Monday, 30 November 2015

A NEW CHAPTER: Jamaica’s Small Business Association turns 40, Simpson-Miller pledges solid support

WORK IN PROGRESS: The PM hailed the SBAJ's continued efforts as "relentless advocacy on behalf of a vital sector."

For the Small Business Association of Jamaica (SBAJ), observing its 40th anniversary this year, the economic growth of the country goes hand in hand with the growth of the small business sector. Prime Minister Portia Simpson Miller agrees. Addressing the SBAJ’s anniversary banquet on Saturday night at the Jamaica Pegasus’ Talk of the Town Suite, PM Simpson-Miller pledged her government’s unwavering support to boost the noble efforts of the island’s micro and small business operators.

“The small business sector is the real engine of growth and development in Jamaica, and so my government remains very supportive of this sector. We will continue to provide opportunities for growth and development and to build the capacity of the sector.”

Citing some statistics during her presentation, Simpson Miller said the small business sector accounts for nearly 80 percent of the country’s employed labour force. “Our intention has always been for creative and hardworking business operators to be profitable, and as such we encourage you to focus on honest, diligent work and wise investments.”

Promised government support aside, the prime minister challenged local small biz proprietors to pursue investments that will aid in their survival. “The sustainability of the small business is linked to the ability to attract long-term investment,” she observed. “Members of the sector will have to take a hard look at how ready they are for global competitiveness.”

Even as she empowered and challenged her audience, the prime minister seized the opportunity to pay tribute to her administration and its achievements on the economic front. “As a government, we have made the right choices for the economy and the growth of local businesses. We have some way to go, but we are heading in the right direction. Going forward, my government intends to improve on these gains.”

As for the national contribution of the SBAJ over the course of the last four decades, PM Simpson Miller hailed the association’s work as “relentless advocacy on behalf of [a] vital sector.”

SBAJ president Hugh Johnson, meanwhile, says increased support from the Simpson Miller government would aid tremendously their mission to step up this advocacy. “We noticed last week that the prime minister didn’t want to fly the gate on a certain occasion. The prime minister knows best. But we are asking her to fly the gate on the small business sector to provide tangible support to complete the cycle of Independence,” Johnson noted. “We are prepared to partner with the government. If we are going to grow as a country, we have to take care of the small business sector.” 

Saturday’s anniversary banquet marked the culmination of a week of activities to celebrate the SBAJ turning 40. The celebrations were held under the theme “Jamaica positioning itself in the global market.”

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Saturday, 28 November 2015

THE BUZZ REPORT (11/28): What’s new, what’s next, what’s trending in Jamaican pop culture

Where do Usain Bolt and Shelly-Ann Fraser-Pryce find adequate space to store all those plaques, trophies and medals? The sprinting aces continued their fierce winning streak this week, announced as top honorees, unsurprisingly, at the 2015 Caribbean Sports Awards, for Male and Female Athlete of the Year respectively. With the Rio Olympics looming large on the horizon – not to mention the numerous Diamond League meets and other track events in the run-up to the Games – we predict that they’ll be swimming in lots more medals, like record-smashing compatriot Alia Atkinson, who continues to shake things up in women’s swimming. Meanwhile, kudos are due to young Danielle Williams for copping Female Rising Star honours at the awards, which are facilitated annually by the Caribbean Sports Journalists Association….. Still on the track, reports have surfaced that the world’s greatest living sprint coach, Glen Mills, is about to serve his final year as Director of Boys & Girls Champs, while veteran sprinter-turned sports administrator Michael Frater has been appointed to the IAAF Athletes Commission to serve until 2019….. Sadly, Jamaica Jazz & Blues 2016 has been cancelled but, on the upside, Kingston Music Week is about to rock the capital all of next week,
with a host of top-flight reggae stars confirmed to headline concerts from Bull Bay to Redbones. While the likes of Richie Spice will grace the stage at New Kingston’s Café Delite (Dec. 3), One Third will do their thing at Redbones on Dec. 4 and Raging Fyah and an army of conscious reggae hitmakers will draw large crowds to the Wickie Wackie Festival on Dec. 5 and 6….. A brilliant move that will see them serving a larger chunk of the tourist market, the owners of the Spanish Court Hotel are opening a brand-new branch in the Second City in December, just in time for the height of the winter tourist season, which could pull in record numbers, we hear….. And speaking of movements, after getting her feet wet in broadcasting at Love FM, the charming and talented Basillia Barnaby-Cuffe has brought a breath of fresh air to the NCU FM airwaves. This phase is just the beginning for Basillia, and we expect big things from her in the
years to come….. These days there is no shortage of inspiring young achievers who are making their presence felt in the public spotlight. Everybody is talking about Rhodes Scholar Sherona Forrester and Manning Cup star Alex Marshall (above right), the subject of a kind of adulation we haven’t witnessed since Michael O’Hara and Jaheel Hyde burst onto the scene a couple of years ago. But the future Reggae Boy is taking it all in stride. “I wouldn’t say I am above everybody else,” he recently told an interviewer, “but I just go out there and play with a lot of confidence and ask God for his guidance and protection, and smile and have fun.”….. One who is certainly having tonnes of fun as we speak is our girl in China, Sanneta Myrie, who has that whole Miss Congeniality thing going on. We absolutely love the photo-ops she’s been displaying via social media, allowing us all to share in her Miss World journey, as the countdown to Dec. 19 heats up. From bonding with her fellow queens to addressing the recent opening ceremony, the young ambassador is a star in Sanya….. Chinese and Jamaican relations are about to enter a promising new chapter, with the appointment of the estimable Fay Pickersgill as the new Jamaican Ambassador to China, replacing Ralph Thomas, who succeeded Stephen Vasciannie as our man in Washington….. And, finally, heartiest congrats to Miss Nickashie Hardware (York Castle High), the 2015/16 LASCO Teacher of the Year and Allman Town Primary’s Kandi-Lee Crooks, the Principal of the Year. For devoted teachers everywhere, the work continues. Stay tuned.

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Friday, 27 November 2015

FLICK OF THE WEEK: 'Mockingjay Part 2' delivers solid, action-packed finale to The Hunger Games

ON A MISSION: Katniss (foreground) and her fellow soldiers prepare for war.

The Hunger Games: Mockingjay Part 2 
Director: Francis Lawrence 
Cast: Jennifer Lawrence, Liam Hemsworth, Josh Hutcherson, Donald Sutherland and Julianne Moore 
Running Time: 2hrs 16mins 
Overall rating: B+ 

If one were to sum up the latest instalment of the blockbuster franchise The Hunger Games - Mockingjay Part 2 - in five words or less, it would probably read something like “Katniss Everdeen has had enough!” Indeed, the action-packed, Francis Lawrence-directed flick is a thrilling testament to the girl on fire’s defiance against a brutal regime that has held her people captive for far too long. Enthralled by her will-stop-at-nothing determination, resilience and fearless leadership in the face of insurmountable odds as she faces the fight of her life, you can’t help but root for her. 

At the same time, what makes this epic conclusion to the series (created by bestselling author Suzanne Collins) all the more enjoyable and compelling is the pull-out-all-the-stops approach that the game-makers have employed this time around to cut down Katniss and co. What plays out is an occasionally moving, frequently heart-pounding battle to the finish. 

Even so, our nimble heroine and her fellow soldiers have their eyes squarely fixed on their prize: storming the Capitol to bring an end to the reign of terror of the ruthless President Snow (Donald Sutherland, all steely stupor) and restoring a sense of dignified humanity to what’s left of the districts. “If we die,” one woman says, empowering her colleagues, “let it be for a cause and not a spectacle.” 

All in all, it’s bombastic stuff that lives up to expectations. As ever, Jennifer Lawrence is a riveting presence on-screen and she is solidly supported by the cast of usual suspects, led by Liam Hemsworth (Gale) and Josh Hutcherson as Peeta, whose mental well-being is cause for alarm and could put Katniss and the entire mission in jeopardy. Acting heavyweights Julianne Moore, Philip Seymour Hoffman, Elizabeth Banks, Woody Harrelson and Stanley Tucci all reprise the roles that seem to fit them so well, while a few faces from last time step up in a big way. 

But Katniss, our noble ‘mockingjay’ and a strong and inspiring young woman, is the firm anchor around whom the story and indeed the whole saga revolves – a brave soul whose tireless crusade can teach us all a thing or two about taking a stand against grave oppression and injustice.

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QUOTES OF THE WEEK: Mark Wignall’s JLP challenge + Marva Bernard looks back + Andrew Holness on visionary leadership, and more

“Government requires a vision, which the PNP does not have. Government requires decisiveness, structured and articulated in a way that everyone understands it and has to be sold. Under a JLP government you will see advocacy in leadership in the right direction. You will also have inclusion, which is very important for the Jamaican people.” – Opposition Leader Andrew Holness on why Jamaicans should vote for his JLP team to form the next government

“With the JLP now jumping up and prancing again, that party has not presented the potential electors with any tangible and believable solutions to the upsurge in violent crime, the perennial breakdown in the public health system, funding education beyond political gimmickry and creating jobs for school-leavers.” – Sunday Gleaner columnist Mark Wignall challenging the Jamaica Labour Party to step up the work on the campaign trail

“While we are disappointed to not be back for 2016, rest assured that we really tried to make 2016 a reality. However, things just did not work out. Therefore, instead of trying to push and stage a festival that would be of our usual standard, we decided to postpone it. In the lead-up to our 20th anniversary [in 2017], we are planning a number of teaser events and one-night-only concerts that you are going to love.” – Jamaica Jazz & Blues Festival organizers issuing a statement announcing the cancellation of next year’s staging

“It is not enough to say that there is no money or to engage in our favourite pastime of finding scapegoats for everything that goes wrong. You see, when we find a scapegoat it lets us off the hook. It is the same old story, and finding someone to blame, which is a lot easier than finding what is wrong with the system and taking the hard decisions that must be taken to gain the advantage of improvement.” – Noted educator and social entrepreneur Dr. Blossom O’Meally-Nelson reflecting on the epic struggle to improve Jamaica’s health sector

“There ought to be full consideration of the educational needs of likely population increase, and it is done systematically or it has not been done. I am insisting now that we should comply with that to make sure that we don’t have any more crisis situations.” – Education minister Rev. Ronald Thwaites discussing future infrastructural development locally and regionally to increase the capacity of schools
“We have built on what others that have gone before us left behind, and we helped to make netball a household game. The biggest disappointment was not being able to win a medal at the World Cup, but that’s sports, that’s life. But if you go for something and you do not succeed, you try and try again. I leave the sport knowing that I gave everything and more. I leave the sport knowing that I helped move it from one stage to the next.” – Former president Marva Bernard reflecting on her leadership of Netball Jamaica after 10 years

“Any country that’s going to advance and develop in a meaningful way must recognize and celebrate teachers. The Ministry of Education is certainly committed to removing the barriers, working with our colleagues across the sector and ensuring that we recognize and reward those who are excelling at the craft.” – Dr. Maurice Smith, newly appointed permanent secretary in the education ministry, championing the island’s hardworking educators

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Wednesday, 25 November 2015

TALKING FASHION: Designer Carlton Brown on growth, creative risks and why Mission Catwalk matters

RUNWAY READY: “I’m always thinking about the next collection, and I wouldn’t mind opening a store,” says Brown. Below, a sampling of his designs, and sharing the scene at the MC season 5 wrap party.

“The work starts now.” That’s the piece of advice Carlton Brown has for the three young male designers who topped the competition on this year’s Mission Catwalk (the All Stars edition), which climaxed with the airing of the final episode on Saturday night on TV-J. Twenty-seven year-old Bahamian rising star David Rolle was announced the winner.

Brown, a judge on the fashion reality series since its inception five years ago, says he expected at least two males (from the crop of 12 contenders) to make it to the grand finale, but he feels all three chaps – Rolle, Trinidad’s Ryan Chan and the Jamaican Renardo Lloyd – earned their places the old-fashioned way: through impressive creative imagination and putting in the long, exhausting hours. “You definitely saw where they improved week after week, so they earned it. And as judges we were all impressed with David’s collection. It was a unanimous decision,” Brown reflects, chatting with TALLAWAH at a Campari-sponsored wrap party at New Kingston’s stylish hot-spot @twentythree on Dominica Drive.

“For me, there has to be growth,” Brown says. “It’s like when I just started out. You evolve by taking risks and learning from the mistakes and the criticism.”

That’s why he believes a competition like Mission Catwalk is not only a terrific launching-pad for our young and emerging design talents; it represents a significant platform for the local and regional fashion industries. “Being a part of the show, what I’m most proud of is the fact that it’s consistent and the producers have been able to keep it going,” he says. “So I have to say big up to Keneea and her team for coming up with the idea and inviting us to be a part of it. It’s time-consuming and it involves a lot of sacrifices for us as judges, but we have a passion for it, a love for it, and we want it to be around for years to come.”
Carlton’s own personal fashion story is just as fascinating. After nearly two decades in the biz, he’s overcome the growing pains to establish himself as a bespoke tailor and an in-demand Jamaican menswear designer with a trusted brand that’s attracted an ever-increasing roster of clients at home and abroad. For Brown, the work never stops. To wit, on the previous night, he unveiled his latest set of menswear looks before a receptive crowd at the MoDA Collections in Kingston. Assembling a host of his celebrity friends (Neville Bell, Jeff Crossley, Kanhai Condison) and top male models to hit the runway, the collection represented Brown’s first in almost ten years.

“I just had a lot of other things doing,” he tells me of his break from the catwalk. “Sometimes it’s best to stop and re-evaluate yourself. Let others come along and then you come back fresh. You have to know what’s best for you at any particular point in time.” 

Sporting one of his sleek crimson-and-black designs (with that close-fitting trademark), Brown waxes optimistic about the future. “I’m always thinking about the next collection, and I wouldn’t mind opening a store,” says the fortysomething creative artist, who stands at about 5’6”. “But when you think about the cost factor in this economy, it’s way cheaper to just have a window in about two or three locations.”

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THE ACHIEVER: Wolmer’s star Javauni Garwood excels as sportsman and budding academic

ALL IN THE FAMILY: Garwood, with parents Sia and Anthony at the 2015 Courtney Walsh Awards at the Jamaica Pegasus.

If you ask Javauni Garwood what makes him happy he’ll immediately tell you about reaping the benefits of his hard work. “Doing exceptionally well in whatever I do, that’s what makes me very happy,” he reports. Suffice it to say, young Garwood is a very happy man. The athletic teenager, a Wolmer’s Boys standout, reaffirms what it means to be a relentless achiever. But what makes his case that much more interesting is the incredible series of triumphs he’s pulled off, in the fields of academic and sports, before he celebrated his seventeenth birthday.

For the last three seasons, Javauni has been a member of the Wolmer’s Boys Walker Cup, Manning Cup and Super Cup football teams. In 2010, he was a member of the school’s ISSA Under-14 cricket team that lifted the championship trophy. But that’s not all. His trophy case also contains silver and bronze medals earned at the World Karate Tournament in 2012 and 2015 respectively. On the academic front, Javauni has distinguished himself in the external examinations, with sterling passes in eight CSEC/CXC subjects and five at the CAPE level. And on the artistic side, he holds a bronze medal for dub poetry in the JCDC Festival of the Performing Arts. 

By his own admission, the fail-proof combination of time management, drive and self-awareness figures prominently in the pursuit of his goals. “It’s all about strategy. I like to study till late and wake up early. I know what I want and I work toward my goals,” says the senior prefect, whose super-sized passion for sports dates back to his days as an energetic tween at the Half Way Tree Primary School, where he was head boy. “I love the competitiveness of each sport, but football gives you the aggression and the fighting spirit to outdo everybody, and I use that in my schoolwork.” 

Unsurprisingly, his parents remain key sources of guidance. As Javauni points out, his mother Sia (a member of the NHT staff) and dad Anthony (a Corporate Area vice-principal) were intent on moulding a future leader. “They always pushed me, and when I did well in school they rewarded me for my achievements. And from then on, I started working harder,” he recalls. “I like being rewarded for hard work.”

In October, young Garwood received the most prestigious reward of his life so far when he was named the 2015 Courtney Walsh Award for Excellence Student Awardee (Male) during the annual ceremony at the Jamaica Pegasus. “I was surprised that I was even shortlisted for that kind of award,” he says now, “but when they called me I felt honoured to get that kind of recognition.”

Of course, he’s a huge admirer of the Jamaican cricket legend after who the award is named. “He has steered the path for young sports persons to follow in his footsteps,” he says of Walsh, who was also in attendance at the ceremony. Javauni is also a fan of the soccer greats Kaka and Lionel Messi and considers Dr. Ben Carson, author of Gifted Hands, the quintessential role model. As for the total high-school experience, he says it doesn’t get any better than Wolmer’s. “The school provides you with a mixture of everything and moulds you into a well-rounded individual,” he says. “It makes you prolific in academics and sports.”

In person, Javauni (who has several science-related career paths in mind) may appear somewhat reserved and unassuming, but he truly comes alive on the ball field, with skilful manoeuvres that show off his ability to command the spotlight and impress onlookers twice his age and older. “His future is bright,” shares Alex Thomas, a member of the Wolmer’s coaching staff, as Garwood and his teammates go through their paces and ball drills. “He’s a very disciplined kid on and off the field, always willing to train and put in the hard work.”

Those in Javauni’s support circle are working to get him a football scholarship to study at university overseas. That’s Javauni’s dream. Meetings have been held with various coaches and admissions officers, with the hope that a good deal can be worked out. In the meantime, the young sportsman, keeping his fingers crossed, remains focused on impressing his coaches on the field and getting impressive grades in the classroom. “I feel I’m going to get four ones,” he predicts, referring to next May’s CAPE, his final set of examinations. “The grades from last year were good, but they have motivated me to do better.”

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CULTURE VULTURE: Lignum Vitae awardees, Mission Catwalk stars, plus Don Wehby and Patrick Hylton

> A tale of two kings: Patrick Hylton and Don Wehby
When the Institute of Chartered Accountants of Jamaica (ICAJ) hosts its 2015 Golden Gala Banquet next month, under the distinguished patronage of Governor-General Sir Patrick Allen, one of the night’s highlights will be the presentation of the Distinguished Member Award to Don Wehby. The GraceKennedy CEO will be honoured for outstanding contributions to the accounting profession. The ceremony is set for December 3 at the Jamaica Pegasus in New Kingston. Meanwhile, NCB’s Patrick Hylton has been appointed Chairman of the Mona School of Business and Management at UWI’s Mona Campus. Hylton, the Group Managing Director of NCB Jamaica since 2004, is a member of the National Order of Distinction (Commander Class) and a past president of the Jamaica Bankers Association.

> Women writers dominate Lignum Vitae Literary Awards
The brainchild of the Jamaica Writers Society (JaWS), in partnership with the Jamaica Copyright Licensing Agency (Jamcopy), the Lignum Vitae Literary Awards made a welcome return to the local culture calendar, with an awards presentation honouring the most outstanding entrants from the 2015 crop of nominees – a batch of 43. The awards were split into three categories: the Una Marson Award (carrying a $500,000 purse), which went to Donna Hemans for her novel Tea by the Sea; the Vic Reid Award (valued at $250,000), won by Diana MaCaulay for her short story “Gone to Drift”; and the Jean DaCosta Award (also valued at $250,000), which went to Jennifer Morrison for her inspiring effort A Better Me, A Better You.

> Triple threat: Mission Catwalk Season 5 finalists joining forces?
What’s next for the designers who ruled the roost on the just-concluded season of the fashion reality series Mission Catwalk? As it turns out, the boys have been considering the possibility of pooling resources to do a 2016 fashion week, with a few of their friends brought into the mix. “The rest of the guys and I were talking about doing a fashion week hopefully next year, but we haven’t yet worked out the details. For now it’s just an idea we think would be cool to bring to reality,” Season 5 winner David Rolle (left) recently told TALLAWAH at Devon House. “We are like a family now, and I think Mission Catwalk will be bringing us together a lot in the future.”

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Monday, 23 November 2015

HAVING IT HER WAY: D’Angel talks about her first film role, handling the haters, and growing her brand

LADIES FIRST: The singer-actress bonding with the girls at Island Blo. Below, with son Marco Dean and On Stage's Winford Williams.

What do you want to know about the new and improved Michelle ‘D’Angel’ Downer? That she’s just now catching her breath after blazing concert stages on the North-American-based Demand Respect Tour – and is co-headlining the SunCity Radio College Invasion Tour? Or that she’s the brand ambassador for the city’s hottest new one-stop beauty shop Island Blo? Or that she just dropped the fashion-forward video for her bouncy new single “Wine Factory” on CVM’s On Stage? Maybe you want to hear about the experience of shooting her first movie role in New York for the gritty ensemble flick Jamaican Mafia, which is opening in Kingston this week.

Indeed, the multi-hyphenate entertainer (known for wearing multiple hats) has been a busy little lady, while balancing motherhood (son Marco is almost ten already) and a sizzling hot love life (she’ll offer no details) that keeps her giggling like a schoolgirl. On a crisp Friday morning, TALLAWAH sat down with the fresh-faced stunner (@DAngelMusic) at the Devon House Bakery to catch up on the hot topics trending in her universe and to find out how this budding mega-mogul, now in her mid-30s, is building her empire, living her life – and doing it her way.

TALLAWAH: We can’t wait to see you in action on the big screen. Tell us about the character you’re playing in Jamaican Mafia?
D’Angel: Robin is one of the girlfriends of a notorious gangster, played by Paul Campbell. She is seductive, very sexy. The kind of woman that those dons are into. She’s independent-minded. She does what we she wants; she gets what she wants. It’s a mafia movie, so she has a few tricks up her sleeve, but I can’t give away too much. You have to see it.

TALLAWAH: What’s the ideal character you’d like to portray on-screen on on-stage?
D’Angel: As long as I’m comfortable with the role, that’s cool with me. I consider myself a multifaceted entertainer and I would love to do more movies, but nothing intimate or risqué. Working on the movie was a wonderful experience and getting to work with a veteran like Paul Campbell was great because he gave me a few tips while we were on-set, and they really helped.

TALLAWAH: Why would you recommend that Jamaicans go out and support this new movie, Jamaican Mafia?
D’Angel: Because, first of all, it’s a Jamaican-based film showing some of the great local talent that we have here. And it’s a really good movie that touches on a lot of important issues. It’s very true-to-life and it teaches a lot.

TALLAWAH: You’ve done music, fashion, entrepreneurship, published a book and now you’re appearing in your first film. How do you feel about your evolution? 
D’Angel: I’ve definitely matured. I’m like fine wine; I get better with age. The older I get the more I raise my standards as a woman. My fanbase has gotten wider. Sometimes I meet fans as old as 70, and they come up to me and tell me how much they admire how I dealt with what I’ve been through. I hold my head up no matter what. So, in terms of my evolution, it’s both personal and professional. I’ve become a major brand.

TALLAWAH: There are those who say D’Angel’s best career moments are behind her. How do you respond?
D’Angel: As an artiste, you have to constantly reinvent yourself, and that’s what I’ve been doing. I’m constantly growing as a singer and as a deejay, so how can my best work be behind me? I’m never comfortable with where my music is, and I think it’s important to take a break sometimes, assess your career, and then come back fresh. I wasn’t missing from the scene; I was working on myself, travelling, touring and raising my son. I don’t have time for the naysayers and detractors. I’m focused on the fans and the people who want to see me reach that next level.

TALLAWAH: Is it still hard out there for women in the dancehall?
D’Angel: I think it’s getting easier, but the animosity among the females in the industry is not helping. I’m not into the drama and the passa passa because that doesn’t build me. And until that stops and we start supporting each other more, it will remain a male-dominated business. But withstanding that, it’s still a challenge being a female entertainer but you just have to take a stand and go for what you want. Lady Saw closed Dancehall Night [at Reggae Sum fest] this year, so women are taking over. We just have to unite.

TALLAWAH: In terms of longevity and achievement, who are some of the people whose lives or careers you’d like to emulate?
D’Angel: Anybody who I admire I want to surpass their level of achievement (Laughs). Beyoncé is such a hard worker; she tries to perfect her art. I watch her shows a lot to see what I can learn. I watch my local colleagues a lot as well because I am always trying to learn something new and grow as an artiste. I never get complacent. I never tell myself that I’ve reached. I’m still a work-in-progress.

TALLAWAH: You and Beenie Man have had a roller-coaster relationship for years. Where do things currently stand between the two of you?
D’Angel: We have to be cool. He’s my co-worker; he’s my son’s father. The focus is really our son, Marco Dean. So we maintain a cordial relationship, and I encourage parents in similar situations to try and at least have a cordial relationship because at the end of the day, the child’s needs have to come first. Its’ challenging but you do your best to be great parents for your child.

TALLAWAH: Are you dating?
D’Angel: Ha ha. I’m happy. Very much. And that’s the important thing.

TALLAWAH: Looking ahead, what do you want out of life?
D’Angel: I want to someday have my own talk show. I want to release my autobiography, Stronger, so that generations to come can read it and be inspired. And basically just continue my entrepreneurial endeavours and become Marco Dean’s manager. He’s displaying so much talent. I want to expand my career and grow my brand. Brand D’Angel will definitely be going into merchandizing and online shopping.

TALLAWAH: How would you describe you current state of being?
D’Angel: I feel stress-free (Laughs). I’m a full-time mother, but I have a great support team, so I just do what I have to do. I space myself. Even when I feel overwhelmed, I have to keep going. I take my vitamins, but it’s the blessings of God that’s giving me strength. 

> Jamaican Mafia opens at the Carib 5 Cinema in Kingston this Thursday.

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Saturday, 21 November 2015

GROUP DYNAMICS: Highlights from MoDA Business Seminar + Flow Super Cup Finale + Schools’ Drama Fest, and more

WINNING STREAK: Nov. 12, Kingston. For the fourth year in a row, Ardenne High took home the highly coveted Marcus Garvey Award for Excellence at the National Performing arts Awards ceremony held at the Institute of Jamaica’s lecture theatre in downtown Kingston. Executive Director of the Jamaica Cultural Development Commission (JCDC), Delroy Gordon, made the trophy presentation to co-curricular coordinator Marsha Dennis-Lawrence (left) and drama teacher Suzanne Beadle. Ardenne was also a top-seven school in the inaugural Shakespeare School’s Championship, which culminated in September. (Photo: JCDC)

EYES ON THE PRIZE: Nov. 12, Trinidad. As it turns out, Jamaican audiences are not the only ones bowled over by playwright Aston Cooke’s thrilling musical drama Jonkanoo Jamboree. Jamaica’s young contingent (directed by Danar Royal) to the 2015 Schools’ Drama festival in the twin-island republic were a hit with the judges and audience, as the swept the competition snagging all the major awards, including Best Production, Best Music and Best Choreography. The Jamaicans, who also picked up a few acting prizes, were sponsored by the CHASE Fund. (Photo: Jamaica Youth Theatre)

GAME FACES: Nov. 14, Kingston. Last weekend’s exhilarating Flow Super Cup grand finale, which rocked the National Stadium, brought out tonnes of supporters for contenders Jamaica College and eventual victors St. George’s College. We hear that the loudest cheers came from principals Margaret Campbell (of George’s) and Ruel Reid (of JC), both seen here sharing a candid with Flow’s Garry Sinclair (left). (Photo: Live Stush)

SHOW STOPPERS: Nov. 16, United States. The lively Caribbean musical Flambeaux was the toast of the recent Audelco Awards, which recognizes outstanding work in the theatrical arts in and around the New York community. Multitalented Jamaican actor and singer Andrew Clarke (second right), who has won numerous awards at the World Championships of the Performing arts, led a string Jamaican presence in the production, which was staged in September. (Photo: Jeff Anderson-Gunter)

STYLE & SUBSTANCE: Nov. 19, Kingston. The business side of the fashion industry and opportunities for industry people were the main points of discourse as Jampro hosted the 2015 MoDA Business Seminar at their Braemar Avenue/Trafalgar Road offices in the capital on Thursday. The seminar was very well-attended. Here, MoDA conceptualizer and chief organizer Kerry-Ann Clarke (third left) shares lend time with a handful of the presenters and audience members who supported the event. (Photo: Skkan Media)

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Friday, 20 November 2015

QUOTES OF THE WEEK: Paula Daley-Morris steps up + Donna Parchment makes history + Kelly Tomblin speaks out + PM Simpson-Miller keep ‘em guessing

“We have been taking a very professional approach to transition. We have the services of a change management company, and we are looking into the organization to see how we have been doing things. We can’t make wholesale changes. There has to be a process, and we are trying to understand where we are today as a body. I want to leave the association in good standing. I want to leave a structure that is good, so the company can develop.” – Newly installed President of Netball Jamaica, Paula Daley-Morris, outlining the vision she has for leading the sporting body into a successful new era

“We have nothing to be ashamed of, and I think we did exceptionally well. It is unfortunate what took place in respect of the deaths of the neonates. But it is something that takes place regularly in conditions such as those. The technical officers and medical persons tried their best to save those who could have been saved. It had nothing to do with the stewardship of the board.” – Outgoing chairman of the Western Regional Health Authority, Calvin G. Brown, defending his stewardship of the board and the efforts of staff at the Cornwall Regional Hospital

“I intend to have my eyes wide open; this is not a time for naiveté, nor is it a time to be so puffed up that you are judgmental or lose sight of the genuine ebb and flow of the political process. I will try to ensure that where laws are at risk of being broken, where conventions and rules are at risk of being ignored, and where is likely to occur, that as a far as possible I play a preventive and corrective role.” – Donna Parchment Brown in response to creating history as Jamaica’s first appointed female political ombudsman and the fourth ombudsman to hold office since Independence

“Crime cannot be tackled in Jamaica without a holistic, integrated approach – precisely the kind of approach being taken by [Peter] Bunting today. Crime fighting is more that policing, though hard policing is necessary and needed at this time. For us to successfully tame the crime monster we have to take the precise approach that Bunting is taking. Bunting is on the right track.” – Sunday Gleaner columnist Ian Boyne reflecting on the security minister’s “security surge” in response to Jamaica’s spiralling crime-and-violence rate

“The departure of Dr. Fenton Ferguson from the Ministry of Health should not be the end of the dialogue on health care. This should be the beginning of a plan of action to fix the many deficits pointed out in the August audit. And when the emotions die down and the lynch mob dispersed, we need to look objectively at what the Ministry of Health accomplished of failed to accomplish from 2011 to 2015.’ – Prof. Basil Wilson assessing the state of the country’s health sector in the wake of Dr. Ferguson’s departure as Minister of Health

“I think JPS is just getting started. We have 1700 of the most intelligent, creative people I have ever met. We are looking at storage and how we can combine that with solar. We are going out everywhere, making sure we are best in class. So JPS is, I wouldn’t want to say just getting started, but we really are at our foundation level. We [have] a vision that sees us doing a lot more and a lot more innovation, with a lot more different people.” – President & CEO of the Jamaica Public Service, Kelly Tomblin, responding to complaints that the light and power company has been dipping into the solar energy sector

“It is always important for leaders to identify the right time to call an election, and that’s exactly what I am doing. My Almighty is my maker and my master, and anytime I get the urge I’ll know it is the right time to do so.” – Prime Minister Portia Simpson-Miller keeping Jamaicans in suspense as the countdown to the 2015 General Elections intensifies

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Wednesday, 18 November 2015

THE BUZZ REPORT (11/17): What’s new, what’s next, what’s trending in Jamaican pop culture

It doesn’t happen often enough but, by all indications, Jamaican gospel is having a moment. On the heels of Junior Tucker launching his new Christian ministry True Word & Worship at the New Kingston Shopping Centre, and his latest album, Jesus Famous, the can’t-stop-won’t-stop Tommy Cowan and Carlene Davis, two of Junior’s biggest supporters, headed across the waters last weekend for the 2015 renewal of Haiti Fun In the Son, which we look forward to hearing all about in the coming days….. As we speak, DJ Nicholas and the On the Shout crew are gearing up for a rousing Caribbean Gospel Escape, which promises to bring family fun and feel-good festivities galore to the Ranny Williams Entertainment Centre on Nov. 28. Not to be outshone, Papa San and the Rescue
Package Foundation are bringing back Liberation but instead of returning to Jamaica College’s Karl Hendrickson Auditorium, the rag-waving frenzy will unfold in the grounds of St. Andre High, on December 5….. Kevin Downswell (above, centre) a man who’s been having a swell years, is among the headline acts who will bring the house down at Liberation. And to kick off 2016 just right, we hear the crowd-pleaser will also bring his brand of spirit-lifting praise and worship to Shaggy & Friends at Jamaica House on January 2….. and speaking of that highly anticipated mega-jam, the rest of the performance lineup remains shrouded in secret but members of the Diaspora can rejoice that at least two hours of the show will be beamed live, thanks to a partnership with iHeartRadio, whose representatives were in attendance at the recent launch at the Bustamante Hospital….. Over in the film world, while countless local fans are still reeling from the news that Shottas 2 won’t see the light of day, some are anxiously awaiting
the premiere of Jamaican Mafia, a gritty gangster flick whose producers Yaad Boyz Filmz won their battle to have it premiere at Carib Cinema, red carpet and all. Opening Nov. 27, the movie features performances by the likes of veteran actor Paul Campbell, Mykal Fox and dancehall’s own D’Angel, whom we bumped into at Sunday’s glitzy Mission Catwalk shinding at Devon House, looking like a tall glass of water….. And while we’re on the subject of leading ladies rocking the boat, Safia Cooper will take over as CEO of the Pulse empire when her legendary dad Kingsley Cooper (above, left) steps down in January, while the unflappable Romae Gordon (long-serving Fashion Director) is being promoted to the Board of Directors….. Hearty kudos and best wishes are also in order for James Moss-Solomon, (above, right) who has been appointed Chairman of the University Hospital, in the wake of all that unpleasant business with the ‘dead babies’. If there’s anyone who can usher in a brand new day at UHWI, James is the man for the job….. And, finally, having packed a very cinematic wardrobe (which she previewed for the press at the Spanish Court Hotel on Monday), Sanneta Myrie is off to China to take on the world. “I’m feeling confident. I’m thrilled,” our November cover girl says of her preparations thus far. “I feel like we’re representing the true Jamaica.” Stay tuned…..

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