Tue | Jan 28, 2020

Kartel cool, pleasant behind bars – Mikie Bennett - Artiste reminds producer that his mother was his teacher

Published:Friday | December 13, 2019 | 2:25 PMYasmin Peru - Senior Gleaner Writer
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Producer Mikie Bennett’s mother, who taught Adidja Palmer at Tutorial College in Kingston, always told her son that Palmer was the brightest English student she ever had. “I’m not sure if he went to Tutorial before or after Calabar, but my mother met him there, and when she was alive, she always spoke glowingly of his enormous talent,” Bennett told The Gleaner of jailed deejay, Vybz Kartel, who is currently awaiting the ruling of his appeal to have his murder conviction overturned.
It was on Wednesday that he last saw Kartel, and it was also Bennett’s first time seeing him in many moons. “Can you believe that five minutes before I got your text about doing an interview about Kartel, I was actually briefly interacting with him?” Bennett asked.
He had been visiting the St Catherine Adult Correctional Centre where Adidja Palmer is housed and somebody called over the deejay. “He was talking to five of us through a fence for about three minutes, really just acknowledging us as individuals who he knew. There was no conversation really. He reminded me, however, that my mother taught him in school,” Bennett related.
Brief as the meeting was, the thing that still has Bennett in awe, is that he simply did not recognise the self-proclaimed World Boss. “What struck me most was how different he seems compared to the image that has been in my brain, based on pictures and videos. Not only has he stopped bleaching, but his body language is so light … so comfortable. I was taken aback at how cool and pleasant he was,” the Grafton Studios CEO said. “You see, it is never ever good to judge people,” he warned
Bennett recalled the last time he saw Kartel: “That was long before he became the World Boss. I was in the supermarket and saw him. As usual, he asked about the old lady and then we spoke for about three hours. One of the things he said was, ‘Mr B, yuh know that half of the things I seh going over the people dem head.’ And that’s because Kartel, like Shakespeare, uses a lot of metaphors, and oftentimes they are taken literally. The problem is that the people he is talking to are not thinking metaphorically,” Bennett pointed out.
The producer, who is part of a special team commissioned to use music to rehabilitate inmates at both the Tower Street and St Catherine adult correctional centres, disclosed that Kartel is not a part of the programme, by his own choice. But the artiste, who continues to dominate dancehall music from behind bars, seems to have had a change of heart.
“One of the young men said to me, ‘Missa B, mi have a message from Kartel and him want to be part of the programme’,” the producer revealed. 
Bennett says the authorities will now process the request, and, of course, he is looking forward to working with Vybz Kartel.
yesmine.peru@gleanerjm.com