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Separating the Art from the Artiste

Reggae music continues to evolve. And with that evolution comes the attraction to a more diverse listenership. Research has shown that many of Jamaica’s more established artistes have an audience whose average age is 30 years and above. 

Does lyrical content influence their audience? Do the performers’ real-life circumstances have any bearing on the quality or value of their music? 

Consider your most favoured songs from your favourite artistes and ask yourself: would you want to meet the person behind your favourite music? If that answer is yes, does it matter what the artiste has done in their past, or is doing at the moment?

As music is a part of our everyday life, it is impossible to escape the artistry of popular singers, especially when they find themselves in personal-life turmoil (fans typically Google their favourite singer when news breaks about their misdeeds.  These searches typically take fans  to an artist’s catalogue on streaming services thus boosting their streams).  

The music we rely on from our favourite artistes to help to soothe moments of grief, commemorate moments of joy, paradoxically comes from the vocal trademark of people who themselves find themselves in circumstances of trouble.

Here are some real stories of persons whose music you love; they have developed habits that are not healthy, they have taken substances that are illegal, they have done things that are otherwise frowned upon by society, or they could be in prison.  Does that change how you feel about your favourite songs or artiste?

With song titles like, Freedom Blues, To Your Arms of Love, Love is and Unconditional Love there are indications that the song-writer/artiste has ideas of shaping the minds of those who consume, but to also reposition thoughts to the discerning fan, that circumstances can cause life adjustments, and what is in the heart, comes out in song. 

When you see a list that asks to Call on me as Only You, I am Longing For, those thoughts call for Reflections. 

Comments about artistes differ from male and female fans and in age groups.  A short survey among women over 40 shows they have more of a tendency to forgive., “Does the Crime serve the time,” is a common thought among that demographic. 

During a series of discussions held in Jamaica in 2019, scholars of music discussed the topic: Dancehall Stardom, Version 1 – Crime and Punishment. Positions such as a proposal for “a meaningful music curriculum [to] be implemented as a matter of urgency,” says Dr Sonjah Stanley Niaah.

Stanley Niaah has in the last decade spoken and published about music, but in discussing this topic, is developing material for a program dubbed “From Prison to College” – she believes in rehabilitation with and through the music.

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Kingston – the place to be in June

Spend one week in Kingston (June 22 – 29) and experience the joy of seeing the fastest athletes in the world; a chance to feel the beat and rhythm of the city; while taking an adventure out to one of the mountains.

This is going to be a once in a lifetime opportunity. The governing body for track and field will host its National Championships, June 23 – 26. Four days of fast-paced, breathtaking, competitive and fierce battles to make the teams for global and regional meets. Tickets will go on sale soon.

Come in a day early and find a spot where you will hear the drum of bass of Jamaica’s reggae and dancehall. The City will be jamming on and off the track.

Kingston’s pull is the pace, the lights, the sound, the color and of course, the people.

Book your ticket now. Kingston, the heartbeat of the Caribbean awaits you.

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Fan engagement for sporting fans – Jamaica

More and more, sporting bodies are partnering with digital and social media entities to ensure fans are engaged for live and televised sporting events. 

As sporting fans were forced to stay home for the better part of two years and are now getting a chance to go back to venues, the rules of engagement have changed. The new sporting fan, while interested in the game, has a new mindset. 

They know the game, they know the athletes, but they want an experience. After all, studies have shown that while sporting (and entertainment) fans continue to grow exponentially, they are demanding so much more. Sporting event organizers will have to adjust from the traditional to the innovative to satisfy the consumer. 

In a sophisticated stadium digital is key. 

  • LED Screens everywhere 
  • Digital boards for branding 
  • Social media games and activities for products and services 
  • Charging stations 
  • Food court 
  • A fun-filled half time show (or during other breaks) 

While the fan in the stadium has this up close and personal, Fans at home want to feel like they are there too. The stations who take on sporting events as rights holders, while broadcasting the games are key; that behind-the-scenes interaction is key. What some networks have shown, with innovation, is a channel that has every single moment of broadcast on and off the field and even in the locker rooms. 

What does this mean for Jamaica? 

At the recently concluded Carifta 49 Championships, the organizers made an effort. Notwithstanding, the Bahamian band forced home crowd to compete and bring their own, but that “clash” was interesting and fans at home and in the stadium enjoyed it. 

With a live DJ and an MC fans had access to give-a-ways, cameo performances and even had gift items under their seats. Before they entered the venue, they had a 360 degrees tent that the children could enjoy and with Statue Park, pictures were part of the daily offering. 

Carifta 49 – Kingston

That is a good start, but in the coming year, hosts of events should be keen about how fans are brought into the picture. 

Here are some ways fans can get more and how brands can increase their value of sponsorship so that loyalty to teams and athletes become priority. 

  • From the ticket purchase (online or in person) there is an opportunity – offer a token 
  • Offer an option when the fan enters the venue via scan, to win something, again 
  • One option is a discount on any type of food 
  • Ensure merchandise is available 
    • Shirts, cups, caps, rags, seat cushions (all essential for a real fan) 
  • With covid, more of us now have personalized insulated cups, so no need to have bottles (plastic or glass) at the seats 
  • Get 20” TVs in the bathrooms and/or corridors 
  • Have an entertainment package (DJ, MC, and a range of live performances, tastefully done by event management teams) 
Malta Jamaica – Carifta 49

This is just a start. 

#JamaicaAt60 in the sporting sense, must and should update its sporting image and with the next generation of fans who (by design) are far less loyal, they should be looking forward to an experience at a sporting event. 

Event planners and folks who are doing budgets must make provisions. We are long gone pass the days when it’s just a game… it is now an experience. 


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Amplifying Black and Diverse Histories the Focus of New Wikimedia Foundation Collaboration with Caribbean Artist

Trinidadian Artist, Esther Griffith, will create works of art on historical figures from Dominica and Jamaica as part of the Wiki Unseen campaign

9 February, 2022

CARRIBEAN – To kick off Black History Month, the Wikimedia Foundation, the global nonprofit that operates Wikipedia, announced the launch of Wiki Unseen, a collaboration with artists aimed at expanding the visual representation of Black, Indigenous, and people of color (BIPOC) in Wikimedia projects and advancing knowledge equity. 

Launched today, the first iteration of the project, a collaboration with artists from Africa, North America, and the Caribbean, will help to address the visual and written underrepresentation of several Black historical figures on Wikipedia and in media repository Wikimedia Commons. In addition to global artists, the Foundation is collaborating with, a Wikipedia-volunteer led initiative to create and improve information about Black culture and history on Wikipedia, as well as Bēhance, a social media platform that showcases creative work on the initiative. 

Research shows that Wikipedia articles featuring illustrations increase audience engagement and views, creating an additional point of entry for visual learners and expanding understanding of the information presented. With this in mind, the Wikimedia Foundation and worked together to select 20 Wikipedia articles of BIPOC historical figures without visual representation, further collaborating with Bēhance to source a list of artists from the United States, Africa, and the Caribbean to create portraits of each. This year, the artists will create portraits for six of 20 total historical figures. 

The commissioned artists include Enam Bosokah from Ghana, Esther Griffith from Trinidad, and Bukhtawar Malik from the United States. Among the first articles that will feature new illustrations are: Marian Ewurama Addy, William Greaves, Rose Dieng-Kuntz, May Miller, Mercedes Richards, and Asquith Xavier. These portraits will be published throughout the month of February; they include personalities whose images are not freely licensed and therefore unable to be added to Wikipedia articles.  

“Wiki Unseen aims to make Black histories and those of other people underrepresented on Wikipedia more visible,” said Anusha Alikhan, Vice President of Communications at the Wikimedia Foundation. “Closing knowledge equity gaps — including visual ones — is key to ensuring Wikimedia projects are accessible to everyone and represent the breadth of the world’s cultures, experiences, and languages. We know that our work is incomplete until the diversity of our world’s histories are seen.”

When BIPOC histories are told, too often they lack visual representation. Of the 30+ articles in the African Royalty category on English Wikipedia, for example, only three pages picture their subjects. Visual aids and illustrations help people understand and retain information; their absence reinforces and perpetuates biases. 

“The Caribbean is rich in culture and heritage. That such rich biographies of people contributing to Caribbean history would not have visual representation is a shame and I am excited that I am contributing towards re-illustrating the history of my region,” said Esther Griffith. “With each biography that is illustrated we are making a statement that it is possible to redraw history and I hope more artists will join me on this journey.” said Esther Griffith.

Wikipedia is powered by a global community of volunteer contributors working to advance Wikimedia projects in support of a vision to ensure that people everywhere can share in the sum of all human knowledge. A central pillar of the Wikimedia Movement’s 2030 strategy is to break down the social, political, and technical barriers preventing people from accessing and contributing to free knowledge, focused on communities left out by structures of power and privilege. 

Wiki Unseen builds on the previous efforts of Wikimedia volunteers including Les sans pagEs, a French Wikipedia initiative, and the #VisibleWikiWomen campaign by Whose Knowledge?, which ran similar projects to bridge gender gaps.

For more information about the Wikimedia Foundation and Wiki Unseen, visit

To learn more about how the Wikimedia Foundation and movement are working towards knowledge equity, visit

For images, interviews and more information, contact:

Neki Mohan (305) 742 9653 – 

Carole Beckford (876) 566 3671 – 


About the Wikimedia Foundation: The Wikimedia Foundation is the nonprofit organization that operates Wikipedia and the other Wikimedia free knowledge projects. Our vision is a world in which every single human can freely share in the sum of all knowledge. We believe that everyone has the potential to contribute something to our shared knowledge, and that everyone should be able to access that knowledge freely. We host Wikipedia and the Wikimedia projects, build software experiences for reading, contributing, and sharing Wikimedia content, support the volunteer communities and partners who make Wikimedia possible, and advocate for policies that enable Wikimedia and free knowledge to thrive. 

The Wikimedia Foundation is a charitable, not-for-profit organization that relies on donations. We receive donations from millions of individuals around the world, with an average donation of about $15. We also receive donations through institutional grants and gifts. The Wikimedia Foundation is a United States 501(c)(3) tax-exempt organization with offices in San Francisco, California, USA.

About Afro Free Culture Crowdsourcing Wikimedia (AfroCROWD) is an initiative which seeks to increase awareness and the number of people of African descent who actively partake in the Wikimedia and free knowledge, culture and software movements. AfroCROWD has sensitized thousands in its target audience about free culture crowdsourcing and the need to close the multicultural and gender gaps in Wikipedia. AfroCROWD has also held monthly multilingual editathons in partnership with cultural institutions, galleries, libraries, archives, museums (GLAM), colleges, universities and many others including institutions at the United Nations and grassroots organizations.

About Behance: Behance is the world’s largest creative network for showcasing and discovering creative work.

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Sport and Entertainment content main feature for inaugural RealVibez Film Festival

Miami, FLORIDA – Caribbean content remains one of the most sought after globally yet remains largely untapped. That is the basis by which, RealVibez, the entertainment subsidiary of Blue Mahoe Capital, will launch its inaugural online Film Festival.

The three-day event will be held, August 25 – 27 and will feature a hybrid format with the face-to-face part being held at the Purplepalms Creative Studio in Wynwood, Miami.

PurplePalm Studios, Wynwood

The Festival will feature:

  • Workshops and seminars
  • Pitch sessions
  • Screenings of Films

The workshop/seminar segment will have, over the three days:

  • 10 workshops
  • 3 pitch sessions
  • Screening of films received

Already on board as sponsor partners are the Jamaica Tourist Board, Blinsky, Ava Stewart from State Farm Insurance and parent company, Blue Mahoe Capital Partners. The festival will also host an online auction of running (track and field) sneakers donated by Adidas Agent, Cubie Seegobin.

Festival Director and former Film Commissioner of Jamaica, Carole Beckford thinks the timing is right as the Caribbean is the focus of economic activity in several industries. We are targeting the Creative Sector, as one that we think has tremendous potential for wealth and job creation. We plan to initiate partnerships that will take a project from idea to execution.”

Veteran US broadcaster, Neki Mohan has been appointed Ambassador for the Festival and the Advisory Team will include film, media and entertainment officials with global reach.

Neki Mohan

Entries close in less than a week for entries for films and those fees start at $30 per entry. The categories of films are:

  1. Feature
  2. Documentary
  3. Narration
  4. Musical

Stories could be Fiction or Non-Fiction

Films must be produced, directed, edited, or written by a Caribbean national living on any of the islands/countries. The production teams may include a Caribbean national based outside of the region. Films submitted, may only have been entered in one other film festival within no further back than August 31, 2019.

If there is a film in another language, they must have English subtitles or dubbed in English. At least one member of the team will be required to participate in an online Festival to be hosted by RealVibez.

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Face to Face and Online for Reggae Sunsplash 2021

Kingston, Jamaica– Reggae Sunsplash will return in November 2021.  The event which returned following a 14-year absence is due for Friday and Saturday, November 26 and 27 at the Grizzly’s Plantation Cove in St Ann. 

Following its successful return to the Entertainment Calendar in 2020, Reggae Sunsplash has some wonderful ideas for the 2021 renewal.

The iconic Reggae Festival that was staged virtually as a result of the worldwide Covid 19 Pandemic, pulled in viewership well over 300,000 from 25 countries after a 14-year hiatus.

This year, the promoters of the festival aim to not only meet but exceed the digital achievements through a 360-degree hybrid entertainment model.

This hybrid model will see an expansion of viewing party experience following in the 2020 model. This will include restaurants, sports bars and hotels.

Festival Producer Randy Mattis stated that “We are very happy with the response to last year’s staging and we want to push the potential of the festival this year. The entertainment package is critical, and we are working with our booking agent, Aaron Spence at Kaboom Agency to secure the acts for 2021.”

Tyrone Wilson – Executive Producer; Aaron Kaboom Spence – Booking Agent; Randy Mattis – Producer – Reggae Sunsplash 2020

Mattis added that “the line-up will be attractive to a wide cross-section of fans and we aim to deliver the best of available artistes.

The plan is to build on the existing model by adding more viewing locations globally while exploring the possibility of a physical experience of the festival for a limited number of patrons over the age of 18 enjoying an exclusive experience at the 100-acre property.

Executive producer Tyrone Wilson added that “The prevalence of COVID-19 requires that we innovate and reintroduce the Reggae Sunsplash brand in a more engaging, interactive and far-reaching way. With the support of our partners and sponsors, it is our vision to leverage Reggae Sunsplash to transform our cultural entertainment sector generating major returns to our economy.”

The 2021 staging of the festival is scheduled for the month of November with two nights of performances and curated content experiences with a number of artistes set to grace the stage.

In celebration of Reggae Sunsplash’s rich legacy, the festival will merge performances from industry veterans and today’s reggae and dancehall heavy hitters.

For more information contact Reggae Sunsplash at

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March 15, 2021 – Kingston, Jamaica Kingston Creative is set to receive $1 million JMD from Blue Mahoe Capital, an impact investment company based in Miami, Florida. The funding is part of Blue Mahoe Capital’s outreach to arts and entertainment businesses in the Caribbean, in which it aims to build capacity.

(L-R) Andrea Dempster-Chung, Executive Director; Doris Gross, Director – Kingston Creative and Carole Beckford, SVP, Blue Mahoe Capital

The first investment goes to Kingston Creative; a Jamaican NGO whose mission is to transform Kingston into the creative capital of the Caribbean. It already has implemented 65 street art murals, created signature art festival events like the Artwalk, trained over 4000 creatives and built two arts spaces including the Creative Hub at 107 Harbour Street.

“Many creatives have expressed to us the devastating effect of lockdown on their businesses, including widespread loss of income and layoffs across the cultural and creative industries, so this funding comes at a critical time. It helps us to keep creatives employed on arts projects like Paint the City and the Artwalk,” said Kingston Creative’s Executive Director, Andrea Dempster Chung.

Prior to the contribution from Blue Mahoe Capital, the non-profit had a target to raise $20 million JMD from the Diaspora, to provide matching financing for 30 more murals in the Downtown Kingston Art District and developmental programmes for creatives like Createch, which is partially funded under a 3-year $1.295 million USD agreement with the Inter-American Development Bank (IDB).

“The creative industries remain a priority for the Blue Mahoe team and we believe that businesses in the Caribbean with this focus should be supported. The products and services are an authentic representation of the people. We support the movement wholeheartedly,” says Vice President of Sport and Entertainment, Carole Beckford.

CEO, Blue Mahoe Capital, David Mullings has provided voluntary service to the organisation and helped to shape their strategy, as he currently sits on the Kingston Creative’s Global Advisory Board.

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WYNWOOD, Florida – Would you believe there is one space that can accommodate art, live and recorded music, photo and video shoots. On occasions there are times when you can sample the delectable dishes of the Caribbean and Latin America. The vibe is always right for you to just “chill”; well, this place exists right in the middle of the Wynwood Arts District.

To add to that list of things to do, the space known as Purple Palm Creative offers creative producers and fans an opportunity to indulge themselves into a vibe that will last for a long time.

Steven Chung is the man in charge of the facility, and he designed the 1,700 square foot indoor space to facilitate who he calls the “real creatives in the business of entertainment.”

Housed in the middle of one of the most popular art districts in Florida, Chung also thinks that the space will also provide a new platform for creative thought leadership and unity to incubate, showcase and share innovations with like-minded creators and friends.

Among the other experiences, one can have access to jam sessions, exhibits, listening parties, vintage vinyl sessions, and a place for artists and artisans to promote their creations.

Chung is a Telly Award Winner and 4-time Grammy Nominee who also offers video editing and podcast production services in the space.

Miami is a city that has its finger on the pulse of everything entertainment and Purple Palm Creatives is the place where one can have that amazing feeling.

Now, on the outside, there is enough space to attend a food bazaar and be able to soak up the taste and smell of the variety of delectable dishes from across the world with a focus on the Caribbean and Latin America. Of course, there is always Jamaican food and drinks.

Purple Palms could not exist without the shared vision and generous support of Lombardi Properties and Soundlux Audio.

Book your time and space for anything creative now and support the work and time of Chung and his team. You may secure this information by emailing

In the meantime, they are on IG and Facebook.

See you soon!

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BOOK ALERT: ABCs of Caribbean Sport, Marketing and Psychology

KINGSTON, Jamaica – “Sport deserves every bit of attention it can get on and off the field. Athletes need to be prepared for the mind games too,” that is the advice shared by Carole Beckford and Dr Olivia Rose Esperance in their latest collaboration.

The collaboration is shared in a book, ABCs of Caribbean Sport, Marketing and Psychology which is due out on shelves end of March.ABCs of Caribbean Sport

The 140-page publication dives deep into an industry in the Caribbean which has worked and can continue to work if the talent converts to economic activity (marketing); and how athletes and their teams can maximize earnings while being engaged in a process that takes you from any adversity to a winning attitude, via a positive mindset (psychology).

The project began when the two worked together for the 2018 ICC Women’s T20 World Cup which was held in Guyana, St Lucia and the final in Antigua. Rose was the sport psychologist assigned to the Windies Women, while Beckford was head of marketing and communications for Cricket West Indies. Both are on their third publication.

OliviaRose Esperance describes her contribution as “the timing is impeccable, as during the pandemic, sport is a means of escape and sport people can and should use this opportunity to be managed while building on their competitive portfolio. The two areas of sport are of great significance and written by Caribbean authors. I am proud of this project.”20191022_160558

Beckford believes “it is important to continue to share information about an industry that has contributed so much to the exposure of the region’s best in the global sporting world. The pool of sporting officials has not only grown in numbers, but in quality. There is so much more to earn from the business of sport.”

Both are supporters of student-athletes and their continued pursuit of excellence. “While the athletes continue to excel, management can do some more to create better synergies for business,” noted Rose Esperance.

The book will sell for J$3,000 and US$20. Locations will be known soon!

Patrons may support by ordering on Facebook at (1) ABCs of Caribbean Sport – Marketing and Psychology | Facebook

A virtual launch is scheduled for Wednesday, March 31.

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Caribbean Sport Industry has massive potential

KINGSTON, Jamaica – The value of the sport industry globally is estimated at US $488.5 billion. The breakdown per region globally is also estimated to look like

  • Europe, Middle East & Africa      48 per cent
  • North America                           38 per cent
  • Asia and the Pacific                    13 per cent
  • Caribbean and Latin America    6 per cent

This odd number makes it up to 105 per cent (for the Math experts), but this is what I will be using as my guide for this conversation.

We want to look at the Caribbean Sport Industry, one which, over the years, has made a considerable impact on the field of play, but has not in any way scratched the surface of its potential of its economic earnings.

The key success factors for sport as an economic driver, looks at

  • Events
    • Tickets
    • Media Rights
    • Sponsorship
  • Apparel and Equipment
  • Fitness and Training
  • Venues, Food & Beverage, Betting

In the region, cricket has been the most consistent to fulfill any of the above economic activities listed above. With 10 international cricket venues across the region, Cricket West Indies (formerly West Indies Cricket Board) has hosted other cricketing nations across the region.

TV Rights are considerable for incoming tours from India, Australia and England for the most part. While the revised Super50 and 4-day Championship have been able to attract a sizeable amount. With the standard expenses of CWI estimated to be about $45million annually, the rights deals use that as a base to negotiate from. The figures have really never been made public, but we guess the incoming India tours attract the highest amount. Ticketing and Sponsorship are next in line and then a gear deal.

The region has an impressive list of elite athletes in several sporting disciplines. These range from cricket, track & field, netball, basketball, swimming, volleyball, football among others. The brands in the region should be prepared to invest.

The world recognizes our athletes and we should too. There are a host of products and services that can be aligned with the overall performances (on and off the field). Agents and Managers should collaborate to seek the support as they package our athletes who represent the region consistently.

Two important calls

  1. Sport Ministers should meet before the end of the first quarter 2021 and devise a policy plan to upgrade its policy guidelines, while seeking to look at overall preparation for International competitions in Football, Netball, Tack and Field, Cricket and the other major sporting events for the next four years
  2. I am challenging the agents and managers based in the Caribbean to assemble and discuss the packaging methodologies for the current elite athletes and teams, while looking at the athletes they are preparing for the future

Well maybe three, I am calling out to the major Caribbean Brands to have their marketing teams re-consider investment opportunities for elite teams and athletes.

On another matter

A 2018 Inter-American Development Bank (IDB) report says the Latin America and the Caribbean lags in sport spending. The report stated that “the region could get a development boost from sport activities that improve the region’s social and health benefits.” The report also warned that the programs must be “properly designed and monitored.’

The report also showed that the region needs to spend more on sport, “not just to produce better athletes, but also to foster happier, less violent and healthier societies. To gain the social benefits, there is need for better sport programs and evaluate those that already exist.”

The full report is available here