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Dancehall '09 the highs and lows

Published:Sunday | January 3, 2010 | 12:00 AM

Roxroy McLean, Gleaner Intern

The year 2009 was a very eventful year for the world of entertainment, as much of the happenings in the industry, locally and abroad, captivated the interest and emotions of many.

The Sunday Gleaner took the time to recapture some of those significant moments in 2009, which were a mix of both highs and lows.


Fortunately, the year got started on a positive note as there was much attention given to Shaggy the philanthropist, when the Grammy Award-winning artiste, born Orville 'Shaggy' Burrell, donated a whopping $27 million dollars to the Bustamante Hospital for Children. The generous donation was raised through his Shaggy and Friends' 'I Dare You' charity concert, held at Jamaica House on January 3.

Shaggy made a successful appeal to corporate Jamaica and his colleagues in the entertainment industry, after he was approached and moved by the sad story of a father, whose daughter was badly in need of medical attention. The facilities were, however, inadequate.

Shaggy's kind gesture brought a sense of hope to the staff and patients at the hospital.


Earlier this year the Broadcasting Commission decided to clean up the airwaves, banning songs containing sexually explicit and violent content. The ban took immediate effect, forcing radio stations and artistes to make adjustments to content presented for airplay.

The ban came on the heels of the controversial song, Rampin' Shop, which was recorded by Vybz Kartel and female artiste Spice.


Perhaps it was the most shocking news of early 2009. Known for his spiritual consciousness, reggae icon Luciano was brought before the court to answer charges of harbouring a fugitive at his Westmoreland Road home, in St Andrew.

Andrew Senior, was shot and killed in an early-morning shoot out with the police. Three of the lawmen were also reportedly shot and injured.


The month of April was a relatively quiet one. But, with the death of legendary bandleader Byron Lee, founder of the popular Byron Lee and the Dragonaires band, the staging of the annual Jamaica Carnival (Byron Lee's brainchild event) did not materialise.

Byron Lee lost his battle with cancer on November 4, 2008, and died at the University Hospital of the West Indies, at age 73. Jamaica carnival debuted in 1990.


May was basically a positive month for the entertainment industry.

Musically, the month saw the release of two captivating and soul-searching albums. Tarrus Riley released his thought-provoking Contagious, while Buju Banton released his Rasta Got Soul album.

Poor and Boasy and Tiki, winners of the 2009 Magnum Kings and Queens of dancehall, and Unlimited Dancers' Marlando Shirley, and Menase Hines, winners of the 2009 Dancin' Dynamites, displayed skills and their lives spun immediately.


The passing of the King of Pop Michael Jackson, may have overshadowed all other happenings on the entertainment scene, locally and abroad. Jackson left an indelible mark on the world. The music legend, one of the world's most beloved superstars, died on June 25, after suffering a cardiac arrest at his home in Beverly Hills.


Following his involvement in a gun-related incident with an off-duty policeman, and after a ruling by the director of public prosecutions for his arrest, veteran dancehall artiste Bounty Killer turned himself in to the police at Half-Way Tree.

The deejay was later slapped with charges of illegal possession of firearm, assault at common law and unlawful wounding.

Tito Jackson, brother of the late pop star Michael Jackson, received the Lifetime Achievement Award, on behalf of his brother's musical legacy, at Reggae Sumfest 2009.

Once secular, now a Christian, female artiste Sasha confirmed rumours that she had turned her life over to Christ. She was known for dancehall songs like Natty Pon Mi Frontline and We Got Love, which she did with Turbulance, as well as a remake of Alton Ellis' I'm Still In Love, with Sean Paul.


Another quiet month, the entire Independence weekend was focused on the Appleton Temptation Isle and Red Stripe Dream Weekend party series, which took place in Negril, Jamaica.


For the last six years, the Digicel Rising Stars competition has successfully unearthed new talents. Each year the competition's appeal increases and, for some reason, the winners are overwhelming crowd favourites.

This was the case for the down-to-earth Montego Bay-based Brown Sugar who, after winning the 2009 competition, became $1 million richer along with several first-place prizes to boot.

Wycliffe 'Steely' Johnson of the famed producing duo, Steely and Clevie, died on September 1 in a hospital in East Patchogue, New York. He was suffering from pneumonia after recovering from kidney complications in December 2008.

Playwright legend Trevor Rhone also left his own legacy. The late multi-talented theatre practitioner died of a massive heart attack on September 15 at age 69.


After weeks of protests, reggae artiste Buju Banton met with gay activists in San Francisco, United States. This came after several shows on his overseas Rasta Got Soul album tour were cancelled. The meeting was held at the Courtyard Hotel and was organised by San Francisco moral candidate and supervisor Bevan Dufty.

Danechall's 'bad girl', Ce'Cile, signed a music deal with MTV and E! The Manchester-born diva signed a licensing agreement to provide music for popular reality TV shows, with Bunim-Murray of Los Angeles, California, the leading producers of reality TV docu-dramas in the USA.


Popular Bass Odyssey selector Kevin 'Squingy' Bennett died in Florida, USA, after ailing for an extended period. He was 37.


Triple Olympic and World Champion Usain Bolt played host to his 9.58 Super Party, which was in aid of the development of the Sherwood Content Health Centre, in Trelawny, the track star's hometown.

Two of dancehall music's most popular artistes, Mavado and Vybz Kartel call for peace, following a prolonged lyrical feud that became violent among fans. The two also performed together at the annual West Kingston Jamboree in Tivoli Gardens on Sunday, December 6, as a further show of peace.

Did he? Or did he not? That's the questions on the lips of everyone after news broke that Buju Banton was caught on tape, by US officials, negotiating and tasting cocaine, which he allegedly attempted to buy.

Banton, born Mark Myrie, was charged along with Ian Thomas and James Mack, also known as Spencer Clarke, with conspiracy to possess with intent to distribute five kilograms or more of cocaine.