Reggae cruise boasts large numbers, great music, satisfied patrons

Damian "Junior Gong" Marley participated on the Welcome to Jamrock Cruise that showcased Jamaica's beauty and culture.

Damian “Junior Gong” Marley participated on the Welcome To Jamrock Cruise that showcased Jamaica’s beauty and culture.

By Tiffany Mea

The first annual Welcome To Jamrock Reggae Cruise broke new ground by captivating nearly 2,400 passengers with an entire week of authentic reggae experiences aboard the Norwegian Pearl ship. The cruise, which set sail from Miami on October 20, with stops in Montego Bay and Ocho Rios, Jamaica, before its October 25 return, sold out within one month after it was announced. People came from all over the world. Even though the ship embarked from the United States, 44 percent of the passengers were international, representing almost 50 different countries.

“There was such a unique blend of people. It meant a lot to see the music bring unity between such a diverse group of people,” said Damian Marley.

Iconic movies such as "The Harder They Come," starring Jimmy Cliff, were among the cruise's offerings.

Iconic movies such as “The Harder They Come,” starring Jimmy Cliff, were among the cruise’s offerings.

Filled with jaw-dropping performances from reggae’s top artists to legendary jam sessions from world-renowned DJs and sound systems, Jamaican music was celebrated on every spectrum. From themed movie selections such as “Dancehall Queen,” “The Harder They Come” and “Third World Cop,” to pick-up soccer games and  poolside jerk chicken, the Welcome To Jamrock Reggae Cruise gave passengers a slice of the island’s culture every day.

Sean Paul was one of the many musical performers on the cruise.

Sean Paul was one of the many musical performers on the cruise.

“Nothing like this has ever been done on this scale in the reggae genre. Never before, have you been able to see legends of this level touch the stage for five straight days in such a contained intimate setting. One minute you are eating breakfast next to Sean Paul, then watching a soccer game with Christopher Ellis and Wayne Marshall. Later in the night, you are witnessing a 2-hour set from Bounty Killer, then an historical session with King Jammy’s, Shinehead and Damian Marley at 4 a.m. This is the only place to create these type of vibes, period,” said cruiser Maya Mitte.

Musical performers included Busy Signal.

Musical performers included Busy Signal.

On the main stage, Damian, Julian and Stephen represented the Marley family, as well as their label Ghetto Youths International, with solo performances from the entire crew including Jo Mersa, Wayne Marshall, Christopher Ellis and Black-Am-I. There were more live sets from legendary bands like the Wailing Souls and Morgan Heritage. Also, international, multi-platinum pop stars like Shaggy and Sean Paul, roots reggae singers like Etana, Jah Cure and Tarrus Riley and dancehall’s biggest names like Busy Signal, Bounty Killer and Cham performed. On the last night, not even the rain could stop the vibes. Stephen “Ragga” Marley continued his set inside the Atrium and brought out all the artists still on the ship for a 3-hour freestyle session, arguably one of the most epic performances in the history of reggae.

Inspiring, conscious band Morgan Heritage, showcased their musical chops on the cruise.

Inspiring, conscious band Morgan Heritage, showcased their musical chops on the cruise.

Whether patrons wanted to hear dub, ’90s dancehall, roots or today’s hits, there was something for everyone from sunrise to sunset at the various clubs and stages on board and even on-land in Jamaica. Hailing from across the globe: London’s David Rodigan, Japan’s Mighty Crown, Los Angeles’ Dub Club, and Jamaica’s own Stone Love, Renaissance and King Jammy’s were some of the renowned sound systems and DJs that took over the decks throughout the night.

Legendary sound system, Stone Love, shared the stage to add another level of merriment to the cruise.

Legendary sound system, Stone Love, shared the stage to add another level of merriment to the cruise.

Those who stayed up after midnight witnessed rare jam sessions with surprise performances from some of the artists on deck. Click the link below to see what transpired on the 5-day voyage:https://www.youtube.com/watch?v=_bkkvynS8dg.For information on the 2015 Welcome To Jamrock Reggae Cruise, please visit www.welcometojamrockreggaecruise.com -OnPointPress.net.

Kansas City Royals win game six 10-0, forcing game 7 against Giants

KANSAS CITY, MO - OCTOBER 28:  Norichika Aoki #23 and Lorenzo Cain #6 of the Kansas City Royals celerbate with their teammates after scoring in the second inning against the San Francisco Giants during Game Six of the 2014 World Series at Kauffman Stadium on October 28, 2014 in Kansas City, Missouri.  (Photo by Jamie Squire/Getty Images)

KANSAS CITY, MO – OCTOBER 28: Norichika Aoki #23 and Lorenzo Cain #6 of the Kansas City Royals celebrate with their teammates after scoring in the second inning against the San Francisco Giants during Game Six of the 2014 World Series at Kauffman Stadium on October 28, 2014 in Kansas City, Missouri. (Photo by Jamie Squire/Getty Images)

By Charles Glover, Jr.

The Kansas City Royals exploded offensively to even the World Series at three games a piece and force a highly anticipated game 7, beating the San Francisco Giants 10-0 on Tuesday, October 28 in their home stadium.

Entering game 6, the Kansas City Royals and San Francisco Giants gave baseball fans some exciting a series which so far featured entertaining games. The Giants were up three games to two with Kansas City having at least one more chance to continue the series in their home stadium.

The Royals hope their home crowd provides them with enough momentum to force a game 7.

The Royals hope their home crowd provides them with enough momentum to force a game 7.

So far, both teams have played up to their strengths. The Giants behind ace pitcher Madison Bumgarner have been able to stifle the Royals win he is on the mound. The Royals on the other hand, have been able to hold their leads when they are stellar bullpen comes into the game. The Royals’ rabid fan base can propelled them to a game six victory and force a game seven. Meanwhile, the Giants were trying to establish somewhat of a dynasty by winning their third World Series in five years.

The Giants can win their third World Series in five years, albeit with many changes to each winning roster.

The Giants can win their third World Series in five years, albeit with many changes to each winning roster.

The play on the field has made up for the lack of star power associated with the teams coming into the series. The Giants have had a different ace each time they’ve been to the World Series, while the Royals have had so much turnover on their roster that many of their players have only been there for less than three years. The Royals delivered big time on Tuesday night during a pivotal game six, giving baseball fans and Royals fans in particular, a huge lift and a big reason to hope that they can win it all..–OnPointPress.net–

Charles Glover, Jr is a sports aficionado and a management and employee consultant. Follow me @OpenWindowMES on Twitter.com. For business inquiries call (646) 309-1938.

Reggae songstress Etana releases new album “I Rise”

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By Tiffany Mea

Helmed by the legendary Jamaican multi-instrumentalist and producer Clive Hunt, Etana’s fourth studio album “I Rise” is available on October 28, 2014 on VP Records. The Jamaican singer-songwriter’s melodic power blended with Hunt’s rich arrangements sets this album apart as one of the best throughout her stellar career. For National Breast Cancer Awareness month, a portion of the album’s proceeds will benefit the American Cancer Society’s Relay for Life of Weston when purchased at VP Records retail stores in New York and Florida or online at VPReggae.com.

Etana also kicked off her U.S. tour this month. This past week she performed on Damian “Jr. Gong” Marley’s first annual Welcome To Jamrock Reggae Cruise on October 22 as well as shows in Cape Cod, Boston and Philadelphia. She will promote the new album in New York before heading to the Midwest region and Texas for dates with reggae icon Cocoa Tea.

Reggae singer Etana returns to the scene with new album "I Rise."

Reggae singer Etana returns to the scene with new album “I Rise.”

Etana carries the torch as reggae’s leading lady with this classic collection of love ballads and roots anthems on her new album I Rise. With her poised assurance and newfound strength, she evolves spiritually, mentally, emotionally and musically. Whether she shedding light on the harsh ghetto realities on “Trigger,” “Ward 21 (Stenna’s Song)” and “How Long,” conveying romantic longings on “Richest Girl,” “Love Song,” and “By Your Side” or expressing her deep-rooted spirituality on the exquisite Bob Marley remake of “Selassie Is The Chapel,” the Marcia Griffith’s cover of “Stepping Out Of Babylon” “Emancipation” and “On My Way” – each of the album’s tracks is delivered with her soulful conviction.

Producer Clive Hunt (Stevie Wonder, Peter Tosh, Rolling Stones, The Wailers, Grace Jones, Jimmy Cliff) arranged an all-star team of the island’s musicians to contribute to the set – including himself, Sly Dunbar, Robbie Shakespeare, Grub Cooper, Handel Tucker, and Dean Fraser. “I Rise” follows Etana’s critically acclaimed albums “Better Tomorrow” (2013), “Free Expressions” (2011) and “The Strong One” (2008). “Better Tomorrow” was hailed by BBC as her “most seamless album to date and finest piece of songwriting yet” and Associated Press called it “mature and confident sound with top-notch lyrical content and unique vocals.”

“Free Expressions” won praise from NPR for being “a rarity: music that sermonizes, yet still sweetly serenades,” while Essence raved that her debut “The Strong One” exuded “poetic consciousness amid soul-stirring grooves rivals that of gifted neo-soulsters.” Etana’s “I Rise” is poised for equal success and will inspire, liberate and uplift a new generation.-OnPointPress.net.

 

Is mandatory quarantine the answer to contain Ebola outbreak in the USA?

Dr. Craig Spencer, a New York based physician who cared for Ebola patients through Doctors Without Borders, is now in isolation at Bellevue Hospital receiving care.

Dr. Craig Spencer, a New York- based physician who cared for Ebola patients through Doctors Without Borders, is now in isolation at Bellevue Hospital receiving care.

On Saturday, October 25, The World Health Organization (WHO) released figures which show that more than 10,000 persons have been infected with Ebola, with almost 5,000 dying from the disease as the infection rate grows internationally.

However, those infected with the disease since the outbreak began in March, are confined mainly to three West African countries: Liberia, Sierra Leone and Guinea. 20 cases were reported in Nigeria, which has now been declared Ebola-free, one in Mali, four in the United States, one in Spain and one in Senegal. In the United States, one person, Thomas Eric Duncan, a Liberian national who was visiting family in Texas, has died from the disease.

The other infected persons are all health care workers who either cared for Duncan or other infected persons while performing humanitarian missions in the countries ravaged by the disease. So debate now rages about the actions taken by governors in Illinois, Florida, New York and New Jersey in enforcing mandatory quarantine for any person who returns to US soil after being in contact with Ebloa-infected individuals in West Africa.

This action comes on the heels of New York-based Doctors Without Borders physician Craig Spencer, 33, who was transported to Bellevue Hospital in lower Manhattan on Thursday, October 23, where he later tested positive for Ebola. Spencer returned from a mission caring for Ebola patients on October 17 and though he self-monitored, and contacted medical officials when his temperature spiked, his actions caused panic among New Yorkers, some of whom believe that he placed others at risk by failing to place himself into quarantine immediately upon his return to the USA, as a precautionary measure.

ABC medical director Dr. Richard Besser, who has himself travelled to Liberia to work with Ebola-stricken patients, warns that the guidelines issued by the Centers for Disease Control (CDC), where he previously worked, are sufficient. Those guidelines require people returning to the US from Ebola-stricken areas take their temperature twice per day for 21 days, as Besser did, and immediately report to the hospital if a high temperature occurs. But Governors Andrew Cuomo (D-New York) and Chris Christie (R- New Jersey), beg to differ, insisting that mandatory quarantine is the only way to safeguard the public. Who is right?-OnPointPress.net.

Bronx Borough President saves Co-op City bookstore

borough pres

Bronx Borough President Ruben Diaz is surrounded by executives and supporters of Barnes & Noble Bookstore in Co-op City on Thursday, October 23, after the borough president negotiated a lease extension of two years.

By Carmen Glover

On Thursday, October 23, Bronx Borough President Ruben Diaz Jr. negotiated a deal to keep the sole bookstore in the Bronx open for another two years, with no rent increase.

Barnes & Noble Booksellers, which operates a bookstore in Bay Plaza Shopping Center, was on the verge of closing because Prestige Properties and Development, which operates the Bay Plaza Shopping Center and newly- built Bay Plaza Mall, had raised the rent for the bookstore and refused to extend the lease for the store, causing the store’s proprietors to decide to close.

Barnes and Noble Bookstore in Co-op City's bay Plaza Shopping Center.

Barnes & Noble Bookstore in Co-op City’s bay Plaza Shopping Center, was saved by Bronx Borough President Ruben Diaz, Jr.

The punitive action caused outrage among the residents of the borough, which for years has struggled with the perception of being the borough that has been left behind while other boroughs thrive with a variety of stores and diverse options. But in keeping with his pledge to help bring the Bronx to the forefront of development and relevance, Borough President Diaz acted swiftly to reverse the pending closure. In a press conference held on Thursday, he announced the deal’s impact on Bronx residents:

A father reads with his son, planting the seed of knowledge at a tender age.

A father reads with his son, planting the seed of knowledge at a tender age.

“We are a borough that loves to shop, yes. We like sneakers and handbags but there is also an intellectual capacity, an intellectual population in this borough. We love our books as well,” he said.

Store owners at the Bay Plaza’s outdoor shopping center have been complaining that ever since the indoor mall opened in Bay Plaza in mid-August, they are being squeezed out. Longstanding tenants have been priced out with exorbitant rent hikes, while others are contemplating leaving due to diminished patrons. Prestige Properties’ owners, in the meantime, say things are rosy and there is no cause for complaint.

Diaz’s intervention has saved more than 50 jobs at the bookstore, which brings a sigh of relief to the borough’s residents and visitors to the shopping center and mall.–OnPointPress.net

Fall TV season features a diverse mix of storylines, black roles, formats

Venerable Actress Viola Davis is riveting as the lead in her prime time series.

Venerable Actress Viola Davis is riveting as the lead in her prime time series, “How to Get Away with Murder,” which has enjoyed impressive ratings since its September debut.

By Carmen Glover

As the fall television season settles into a routine, one inescapable truth has emerged: When black actors are given solid scripts and unshakeable support, they rise to the challenge and not only succeed but they thrive.

Kerry Washington leads an all-cast team of stars in the popular drama series, "Scandal."

Kerry Washington leads a versatile team of stars in the popular drama series, “Scandal.”

To the surprise of no one, “Scandal” returned on September 25 with a slightly retooled cast but timely and meaty roles to go around. Lead actress in the series, Kerry Washington, fresh off her marriage and the birth of her first child, leapt right into character and has re-engaged her audience. On the activism front, she has been front and center in promoting Domestic Violence Awareness Month with the Purple Purse campaign, an effort to strengthen he financial circumstances of women who are living with domestic violence, so that they can develop a financial plan to leave their abusive situation.

The cast of the engaging new ABC sitcom "Black-ish"

The cast of the engaging new ABC sitcom “Black-ish” show range, humor and comfort.

Venerable actress Viola Davis has taken the television screen by storm, stomping out the competition in the compelling drama “How to Get Away with Murder” which provides a rich tapestry of roles that allow a range of actors and actresses to shine in prime time. Executive-produced by Shona Rhimes of Scandal and Grey’s Anatomy fame, “How to Get Away with Murder,” offers a thrill ride that is riveting to the last drop, episode after episode.

The guys have a great time on the set on "Real Husbands of Hollywood."

The guys having a great time on the set on “Real Husbands of Hollywood,” now in its third season.

Then there is “Black-ish” starring Laurence Fishbourne, Tracey Ellis Ross and Anthony Anderson. The comedy tackles another aspect of the African-American experience that strikes a chord in the hears of many blacks who confront a lot of the situations that the characters encounter on the comedy. In the comedic vein comes the third season of ” Real Husbands of Hollywood ” which was developed as a spoof of reality shows but has now mushroomed into a credible, humorous take on the friendships formed between comedian Kevin Hart, rapper Nelly, actors Boris Kodjoe (currently in theaters as the lead in “Addicted”), Nick Cannon and a host of friends who pop in from time to time for another layer of levity and fun.

Cast of "If Loving you is Wrong," contend with an appallingly weak script, lack of clear direction and poor character development.

Cast of “If Loving you is Wrong,” contend with an appallingly weak script, lack of clear direction, disjointed delivery and poor character development.

The most disappointing show of the season is unquestionably, Tyler Perry’s new offering for OWN “If Loving you is Wrong.” Each week, viewers tune in hoping in vain to see evidence of a well-developed script, believable rather than stilted, forced, acting and a storyline that is plausible. Without fail, each week viewers are left asking: What on earth is this nonsense?

Charles Malik Whitfield of "The Temptations" fame, and April Parker Jones who plays his love interest on "If Loving you is Wrong," seem to be the only pair with credible acting skills on the set.

Charles Malik Whitfield of “The Temptations” fame, and April Parker Jones who plays his love interest on “If Loving you is Wrong,” seem to be the only pair with credible acting skills on the set.

For viewers who enthusiastically embraced Perry’s “The Haves and the Have Nots” the letdown of “If Loving you is Wrong,” is palpable and with each passing week it becomes clear that Perry needs to go back to the drawing board and develop a script that has substance, flows easily and is relatable. He also needs to get actors who have range to join naturals Charles Malik Whitfield (“The Temptations”) and April Parker Jones.

“Scandal,” “How to Get Away With Murder,” and “Black-ish” all appear on ABC on Thursdays at 9:00 p.m., 10:00 p.m. and Wednesdays at 9:00 p.m., respectively, while “Real Husbands of Hollywood”  and “If Loving you is Wrong,” appear on BET and OWN on Tuesday at 10:00 p.m. and 9:00 p.m., respectively.–OnPointPress.net.

 

Diaspora urged to invest in Jamaica’s stock market and reap rewards

Jamaica stock exchange

Jamaica Stock Exchange

KINGSTON, Oct. 21 (JIS): Members of the Jamaican Diaspora are being encouraged to actively participate in the Jamaica Stock Exchange (JSE) as a means of helping to drive economic growth in the country.

“The Diaspora presents a wonderful opportunity to help the development of the country by investing in Jamaica through the stock exchange,” said JSE Chairman Allan Lewis, while addressing a JIS Think Tank on Wednesday, October 8. “To the extent that we can convince those living outside of the country to invest in Jamaica, the stock exchange stands ready to facilitate such investments,”  Lewis said.

Jamaica stock exchange

Jamaica Stock Exchange Index comparison.

He noted that the JSE, for its part, has a unique role to play by facilitating the transfer of savings to productive enterprises in the country.  Speaking of the ease with which people can now manage investments on the JSE, Mr. Lewis said persons can use the exchange’s website to view the list of companies listed and decide where they want to invest.

Jamaica Stock Exchange Chairman Allan Lewis (c) engages in discussion with other business executives.

Jamaica Stock Exchange Chairman Allan Lewis (c) engages in discussion with other business executives.

“The beauty of the stock market today is that you don’t have to physically come to Jamaica to do so, you can stay in New York, in China wherever you are and invest, and the more persons do that the better we believe Jamaica will become,” Mr. Lewis pointed out.

In the meantime, Assistant Vice-President of Treasury and Trading at Scotia Investments Gregory Samuels said that now is the right time to invest in the stock market. Noting the recent positive reviews of the Jamaican economy by the International Monetary Fund (IMF) and Standard and Poor’s, he said there is a direct correlation with the growth of the economy and the performance of the stock exchange.

JAMAICA_STOCK_EXCHANGE_LOGO_2“We have the companies that can help to grow wealth, that can help to give local manufacturers and owners the capital they need to continue this growth… the market has been under-priced for a while, it’s about to take off, and now is the time to invest,” he added.

The JSE is celebrating 45 years of operations, providing a fair, efficient and transparent stock market to create wealth for Jamaicans–OnPointPress.net.