Wednesday, 30 January 2013

REAL TALK: Rodney Campbell sounds off on JN Vibe, Michelle Obama, and the state of modern dancehall

MATTER OF FACT: Campbell accepting at the 2010 Actor Boy Awards in Kingston.

Opinionated, charismatic, and seriously well-versed in the ways of the world, Rodney Campbell is an ideal choice to sit on the panel of any talk show that could make ample use of his many talents. So it’s not the least bit surprising that he’s been tapped by the producers of JN Vibe to spice up the four-member cast with his trademark sense of humour and sly wit. (ZJ Sparks, Kaysia Johnson and George Davis are his co-hosts.) TALLAWAH rang up the superbusy multitasker to get some dish about the show’s brand-new season, and got much, much more: 

TALLAWAH: What sets JN Vibe apart from the influx of local television talk shows currently jockeying to be number one in the ratings and in the hearts of viewers? 
Campbell: It might sound clich├ęd but the show brings a new kind of atmosphere to television that we always seem to see captured in other parts of the world. And the truth is we decided to break down the stereotypes and push the boundaries, but more than anything else to offer true entertainment: to inform, entertain, and bring back the whole issue of what TV is supposed to be really all about. And given the variety of subjects and the diverse personalities put together as hosts, the product brings a lot to the table. 

In one of the previews, you can be heard striking a sort of comparison between the respective hairstyles of Michelle Obama and Portia Simpson-Miller, as ‘bang’ versus ‘bangarang’. Hilarious! 
That’s what the show is about: sharing jokes and making plays on everything. And truth be told one of the dresses that Michelle Obama was wearing [at the Inauguration] looked very good (Laughs). Honestly, I don’t think there is another television show in Jamaica that is going to capture the essence and flavour of real talk TV mixed with the combination of powerful hosts that we have managed to put together. The production team did a wonderful job in putting together the four of us. Quite diverse in personality and appearance and at the same time we are still very much focused on our drive to provide a first-class product. And so far the feedback has been overwhelming. And we look forward to really kicking ass. 

Hot topic alert! So what did you make of the whole Popcaan/Ryno fiasco at Sting last December? 
Personally, I think that when it comes to Sting, one can always expect to see little things happening on the stage. But where Ryno is concerned, I could understand the possibility of his presence on the stage. But as for Popcaan, I can’t understand how you want to push a man off the stage and you screechy up behind him, look left and right, and then bounce the man with your shoulder. It was like a wifey and matey kind of thing, like when a selector in the dance say ‘Bounce a gal ’cause she nuh hot like you. (Laughs). Dancehall has come a far, far way, it’s on a continuum, and it’s taking yet another turn, but I don’t know where artistes like Ryno and Popcaan are going to fall in the mix. 

So who in dancehall would get your vote for 2012’s Entertainer of the Year? 
I have to give credit to Bounty Killer for not just staying relevant, but for also coming up against some strong young turks and still pretty much come out on top. So I have to big him up for being that long-standing epitome of dancehall. And I think it’s fair to single out Chronixx as the biggest new star, but this year I’m looking forward to seeing what he’s really all about.

>> Launch Report: JN Vibe aims to re-define local talk TV

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