Daniel Thwaites: Mahogany to mi ting
This business of 'appearance requirements' for celebrities has been in the news recently because the rapper Ludacris sent demands to the University of Georgia for a paid 15-minute performance that raised eyebrows. It included a detailed dinner demand for grilled chicken and steamed brown rice, as well as detailed catering instructions for his hotel room for what looks like a massive planned after-party.
Those included, by way of highlight, multiple bottles of Belvedere Vodka, Conjure Cognac, Patron Tequila, white and red wine, Nag Champa Incense, Eucerin lotion, Trojan Magnum Condoms, and, inevitably, specific soaps, towels, and Lemon Lime Gatorade for the after-shower and rehydration after what would undoubtedly be a strenuous performance. Remind me why I didn't at least try to become a rapper again, please? Only morons waste their most virile years poring over books in university when other pursuits are so obviously rewarding.
A little digging showed up some of the more infamous celebrity demands, and they make for entertaining reading. Cher demands an entire room for her wigs; Jennifer Lopez requires everything about her room and in it to be white; Van Halen required bowls of M&Ms with all the brown ones removed; soccer superstar Messi needs the water in his hot tub at exactly 82.4 degrees; Mariah Carey needs more than 20 humidifiers in her room so she can sleep in rainforest conditions; and Kanye West demands his drivers wear no man-made fibres.
But after inspecting quite a few of these (BeyoncÈ, Jay-Z, Katy Perry, Rihanna, Justin Bieber, Taylor Swift), I realised that they still can't hold a candle to Jamaica's developing culture of celebrity lavishness. Here's how I found that out.
Right in the midst of my wonderment at Ludacris, I happened across a posting of Portia Simpson Miller's appearance requirements online. To make an appearance, Portia needs 'appropriate' transportation, a lectern, and adequate lighting. To call it Spartan is an understatement. Not knowing why that list was posted, a little research brought me to the speaking requirements that had been published (leaked?) for the PM's wife and MP for St Andrew East Rural, Juliet Holness.
Now I was impressed. Unlike the embarrassing austerity of Mrs Simpson Miller's requirements, Mrs Holness' demands just telegraph prosperity. I took note.
And in these times of prosperity, I expect many more speaking invitations for myself, so I've decided to go ahead and say what's required for my own appearances.
So here goes:
Mr Thwaites will be requiring the items listed below to facilitate a smooth delivery of his expected duties for the subject engagement.
Travel & Accommodation Arrangements
a. Ground transportation for Mr Thwaites and his entourage of 14 (minimum) must be provided to and from the airport/hotel/venue/club/ dancehall. Ground transportation shall also be provided and available 24/7 for ALL reasonably scheduled emergencies, nightclub excursions, KFC, and liquor-store runs.
b. Vehicles - Seven SUV-type vehicles with tinted windows, etc. (No limos, VW Bugs, jalopies, or donkey carts, please). Drivers must be insured, female, good-looking, speak Patwa always, and never sober.
c. Hotel accommodation - five-star quality: 1 sweet suite with mahogany bed. Hotel accommodation should include free Jamaican breakfast: ackee & salt fish, steam callaloo, and fried dumplings, enough to satisfy the wanga gut, nyammish, and famished.
d. Flights - private plane. Or two first-class passages and 12 coach/economy passages, non-stop.
i. He shall sit on a padded chair of mahogany wood, 22 inches high. No plastic, pine, cherry, bamboo, maple, wicker, ply, oak, poplar, or walnut! Mahogany to mi ting! Straight!
ii. His chief close protection officer (CPO) shall be seated immediately behind him, locked and loaded so people doan feel dem can chat to mi any ol' kinda way. His team shall be seated, so they can cut, if necessary.
iii. Access/accreditation shall be given to all mi tugs and dawgs in mi entourage.
i. Mr Thwaites is 6'2", so get a proper-sized mahogany lectern. Mahogany to mi ting!
i. Photographs are only permitted of Mr Thwaites' left (good) side. All photos shall be checked and approved by his communications aide.
ii. If you doan have free Wi-Fi, doan call mi.
A) He shall be furnished with a minimum of 15 mahogany cell phones with unlimited local calling and data services.
B) Unlimited outgoing international calls.
There shall be a green room provided at the venue for the use of the principal and his team.
A) One comfortable private room for the exclusive use of Mr Thwaites, his entourage and any approved guest. This room shall be clean, dry, well lit, junju-free.
B) Must be able to reach his seating or speaking position at the main event without the audience being able to touch or talk to him.
C) The green room must be painted orange (or red) and connected to CLEAN private lavatories containing running Evian water; toilets must have mahogany seats; clean sinks; extremely soft toilet paper; fresh bars of Dove soap; Bounty paper towels; and garbage cans with Hefty brand plastic liners.
D) These lavatories must be for The Principal and his entourage's exclusive use.
GREEN ROOM HOSPITALITY
o Tea set-up - Bush tea, cerasee, fever grass, Milo, coffee, mint, creamer, Swiss Miss, ginger, aloe.
o 12 - Bottles of spring water - ROOM TEMP
o 12 - bottles of spring water - CHILLED
o An assortment of natural roots drinks (medina, spurlina, stagger-back, Irish moss, black stallion)
o 1 - package tamarind balls, almonds, cashews, assorted nuts, jujubes, rum-flavoured jellybeans.
o 24 - Various energy bars (i.e., Nature Valley Granola Bar)
o Fruit platter - sliced - Pineapple, oranges, grapes, bananas, etc.
o 2 - ounces marijuana
o 1 - box Rizzla
o 1 - box of Kleenex
o 1 - pack Craven A
o 1 - bottle Appleton Whites
o 1 - case BOOM.
o NO PORK OR PORK BY-PRODUCTS ABSOLUTELY, EXCEPT BACON, HAM & SAUSAGE.
Thanks to Juliet for opening up this difficult subject for discussion. Why should Jamaican celebrities be any less coddled than Ludacris?
- Daniel Thwaites is an attorney-at-law. Email feedback to firstname.lastname@example.org.