Kartel cops bail on conspiracy charge

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Embattled Dancehall superstar, Vybz Kartel is another step closer to temporary freedom as the prominent deejay has secured bail on another charge.

Kartel has been granted JA$500,000 bail in his conspiracy case in relation to the murder St. Catherine-based dancer, Clive ‘Lizard Williams. The ruling was made when Kartel appeared in the Corporate Area Criminal Court Tuesday morning.

Kartel, along with long-time musical protégé,Vanessa ‘Gaza Slim’ Saddler and studio engineer, Andre ‘Pim Pim’ Henry are charged with attempting to pervert the course of justice following Williams’ murder in August 2011. The charge stems from a police report Saddler filed five days after Kartel was charged for murder in the Clive ‘Lizard’ Williams matter. Prosecutors initially claimed they seized a cellphone containing text messages in which Kartel ordered Gaza Slimto file the report.

Vybz Kartel, who was also granted bail last December in the Barrington ‘Bossie’ Burton murder case, remains in police custody on the Clive ‘Lizard’ Williamsmurder charge.

The high-profile entertainer will return to court next month when the Barrington ‘Bossie’ Burton trial is expected to commence. TheClive ‘Lizard’ Williams murder trial and accompanying conspiracy cases have been put off until January 2013.

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By TorontoDeejays.com

Shaggy and Friends put off: Charity show gets revamp

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The popular Shaggy and Friends charity event, which has raised over JA $90 million in aid of the Bustamante Hospital For Children, will not be staged for a second time this year.

The concert, hosted annually by Grammy-winning Jamaican entertainer, Shaggy and hisMake a Difference foundation was due to stage its fourth edition late this year, featuring an all-Jamaican lineup in honor of Jamaica’s 50th independence anniversary. However,Shaggy and Friends has will now be held every other year after a decision was made to revamp the event’s setup.

Shaggy’s manager and Solid Agency head,Sharon Burke confirmed the singer’s decision to hold his charitable initiative bi-annually, but did not divulge additional details.

Shaggy and Friends was first staged in December 2009, eight years after Shaggyfirst partnered with the Bustamante Hospital for Children. That initial staging featured high-profile entertainers such as Sean Paul, Etana, Marcia Griffiths and American R&B singer, Macy Gray. The first edition raised over JA$27 million for the hospital.

The second installment of Shaggy and Friends took place on January 2011, whereBounty Killer, Cham, Machel Montano, Tarrus Riley and Boyz II Men all performed. That year, the event reeled in over JA$30 million.

The third edition of Shaggy and Friends took place on January 7 of this year after being moved back a week due to Jamaica’s general elections. The event featured Romain Virgo, Maxi Priest, Tami Chynn and American rap sensation, Eve who was accompanied by award-winning dancer,Mystic Davis during her set.

Despite continuous on-stage demands by hip-hop/soul legend, Lauryn Hill during her set, this year’s edition of Shaggy and Friends reeled in JA$32 million. Some of the money raised through Shaggy’s event has been donated towards new equipment as well as the building of a cardiac ward for the Bustamante Hospital for Children.

By TorontoDeejays.com

Spragga Benz set to unveil video album, documentary

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Veteran Dancehall superstar, Spragga Benzhas returned to the spotlight as he’s set to release a pair of visually-pleasing projects in the near future.

Two years after releasing his last compilation,Shotta Culture, Spragga Benz will be unveiling a new video album, featuring 17 videos for 17 tracks in honor of his late son,Carlton Grant, who was killed at the age of 17 in 2008.

The video album features collaborations with many high-profile Jamaican and American entertainers, including Stephen Marley, Sizzla, Nas, Swiss Beatz, Queen Ifrica, Marcia Griffiths, Wayne Wonder andJasmine Sullivan. Additionally, the album features production from prominent disc jock,ZJ Bambino as well as American producers,Salaam Remi and PJ Butta.

Spragga Benz revealed that it was difficult toschedule video shoots with many of the entertainers featured on the album, thus including excerpts of performances he did with some so that everyone appears on it.

According to the Red Square founder, this album will help to complete the Shotta Culture series, insisting that he wanted to do a project that represented Dancehall on an esteemed level.

Spragga Benz revealed that the edited process for the video album was slowed due to Hurricane Sandy, but is almost complete.

Meanwhile, Spragga will also be releasing a documentary to complete the Shotta Culturepackage, called Shotta Culture HD. The popular entertainer says that Shotta Culture HDfocuses on his life and accomplishments on and off-stage as he seeks to prove with the documentary that ghetto youth can make a difference in their communities.

Aside from these projects, Spragga Benz is shooting the visuals for his single, Sleep With Angels, which will be unveiled later this year. Furthermore, he’s promoting a number of new tracks including Name Brand, Activate and Tell Me Who.

By TorontoDeejays.com

Usain Bolt named World Athlete of the Year

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Two-time defending Olympic champion, Usain Bolt can add more gold to his already rich collection as the Jamaican sprinting legend has been named World Male Athlete of the Year.

Bolt received the award on Saturday morning during a special awards ceremony by the International Association of Athletics Federations (IAAFthis morning. The world athletics governing body celebrated their 100th year of existence during that ceremony, which took place in Barcelona, Spain.

Bolt beat out Olympic 110m hurdles champion, Aries Merritt and Kenyan middle-distance runner, David Rudisha, who won the 800m title at London 2012.

Bolt’s World Male Athlete of the Yearaward caps off a highly successful 2012 for Bolt, who retained his 100m and 200m titles in London while anchoring Jamaica to a second straight 4 by 100m men’s relay medal, in which they broke their own record by 21 seconds. He became the second man to win back to back 100m titles (Carl Lewis) and the first to repeat as the 200m champion.

Meanwhile, the World Female Athlete of the Year award went to prominent American sprinter, Allyson Felix, who scored gold in the 200m for women. Felix also helped the United States’ 4 by 100m women’s relay team to record-shattering success during the summer games in London.

Felix eclipsed Olympic heptathlon champion, Jessica Ennis of Great Britain, as well as Olympic shot-put champion, Valerie Adams of New Zealand.

By TorontoDeejays.com

Lady Saw inducted into Caribbean Hall of Fame

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The recently crowned Queen of Dancehall can add yet another title to her illustrious résumé as she will be inducted in theCaribbean Hall of Fame.

Lady Saw was selected for the award by theCommittee of the Caribbean Development for the ArtsSports and Culture Foundation, in conjunction with theCaribbean Community for her near two decades of contributions to the music industry.

This honor comes over five months after officially being crowned the Queen of Dancehall during her typically electrifying performance at this year’s edition of Reggae Sumfest.

In a statement issued by the foundation’s executive director, Garnett Reid, he intimated that, “The foundation’s aim is to recognize individuals who have contributed significantly to the development of arts, sports and culture in the Caribbean and to encourage the natural genius of our people to reach the highest level.”

Lady Saw expressed her gratitude towards being selected as an inductee to theCaribbean Hall of Fame in a press release.

Part of the release read, “”I am extremely honored to have been selected for this prestigious award. I want to thank the Caribbean Community for recognizing my work, thus selecting me for this award.”

Lady Saw’s list of accomplishments is unprecedented for Jamaican female deejays. She became the first female solo artiste to win a Grammy Award as her collaborative effort with No Doubt’sGwen Stefani (Underneath It All) won the honor of Best Performance by a Duo or Group. She also is the only female deejay to be certified triple-platinum and has a slew of international hits to her name including Chat To Mi Back, I’ve Got Your Man and Sycamore Tree, amongst others.

Other highly-acclaimed Jamaican entertainers who’ve been inducted into the Caribbean Hall of Fame include Shaggy, Beenie Man, Shabba Ranks, Ken Boothe, Monty Alexander, Dennis Brown and Bob Marley.

The official induction ceremony for Lady Saw is scheduled to take place as the Jamaica Pegasus Hotel in New Kingston on Friday, starting at 6:30 p.m..

By TorontoDeejays.com

Busy Signal happy to be home following prison term

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Following six months of reflection in a United States prison, prominent Dancehall superstar,Busy Signal is back home and glad to be amongst his loved ones and fans once more after a tenuous ordeal.

Busy Signal returned to Jamaica last week Friday after serving time for absconding bail in regards to a drug case 10 years ago in Minnesota. Speaking for the first time since his ordeal during a press conference on Wednesday evening, Busy insists that prison was a life changing experience for him, intimating that he saw things that gave him a reality check during the prison term.

“Give thanks to the most high God and the support from the media, it’s been a rough six million years for me for the past six months. What I did, came back to haunt me, but my lifestyle free me up,” he said.

“Mi nuh know how fi explain the feeling of being in prison for the six months because it had a negative effect on my health, life andcareer. It gave me a lot of knowledge. Me see people drop down dead from heart attack, I see a lot of things. I’m here giving thanks to the media and everybody who support me.”

Busy Signal fled the United States in 2002 in search for a better life, dedicating the majority of his time towards learning the music industry and perfecting his craft as a deejay. Though Busy has enjoyed a highly successful career and accompanying accolades along the way, the elite entertainer said that he had been troubled by his past ever since making that decision to the leave the U.S., thinking that it might come back to haunt him at some point.

“I knew all of this in my head. I’ve been in prison in my head for 10 years thinking about all this,” he said. “Things will come around to haunt you. Mi learn seh, doe get yuh self inna problem. Do di ting and keep the straight and narrow.”

An obviously trimmer Busy Signal also appreciates that fact that he’s gotten to eat Jamaican food again after losing more than 30 pounds during his prison stay.

According to the Reggae Music Again singer, he feared for his health given the lack of good food he received behind bars.

“When I was there, the food was just crazy. I fainted twice. I fell down and had blackouts twice” he said. “The doctors had to test me, gave me physicals. They took my blood pressure; they did DNA. They did everything, it was devastating.”

Now that Busy’s back in his home country, he’s been able to see his family and children, including his son, Egypt Knight-Gordon, who was born in July while Busy was awaiting sentencing. Additionally, Busy revealed that he would be visiting the Gun Court and general penitentiary facilities to visit inmates and offer them advice.

As for his career, Busy Signal has already hit the studio, unveiling his first single since returning,Come Shock Out on Wednesday. That single will be followed up by another track, Think Man a Ediot, which is set for release on Thursday.

Furthermore, Busy’s manager, Shane Brown confirmed that his artiste will perform in December, marking his first local stage show appearance since 2008. Will it be STING 2012Brown is not sure, but won’t ignore the possibility.

“I’m not sure if it’s STING, we’ve been approached by STING, but we a gwaan think bout it…It’s gonna be a December to remember.”

You can watch a replay of the full Busy Signal press conference on his official Facebook page:https://www.facebook.com/OneBusySignal?sk=app_190322544333196

 

Dancehall superstar, Busy Signal is back on the scene with his first single since serving time overseas called, 'Come Shock Out.'
By TorontoDeejays.com

UWI students start campaign promoting tolerance

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Students at the University of the West Indies (UWI) are taking a stand regarding one of Jamaica’s hot button issues in the wake of a controversial beating at another local tertiary institution.

Weeks after video emerged of a male student at the University of Technology (UTECH)being beaten by security guards after allegedly engaging in a sexual act with another man, UWI students have organized a pro-tolerance movement dubbed Every Face Counts. The initiative, which features on theOne People: Jamaica Facebook page, mirrors an American pro-gay marriage campaign started in 2008 called NOH8 (No Hate).

Maya Wilkinson, the publications committee chairperson for the UWI Guild of Students is the lead organizer of Every Face Counts. In a statement posted on the movement’s official YouTube page, Wilkinson advocates for the tolerance of people who are ‘different.’

“After an incident in which a young man was beaten on his own school grounds by homophobic campus security guards I decided to finally do more than just talk about Jamaica’s intolerance for human differences,” Wilkinson said.

Though the campaign does address the growing issue of homophobia in Jamaica, Wilkinson insisted in an interview with theJamaica Observer that Every Face Counts isn’t just promoting tolerance of those in the LGBT community but people of other religions and classes as well.

“It’s grown past just same-sex marriage to simply promoting tolerance; and it’s expanded beyond just sexuality, so it’s now opened up to include all human differences such as gender, class, religion,” she said

We are not at the level yet where we can ask for same-sex marriage here in Jamaica; so it’s really just to promote tolerance, basically… That’s the level we are at here, and educating people on the difference between acceptance and tolerance. You don’t necessarily have to accept the idea ofhomosexuality, but it’s important that we at least tolerate each other.”

Wilkinson insists that she’s not gay but sympathizes with those who are the targets of hateful messages.

“In my own small way, I want to start movement towards change in Jamaica.” she told the Observer. “We will use social media to catalyze movement towards change; movement towards a Jamaica that puts humanity above all else.”

Despite these good intentions, students have openly complained about the recruiting process forEvery Face Counts as some insist that they were only made aware of the its cause after participating in a photo shoot endorsing the campaign. Some also complained that they were hounded by fellow students to participate.

Despite those setbacks, Wilkinson insists that support for the campaign on and off-campus has been positive and hopes to get some of Jamaica’s high-profile celebrities in on the Every Face Counts movement.

“It’s a very difficult topic, but it’s something that needed to be done, and my group of friends were very supportive of the idea, and the support that I have been getting from campus persons is surprisingly positive,” she said. “We still need a lot more support, because we want to include celebrities and athletes and persons who are extremely key to society.”

Jamaica has been known as a country strongly opposed to homosexuality and any movements associate with it, primarily in the entertainment world where prominent Dancehall artistes likeBeenie Man, Bounty Killer, Sizzla and Capleton have constantly received flack for past lyrics on the issue.

Though she knows the risks involved with promoting such a campaign locally, Wilkinson insists that this campaign will go a long way to exploring the root of these feelings towards homosexuality while uniting Jamaicans from all walks of life.

“We need to understand why we are so homophobic in Jamaica. It’s a hard concept to get our heads around, and I think education is very important in that sense,” she said.

“It’s also important in the way we put the campaign forward, and not just necessarily say that it is to promote homosexuality or support it, but to say that we are fighting for tolerance of human differences and attempting to unite our country because our very motto is ‘out of many, one.’”

A video of the 'Every Face Counts' campaign features some of the faces and people involved in promoting the movement.
By TorontoDeejays.com

Vybz Kartel, Konshens make provisional list for Grammy award

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Incarcerated Dancehall superstar, Vybz Kartelhas something to smile about today as one of his most recent compilations has been tipped for music’s highest honor.

Vybz Kartel’s Pon Di Gaza Mi Sey album, released in October 2011, is one of 50 projects on the provisional shortlist for theBest Reggae Album award at next year’s Grammys in Los Angeles. Pon Di Gaza Mi Sey, released a month after Kartel’s arrest on drug and subsequent murder charges, features many of Kartel’s hits dating back to 2008.

Some of the songs on Pon Di Gaza Mi Seyinclude Virginity (Versatility)Like a Movie, Get Wild, Life We Living and the controversial track, Romping Shop (featuring Spice).

Another embattled Dancehall megastar, Busy Signal has also been nominated for his album,Reggae Music Again, which features hits like Kingston Town, Come Over and the CD’s title track, Reggae Music Again. Busy, who also scored strong collaborations withDamian Marley (Kingston Town Remix)and Grammy-winning American rock band, No Doubt (Push and Shove) will be released from a Minnesota prison in less than two weeks after completing his six month sentence for absconding bail during a drug case.

Other notables on the Best Reggae Albumshortlist include Konshens, who has been torching the music scene this year with his debut album, Mental Maintenance, which features tracks like Do Sumn, Simple Song, Gal Dem a Talk and She’s Happy. Additionally, past Best Reggae Album winners such as Sean Paul (Tomahawk Technique), Toots Hibbert (Reggae Got Soul: Unplugged) and Jimmy Cliff (Rebirth) scored nominations while Mr. Vegas also appears on the shortlist for his successful double disc, Sweet Jamaica.

The 50 nominees for Best Reggae Album will be trimmed to five (or six) finalists when the full list of next year’s nominees are announced on December 5 at the Staples Center in Los Angeles. The 55th annual Grammy Awards will take place at the same venue on February 10, 2013.

By TorontoDeejays.com

Magnum Kings and Queens back on air January 2013

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Arguably Jamaica’s most popular talent show, the Magnum Kings and Queens of Dancehall,will return to the television airwaves in January as they prepare to launch their sixth season.

The show will return most of their cast from a successful season five, with the exception of their backstage host, Donald ‘Iceman’ Anderson, who has been replaced by Pretty Boy Floyd, who was the original host of the show’s Digicel-sponsored Pon Di Endzsegment. Anderson was replaced for the upcoming season, as he was not available to do the show this time round.

Magnum Kings and Queens host and the ‘Curvaceous Diva,’ Yanique Barrett returns for her third season as the show’s host and has promised that she will be showcasing more of her designs during season six. In addition to her duties with MKQ, as well as her co-hosting duties of FAME FM’s E-Blaze, Barrett has been working diligently while running her own clothing store, Material World, which is based near Immaculate Conception High School in Constant Spring.

Meanwhile, Downsound Records producer,Cordel ‘Skatta’ Burrell, prominent media personality, Miss Kitty and highly regarded veteran deejay, Professor Nuts will also return to Magnum Kings and Queens, where they have been judges since the show’s inception in 2008.

Miss Kitty and the aforementioned Barrett have advised possible contestants to shed their on–stage nerves while imploring them to hone their crafts and be professional in their approaches.

Last year’s winners of the competition, Deep Jahi and Taliban have endured slightly different paths since emerging as its top performers. Deep Jahi, who’s since landed a deal with Serani’sRockstone Media label, has created a strong buzz internationally for his first two singles,Punching Bag and Life Goes On, with the former single earning rotation on BBC 1Xtra.

As for Taliban, she has changed her name to Tally given concerns about her image overseas while searching for her first video and hit single since triumphing last April. However, she will reportedly be clashing MKQ runner-up and rival, Kayla Da Diva at STING 2012 in Protmore, St. Catherine this Boxing Day.

The official launch for season six the Magnum Kings and Queens of Dancehall will air on Television Jamaica (TVJ) this Saturday at 9:30 p.m while the first episode of the show will air on January 5, 2013.

Auditions for Magnum Kings and Queens will be held over the next month and a half, with the dates and locations listed below.

By TorontoDeejays.com

Sean Paul takes home MOBO award

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The accolades keep coming for highly acclaimed Dancehall superstar, Sean Paul, who has walked way with another international award.

The Grammy-winning entertainer copped theMusic Of Black Origin (MOBO) award forBest Reggae Act during the 17th annualMOBO Awards, which took place at the Echo Arena in Liverpool, England. Sean Paul beat out fellow top Jamaican acts such as Mr. Vegas, Konshens, Popcaan and Damian ‘Jr. Gong’ Marley the coveted accolade.

This is the second time that Sean Paul has won MOBO’s Best Reggae Act award as he previously took home the honor in 2005. TheTemperature singer was unable to collect his award as he is currently touring in India.

Sean Paul’s latest accomplishment adds to what has been a successful year for the Dancehall/Reggae megastar, who became the first Jamaican entertainer to top 100 million views for a YouTube video as the official video for his chart-topping single, Got 2 Luv U(featuring Alexis Jordan) has been watched nearly 105 million times since being unveiled in September of last year.

Additionally, Sean Paul could repeat thisYouTube feat with the official video for another chart-topping single, She Doesn’t Mind which now has over 99 million views to date since its unveiling earlier this year. Combined with audio versions of the single,She Doesn’t Mind has been viewed over 150 million views since its release in October 2011.

Both singles are off Sean Paul’s fifth studio album, Tomahawk Technique. Despite paltry sales figures in the United States, Tomahawk Technique has been scoring successful digital numbers across Europe.

By TorontoDeejays.com