Friday, 24 January 2020

2019 THESPIAN SPIRIT AWARDS: The Complete List of Nominations


Behind the Pulpit 
Feminine Justice 
Hell & Powder House 
Jesus Christ Superstar 
Pit to Pulpit 
Special Cuts 
Straight Jacket 


Glen Campbell – Straight Jacket 
Rodney Campbell – Feminine Justice 
Brian Johnson – Yours, Truly 
Stephen-Rhae Johnson – Isaiah 
Francois Medley – Jesus Christ Superstar 
Michael Nicholson – Pit to Pulpit 
Kadeem Wilson – Hell & Powder House 


Crystal Fletcher – Ananda Alert 
Dahlia Harris – Straight Jacket 
Stephanie Hazle – Hell & Powder House 
Maylynne Lowe – Feminine Justice 
Nadean Rawlins – Straight Jacket 
Sabrina Thomas – Special Cuts 
Petrina Williams – Behind the Pulpit


André Bennett – Ananda Alert 
Philip Clarke – Feminine Justice 
David Crossgill – The Windscream Posse 
David Freare – Jesus Christ Superstar 
Brian Johnson – Behind the Pulpit 
Oraine Meikle – Special Cuts 
Courtney Wilson – Straight Jacket 


Dorothy Cunningham – Once a Man Twice a Wife 
Sakina Deer – Straight Jacket 
Shantol Jackson – Ananda Alert 
Angela Jarrett – Face the Truth 
Samantha Thompson – Behind the Pulpit 
Karla Tulloch – Amazing Grace 
Renae Williams – Hell & Powder House


David Freare – Jesus Christ Superstar 
Toni-Ann Johnson – Pit to Pulpit 
Natoya Lee – Pit to Pulpit 
Dacoda Mitchell – Prayer Partner 
Maxann Stewart-Legg – Ruckshon Junction 
Devon Tattle – Schampagne Popping 
Miguel Williams – Behind the Pulpit 


Fabian Barracks – Ananda Alert 
Suzanne Beadle – Yours, Truly 
Patrick Brown – Straight Jacket 
Basil Dawkins – Once a Man Twice a Wife 
Brian Johnson – Behind the Pulpit 
Rashiem Shepherd – Special Cuts 
Mikhail Solomon – Pit to Pulpit 


Peter Abrikian – Feminine Justice 
Fabian Barracks – Ananda Alert 
Patrick Brown and Trevor Nairne – Straight Jacket 
Akeem Mignott and Brian Johnson – Behind the Pulpit 
Mikhail Solomon – Pit to Pulpit 
Greg Thames – Isaiah 
David Tulloch – Jesus Christ Superstar

The Louise M. Dunk Lifetime Achievement Award – Oliver Samuels 

>> Winners will be announced on Feb. 25.

2020 GRAMMY AWARDS: Koffee, Third World among contenders for Best Reggae Album

REGGAE GOLD: The five nominated albums represent a mix of veterans and a sensational newcomer.

IS Koffee the frontrunner to cop the golden gramophone for Best Reggae Album at this weekend’s Grammy Awards ceremony? The voting academy was so impressed with the writing and production on her five-track EP, Rapture (only sixteen minutes long), that it earned a place among this year’s crop of nominees, which were announced back in November.

A Billboard chart-topper, Rapture was released last March by Columbia Records and features such crowd-pleasing jams as “Toast,” “Throne” and the infectious title track.

Also nominated this year: the enduring roots-rockin’ band Third World (for their latest offering More Work to Be Done), Sly & Robbie and Roots Radics (The Final Battle: Sly & Robbie vs. Roots Radics), Steel Pulse (Mass Manipulation) and Julian Marley (As I Am). 

Meanwhile, hip-hop sensation Lizzo leads the overall pack with eight nominations, including bids for Record of the Year, Album of the Year and Best New Artist. The other top nominees include pop-rock bad girl Billy Eilish, R&B phenom H.E.R and bonafide breakout star Lil Nas X, whose smash “Old Town Road” (with Billy Ray Cyrus) was one of the most streamed singles of 2019. 

The Grammy trophies, honoring the best in music on the industry’s biggest night, will be handed out during a star-studded ceremony, chock-full of performances, at the Staples Centre in Los Angeles, on Sunday, Jan. 26. The telecast will be broadcast live on CBS.

>> For the full list of nominees, visit

Thursday, 23 January 2020

NEWS FEED: The death of Barry Moncrieffe CD / Sagicor/Sigma Run set for Feb. 16 / The latest on the Edna Manley College saga

TRUE ORIGINAL: Legendary dancer and former Artistic Director of the National Dance Theatre Company (NDTC) Barry Moncrieffe has died. Moncrieffe passed away last weekend after losing his battle with cancer. He was 78. His successor at the NDTC, Marlon Simms, hails him as an incomparable contributor to the world of Caribbean dance and creative expression. “As a mentor and quintessential teacher, his authority and scope of influence extended far beyond the NDTC,” Simms says. “He was a masterful gentle giant who created significant and lasting impact on the entire Jamaican dance community.” Moncrieffe, who also earned renown as a couture designer who has exhibited work at Caribbean Fashion Week (CFW) and other platforms, received the National Order of Distinction (in the rank of Commander) from the Jamaican government in 2012. 

CROWD SUPPORT: Come Sunday, February 16, the Sagicor Group hopes to announce that they have raised upwards of $55 million, proceeds from the 2020 Sagicor/Sigma 5K Run, to donate to charity. This year’s three main beneficiaries are the Clifton Boys Home (Manchester), the Special Care Nursery of the Bustamante Hospital for Children (Kingston) and the Savanna-La-Mar Hospital’s Maternity and Newborn Unit (Westmoreland). “Last year, we received $52 million, and so this year we are hoping for $55 million because we try to step it up a little every year,” says Sagicor Foundation Chairman, R. Danny Williams. “With these funds we hope to raise, we will procure much-needed medical equipment for [these facilities] and [for] rebuilding efforts at the Clifton Boys’ Home.” Registration for participation in the 2020 run closes on January 31. 

>> Quote Me! 
“It is likely that the principal will remain on leave, and the process is expected to be (completed). Within two months, we will have it completed.” – Minister Karl Samuda, giving an update on the probe into allegations of sexual harassment and cover-up at the Edna Manley College

ARTIST SPOTLIGHT: Talented rising star Dacoda Mitchell is theatre’s new ‘it’ girl

STAR QUALITY: “I like when a get a job and I deliver,” says Mitchell, 34.

YEARS from now when Dacoda Mitchell looks back on her acting career she can boast that she was a member of the cast that gave the final performance inside New Kingston’s popular Phoenix Theatre. A few weeks ago, Mitchell inhabited the pivotal role of Sister Grace in David Tulloch’s remount of Prayer Partner, which played to exuberant audiences for two weekends before bringing the curtains down on the playhouse for the final time in its years-long history.

For Mitchell, the moment marks a bonafide résumé highlight, but it’s hardly a cause for celebration when one considers the bigger picture. “It’s bittersweet because I’m happy that I got to be a part of the theatre’s legacy but, at the same time, I’m sad because as theatre practitioners we are losing a very important space,” she told TALLAWAH on closing night.

Mitchell, a Kingston Technical alumna, got her start in theatre years ago at the EXED Performing Arts College, going on to work with the LTM National Pantomime and such directors and filmmakers as the late Paul Beale, who cast her in his television series Joint Tenants, Domino Effect and The Student.

But it wasn’t until she scored a role in Dahlia Harris’ Country Wedding (2017) that Mitchell got properly noticed. The experience served as a launching pad, leading to parts in other stage hits like Trudy Bell’s Schampagne Popping, to which she brought a curious mix of the edgy and the daring as good-girl-gone-bad Meeka. 

“I like when a get a job, people entrust me with that job, and I deliver,” says the five-foot-eight actress, who has also done work with the UK’s Blue Mountain Theatre Company and also graced stages in North America. “That’s always been something that resonates with me.” 

And that philosophy extends to her day job as a manager at the Downtown Kingston-based Ribbiz Ocean Lounge. What’s the most fun part of that gig? “It’s entertainment and entertainment is my life,” says the 34-year-old, who loves dancing, teaching and emceeing events. Flashing a megawatt grin, she adds, “I like to see the patrons enjoying themselves.”

Tuesday, 21 January 2020

LIFE & STYLE: Glitzy launch for J’ca Rum Fest 2020 / More seafood, longer life / Fraser-Pryce’s triumphant weekend

>> That’s the Spirit: Sponsors, socialites gather to launch J’ca Rum Festival 
The East Lawns of St. Andrew’s historic-iconic Devon House was all abuzz last Wednesday evening as presenting sponsors J. Wray & Nephew, tourism officials, socialites and rum devotees gathered for the 2020 launch of the Jamaica Rum Festival (now in its second year), which takes place at Hope Gardens on Feb. 29 and March 1. Among the faces in the crowd (from top left): emcee Debbie Bissoon and master blender Joy Spence; entrepreneur Sadiki Bolt; actress Sakina Deer; Festival Director Valon Thorpe; JMEA president Richard Pandohie in conversation.

>> Seafood helps prevent colorectal cancer 
Salmon for dinner tonight! A study published in the Journal of Clinical Gastroenterology and Hepatology reveals that investigators found that eating between 3 ½ to 7 ounces of shellfish, lean fish of fatty fish per week noticeably reduces the odds of developing colorectal cancer. Fish is full of anti-inflammatory omega-3 fatty acids, which are known to help inhibit the growth of cancer cells. 

>> Fraser-Pryce hosts successful 3rd staging of 5K Run/Walk 
Mere hours after picking up her fourth Sportswoman of the Year trophy on Friday night, Shelly-Ann Fraser-Pryce was up at the crack of dawn Saturday morning to host the third staging of the Shelly-Ann Fraser-Pryce/Hugh Senior 5K Run/Walk at Emancipation Park in New Kingston, to raise much-needed funds for charity. The sprint queen was in high spirits at the event, wearing a sporty all-black ensemble, as she rubbed shoulders and posed for pictures with fans and race participants. Perennial contender Henry Thomas (UCT Steppaz) won the Men’s 5K in a time of 15 minutes and 54 seconds, while Jamdammers’ Jozanne Harris emerged champion among the women, clocking 22 minutes and 35 seconds. This year’s long list of sponsors included Grace, Duracell, Wata and Burger King.

AT THE MOVIES: Just Mercy offers compelling testimony of one man’s brave fight for justice

WORK TO BE DONE: Jordan and Foxx have a tough case on their hands.

IF there’s one thing Bryan Stevenson believes in it’s fighting injustice. His fascinating true story gets a compelling cinematic showcase in Just Mercy, in which Michael B. Jordan reveals yet another dimension to his acting chops, as a dramatic lead, portraying this ambitious and driven Harvard Law School grad, who is determined to get Johnny Dee McMillan (Jamie Foxx in an anguished performance) off death row and reunited with his family.

Set in late 1980s Alabama, the film (directed by Destin Daniel Cretton, from a screenplay based on Stevenson’s book) introduces viewers to a bright young lawyer and mama’s boy who decides to take on capital murder cases pro bono. It’s a move that perplexes and ruffles feathers. “Giving legal assistance is one thing, but putting convicted murderers back on the street is another,” he is sternly warned.

But Stevenson will not be deterred, convinced that McMillan, charged with the brutal murder of an eighteen-year-old woman, was convicted and put behind bars based largely on faulty testimony and the absence of hard evidence. 

With the help of a loyal and trusty assistant (played by Brie Larson), he zooms in on the McMillan case, leaving no stone unturned (spending hours with McMillan at the prison, interviewing reluctant witnesses and distraught relatives and friends, and combing through police records) to put together his case – even amidst police harassment and death threats. 

Depending on who you ask, Bryan Stevenson, who went on to win the case and reunite McMillan with his family, was either simply being fearless or stubborn as a mule. Truly, as Jordan’s performance attests, one doesn’t get the sense that he was trying to be a hero at the expense of these convicts. He just comes off as sincere, passionate and willing to go to war for a cause he strongly believes in. Tyrone’s Verdict: B+

Saturday, 18 January 2020

COUNTRY STRONG: ‘A more united, peace-loving nation is the only way forward’ – Bishop Conrad Pitkin

HEAL THE NATION: PM Andrew Holness, Bishop Pitkin, Dr. Peter Phillips, and Rev. Stanley Clarke join hands and minds in praying for Jamaica.

CUSTOS OF St. James, Bishop Conrad Pitkin, believes a primary contributing factor behind the country’s alarming crime and violence statistics is a deep-seated aversion to peaceful resolution of conflicts. 

“We have a profound lack of ability to find resolution to conflict. We have work to do. I appeal to each of us here and across Jamaica to commit ourselves to pursuing peace,” said Bishop Pitkin, who was delivering the keynote address at Thursday’s 40th renewal of the National Leadership Prayer Breakfast at the Jamaica Pegasus Hotel in New Kingston.

This year’s theme is “Pursuing the Power of Peace.”

“Let us be willing to resolve our differences through mediation and not through guns and other weapons of violence. There’s been too much bloodshed in this land. It must be stopped,” he told his rapt audience. “We must stop pointing fingers and say It must begin with me… This should be a personal commitment.” 

According to Pitkin (who also serves as Chairman of the Jamaica Council of Churches umbrella group), Jamaica has a terrible history of hostility and political tribalism, and it has done significant damage to the social fabric, contributing to the widespread corruption and breakdown of family life. “We have come a long way,” he said. “We have to address these challenges and overcome them. Only then can Jamaica become the place of choice to live, to work, to raise families and do business.” 

The huge role our nation’s leaders have to play cannot be understated. “We must put the interest of the nation above personal and partisan interests for the collective good,” Bishop Pitkin emphasized. Governor General Sir Patrick Allen, PM Andrew Holness, Paula Llewellyn and Olivia ‘Babsy’ Grange were among those in attendance. 

Now in its fourth decade, the NLPB is an annual gathering of Jamaica’s political leaders and the top brass of the religious community with the core purpose of fostering greater unity across the nation.