Seek 'True Prosperity' ... Grange urges secular acts at Fun in the Son launch
The Best Dressed Fun in the Son gospel festival launch programme was alight with activities. The evening saw energetic dances from the young crews One Body One God and Radical Youth, intertwined with a couple of deep, personal testimonies from local celebrities.
Denise Hunt, one of three hosts of the gospel festival, delivered the first passionate testimony of the night.
Then came the cry, "I am new!", from the aisles as Ian 'Ity' Ellis revealed in an effortlessly comedic delivery his recent commitment to Christianity. In a display of wit, he affirmed his renewal with the acronym of his Christian name, 'I Am New', which, he says, he has reclaimed. In a similar stance, the comedian still claimed his 'Ity' moniker, making it another thoughtful and heartening acronym, 'I Thank You'.
In a quip that humoured the crowd at the Best Dressed Fun in the Son launch event, Minister of Culture, Gender, Entertainment and Sport, Olivia Grange, referenced the 1990s exodus of dancehall artistes like Papa San, Junior Tucker, Carlene Davis and Stitchie, who turned completely from the secular world, focusing fully on gospel music and their ministry.
In reference to the current generation of dancehall artistes, she said, "All those artistes need to step back and determine what is true prosperity," to the amusement of the crowd.
Christopher Levy, president and CEO of Jamaica Broilers Group, also made remarks at the launch, highlighting the group's consistent support of the efforts of Glory Music in the organisation of the festival, from its beginnings as Tommy Cowan's Gospel Train Tour two decades ago, until now, the 14th year Glory Music has produced Fun in the Son, a festival that Levy considers "national event with unquantifiable national impact".
American evangelist Andrew Palau is slated to speak at the festival, delivering a powerful testimony about his journey to Christ that began with a trip to Jamaica 23 years ago. The headlining musical act is three-time Grammy winner Donnie McClurkin. Also slated to perform are Papa San, Carlene Davis, Kevin Downswell, Judith Gayle, Rondell Positive, and DJ Nicholas.
DJ Nicholas closed the launch with a rousing performance that had the entire audience on their feet within seconds of him grabbing the microphone. If the energy of the media launch foreshadows the festivities of July 16, then the Best Dressed Fun in the Son gospel festival is sure to be a high-energy affair.