By Carmen Glover
VP Records’ New York media launch for this year’s Grace Jamaican Jerk Festival featured food, fun and great reggae music, prompting guests to dance with abandon, while skillfully balancing plates of tasty food.
The media launch took place on Saturday, June 16, at VP Records, from 12:00 noon to 2:00 PM. It was followed by family activities and a live broadcast by Irie Jam Radio.
The event got off to a leisurely start as iconic hits by late Crown Prince of Reggae Dennis Brown piped through the venue while food vendors showcased their dishes and a farmers market displayed Jamaican ground produce.
“You can never go wrong with Dennis Brown, no sah” said Glendon Cooke, as he rocked to the music. Photographer extraordinaire Marlon Ajamu Myrie, nodded his head in agreement, as he sang along to hits including “Love and Hate,” “Here I come,” and “Caress Me Girl.”
The event’s host, Richard Lue, greeted the gathering by stating, “We are here to kick off jerk season, not jerk seasoning,” eliciting a great deal of laughter. “We are all so happy that you came out for this pre-release for Jerk of Fest and we hope you will tell all your friends,” said VP Owner Ms Pat Chin.
Actor Duane Henry, whose character on the long running hit show NCIS was recently killed off, said he came to the event because he was in the area to visit family. Members of the group New Kingston, who will perform at the festival, expressed excitement at being invited to perform both at the media launch and the upcoming festival.
Jerk Festival Headliner Elephant Man, fondly known as the Energy God, participated in the day’s festivities via telephone. Other performers scheduled to take the stage at the event in July include Jahmiel, L.U.S.T., and Hood Celebrityy, who sings the racy hit “Walking Trophy.”
Among the restaurants serving food at the launch were Island Wraps and T& G Flavors, whose Chef Taylor said that “What separates us from most Jamaican restaurants is that we prepare authentic Jamaican food and we do a lot of vegan dishes.”
Manning’s School, Jamaica’s oldest co-educational high school, which is 280 years old, was represented by its alumni association’s local chapter, MPSA-NY, as well as Manning’s alumni-owned businesses yaadlinks.com and onpointpress.net.
Grace Jamaican Jerk Festival will take place on Sunday, July 22nd, at Roy Wilkins Park in Queens, New York. For more information visit Jerkfestivalny.com.