Kartel calls for end to threats made following murder conviction

Dancehall star, Vybz Kartel says fans making threats against journalists and others following his recent murder conviction are only doing him more harm than good.

Dancehall star, Vybz Kartel says fans making threats against journalists and others following his recent murder conviction are only doing him more harm than good.

by Jodee Brown

Embattled Dancehall star, Vybz Kartel has called for fans and others top stop making threats against journalists and members of the public in the aftermath of his March murder conviction in the Clive ‘Lizard’ Williams trial.

Since the verdict and subsequent life sentence on April 3, several threats have been made against journalists due to their coverage of the trial, as well as telecommunications giant, Digicel following voice notes implicating Kartel in the lead up to when the murder allegedly took place. Nationwide News reporter, Abka Fitz-Henley received some of said threats after playing some of the voice notes obtained by the local radio station following the trial.

An editor at the Jamaica Observer faced similar treatment after it was alleged he was the author a story that broke Sunday citing an unnamed police source as saying Kartel had given them information on wanted men in his native Portmore in exchange for the possible dismissal of his murder charge, a claim the deejay’s lawyer later refuted.

In a statement released Tuesday morning, Kartel said persons making these threats should cease and desist, insisting they are not making his situation any easier.

“I appeal to any misguided individual or individuals who may think it appropriate to seek to threaten or intimidate anyone to stop it,” he said. “Such action is not helping me or my fellow appellants and is playing into the hands of the police and others who are seeking to discredit me and prejudice the fair hearing of my appeal.”

Speaking out for the second time since his conviction, Kartel also said he harbors no negativity towards those involved in his trial.

“During my sentencing hearing, my attorney, Tom Tavares-Finson, indicated to the court that I hold no ill-will to any of the persons involved in my trial, neither the police, prosecutors, executives from Digicel and certainly not any member of the media who covered my trial in a manner which exposed the weaknesses in the prosecution’s case for all the world to see,” he said.

“I reiterate the position, I hold no ill-will to anyone who was involved in my trial, and I put my faith in the judicial system and the appeal process on which we have now embarked. In the meantime I thank my family, friends and fans who continue to support and have faith in me.”

Meanwhile, Kartel’s family has spoken of their own fears following Sunday’s revelation about the deejay’s alleged offer to rat out criminals in exchange of freedom. The story, which also revealed Kartel’s alleged ties to the Klansman Gang, as well as more incriminating video evidence in the Williams murder trial, has the family concerned about possible retribution.

“This is endangering the lives of Adidja Palmer’s family, his siblings, and his girlfriend,” Maureen Nelson, Kartel’s eldest sister, told the Jamaica Observer. “When a news like this come on the radio and we don’t know if it is credible, we don’t know the source… and they don’t think about how it is affecting our lives.”

“Everybody is now crying. We thought that when he got sentenced to life in prison it would be over,” she continued. “We are locked up in the house right now. We have fears of reprisals and I don’t even know how John public will react to us.”

His mother, Teresa Palmer expressed her anger at the police’s revelations in the article and other news outlets, saying they had ulterior motives when divulging all this information long after the trial’s conclusion.

“When him a go come and a seh how much people Kartel kill and that never come out in the trial, him not doing him job,” she told the newspaper. “Why now when dem done tell lie seh him kill man and dem no find no body and police tamper with the evidence and give him life sentence dem a go seh all these things?” Palmer asked. “Why are all these things coming out now?”

Kartel fans petition Obama administration for retrial, deejay’s mom speaks out

Fans of incarcerated deejay, Vybz Kartel are petitioning the United States government asking for them to look into the deejay's murder conviction in an attempt to overturn it.

Fans of incarcerated deejay, Vybz Kartel are petitioning the United States government asking for them to look into the deejay’s murder conviction in an attempt to overturn it.

by Jodee Brown

Despite Vybz Kartel’s conviction on a murder charge on Thursday, his family and fans are clinging on the smallest bit of hope the deejay can beat his current predicament, as dire as it may be.

His fans in particular are going to the extremes to try and secure and out for the self-professed ‘Worl’ Boss’ as they have petitioned the United States government to help free him. The petitions, started this weekend, claim that Vybz Kartel did not receive a fair trial in the Clive ‘Lizard’ Williams case, which he and three co-accused were convicted of his August 2011 murder.

One of the petitions claimed evidence tampering by police during their investigation, citing alleged corruption and bias against him throughout, though that petition has seen been stopped. A second petition, started on Sunday, is hoping to secure 100,000 signatures by April 15 so it can be formally presented to U.S. President Barack Obama’s administration.

Meanwhile Kartel’s mother and sister have spoken out for the first time since the Mar. 13 verdict. His mother, Teresa Palmer gave an exclusive interview with the Jamaica Observer on Friday in which she expressed anger and sadness at the situation, suggesting many ‘lies’ have been told on her son.

“I don’t like that. A lot of lies were told. They tampered with the phones,” she said. “Dem man yah no need no sentence. Dem must go a road. Dem haffi let go mi pickney.”

Palmer said she has not eaten since the verdict and is trying to cope with the news. She believes, however, that several people have unfairly judged her son because of his hardcore lyrics and persona he presents.

“They say who God bless, no man curse,” she said. “You can fight against a man like this? You [should] fight against people who come into your community and rob, rape and kill. I don’t know why society is fighting the man and he never took anything from them.”

Kartel’s sister, Morine Nelson even chimed in, challenging an assertion by Jamaica’s security minister, Peter Bunting that her brother’s music has promoted crime over the years, while insisting people should stop hating the deejay without knowing his background.

Vybz Kartel and his co-accused will be sentenced on March 27. However, his legal team has indicated they will file an appeal to overturn the conviction.

Meanwhile a juror in the Clive ‘Lizard’ Williams case, Livingston Cain has been charged with five counts of attempting to pervert the course of justice and conspiracy to pervert the course of justice after allegedly offering millions of dollars to sway other jurors in the case to render a not guilty verdict for Kartel and company. He will appear in the Half Way Tree Magistrates Court on March 18.

Barrington Levy blasts increased level of hardcore content in Dancehall

Internationally acclaimed Reggae singer, Barrington Levy points to a lack of guidance as the reason for increases 'shock value' methods employed by young Dancehall artists in their musical content.

Internationally acclaimed Reggae singer, Barrington Levy points to a lack of guidance as the reason for increases ‘shock value’ methods employed by young Dancehall artists in their musical content.

by Jodee Brown

Throughout 2014, music lovers have seen a sharp increase in hardcore sexual content and imagery within Dancehall, with the likes of Alkaline, Demarco, Ricky Carty and J Amsterdam pushing boundaries with eyebrow-raising material to gauge interest from fans. One legendary artist is sick of this growing trend.

Barrington Levy, singer of classics such as Broader Than Broadway, Under Mi Sensi and countless others says he is tired of the X-rated nature that the genre has taken on and thinks it has damaged its credibility.

In an interview published in the Jamaica Observer on Tuesday, Levy said, “I see where the music business is taking a turn for the worst. It’s going in a direction where we are losing it.”

These people have no morals anymore. Are we going to do anything for money? I never came into the music business just to sell records. I thought I would just sing for the love of it.”

In another interview with the Jamaica Gleaner, Levy was more solutions-oriented, pointing to a lack of positive influence as the reason why young artists choose to ratchet up the shock value in their musical content.

“They are surrounded by a lot of hotheads that cannot steer them in the right direction,” he said. “People are talking about them and their songs, but not in a good way. As entertainers, we need to always set a good example for the future of music.”

“Surround yourself with good people, people who will lead you in the right direction, people that will help you make good career choices that will ensure longevity and international success.”

Dancehall has long contained specks of raunchiness and hardcore sexual content throughout its near four decades of existence, with artists such as Lady Saw and Vybz Kartel bringing said content to the forefront and becoming all-time greats as a result.

In 2014, however, X-rated content has reached another level and sparked much conversation within the Jamaican music industry, with Alkaline and J Amsterdam boldly speaking on topics of anal stimulation and giving oral sex respectively, to Ricky Carty’s infamous music video for his song, Gyal Tek It in which he had sex with a woman on camera while performing the song.

Meanwhile, Levy is set to release a new acoustic album with variations of his biggest hits. He is currently promoting his new hit single, Rosie.

Sizzla denied return to the U.S. after being denied visa

sizzlaby Jodee Brown

Having being barred from performing in the United States for five years, it appeared that Reggae superstar, Sizzla Kalonji was nearing a return to the country with an impending tour there set to start. That return has now hit a sudden snag.

According to reports Tuesday, Sizzla has been denied entry into the U.S. after his visa application was revoked. This just two days before the highly respected singer was due to begin a month-long tour across the U.S., which was due to go on until Dec. 22.

The tour would have seen Sizzla, whose real name isMiguel Collins, travelling cross-country, with performances set for venues in New York, Washington D.C. and Colorado, amongst other states.

Stephen Brush, the booking agent for said tour told theJamaica Observer that they have decided to push back the tour as they hope to reschedule to tour for late winter.

“I am deeply saddened by the news, and I can say this is one of the worst weeks in my career,” Brush said. “It is not a dead issue, but I am no longer comfortable waiting and seeing. What I would like to do is postpone the tour and look at re-booking it for February and March.”

Sizzla has not held a U.S. visa since 2008. Perceived ‘gay-bashing’ in his music over the years has triggered protests of his shows from gay rights groups in the United States, Canada and Europe in the past, including cancellations to shows in Toronto and Montreal thanks to protests by members of the Stop Murder Music coalition.

Buju Banton set to release new album in 2014

buju banton12by Jodee Brown

Despite being incarcerated on federal drug charges until 2019, embattled Dancehall/Reggae singer, Buju Bantonis planning to drop a new studio album in the summer of 2014, according to reports Friday.

Tracii McGregor, a member of Buju’s management team revealed that most of the songs on the singjay’s album were recorded when he was out on bail in 2011, awaiting his trial on drug and gun charges. McGregor told theJamaica Observer, “Buju is very involved in the process, of course. He is just as focused and detail oriented as he ever was.”

Producers expected to feature on the album includeStephen Marley and Blacker Dread, with production from Buju himself also featuring on the compilation.

This new studio album would mark Buju’s 13th in his over two decades as a mainstream artist. His last album wasBefore The Dawn, released in 2010, which featured singles such as Innocent, Battered and Bruised as well as Do Good. The album won the self-professed ‘Gargamel’ his first Grammy Award for Best Reggae Album in February 2011, just days prior to his conviction on three drug related charges in relation to a 2009 incident in Florida.

Several singles have been released since Buju’s incarceration, including Set Up The Mic, Lose Your Loveand Inna Half, the latter two singles produced by his song, Markus Myrie.

Buju is reportedly in transit at the Oklahoma City Federal Transfer Centrehaving been transferred from a federal prison in Florida, where he as served the majority of his sentence to date.