BY: JODEE BROWN
As if there wasn’t enough drama resulting from the recent dissolution of the Portmore Empire, now the group’s former leader has thrown more gasoline on the proverbial fire with a stern rebuking of his ex-protégés.
According to several reports, incarcerated Dancehall superstar and former Empire founder, Vybz Kartel released a damning statement against his former group mates on Thursday, insinuating that prominent protégés,Popcaan and Tommy Lee are no longer committed to the ‘Gaza’ cause, labeling both artistes as ‘opportunists.’
The statement was reportedly issued through ex-Empire singer, Vanessa ‘Gaza Slim’ Saddler, who sent said statement to Anthony Miller of TVJ’s Entertainment Report.
The alleged statement reads, “I just want u to let the people know that all a dem runnin’ aroun’ sayin’ ‘Gaza, Gaza’ are not real. Before I came here we were ‘good.’ No animosity, but within a week of my arrest, they started giving other people managerial and booking positions. But where were these people when I was building their careers? When I was investing time and money to transform them from nobody to somebody? They are opportunists and fake. I’m not surprised because this is Dancehall and I have no problem with them making their money. But I jus’ don’t want them to be all over the place exploiting a movement that I built with blood sweat and tears when they and I know they aren’t real. I want them to stop. The only two loyal people are Slim and Sheba (the girls) and maybe it’s because they haven’t fully realized their potential.”
This news comes several weeks after back and forth exchanges between Popcaan and former Empire singjay, Gaza Slim following a statement made by the former deejay address his status within the ‘Gaza’ as well as relationship with Vybz Kartel.
Furthermore, reports suggest that Vybz Kartel wanted a sizeable portion of Tommy Lee’s booking and publishing rights in an effort to exert more control over the Some Bwoy singer’s career while also implying that Popcaan owes ‘Di Teacha’ money in relation to bookings fees.
Kartel has publicly lashed out against former protégés before, doing so after ex-members likeBlack Ryno and Lisa Hyper left the Portmore Empire. The once dominant super group has also lost members such as Jahvinci, Kym Hamilton, co-founder, Deva Bratt and former Empire producer, Ainsley ‘Notnice’ Morris.
In a swift response to Kartel’s statement, Lisa Hyper disputed claims made by the self-professed ‘Worl’ Boss,’ intimating during an interview with one876entertainment.com that ‘Di Teacha’ should never take full credit for the growing ‘Gaza’ movement.
“Who is him fi talk bout loyalty? Him not even loyal to him (expletive) self. Him right fi say ah only dem two de, Sheba and Slim ah the most loyal to him because dem ah de two foolest people pon the Gaza, dem not even know what a split sheet is, dem nuh know nothing bout the business. Kartel caan stop nobody from say Gaza, Gaza belong to everybody now, this is a movement, Gaza mean fight for what you believe in and Kartel caan tek Gaza from nobody, Popcaan and Tommy Lee caan siddown and wait pon him fi come out, and further, Gaza belong to everybody, it bigger than Adidja Palmer, it bigga than me, it bigga than everybody who help start it. Mi breathe Gaza, mi bleed Gaza, Gaza for life,” she said.
More details of this ongoing saga will emerge on TVJ’s Entertainment Report this Friday night featuring Kartel’s statement as well as reaction from the aforementioned Tommy Lee, who reportedly expresses his loyalty to the ‘Gaza’ in his interview with ER, despite his mentor’s comments.