Friday, 29 December 2017

CULTURE VULTURE: National Gallery mounts “Portraits in Dialogue”/“Engaging Abstraction” + Holgate follows up Garvey musical with Forbidden Fruit + Glacia Robinson, JC Lodge among acts for Rebel Salute

FESTIVAL: You never know which surprise acts will appear on the bill for Rebel Salute, the annual two-day festival , which kicks off the music calendar with a jolt of euphoric roots-reggae merriment. For this year’s staging (the 25th anniversary staging), gospel stalwart Glacia Robinson is among the top acts co-headlining the event, set for January 12 and 13 at Grizzly’s Plantation in St. Ann. Robinson is joined on the lineup by fellow seasoned songstress JC Lodge for the festival’s opening night. Jesse Royal, Third World, Richie Spice, Agent Sasco (among others) are also set to grace the stage. On the 13th, the likes of Freddie McGregor, I-Octane, Sanchez, I-Wayne, Romain Virgo and Queen Ifrica will perform for the patrons who are expected to turn out in their hundreds. Visit for details. 

EXHIBITION: A new art show within the hallowed walls of the National Gallery of Jamaica is always cause for some rejoicing. On the heels of the Annabella & Peter Proudlock Collection and ‘We Have Met Before,’ this season brings “Portraits in Dialogue” and “Engaging Abstraction”, currently on view at the downtown Kingston-based art space. The displays will form the centrepiece of this Sunday’s ‘Last Sundays’ presentation (11am to 4pm) at the gallery – the final one for the year. Free admission and free guided tours. The Nexus Performing Arts Company will give a performance starting at 1:30pm. For more information call 922-1561.

MUSICAL THEATRE: Prolific playwright Michael Holgate continues to add to his impressive body of work. After last season’s showstopper Garvey: The Musical, the writer-director turned his gaze to present-day socio-economic woes and youthful angst mixed with archetypal star-crossed lovers motif in crafting Forbidden Fruit (with co-writer Trudy Bell). The musical production, performed by a sizeable cast (including Ashé members), recently played to strong reactions at the Courtleigh Auditorium in New Kingston, under the auspices of Fi Wi Jamaica in partnership with USAID. Along with Bell, Holgate’s creative team included musical composer Mikey Bennett, costume designer Conroy Wilson, choreographer Patrick Earle, communications consultant Fabian Thomas and performance coach Philip Clarke. No word yet if the production will get a lengthier run to benefit those theatregoers who missed it at the Courtleigh.

NEWS & NOTES: Business registration goes online in March + Approx. 1,000 youth to get ICT training and jobs + Mark Wignall on the mounting pressure facing Holness

DIGITAL AGE: Starting January 2018, the Universal Service Fund (USF) will be engaging approximately 1,000 youngsters for information communication technology (ICT) training and employment for a year-long period. Science & Technology Minister Dr. Andrew Wheatley, addressing the recent launch at the Knutsford Court Hotel in New Kingston, said the technology advancement programme will provide a golden opportunity for unattached youth, as well as high-school, college and university graduates and others aged 18-35 years. “We need to ensure that as part of the government’s general thrust to build-out a knowledge-based digital society that we develop the level of competence in our young people to embrace and capitalize on opportunities,” he said. The technology advancement programme will utilize community access points set up by the USF across the island. Participants will receive training and employment in digitization, data collection and proofreading, among other areas. 

ELECTRONIC COMMERCE: The act of registering your new company is now at your fingertips. As of March 2018, Jamaicans at home and abroad will be able to register their businesses online with the Companies Office of Jamaica (COJ). Industry minister Karl Samuda says the COJ will be putting the necessary systems in place to facilitate the initiative. The COJ is responsible for the registration of local and overseas companies, individuals and firms carrying on business in Jamaica. Samuda says enabling this kind of business registration is the next step in the process of making biz transactions in Jamaica easier, while improving the country’s ranking in the World Banks’ Doing Business Report.

Sound Byte! 
“Prime Minister Holness is plainly buried under the pressure of creating solutions to the country’s runaway murder rate, reports of gun finds and misinformation. I sympathize with him, but he is the one who came begging for the job. He begged us to vote for him, and he presented us with the conditions for those votes. So far the votes may be holding, but as the murder rate continues in its horrible path, his time may be running out.” – Newspaper columnist Mark Wignall

REASONABLE DOUBT: Stirringly told and strongly acted, Marshall tackles racism and social injustice

GET UP, STAND UP: Boseman (centre), Gad and Brown in a scene from the captivating period drama.

MARSHALL is not an easy film to sit through. An unflinching meditation on prejudices, segregation and the fight for racial equality in civil-rights era America, the film raises important questions about how far the world has come since those horrible days.

On the upside, it sheds light on the selfless, pioneering efforts of the film’s titular hero, Thurgood Marshall, the esteemed barrister and African-American stalwart whose work with the National Association for the Advancement of Coloured People (NAACP) helped to slowly erode colour barriers. More to the point, he fought for the exoneration of countless Blacks imprisoned or charged with heinous crimes largely because of the colour of their skin.

In Marshall, well-paced by director Reginald Hudlin, this heroic patriarch is played with just the right blend of charisma and confidence, vigour and verve, by Chadwick Boseman, who won acclaim a few years ago for portraying yet another larger-than-life Black figure – baseball giant Jackie Robinson in 42

As Marshall, Boseman gets to the heart of a man whose relentless determination to see justice prevail supersedes all else. 

In the film, reportedly based on true events and penned by the screenwriting duo of Michael and Jacob Koskoff, the NAACP stalwart finds one of his toughest, most complex cases in The State of Connecticut vs. Joseph Spell. Spell (Sterling K. Brown) is a middle-aged former army man who gets accused of the rape, assault and attempted murder of his white employer, the socialite Ellie Strubing (Kate Hudson). Is Spell an innocent man? Has he been set up? 

“I never touched that woman,” he tells Marshall with utter conviction. 

When the case goes to trial, steely presiding judge Karl Foster (James Cromwell) prohibits Marshall from speaking in court. (He’s not a member of the Connecticut bar.) So most of the courtroom heavy lifting falls to his partner Sam Friedman (Josh Gad, superb), who specializes in small cases and fears that this high-profile matter will ruin him. 

Jury selection, foot-soldier investigations and attorney-client meetings set the stage for a legal battle that captures daily front-page headlines. Dan Stevens (Downton Abbey) play the snarky prosecutor Loren Willis, who wastes little time ripping Spell’s character to shreds while presenting his client as the aggrieved victim who narrowly escaped death. Marshall and Friedman have their work cut out for them to prove to the court, beyond a shadow of a doubt, that Spell did not commit the brutal crime he is being accused of. 

Boseman and Gad share an appealing on-screen chemistry even when they don’t see eye to eye, and Hudlin expertly ratchets up the film’s dramatic intensity, even while capturing the flare-up of violence and public backlash that the case generates. But even in the face of threats against his life and personal losses (his wife, Buster, suffers a miscarriage), Marshall manages to never lose focus.

Holding up a mirror to a society ravaged by racism and social injustice (and zooming in on a case where one man’s life is on the line), Marshall wades into difficult and disturbing territory but emerges as a strongly acted and stirringly told film. Tyrone’s Verdict: B+

Thursday, 28 December 2017

GIVING BACK: JN Foundation hosts special ‘Moneybags’ performance + Bolt returns to Sherwood Content for Boxing Day treat + Rohan Marley supports Heart Institute-sponsored track meet

GUEST OF HONOUR: Rohan Marley may be in the island to film scenes for his reality TV show, but that didn’t prevent him from lending some star power to a worthy cause. Last week, the businessman/sports buff joined Lisa D’Oyen (Executive Director of the Heart Institute of the Caribbean Foundation) at the HIC-sponsored Wesley Powell track and field meet. Marley is said to be particularly fond of one participant – rising star Brianna Lyston of St. Jago High, who is being hailed as the next big thing in Jamaican athletics. 

STAGE MAGIC: In the spirit of the season, and thanks to the JN Bank Member Advisory Councils from the Half Way Tree, Duke Street and downtown Kingston branches, close to 100 students, teachers and parents representing Harbour View Primary and 2017 Junior SCQ Champions, George Headley Primary, were recently treated to a special performance of the School of Drama production, A Carol for Moneybags. A Jamaican adaptation of Charles Dickens’ classic children’s tale A Christmas Carol, the melodically-enriched play (penned by Barbara Gloudon and directed by Pierre LeMaire) centres on a miserly old businessman (very Scrooge-like) who chastises his employees and others for spreading holiday cheer but is made to discover the true meaning of Christmas and becomes a reformed man after his encounter with the four ‘Christmas duppies.’ The presentation offered a great opportunity to introduce the youngsters to live theatre and other aspects of the performing arts. “We simply wanted to do something for the children that would not just fete them for Christmas but provide them with ideas and concepts to underscore the meaning of Christmas,” says Chevanese Peters, JN Foundation project officer.

MAKING MERRY: There’s nothing the kids of Sherwood Content look forward to more for Boxing Day than the annual kiddies’ Christmas treat, sponsored by the community’s world-famous son Usain Bolt. As is customary, Bolt and members of his team made the journey down to Trelawny to bond with the kids who get to enjoy fun rides and other activities, food galore, lots of presents and a meet-and-greet with the living legend himself. Bolt and his UB Foundation continue to support this and other annual initiatives (like the Heroes in Action 5K Run/Walk) that exemplify the ideas of social responsibility and giving back to one’s roots.

ISLAND SPICE: Jamaica Sweeter explores familiar territory but delivers clever sketches and cool vibes

BACK A YARD: Thomas (left), Ellington and Salmon sharing a scene from the musical revue.

Jamaica Sweeter (Probemaster Entertainment)
Director: David Tulloch
Cast: Terri Salmon, Luke Ellington, Sabrina Thomas, Derrick Clarke, Samantha Brevett and Ricky Rowe
Venue: Phoenix Theatre, New Kingston

“WHY do doctors call what they do a practice?” “Why is abbreviation such a long word?” So many questions, so little time. That’s Ricky Rowe (playing a street beggar who eventually cleans up nice) musing and waxing philosophical in one of the second-half sketches in Jamaica Sweeter, a tuneful and hilarious follow-up to the award-winning original that graced the stage some four years ago.

This go-round, the sketches and scenarios presented are just as side-splittingly funny. But we expected the number of brand new sketches in the mix to outweigh the remounts to make the overall production a boldly original triumph that stands on its own. Yes, the nostalgia is good but nothing beats freshness and originality.

But try telling that to the dozens of audience members who turned out on opening night. By all appearances, Jamaica Sweeter delivered the laugh riot they were expecting. For TALLAWAH, meanwhile, it was a fun trip down memory lane, seeing favourite bits like Terri Salmon slipping into the role of a Chinese lie detector and getting a kick out of fingering the ‘storytellers’ in Luke Ellington’s family.

As Sheila, a frustrated wife investigating her husband Frank’s (Ellington) whereabouts from the previous night, Salmon is on her A-game as she works the phone. These and other sketches leave the audience in stitches. 

Then there’s Sabrina Thomas, spot-on as the concerned grandma having a heart-to-heart with her boy-crazy teenaged grand-daughter, played with wild charm by Samantha Brevett. Derrick Clarke, too, had his moment as the feisty Rastafarian cook selling ital ‘sip’ (not soup), while Rowe elicited big laughs as a newly married country bumpkin calling his father (Ellington) late on honeymoon night for ‘advice’.

Thankfully, for the most part, the actors all bring strong stage presence, good comedic timing and convincing transformations to their respective parts in the skits. 

As a seasoned Jamaican playwright who has a firm grasp of the comedic and dramatic forms, Tulloch proves that he knows how to turn serious sinting into much-welcomed comic relief. From spicing up a marriage to the socio-economic status quo to skin bleaching, Santa Claus, teen pregnancy and alcoholism, the show’s exploration of issues (not to mention the catchy, intermittent musical numbers) hardly misses a beat. 

Last time, the set design was nothing to speak of, but this time around, the creative team earns kudos for a vibrantly eye-catching backdrop with green and yellow tones depicting some irie island scenery.  

In the end, Jamaica Sweeter’s blend of old favourites and new ideas, combined with food for thought and island spice, will satisfy a wide cross-section of tastes. Tyrone’s Verdict: B

Wednesday, 27 December 2017

ARTISTIC SPLENDOUR: NDTC singers and dancers bring sensational performances to ‘Emerald’ recital

SING DE CHORUS: The Ewan Simpson-led singers performed folk gems and praise songs with terrific results.

With their lush harmonies and stirring instrumentation, the NDTC Singers (and musicians) consistently bring spark and complementary appeal to the annual seasons of the National Dance Theatre Company of Jamaica. This year the company observes its 55th anniversary and to mark the occasion the Singers have not only released a commemorative CD; they recently staged a recital at the Little Theatre dubbed “The Music of the NDTC: the Emerald Edition.” 

Hugely enjoyable and reflective of the depth and breadth of traditional Jamaican sounds (and the modern grooves they’ve spawned), the concert more than lived up to our expectations and gave the Singers a showcase both fitting and memorable. 

Traddin’ produced a wonderful suite of folk songs like “Tambo Yah Yah”, “Gal Up a Hilltop” and “I Want to Know” that showed off their powerful four-part harmonies. The Play Time suite was equally delightful, winning us over with nostalgic tunes like “Jane & Louisa Will Soon Come Home”, “Brown Girl in the Ring” and “Manuel Road”. That the suite evolved into something danceable, swelling and taking on unexpected melodious contours, is testament to Musical Director Ewan Simpson’s fine skills as arranger. 

Soul-stirring praise songs comprised “The Celebrant”, while the musicians served up hyper-rhythmic concoctions while performing “Last Season” and “Shangolese”. 

Naturally, the dancers were part of the presentation. Soloist Javal Lewis brought incredible emotional intelligence to centrestage, as he performed the moving, sorrowful “Walk With Me.” For the sublime, Kerry-Ann Henry-choreographed “Haven,” a trio of graceful female dancers moved to the strains of the Singers as they gave a robust interpretation of “The Prayer.” An elaborate jazz-club setting added to the intrigue and timeless appeal of Marlon Simms’ “Beres on Love,” a passionate piece featuring great solo work from Henry, Simms and others. 

The overall package was the kind of sophisticated, a-delightful-evening-at-the-theatre kind of entertainment that the NDTC is known for – but with the singers, not the dancers, taking the lead this time around.

THE ROAD AHEAD: National leaders urge Jamaicans to draw on lessons of the past year in plotting the way forward

Prime Minister Andrew Holness: 
“Let us pray this Christmas to become instruments of peace and seek to build a kinder, gentler society. This year was filled with its share of challenges but equally there have been events that give us hope for the future. Our island was built on the spirit of community, togetherness, charitableness, sharing, love and hopefulness. These values have made us resilient in overcoming numerous obstacles. As a Government, we value all our people and will continue to build partnerships. Throughout 2017, I have been deeply humbled by the outpouring of support that Jamaica has given me, my family and my administration. I am honoured to serve as your prime minister. We have engaged in real partnerships. We have had some success on key issues. We have achieved much together in 2017 but we have much more to do.” 

Opposition Leader Dr. Peter Phillips: 
“As a nation we cannot go forward to achieve the progress and prosperity which we seek if we ignore the needs and desires of those who are struggling day to day to make ends meet or those left behind in poverty and homelessness. Let us bring not only a word of cheer to those in our communities that suffer from the twin scourge of crime and violence but let us make the time to sit with them to see how we can help them rebuild their lives and direct them to the paths of peace. From the examples of past effort and accomplishment we can all draw hope that the values of peace, caring and goodwill will enable us to triumph over all adversity.”

Governor General Sir Patrick Allen: 
“This year Jamaica has had its share of unrest, anxiety and other social turbulence which have been occurring within and across national boundaries and of which we are reminded every day. But our history of resilience and our traditions of religious faith and individual courage continue to inspire us to press on with gratitude for the blessings we enjoy and the confidence in the prospect of a brighter future. We must commit ourselves to nurturing a nation family in which our people, especially our children and elderly, can feel safe and our citizens can amicably live, work and create the preferred future that each one desires.”

Tuesday, 26 December 2017

NEWS FEED: ECC looks to increase number of institutions meeting requisite standards + Inge Smidts to replace John Reid as C&W CEO + Digicel partners with Cisco on digital transformation project

WOMAN ON TOP: Marketing veteran Inge Smidts is set to assume office as the new Chief Executive Officer (CEO) of Cable & Wireless, replacing John Reid, who will step down from the post in early 2018. Smidts comes to C&W from Liberty Global, where she served most recently as Chief Marketing Officer. “Inge is a dynamic leader who has successfully driven financial performance and built capable teams,” says Liberty Latin America’s Betzalel Kenigsztein. “As we look to the future of C&W, we are confident that Inge is the right leader to help rebuild operations that were damaged by this year’s hurricanes and deliver growth for all our stakeholders.” For her part, Smidts is amped up to take on the fresh challenge. “The prospects for C&W are bright,” she says, “and I look forward to leveraging my experiences at Liberty Global to bring a commercial, marketing and customer-centred focus that will help deliver results.” 

FACING FORWARD: With the aim of accelerating the digital agenda and existing digitization policies for 26 countries in the Caribbean and Central America, Digicel has teamed up with Cisco, a worldwide leader in modern technology, for The Frame Agreement. Under this agreement, the two companies will collaborate to develop a digitization vision for each country for both the immediate and the long term, creating a pipeline of projects for the future, including infrastructure enhancement and island recovery. “Digicel and Cisco share the mutual goal of helping the region become more efficient and globally competitive through digital transformation,” says Vanessa Slowey (left), CEO of Digicel Caribbean and Central America, pictured here with Cisco's Alison Gleeson. “Digicel will focus on projects in the Caribbean that are aligned with Cisco’s country digitization agenda and will partner to develop these projects in specific Caribbean countries.” Anguilla, Antigua & Barbuda, the Bahamas, Panama, Trinidad & Tobago, St. Kitts & Nevis and Jamaica are among the territories set to benefit. 

THE RIGHT START: According to Trisha Williams-Singh, head of the Board of Directors of the Early Childhood Commission (ECC), of the 2,703 early childhood institutions currently in operation islandwide,12% are Government-owned. 1,873 of the institutions have received a permit to operate, while only 100 have met the performance criteria under the 12 operating standards and have received a certificate of registration. “The current focus of the ECC is to increase the number of ECIs that are meeting the standards to a minimum of 300 by 2019,” Williams-Singh says. “As we continue to be purposeful in our efforts, we realize there is still much to be done. We are seeking additional partners to assist in providing safe learning spaces, adequate buildings, teaching-learning resources and supporting community initiatives to ensure that the children of Jamaica have the right start in becoming lifelong learners.”

Sunday, 24 December 2017

THE GREAT DEBATER: Iconic journalist, talk-show host, sociopolitical commentator – Ian Boyne was in a league of his own

ONE OF A KIND: PM Andrew Holness signs a condolence book in honour of Ian Boyne at Jamaica House.

IAN Boyne passed away at the University Hospital on December 18 at age 60, so naturally I’m remembering our first encounter – at the launch to celebrate his second book, Ideas Matter, at King’s House. November 2014. Boyne was dumbfounded when he heard that I was the sole writer/editor producing articles for TALLAWAH. His mouth fell wide open when I confirmed that yes, it was all me.

He was, of course, familiar with TALLAWAH because I made sure to add him to the mailing list when I was just starting out, so the newsletter went to his inbox every week. A few years later, I was pleased to receive an invite in my inbox from his publishers (Pelican Publishers) requesting coverage for the book launch. Everyone was there, from government officials and corporate-world icons to relatives, friends and well-wishers.

Boyne attracted the best of the best. He was a man of great accomplishments, and achievement was something that he in turn loved celebrating. After all, he dedicated his popular Sunday evening programme, Profile, to spotlighting outstanding Jamaican success stories he’d come across or were brought to his attention. His ‘applause’ was vociferous and his give-and-take interview style yielded the most revealing half-an-hour segments on Jamaican television. That programme will be sorely missed. 

The same can be said for his other TV-J staple, Religious Hardtalk, which made for riveting viewing. I know his Sunday Gleaner readers will miss his intellectually sound and frequently ferocious columns that tackled everything from the Jamaican political climate to the social ills to the global status quo. He brought razor-sharp arguments to the national conversation, winning him countless admirers and his share of detractors. “I don’t answer critics. People criticize me all the time,” he told me during our chat at King’s House. “When you’re in the public eye that happens, so you have to be prepared for that. It comes with the territory.” 

In his book Profile of Excellence, Boyne outlines in lush detail the strategies and principles that have always guided his life. It is essential reading for every Jamaican, youngsters especially. Profile of Excellence is a bonafide pageturner, and you get a firm understanding of how he became the stalwart he became – not to mention some of the most insightful, motivational one-on-one interviews you’ll ever read. 

It’s part of the storied Ian Boyne legacy that must be preserved for future generations. Coupled with Ideas Matter (another must-read), it captures the measure of this fascinating Jamaican man. 

> IN HIS OWN WORDS: Boyne gets candid in our Nov. 2014 interview

SCENE & HEARD: Shantol Jackson + Chronixx + Oji Jaja + Ding Dong + Nsombi Jaja + PM Andrew Holness

FAMILY TIES: Dec. 11, Kingston. The beautiful people were out in their numbers to celebrate business excellence at the recent Jamaica Stock Exchange Best Practice Awards. The mother-son power duo of management consultant Nsombi Jaja and chef extraordinaire Oji Jaja shared a candid-camera moment at the Jamaica Pegasus-hosted event. (Photo: Sleek) 

PURE MAGIC: Dec. 9, St. Andrew. These gorgeous belles were a vision in crisp, clean white at the recent grand opening of the architecturally stunning BMW showroom/ATL Autobahn, located on Lady Musgrave Road. The A-list-heavy guest list included PM Andrew Holness, Minister Karl Samuda and ATL bosses Gordon ‘Butch’ Stewart and Adam Stewart. (Photo: Sleek) 

COOL FACTOR: Dec. 8, United States. Grammy nominee Chronixx was among the stars who put in appearances at the Soho Studios in Miami to celebrate “Island Might” by Bacardi in partnership with Swizz Beatz and The Dean Collection. The roots-reggae star, who is up for Best Reggae Album (Chronology) at next month’s Grammy Awards, later graced the stage. (Photo: Getty Images) 

CLASS ACT: Dec. 6, Kingston. Actress Shantol Jackson, who will make her debut appearance at the Sundance Film Festival in Utah next month to help promote Idris Elba’s Yardie, was on stage to collect her much-deserved award for outstanding achievement in Arts & Culture at the Prime Minister’s Youth Awards for Excellence. Jackson, who graced TALLAWAH’s November cover, is also co-starring in Storm Saulter’s Sprinter, also due out in 2018. (Photo: Sleek) 

GOOD TIMES: Dec. 6, Kingston. Not even PM Andrew Holness could keep from ‘cutting loose’ to the danceable hits of ace entertainer Ding Dong and his Ravers posse, who contributed to the diverse entertainment package that enlivened the 2017 staging of the Prime Minister’s Youth Awards at Jamaica House. (Photo: Sleek)

Saturday, 23 December 2017

NEWS & NOTES: Star-studded line-up assembled for Shaggy & Friends 2018 + Atkinson, McLeod head list of Sportsman/Sportswoman of the Year nominees

MUSIC FOR LIFE: The Shaggy & Friends charity fundraiser consistently delivers a top-flight entertainment package to thrill the score of patrons who flock to the grounds of Jamaica House to support the worthy cause. The 2018 staging, recently launched at the Bustamante Hospital for Children (the beneficiary), promises much more of what we’ve grown accustomed to. In other words, the performance lineup is comprised of terrific talents. Topping the list is Grammy and Oscar winner Sting, rap sensation Fetty Wap, hip-hop living legend Doug E. Fresh and Haitian hero Wyclef Jean. But home-grown Jamaican acts account for the lion’s share of artistes. Third World, Barrington Levy, Wayne Wonder, Ding Dong, Chris Martin and Aidonia will grace the stage alongside Chaka Demus & Pliers, Professor Nuts, Junior Reid, Capleton, soca warriors Bunji Garlin and Fay-Ann Lyons, and dancehall firestarters Shenseea and Dexta Daps. The megaconcert is set for Saturday, January 6, commencing at 8pm. Visit and for more info. 

THE YEAR’S FINEST: Omar McLeod (the first Jamaican male athlete to win both the Olympic and World Championship 110M hurdles gold medal) and Alia Atkinson, who had another stellar year in the pool, are the frontrunners for top honours at next month’s RJR Sports Foundation National Sportsman & Sportswoman of the Year Awards. Only three women are up or Sportswoman of the Year: Atkinson and track athletes Elaine Thompson and Ristannana Tracey. (Sunshine Girl Jhaniele Fowler-Reid is a glaring omission here.) On the men’s side, meanwhile, McLeod is joined by cricketers Chris Gayle, Nikita Miller and Chadwick Walton, Reggae Boyz goalkeeper André Blake and squash sensation Chris Binnie. Among the other awards to be handed out: the People’s Choice Award for Performance of the Year, the ISSA Schoolboy and Schoolgirl awards, the Gleaner Iconic Award and the VMBS Youth Award.

Thursday, 21 December 2017

THE BEAUTY PAGE: Adam & Eve Day Spa’s holiday cheer + Jergens introduces new Honey Dry Skin moisturizer + Red-hot D’Angel steps out

THERAPY & TRANQUILITY: There’s hardly a better time than the holiday season to treat yourself or your significant other to a spa treatment. Just in time for Christmas, the New Kingston-based Adam & Eve Day Spa has launched their Grab & Win promotion, complete with special service packages at competitive prices. Their ‘Pixie’ packages, perfect for gift certificates, starts at $3000 (manicure / repolish fingers and toes), $4000 (coffee pedicure / stress relief massage / shampoo and style /male grooming and classic manicure), $5000 (upper body massage / paraffin pedicure and repolish fingers), $6000 (spa mani-pedi or body scrub or Adam & Eve Signature Back Massage). The ‘Love’, ‘Joy’ and ‘Peace’ packages are equally appealing, with price tags from upwards of $6,300. Our favourites include Santa’s Pick (upper body massage and classic pedicure / mini facial and classic pedicure), Couples Retreat (therapeutic massage / deep pore facial / coffee scrub mani-pedi) and Serenity (a 30-minute Swedish massage, a 30-minute refresher mini facial and a 30-minute classic mani-pedi). “Bear in mind that this is our 10th anniversary, so we’ve reintroduced our VIP cards, offering discounts,” says Customer Relations rep Marja Hamilton. “We also have our in-house grab bag, where every 10th customer gets the opportunity to pull from the grab bag and get gifts from our reward sponsors.” Adam & Eve Day Spa is open seven days weekly. Visit or call 906-8276/4151. 

SKIN TO SKIN: There’s a new star in the beauty aisle! Introducing the new Jergens Nourishing Honey Dry Skin Moisturizer, formulated with antioxidant-rich Orange Blossom Honey. Its manufacturers boast that it nourishes and softens dry skin and keeps it smooth and hydrated 24/7. “Its refreshing, citrusy blossom scent livens and invigorates the senses.” The Honey Dry Skin Moisturizer is the latest addition to a line that already includes the Jergens Shea Butter and Hydrating Coconut.

LOOK WE LOVE: Style watchers always give D’Angel high marks for her camera-ready outfits whenever she graces the social scene. She continued her winning streak at the recent Supreme Ventures Diamond Mile extravaganza at Caymanas Park, turning heads in this ravishing red number with matching headgear that had the shutterbugs directing their flashing lights her way – as they should. Working the look with consummate ease, Miss Downer made it clear that red is definitely her colour!

12 FOR ’17: The Most Intriguing Jamaicans of the Year (Part II)

Living legends, bold newcomers, amazing success stories in full flight – our round-up of the noted personalities who most fascinated us this year is replete with proof that Jamaicans are people of excellence who push the boundaries and own their power. These terrific twelve gave us much to talk about, inspiring and intriguing us in equal measure. Here they are in random order. 

QUEEN IFRICA: Think Queen Ifrica is off pouting somewhere because she didn’t score a Best Reggae Album Grammy nod for Climb? The artist-activist is gearing up for January’s milestone renewal of Rebel Salute and lending her time and star power to worthy causes, like the fight against gender-based violence and child abuse. People are still talking about her electrifying performances at the Peter Tosh Music Festival and Reggae Sumfest 25 this past summer. And after multiple hit singles and solid albums, we are convinced that this queen’s best is still yet to come. 

THE SUNSHINE GIRLS: If there’s one thing we learned from the world of sports this year it’s that you can never count out Jamaica’s senior netball squad. In the wake of much-publicized Netball Jamaica controversy, saying farewell to yet another coach and enduring harsh criticism about the team’s level of readiness to take on the best in the world, the Sasher Gaye Henry-coached team got the last word with their sensational performances at the Melbourne-hosted Fast 5 Champs in October, bringing home some shiny silverware and restoring our faith in the national programme. 

RENEE McDONALD: The Renée McDonald evolution is in full effect and we are so happy to have a front-row seat. Earlier this year, the incredibly talented dancer-choreographer (who honed her craft at Tony Wilson’s Company Dance Theatre) took her skills to the international stage (choreographing a piece for the Alvin Ailey troupe and brought the people to their feet.) Back home, she pulled off similar successes with brand new works for CDT and Xaymaca. And did we mention that she’s now a lawyer-in-training at UWI? A terrific role model for young people, McDonald (now 24) is the ultimate all-Jamaican girl. 

CHRIS GAYLE: Heat seems to follow Chris Gayle, the star Jamaican and West Indies batsman who’s been weathering one storm after another with admirable finesse and professionalism. First, there was ‘Blushgate’ in 2016, and this year brought that infamous accusation from a white female masseuse that had us all wondering, ‘Did he really?’ Stoutly defending his reputation and his character, Gayle has denied any wrongdoing and has refocused his energies on bringing the heat to the cricket pitch. 

USAIN BOLT: Where do we even begin? The active retirement that had him criss-crossing the globe, The Gleaner’s release of the coffee-table volume Legend, the stadium-rocking exploits in London, the larger-than-life Basil Watson-designed statue mounted in his honour at the National Stadium…? The 31-year-old sprint legend stayed on course for yet another eventful year, full of triumphs and trials and, in true Bolt fashion, big surprises. 

SHENSEEA: Who’s that girl? That’s what everyone wanted to know after hearing Shenseea put the music world on notice, opposite dancehall rebel Vybz Kartel, on “Loodi.” Full of sass, super-confidence, and ample sugar and spice, the pint-sized princess is busy making a name for herself in the male-dominated dancehall space, paying her dues and earning respect. Having already graced the cover of Buzzz and lit up the Pepsi Ginger commercial, her star is certainly on the rise. 

> HONOURABLE MENTION: Miguel Coley & the Jamaica College football team, Dr. Chris Tufton, Wayne Booth, Stephen Francis and Davina Bennett. 


Wednesday, 20 December 2017

GOSPEL SPOTLIGHT: Glacia Robinson and friends look to end 2017 on a high with two-night gospel ‘Experience’

THE BRIGHT SIDE: The songbird has assembled an all-star lineup for her year-ending concerts.

AFTER the memorable year she’s had – crowdpleasing concert appearances, hot new tracks, being one of the last Jamaican personalities to be interviewed by Ian Boyne – there’s nothing Glacia Robinson wants to do more than to show some gratitude and keep counting her blessings.

To this end, Glacia Robinson Ministries has teamed up with GT Sounds Ltd to put on The Experience: The “I Rise” Edition, a two-night gospel showcase set to electrify audiences in separate Jamaican towns (Mandeville and Spanish Town) and bring the curtains down on 2017 with some praise-and-worship fire.

The US-based singer-songwriter, who shot to fame in 1998 after winning the JCDC National Gospel Song Competition, has assembled a bunch of gospel industry A-listers to help her celebrate. Leading the charge are Prodigal Son (who released his latest album, Pure Gold, in October) and Rondell Positive, one of the fastest rising acts to come on the scene in recent memory.

At the Mandeville show (scheduled for December 26 at Manchester High), Robinson, Prodi and Rondell (left ) will be joined on the lineup by Keesa Peart, Carey Sales, Shawn Warren, Anointed Musicianz & Singers and Kevin Downswell. The Spanish Town concert (December 30 at the Prison Oval) will feature Praise Academy of Dance, Christina Roshay and Noreta Lewis. (Only Robinson, Prodi and Rondell are billed to perform at both concerts, being emceed by NCU FM’s Basillia Barnaby-Cuffe and Arnold Kelly. 

Robinson gave gospel lovers a sneak preview of what they can expect during her brief stint at Monday’s NCU FM praise party inside Mandela Park in Half Way Tree, where she reminisced about her interview with Boyne and recapped aspects of her life-changing testimony. 

Part proceeds from the concerts, she noted, will benefit the Percy Junor Hospital in Spalding, Manchester. Sponsors for The Experience include Jamaica Broilers, Wata and Bigga. For tickets call 860-0064 or 901-5529.