Curtis Campbell, Gleaner Writer
International Reggae/dancehall band T.O.K has launched a new online news show called 'Listen Mi News Weekly.'
The show, which is aired on YouTube.com, sees T.O.K members portraying themselves as television broadcasters, as they tackle topical issues based on local and international affairs.
According to T.O.K member Flexx, Listen Mi News Weekly is a creative way of using their musical influence to create awareness about issues of global concern which are sometimes overlooked, due to the numerous elements of distraction which are available for consumption on the Internet.
"Nowadays, people in general cyah bodda sit down and wait on the news because their focus is all over the place, therefore this was created to keep people upbeat about what is happening in a happy and fun way. Nuff youth not even a take di time to listen to the news and this will make them aware of what is taking place in the world," said Flexx.
The artiste gave credit to his band mate Bay-C who originated the concept of Listen Mi News Weekly. He also revealed that the response from social media has been very encouraging. The singer also gave an insight into how a successful reggae band finds information and time to manoeuvre an online news channel.
"Based on what we see and read, we gather our information. We normally choose topical issues then we put it in music as we work closely with a young producer called Icon. It's never a challenge for us to write songs and it's the same thing with news, it's a fun process," Flexx said.
Listen Mi News Weekly has already chronicled news about Vybz Kartel's controversial trial, Prime Minister Portia Simpson Miller's altercation with TVJ reporter Vashan Brown, Andrew Holness' restructuring of the JLP, the USA's signing of a deal with Iran and relieving them of some of their sanctions, Trinidad's refusal to give 13 Jamaicans entry to the country, as well as Tessanne Chin's success in 'The Voice', among other stories.
six different news episodes
The official Listen Mi News Weekly channel is called 'Listen Mi Caribbean' on YouTube.com and currently has more than six different news episodes with over 30,000 views. The main news stories are read by protagonist and founder of the show, Bay-C, who recently uploaded a video on the channel expressing gratitude to the growing number of subscribers to the channel.
"Give thanks for the amazing feedback; it's doing exceptionally well and we give thanks for you guys," he said.
The recording artiste is also asking viewers to make suggestions on the Listen Mi Caribbean YouTube channel in order to help modify the content to suit their needs.
"We want feedback especially as it relates to the music, what type of music do you want for each episode? Whether it be reggae, dub step, dancehall, hip hop, ska or soca," Bay-C said.
T.O.K recently completed their new album called Taking Over, which will be released in 2014. The band also filmed and released a music video for their collaborative single, Shell It Dung, which features international platinum-selling producers Major Lazer.