Of 'Star Bwoy' and birthday wishes
Chester Francis-Jackson, Gleaner Writer
Without a doubt, Kingston is the entertainment capital of the Caribbean and continues to assert its primacy from the days of Henry Morgan, the pirate, to present. It serves as a crossroads of cultures and the unofficial meeting spot between the old and new worlds. Kingston is one happening place!
And little wonder as the energy and synergy of cultures and peoples has distinguished not only the capital, but also its people and the many social, cultural and entertainment expressions it has fostered!
One of those expressions is the very dynamic dancehall.
Long established as the subcultural expression of mainstream reggae, dancehall has been emerging from the shadows of its parent to assert its own adulthood. Unfortunately, due to the sometimes coarse content of the lyrics, it has, in some quarters, been its worst enemy.
Despite its subcultural status, dancehall has been the fastest-growing genre of Jamaican music, spawning many stars whose roots are grounded in the challenging experiences of the urban ghettoes from whence the music spring.
The growth of dancehall is, most interestingly, not restricted to the inner-city ghettoes but its fans and supporters extend to the upper St Andrew homes and gated communities. What has been missing are acceptable venues to facilitate wider audience appeal and enjoyment.
Enter Studio 38, at the Pulse Complex on Trafalgar Road, offering to patrons and guests a comfortable and safe location in which to enjoy the very best of Jamaican entertainment.
Studio 38 has played host to a number of leading international and local reggae stars, with an emphasis on the more mature. Last Saturday night operators departed from their established entertainment format to showcase DJ Mavado, and what a departure, it proved!
Mavado enjoys considerable cross-over status in mainstream reggae as against his cult-like status in the dancehall and inner-city communities where his self-identifying moniker, 'Gully God', speaks to an acknowledgement of his deified musical status/accomplishments in the eyes of his fans.
Those who came out for his performance last Saturday got a very liberal dose of his mastery, charismatic showmanship and appeal.
The packed venue was treated to a 'Star Bwoy' performance as the deejay pulled from his extensive repertoire to entertain his fans and excite them to the point of musical orgasm. They not only led the chorus but also joined in his act in their determination to have a good time.
As Mavado was winning converts to his following, Merciless, gave a rock-solid reminder as to why dancehall had entered into a period of decline. The performer, who was the warm-up act for the headliner, almost killed the vibes of the patrons in attendance by doing a stint that one patron described thus: "Dem dey lyrics naw wear again!"
Merciless, who is clearly a talented performer, opted to do a set using homophobic lyrics that were at least a decade out of sync with modern realities, and further regressed with his supposed 'badman' gun-lyrics that were even more passé.
What was even more unpalatable is the fact that despite loud shouts of "No!", when the audience was asked if they wanted more, he returned to the stage to continue his depressing display.
Mavado, on the other hand, performed a memorable set. He remained true to his hard-core beliefs and fan base, and still appealed to a wider community, as his near two-hour performance was captivating and solidified his role as one of the genre's leading proponents.
It left those in attendance satisfied and left them wanting more. Those in attendance included judge Hilary Phillips; Kingsley Cooper and his leading lady, the gorgeous Romae Gordon; attorney Katherine Phipps; Cliff Cameron; Maurice Foster; singer Beres Hammond; BillBoards' Pat Meschino; Winford Wiliams; First Caribbean International Bank's Marlene Williams; Red Stripe's Jomo Cato, Gary Dixon, and Safia Cooper.
We spotted Harry Smith; the lovely Pat Henry of Intcomex; Alastair McBeath; the charming Marcia Lawrence; Michelle Thompson; the lovely Leigh Bennett-Philpotts; Donny Kong; Colin and Kaye Smith; Steve James; the lovely Marsha Wilson-Maxwell; the charming Angela Amir; the lovely Seya Henry-Wilson; Sandor Panton; the lovely Debbie Morgan; Lloyd Thomas; Reeshma Ragbeer; Models Rohan Rodney; Latoya Spence; plus scores others.
Indeed, it was a night of fine entertainment!
- Happy birthday wishes to singer/songwriter/ actor Jimmy Cliff; artiste manager Sharon Burke; the lovely Moya Lee, in New York; and the lovely Debbie Richards Duran, in Maryland - who all celebrate their birthday today!
- Honorary Consul of Finland Andrew Issa, who celebrates his birthday tomorrow; Yvonne Witter-Ampod; Neil Davis; wife of Dutch Non-resident Ambassador Etty Villanueva, in Havana, Cuba; Teens For Technology's Anders Jones.
- On Sunday, the 3rd, Boyd James model Kanhai Condison; the beautiful Trecia Forbes; model Dre Moore in Barbados; the lovely Shari Rosenberg in New Jersey - who all share the same birthday!
- On Monday, the 4th; businessman Dwight Moore; the lovely Dionne Evans; the lovely Phillipa Douglas; and Orville Plummer from Linstead, St Catherine, now in Dallas, Texas; will celebrate their birthday.
- On Tuesday, the 5th, Therence Gibson; the lovely Alicia-Nicole Fredericks; Lydia Moss-Solomon; the fab Michelle Rosseau, the lovely Ruth Francis in London; make it a very special day of celebrations.
- Wednesday, the 6th, will see: Internationally celebrated musician Stephen Cat Coore of Third World fame; businessman Patrick Casserly; the lovely Georgia Wignal; Dr Curtis Stone in Calgary Canada; the lovely Angelita Byrd in Philadelphia; and the lovely Marsha Amos in London, England; will all be partying to celebrate their birthday.
- On Thursday the 7th, Beverley Graham-Lewis, from Linstead, St. Catherine, now resident of New York; the beautiful Ruby Harrisingh; and the fabulous Michelle Stone, celebrates a day after husband Dr Curtis Stone.
Happy birthday all around.