Thursday, 26 November 2020

2021 GRAMMYS: Buju Banton, Skip Marley head list of contenders for reggae prize

BEST OF THE BEST: The 5 albums vying for music's highest honour.

IN 2005, Damian ‘Junior Gong’ Marley scored two Grammy nods: Best Reggae Album for Welcome to Jamrock and Best Urban/Alternative Performance for the single of the same name – a rare accomplishment for Jamaican and Caribbean artistes. Marley went on to win in both categories.

Fast forward almost two decades later and his nephew Skip is nominated in two categories: Best Reggae Album for Higher Place and Best Reggae Song for his chart-topping collaboration “Slow Down” with H.E.R. 

But to take home the coveted awards, Skip Marley has some stiff competition, especially in the reggae field. Buju Banton could secure his second career Grammy win for his critically acclaimed comeback disc Upside Down 2020; The Wailers are nominated for One World; Maxi Priest is in the running with It All Comes Back to Love, while the late Toots Hibbert (and the Maytals) made the cut with Got to Be Tough.

The winner will revealed come Sunday, Jan. 31. 

Meantime, R&B-pop superstar BeyoncĂ© leads this year’s pack of nominees with nine bids, including four mentions for her hit protest anthem “Black Parade.” Dua Lipa, Roddy Rich and Taylor Swift each picked up six nominations. 

Talk show host Trevor Noah will host the 63rd Annual Grammy Awards ceremony will be broadcast on CBS, live from the Staples Centre in Los Angeles.

LIFE & STYLE: MasterCard says Koffee’s The One / Tastemakers Brett and Leisha Wong host ‘Remy’ party / The wonders of natural lighting

THE PERFECT CHOICE: The new MasterCard ad captures a heartwarming mother-daughter moment between Koffee and her momma Jo-Anne Williams. Helping families connect has always been of paramount importance for the team at MasterCard, who have appointed the Grammy winner their first Caribbean ambassador. “[She] is one of Jamaica’s youngest and most gifted musical talents, and she remains grounded and humble and finds time to give back to the community,” says Marcus Carmo, head of marketing for the company’s Caribbean division. “The decision to partner with her was an easy one, as her authenticity, creativity and spirit of philanthropy are aligned with our own values.” And Koffee is super-thrilled to serve as ambassador. “I am very excited to be a part of MasterCard’s initiative,” she says, “to educate, increase financial literacy and help Jamaicans reach their financial goals.” 

FINE COMPANY: On November 6, power couple Brett and Leisha Wong played hosts for a Frenchmen’s Remy Martin VIP tasting at their tony upper St. Andrew digs, for an evening of good friends, good vibes and great wine. L-R: The fab couple shared a moment after welcoming guests; Stephen Price was super-happy to score an invite; Brett Wong shows off the good stuff; Great taste! A swell time was had by all. 

A LIGHT TOUCH: For author and interior design maven Justina Blakeney, few elements make a room more inviting and relaxing than natural light. “Figure out ways to harness natural light. If you don’t have a lot of windows, hang mirrors opposite your windows to help magnify the amount of light that comes in,” she advises. “The places where we spend our time can really affect our mood.”

Monday, 16 November 2020

MADE IN JAMAICA: Three cool things you should know about

HEAVEN ‘SCENT’: Set the mood with Allay Scent candles. Containing natural essential oils, these are 100% eco-friendly soy candles whose ‘flavours’ range from lavender, peppermint and eucalyptus to mangosteen, orchid and grapefruit. 

FORM & FUNCTION: With the gift-giving season right around the corner, you might want to consider items from Baughas Design Studio, which specializes in Jamaican hand-craft pieces, including ceramics, lighting and other home fixtures, as well as woods, clays and porcelains. 

EXOTIC BLEND: Who better to venture into culinary product design than a pro with a knack for tantalizing tastebuds? Chef/entrepreneur Lucian Dunn has brought to restaurant tables and supermarket shelves his Mosaic Foods Pepper Jelly, a flavourful condiment years in the making. With an “improved recipe” of home-grown ingredients, it’s sure to spice up your favourite dishes.

Saturday, 14 November 2020

TALLAWAH BOOK CLUB: JC’s rich history and legacy / K. Sean Harris takes us behind the music / Three distinctive new women’s voices

IN HER SHOES: “Sometimes we forget that we have a voice we can use to inspire other women around us, women who share the same struggles and cannot seem to find their way out,” says Patrice Simpson. Living up to her beliefs, the young first-time author has published SHE, a collection of vignettes inspired by the struggles and myriad experiences of everyday women. Featuring 70 pieces, the self-published effort explores intimate relationship matters, emotional and physical abuse, self-esteem and depression. Simpson, who became an unemployed single mother in 2017, hopes her book strikes a chord with women of all walks. “We all go through something in life,” says the Falmouth native, “but we can all be victors if we believe in our capabilities. I encourage [you] to think positively through all adversities.” 

HUSTLE AND FLOW: Dancehall Don, the latest from prolific home-grown storyteller K. Sean Harris, follows talented schoolboy Trystan, who transforms himself into a fierce dancehall entertainer named 6Lock. Before long, 6Lock ascends to the top of the industry, buoyed by his lyrical skills, chart-topping hits and the kind of street smarts that keep haters, detractors and gold-diggers in check. True to the Harris formula, Dancehall Don delivers “a gritty and entertaining” thrill ride, while exploring ambition, human relationships, family and revenge served ice-cold. 

HEAD OF THE CLASS: If there’s one thing Dr. Kasan Troupe knows, it’s how to improve student performance. Her foremost concern? The increasing importance that parental engagement must play in improving kids’ grades. In her new book, Education’s Missing Link, the veteran educator offers a “well-researched” and “comprehensive” study filled with practical advice and strategies to foster greater home-support engagement for student success. 

HALLS OF LEARNING: Jamaica College: A Sugar Planter’s Legacy by renowned old boys Hylton Dennis and Ian Andrews chronicles the fine achievements of the St. Andrew-based school’s distinguished alumni as well as its unsung heroes, while highlighting sports achievements and the great possibilities that lie ahead for the venerable institution. 

From our readers:
Doin’ Hair by Pauline Binder 
Binder spins a “rollicking” and “laugh-out-loud funny” tale about Charlene and Neva, two immigrant Jamaicans trying to make their way in the Bronx, New York, while grappling with issues concerning friendships and family and sisterhood.

Tuesday, 10 November 2020

HOT TOPIC: What gave Golding the edge over Hanna?

HE HITS THE 'MARK': Golding and his supporters celebrate his ascension to the party presidency.

A new era has dawned for the People’s National Party. On Saturday, November 7, Mark Golding was elected to succeed Dr. Peter Phillips as president of the nearly 80-year-old organization, which is still smarting from September’s massive General Election defeat – and a gaping divisiveness that threatens to crumble the party’s foundations. 

For many, Hanna was a clear frontrunner to take the reins from Phillips, but Golding rapidly gained on her in a close race that eventually resulted in a 296-vote win for the Southern St. Andrew MP. So what gave Golding the edge? Senior party insiders and public commentators have been weighing in. Here’s a sample of what they’ve been saying. 

>> “Under the leadership of Mark Golding we will see people calling for the PNP, the majority of [Jamaicans] calling or the PNP within a couple years….. It was no secret that the party was at a financial low when I took over as General Secretary. A year or two later, Mark Golding came on board as treasurer and his fundraising ability at that time was instrumental in turning around the fortunes of the party.” – Peter Bunting 

>> “He brings a lot of know-how, knowledge and is equipped with an understanding of where the party ought to go. By now he would be very much aware that the most critical and important thing right now is to unite the party. I believe that he is up to it and I believe that he will do it.” – Delano Franklyn 

>> “Mark Golding is a strategic thinker, and in any modern political organization this is a much-needed trait… [He] is a man of impeccable integrity and character. Let us be reminded that 63 percent of the Jamaican electorate never voted in the last election, and this is largely attributed to the growing trust deficit in our political leaders. Mark’s character and integrity will aid in this rebuilding of public trust.” – Dr. Floyd Morris

Saturday, 7 November 2020

LIFE & STYLE: Lisa Hanna’s fashion game-plan / Celebs add star power to Grace’s new cooking series / Why chocolate is good for you

‘PARTY’ GIRL: Get Lisa Hanna’s fab on-the-campaign-trail style 
The trendsetting fashionista and PNP presidential contender consistently scores high marks for her appealing mix of feminine silhouettes and sharply tailored fits. L-R: Piping Praise women's jacket; Etro Women's Silk Crepe Palazzo Pants; Parisis Black/Ebony belt bag; Bob Marley Jamaica crew-neck graphic tee...

HOME COOKING: Grace Foods whets appetites with new online series 
Ever coming up with up-to-the-minute ways of connecting with consumers at home and abroad, Grace Foods has kicked off an online cooking show, Chillin’ with Grace. It’s a Jamaican foodie’s treat. Hosted by the lovely Talia Soares, it has already featured such guests as sprinting sensation Briana Williams, dancehall hotshot Ding Dong and Jill-of-all-trades Yendi Phillips showing off their culinary skills and sharing top-secret recipes with viewers. Watch episodes on YouTube and via Grace’s Facebook page. 

SO GOOD: The awesome benefits of consuming chocolate According to dieticians and nutrition experts, what makes dark chocolate healthy is its high cocoa (or cacao) content. Cocoa contains flavonoids, which are essentially antioxidants that can help decrease inflammation and improve heart health. Dark chocolate, with at least 70% cocoa, has the strongest benefits. 

EXPRESS SERVICE: Get your favourite fast food meals delivered to your home or office via Download their app on Google Play and via the App Store. Call them at 876-619-MEAL and follow them on Facebook and Instagram @hellofoodja.

Monday, 2 November 2020

NEWS FEED: New ODPEM head appointed / MPs to get $3M each for flood-damage repairs / 'One Laptop or Tablet Per Child' initiative launched

THE MAN FOR THE JOB: Leslie Harrow is the new Director-General of the Office of Disaster Preparedness and Emergency Management (ODPEM). Harrow, a career civil servant known for his work with the Electoral Office of Jamaica (EOJ), takes the up the post effective November 2. In confirming the appointment, Local Government Minister Desmond McKenzie hailed Harrow as a fine choice for this very important job. "I am confident that his skills and experience will serve the agency and country well. He assumes office at a particualrly busy time, as ODPEM discharges its responsibilities in the midst of the current, intense weather systems," the minister said. "[Harrow] brings to the [post] over 23 years of service in the public sector."

DAMAGE CONTROL: Close to $2 billion will be spent under a newly announced programme by the Holness administration for repair and rehabilitation works to be undertaken across the island as a result of the recent flood damage. Each Member of Parliament will receive $1.5 million from the Housing Fund to assist with house repairs, while another $1.5 million [each] from the Labour and Social Security mininstry will go towards rehabilitation grants for the neediest cases identified in the constituencies. "This is the start," PM Andrew Holness told Parliament. "And as we go through and decide on reallocations, we may be able to do more." 

E-LEARNING: Eliminating [the digital] divide begins with the Government and the private sector coming together, as we are doing here, to put a laptop or tablet in the hands of every Jamaican child, especially those familiies near or below the poverty line," said Education minister Fayval Williams, addressing the recent virtual launch of the 'One Laptop or Tablet Per Child' initiative on Thursday. The Government is providing approximately 148,000 PATH programme students with devices. Still, an additional 100,000 students (not on the programme) are in need. The estimated total cost to provide the laptops and tablets is $4.5 billion.