RISING SON: Sheldon Shepherd’s baby brother Rashiem has been getting his feet wet in the world of theatre production, seemingly intent on making his mark while keeping pace with his famous sibling, leader of the acclaimed Nomaddz crew. This weekend sees the premiere of Rashiem’s new play Undercover Craziness (his third effort, he tells TALLAWAH) that mixes slapstick comedy with a slice of drama and social commentary, holding up a mirror to the status quo in Jamaica. A mild-mannered twentysomething, who sports stylish dreadlocks, Rashiem Shepherd strikes me as a promising and ambitious, if a tad unassuming, young man who we will be hearing a lot from in the future. Undercover Craziness, playing in the newly opened “second theatre” at Haining Road’s Phoenix Theatre, features a cast of energetic youngsters, led by Kadeem Wilson and Everaldo Creary.
BORN TO TEACH: In case you were wondering why you haven’t seen or heard from Barbara Blake-Hannah in what feels like ages, the good lady has been busy doing what she does best: sharing the knowledge. On Friday night, we ran into her talented son Makonnen (who has certainly packed on the pounds since we saw him last) at Redbones (Richie Spice and Dre Island were in concert), and he told us that Blake-Hannah recently returned home from lecturing at universities in North America. As you all know, Blake-Hannah, the workhorse behind the now-defunct Reggae Film Festival, is an authority on all things Rastafarian, a bestselling author, newspaper columnist and a retired BBC journalist, one of the first Blacks to do it big in the UK. “She was away for a while, but she’s back home now getting some rest,” said Makonnen, who also dabbles in film and music. A woman of surprises and a longtime friend of TALLAWAH, we can’t wait to see what Barbara Blake-Hannah will do next.