Sunday, 13 March 2011

‘HEAD’ OF THE CLASS: Triple threat rising star Yuri Stewart poised for impressive success

THE ARTIST AS A YOUNG MAN: Stewart brings his fervent entrepreneurial spirit to the arts.

Already making a name for himself as a recording artist, actor (Candy Shop) and entrepreneur, Yuri Stewart (whose mixtape The Head Cornerstone is a hot commodity on radio and the streets) is about to make even more noise with an exciting variety of art-based initiatives this year. Whether organizing his upcoming charity concert to benefit kids living with HIV/AIDS, drafting designs for a T-shirt line or working on his first short film (Faith, Anger and Pain), the 20-plus-year-old seems to pack a ton of effort into the project to bolster not only its appeal but impact.

As a rising actor, poet and overall performer, what do you bring to the performing arts?
As a rising actor and creative artist I bring a whole new level of innovation to the performing arts. Yuri Stewart is not just an actor but also entertainer, performer, writer, entrepreneur and promoter. I create opportunities not just for myself but the entertainment industry as a whole. My company Talent Marketing and Event discover talents, groom and market them so that they can capitalize on their natural value.

Speaking of the arts, what do you think of the current state of the entertainment/culture landscape locally?
I think there is a serious concern for entertainment and culture in Jamaica at the moment. Firstly, there is not enough attention being paid to mining the value of our entertainment industry and creating more opportunities for our young people. Jamaica lacks the structure to capitalize and create opportunities. The serious concern is in both the performing arts and culture as there is the “water down” of a lot of the genres of music, including reggae and specifically dancehall. Even the “water down” is based on the weaknesses of the system to regulate and create and maintain standards for artistes.

Bob Marley for National Hero? What is your take on this burning issue?
While I think Bob Marley has contributed to the heights of National Hero he should not be and should be recognized on that level. I do not support him being a symbol on money and of the same system he fought to free his people from. Bob Marley should be recognized but not with the trappings that come with National Hero, such as his image being used on money, etc. His recognition should be the general acceptance of his contribution to the people.

Who are the icons who inspire you?
The icons who inspire me are Bob Marley, Sizzla Kalonji, Buju Banton and Ezekiel Edwards, my grandfather.

Do you believe that fate plays a role in your life?
Fate is the subconscious end-product of thoughts which manifest through emotions, such as fear etc. So fate is a significant factor in showing the individual lessons of an outcome, but thoughts and actions control one’s destiny. So a man thinkest so is he, or so he becomes. So the power really lies in the individual hand if he realizes it, and patience is a virtue. Jah must be the individual’s guide.

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