hole matches. And the head-to-head match-ups proved successful as friendships were laid to rest and the intense competitors took the gloves off to call out their opponents, an unusual spin, that added extra heat to the tournament.

"Sitting on the sidelines injured and commentating was frustrating, as I wanted to be in the mix. But it did, however, give me the unique perspective to watch Raceway Golf from the fan's viewpoint. I've played in a lot of tournaments and The Mojo 6 was suspenseful, intense and really captivating for the fans," noted LPGA star and Mojo 6 and CBS commentator, Paula Creamer. "The action was non-stop. If player and fan endorsements are any indicator, Raceway Golf is here to stay. I am already looking forward to the next one."

"The Mojo 6 is golf like you've never imagined it," noted Ed Moses, Olympic champion and co-founder of Mojo. "Normally players can put their blinders on and try to beat the course, but in Raceway Golf, it's survival of the fittest. It's not about your score; it's about beating the person standing in front of you."

The event kicked off with "The Red Carpet Match-Up Party" at the Iberostar Hotel in Montego Bay, where the girls smiled for the cameras at the same time they were preparing to turn friends into enemies in picking who they wanted to take on. Day One of the two-day tournament was highlighted by LPGA-ranked veterans trying to prey on rookies and amateurs in the hopes of racking up points to secure their spot in the final group of eight that advanced to round two, Championship Day. Sixteen- year-old teen golf phenom and amateur, Mariah Stackhouse, and LPGA rookie, Beatriz Recari, whom fans voted into the tournament as the 16th and final spot in the field, were targeted by more established, veteran players who picked them first or second each time.

Suzann Pettersen, who is number three in the Rolex World Rankings, the highest ranked player in the field and fresh off a close, second-place finish at the Nabisco Championship, not surprisingly picked the unknown, fresh-faced Stackhouse. When asked about it, Pettersen made no effort to hide her strategy, saying quite honestly, "We're not running a charity here." While some of the more notable matches appeared lop-sided on paper, as the day progressed and more strategy came into play, rookies and younger, less battle-tested players proved they were up to the challenge. "I'm not scared of anyone, I want to play the best, so I can beat the best," said 22-year-old LPGA rookie, Beatriz Recari, who played well enough to advance to the single elimination second day.

After an intense Day One, replete with plenty of playoff hole drama, the final eight girls left standing in the field on Day Two came ready for battle. In single elimination, bracket-style play, there were no second chances, and no shortage of playoffs, water balls and lipped putts. And in the end it came down to the final hole, as All-American rookie Amanda Blumenherst faced off against former major LPGA champion, Anna Nordqvist, who bested the rookie 1-up over the final, tension-filled six holes.

04/30/10

Permalink 11:36:29 pm, by Skillachi
Categories: Entertainment, Culture, Commentary, News

The power of words and music

A weh you get da new Clarks deh dawdi,
Which colour dat? Mad enuh Pawdi,
You alone have da style deh Dawdi.
Di Queen fi England haffi Luv off Yawdi
...
Real badman nuh model inna shorts,
Straight Jeans cut off foot pants
Everybody haffi ask weh me get mi clarks...
- Vybz Kartel Feat Popcorn - "Clarks"

The above lines are an exerpt from the lyrics of a song that has been simply tearing up the Jamaican airwaves over the past month. This song aptly named Clarks is essentially a tribute to a shoe company who's products have for decades been a favourite in Jamaica. As far as I've remembered these Clarks have been essentially a status symbol in Jamaica as they are seen as the best pair of shoes one can ever own. Clarks are so popular that really I dont have to explain what Clarks are, I only do it because I realize that Jamaicans aren't the only people who read this journal. As a matter of fact, instead of saying Clarks, I could have said any of the following - Deserts, Bankrobbers, Wallabees - and every Jamaican who was born and grew up in Jamaica will instantly know what I'm talking about. Thats just how popular Clarks are here.

Wallabees

Even in high school the people who would wear Clarks to school were seemingly given just a bit more respect just because they were wearing clarks, and the attention given to these shoes, if given to ones schoolwork would produce a school which would have to raise the bar for A's and A+'s because too many people would be getting them. However thats not the purpose of this article.

For years I have always defended dancehall artists stating that the majority of the blame should really be placed on parents for the behaviour of their children and if anything the subsequent crime should be blamed largely on that same bad parenting... I still do hold firm to my belief, however this clarks song recently has opened my eyes to just how much of an effect dancehall music has on people.  See since the release of this song (And a subsequent song by Kartel named Clarks Again) the price of Clarks has doubled or tripled in some instances, and most stores have now sold out on the product. As a matter of fact I have began to see people search through their closets with the aim of resurrecting their old pairs of Clarks so they may once again see the light of day.

So the queen of England is really loving Jamaicans at the moment because we simply can't get enough Clarks. However this has been met with some negativity as well, as with the growing popularity of the shoes and the growing shortage of these shoes, there are a growing number of Clarks related crimes. The local news had a report just the other day of 2 stores being robbed of nearly $2 Million worth of Clarks shoes, and there have also been an increasing number of reports of people having their shoes literally stolen from their feet.

This in itself has made me realize that dancehall artists definitely shoulder a great responsibility in this country. While it can't be denied that a major portion of crime that happens in Jamaica, happens because of the corruption of the government and the police force, the lack of jobs education etc., the message that these artists portray does indeed play a role in the people who children look up to and the activities that they believe they should endorse.

carolyn cooper and buju banton

People like Carolyn Cooper - lecturer at the University of the West indies and fervent supporter of dancehall - on numerous occasions write articles that defend what the artists are saying. The ones that I've read thoroughly include "is Ramping shop erotic in English", "Daggering with Cleaner Lyrics", and "Mi cant stop cry fi Buju", all of which are very intelligently written and well researched. However the main weakness that I have found with all these articles is that, while she shows very clearly how alot of the works of these artists are simply misunderstood by the public at large, she doesn't focus on the fact that whether or not we may be misunderstanding, the songs are still having the negative impact that they have come under much public fire for. When ramping shop was being attacked for its explicitness, the problem wasn't only with the lyrics of the song, but the effect wherein kids were singing and dancing in very adult ways to the song and that was quite disturbing. The Daggering era also had a similar effect where kids were on the roads following the messages of the songs. If you dont believe me go search youtube and you are bound to come upon a video of children dancing in this manner.

So you see its a two pronged effect that the music has, artists like Vybz kartel embellish the brand Clarks, while in the same breath embellishing killing somebody in broad daylight, as one will remember if they look at another song by Vybz Kartel "Broad Daylight":

We murder people inna broad daylight
sixpans we walk wid cause di AK light
A wah do dem bwoy wah inna play play fight
We a hot head, we shot up like a airplane fight

The lyrics using slang speak about a two weapons in the m16 (or sixpans), and the AK-47 (AK), and are quite an advertisement about the effectiveness of these weapons, also of note is how popular this song was.

So in the end I think one must note that, really while we can try to deny that the artists have no effect at all, they really have much more of an effect than we could possibly imagine. Especially in the current Jamaica where the access to music has become a simple matter of walking down the road. With that in mind it is time to call upon these artists to start taking reponsibility for their actions and try to sing more positive music. In the same light as Kartel sang about the Clarks shirt, how about singing about the goodness of Jamaican food? Or how about making an advertisement for Cooyah our local brand that could in turn make more jobs, all in all maybe its time to focus a little more on bettering Jamaica.

Permalink 06:01:52 pm, by Skillachi
Categories: Business, Commentary, News

The end of an Era: Goodbye Air Jamaica

For 41 years Jamaica has been served by Air Jamaica "the little piece of Jamaica that flies". It has served as a source of pride for all Jamaicans as it has been known for its excellent (though not always on time) service, excellent pilots, excellent staff... It was just overall the best airline in the world as far as Jamaicans were concerned. Apparently we weren't the only ones who thought so however as for 12 years in a row (1998-2009) Air Jamaica has won the award for Best Airline to the Caribbean, it has also won Best Caribbean Business class for 2006-2007 and also won an award for Best Caribbean Airline Website (World Travel Awards). With all these awards and critical acclaims one has to wonder how it is that this airline has been completely broke for such a long time. But Alas this post is not about that. Its about the fact that as of Today Air Jamaica shall be no more, as the government sells off all its assets to Caribbean Airlines.

For most Jamaicans (me included), Air Travel will seem quite foreign without Air Jamaica as it is the main airline that we have known for most of our lives. I could probably count the amount of other airlines I've been on, but for Air Jamaica I'd definitely need to look in a passport. So yes even though many Jamaicans (and even Trinidadians) have been opposed to the sale and especially the method used in the sale the government has gone forward and signed away the jobs of 1500 Jamaicans.

My first memory of Air Jamaica is of the Orange, Yellow and White planes that they used to fly. I cant remember exactly what type of planes they had then, but I am pretty sure the type of aircraft was more diverse as I do remember flying on a Boeing, and also a DC...9 I think. I was a little too young to remember what was going on, but the one constant that remained was the entire airline crew always had a bright welcoming smile on their face which certainly made you want to fly. Also interesting to add is that in these days I could go up front and view inside of the cockpit. Children of today will probably not know of this experience with all the anti-terrorist rules around, but on a number of occassions I went up to the cockpit and said hi to the captains and marveled at the large cluster of buttons, knobs, switches and screens that the pilot had to use to fly. But Alas, those were the old days.

Air Jamaica Old

The next step for Air Jamaica was after the take over by Gordon "Butch" Stewart. During this time the entire colour scheme of the airline changed. No longer would the colours only be Orange and Yellow, but now it included Blue, Purple and Pink, this carried over into the uniforms as well which became a somewhat confusing array of the company colours which at first might have been disorienting to look at, but quickly became pleasant to the eyes. Also to change was the service as the service became even better than it was previously with the inclusion of an in flight chef (for longer flights), and also champagne service to all its customers. The viability of this service is up to debate of course becase this definitely came at a great expense, but this didn't stop the airline from offering 5 star meals in the air.

New Air Jamaica

The next step for Air Jamaica was when Butch Stewart sold the company back to the Jamaican government along with the massive debts which the airline had incurred over the years. This was when calls first came for the airline to be sold by the people of Jamaica as the cash strapped airline became a part of Jamaica's already tight pockets. However the company kept going, and new management was called in on multiple occassions to try to stem the rapid wasting of money that was taking place. Things like in flight meals were cut excepting first/business class passengers. The number of bags allowed on the plane was also cut, the number of routes was the next thing that got cut and even the paint scheme on planes got cut because it was expensive to maintain such a colourful scheme.

Newest Air Jamaica Livery

Finally and I guess one can say inevitably, the airline would be sold as has been done this year, after years of trying to find suitable purchasers for the airline. Trinidad - the caribbean island who already owns so much of Jamaica - stepped up and decided that it wanted this piece of Jamaica too. And Who can blame them, the Airline with its flawless safety record (0 crashes), expert pilots and most excellent service was bound to be a good deal, even though we aren't really clear as to how much the airline was sold for ourselves.

However this article serves as a farewell to Air Jamaica, we will certainly miss you as you have been an excellent representative of Jamaica. Hopefully in the future somebody will take back the name and restart our record of being the best at everything we do. But until then... Salute to you Air Jamaica, you certainly were something special in the air.

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Reasons why I love my Jamaican Mom

1. My Mother taught me about ANTICIPATION.
"Just wait till we get home."

2. My Mother taught me about RECEIVING.
"You going get a ass'n when we get home!"

3. My Mother taught me to MEET A CHALLENGE.
"What di backside yu thinkin'? Answer me when me talk to you...Don't talk back to me!"

4. My Mother taught me CONSEQUENCES.
"If yu run cross de road an' cyar lick yu dung, a goin' kill yu wid lick."

5. My Mother taught me THE VALUE OF EDUCATION.
"If yu no go a school, yu a go tun tief or walk an' pick up bottle."

6. My Mother taught me MEDICAL SCIENCE.
"If yu tun over yu eye lid an fly pitch pan it, it a go stay so fi evva."

7. My Mother taught me to THINK AHEAD.
"Is not one time monkey goin' wan' wife"

8. My Mother taught me ESP.
"Yu tink a don't know what yu up to nuh?"

9. My Mother taught me HUMOR.
"If yu don' eat food, breeze goin' blow yu 'way."

10. My Mother taught me how to BECOME AN ADULT.
"Come an' tek yu beatin' like man."

11. My Mother taught me about SEX.
"Yu tink say yu drop from sky?"

12. My Mother taught me about GENETICS.
"Yu jus' like yu faada."

13. My Mother taught me about my ROOTS.
"Yu tink mi come from "Back A Wall?"

14. My Mother taught me about WISDOM OF AGE.
"When yu get to be as ol' as me, yu wi understan'."

15. And my all time favorite... JUSTICE.
"One day wen yu have pickney, a hope dem treat yu same way."

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