Reggae singer Alborosie’s U.S. tour underway


Reggae star

Reggae singer Alborosie is currently on US tour.

New York: Throughout February, MOBO award-winning Best Reggae Singer Alborosie will embark on a U.S. tour in support of his recent studio album Sound The System and vinyl-only companion piece Dub The System. On February 15, the Italian-born reggae star made his east coast debut performance in Miami, FL at 9 Mile Music Festival, featuring Lauryn Hill, Tessanne Chin, Stephen “Ragga” Marley, Damian “Jr. Gong” Marley, Julian Marley and more. He then went west, hitting The Showbox in Seattle, WA, Valley View Casino Center in San Diego, CA and the New Parish in Oakland, CA. Alborosie returns to California at the end of May for the California Roots Festival 2014. In between that time, he will journey to Europe for a tour consisting of mostly France dates.

He will be playing his classics as well as new material from his latest album Sound The System (VP/Greensleeves). The 16-track set encompasses a mix of live instruments and analogue recording techniques akin to reggae’s golden age. He produced the majority of the tracks and played 90% of the accompanying instrumental parts. Special guests on the album include Ky-Mani Marley on the Bob Marley classic “Zion Train,” Italian star Nina Zilli on ska-flavored track “Goodbye” and the legendary Abyssinians on the horn-drenched “Give Thanks.” The album includes sound-system favorite “Rock The Dancehall” and the hit single “Play Fool (To Catch Wise).

To accompany this collection fueled by his passion for real reggae music, he also unleashed a vinyl-only dub release Dub The System (VP/Greensleeves) on November 12, 2013. The 11-track deconstructed instrumental set features select songs from Sound The System, showcasing the producer’s melodic hooks and impressive use of vintage recording equipment. Both releases follow his two previous acclaimed Greensleeves studio albums – Two Times Revolution and Escape From Babylon. He is also slated to release Alborosie & Friends album in May 2014 on VP/Greensleeves, which features a variety of special guests on this collaborative effort. His songs are available on iTunes and his tour dates are available on Twitter and Facebook.

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Jeter reveals plans for future at press conference

Derek Jeter is looking forward to enjoying his final season playing for the New York Yankees.

Derek Jeter is looking forward to enjoying his final season playing for the New York Yankees.

By Charles Glover, Jr.

Derek Jeter and the New York Yankees held a press conference to address his announcement of his retirement at the end of the season. The half hour press conference was far from eventful but gave insight into Jeter’s thought process as he enters his final season.

Jeter was more candid than usual as he explained, “I wanted to get these questions out of the way before the season so it wouldn’t be a distraction during the year.” Of the many items discussed, the question Jeter was asked the most revolved around his plans after his career. Without being very specific, Jeter made it clear that he is looking forward to the next stage of his life. The one thing Jeter expressed about his future is he is “looking forward to starting a family,” while sharing his respect for those who are able to juggle hectic careers and family life.

Jeter addresses a full room of media members at his press conference.

Jeter addresses a full room of media members at his press conference.

One significant takeaway from the press conference is Jeter seems determined to enjoy his final season. It is clear Jeter wants this baseball season to be different as he shared, “I worked so hard over the years that…I hardly had a chance to enjoy it.” The comments are reminiscent of similar sentiments shared by football legend Jerry Rice who once said during an interview, “In my first ten years in the league me and my family never went on vacation…I just went straight to preparing for the next season.”

Jeter made it very clear that he wants to make the most of his last year in pinstripes. The only thing the private Jeter won’t miss when his career is over are the questions from the media.––

Charles Glover, Jr. is a sports aficionado and a management training specialist. Follow me @OpenWindowMES on

Legendary Singer/Activist Harry Belafonte promotes Sankofa

Singer/Activist Harry Belafonte.

Singer/Activist Harry Belafonte.

By Carmen Glover

Legendary singer and activist Harry Belafonte, whose passion for activism seems unwavering, sat comfortably perched on a chair in the MSNBC studio recently, talking eloquently about his life, philosophy and motivation for his new organization, Sankofa. Belafonte, whose career has spanned decades as a folk singer, humanitarian and civil rights activist, is now focusing his attention on social justice issues.

Inspired by the overarching goal of ending violence and oppression across the globe, Belafonte founded the Sankofa Justice and Equity Project. Sankofa is a non-profit organization that aims to harness the strength of popular culture, celebrity power and collaboration to energize a new generation towards effective activism. Sankofa, according to its social media page, “supports and encourages a new generation of artists to speak to the layered injustices that face marginalized communities.”  The organization has its genesis in a compelling speech Belafonte delivered a year ago at the NAACP Image Award function.

Harry Belafonte during his entertainment days.

Harry Belafonte during his heyday when he brought Jamaican folk songs to the consciousness of his international fan base.

“In that speech I spoke to my fellow artists about the act of social responsibility and I challenged my colleagues to step up to the plate and become more engaged in deeper social issues,” he said of his motivation to start the organization. “Several artists on the spot, led by Jamie Foxx, stepped up to the plate,” Belafonte explained. “The very next day, Jamie Foxx, without any formality, got on a plane and flew to New York and participated in Union Square in a rally putting light on the issue of what happened to Trayvon Martin.”

Martin was the unarmed teenager who was murdered by an unrepentant George Zimmerman in Florida. Zimmerman was found not guilty at trial.

Jamie Foxx responded immediately to Belafonte's call and encouraged others to do the same.

Jamie Foxx responded immediately to Belafonte’s call and encouraged others to do the same.

Belafonte said that Foxx’s immediate response had enormous implications. “His presence caught press attention and brought huge resources to the table. He also reached out and influenced other people like Chuck D and Common. We had a huge meeting here in New York and about 60 of the leading artists in rap culture showed up and said : What can we do?'”

Belafonte explained that “artists have a platform. They have a power. They have a gift and by using that gift in the service of others who are being drowned out by inequity and systems that are unjust, we begin to put a light and a new dynamic into what is going on with the poor, racially oppressed, sexually abused and by doing that we have heightened the consciousness of people who are distracted from taking a deeper look at what goes on in social issues.”

chick D

Chuck D, seen here on the Arsenio Hall Show, joined other rappers in responding to Harry Belafonte’s call to activism.

But Belafonte made it clear that his appreciation for the impact of artists is born out of his experiences from the past, particularly joining with icons such as Sidney Poitier, Paul Robeson, Mahalia Jackson, Ossie Davis and Ruby Dee, Bob Dylan and other artists who were unafraid to take active roles in the civil rights movement to achieve positive social change.

“Paul Robeson once said artists are the gatekeepers of truth,” Belafonte said, emphasizing the importance of artists taking active roles in moving a social agenda to help others. As he reflected on the overall aim for Sankofa and the outpouring of support that the movement has received so far from the rap community, he disclosed that a specific focus has been identified as the first course of action.

Conscious rapper Common has been involved in the Sankofa initiative.

Conscious rapper Common has been involved in the Sankofa initiative.

“We decided that our first major attempt at using this power is around the issue of women and the role men play in women’s issues,” he said, while explaining that New York Mayor Bill de Blasio is committed to the issue as well. “Mayor de Blasio is involved and the first warm day of summer there will be a gathering in Central Park to talk about issues affecting women.”

The focus of Sankofa is laudable and the scope of the organization seems to be broad and altruistic. As more information is shared with the public about the organization’s initiatives, it is hoped that support will grow and more groups will partner with Belafonte and the artists who have already committed to Sanfoka’s goals so that deserving communities can reap the rewards of this new wave of activism.

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Florida verdict shows siege mentality, broken judicial system

Michael Dunn

Cold-blooded murderer Michael Dunn, being escorted to face justice in the senseless killing of unarmed teenager Jordan Davis in Jacksonville, Florida.

It’s been apparent for quite some time that the system used to select jurors in this country is broken and needs overhauling. In Florida, especially, it seems that whenever it’s time to determine the fate of a non-black person who has murdered a black teenager in cold blood, jurors, who tend to resemble the murderer rather than the victim, are loathe to secure justice for the victim.  One disgusted Florida resident was firm in his assessment:  “Our legal system is now complicated therefore we need people with the intellectual capability to digest that… I think all aspects of our legal system is broken,” he stated.

The latest jury to toe the line and preserve the status quo is the Jacksonville jury which declined to find Michael Dunn guilty of first degree murder in the killing of teenager Jordan Davis this past Saturday. The jury chose instead to find Dunn guilty of three counts of attempted murder and one count of discharging a missile after he fired ten shots into the vehicle carrying the teens as they listened to rap music. Proclaiming themselves “deadlocked” on the top charge, the jury convicted Dunn on the four lesser charges, making him eligible for up to 60 years in jail. The judge declared a mistrial on the murder charge, due to the jury’s failure to do its job and render a verdict for Jordan Davis, who was a 17-year-old teen, out with his friends,when he was mercilessly gunned down by the heartless Dunn.

“We are so happy to have a little bit of closure,” a tearful  Lucia McBath, Davis’ mother, said after the split verdict was delivered, one day before the slain teen would have celebrated his 19th birthday. “We will continue to stand and we will continue to wait for justice for Jordan.”

Jordan Davis

Slain teenager Jordan Davis would have celebrated his 19th birthday on February 16.

The jury was deadlocked on the top count of murder, albeit finding the perpetrator guilty of attempted murder and discharging a missile. So in essence, the jury decided that while Dunn shot and killed Jordan and fired a fusillade of bullets into the jeep carrying his friends, they could not find common ground on the charge that the death was intentional and the teen was unarmed, even though the police found no weapon and the other teens insisted that no one was armed other than the murderer. Naturally, Dunn’s lawyer has been making the media rounds, telling all who will listen that he will appeal the verdict and seek justice for his client.

Black boys are being murdered in record numbers across the country and in Florida, especially, it seems as if their basic existence comes with enormous risks. While the Florida prosecutor has indicated that Dunn will be retried on the top murder charge, its attorney general Angela Corey, leaves a lot to be desired with her selective prosecution and unbalanced enthusiasm when prosecuting cases. Take the unbridled venom she demonstrated in personally going after Marissa Alexander, who was sentenced to 20 years in prison for firing a warning shot after being assaulted by her abusive husband.

The conviction was overturned on a technicality but Corey was quick to state that she will try Alexander again, determined to lock her up although no murder was committed and no one was harmed. Corey’s prosecution of Alexander was relentless and her planned retrial of the Florida mother is unseemly. But for some reason, Corey did not deem it necessary to personally prosecute George Zimmerman for murdering Trayvon Martin, leaving that up to her inept team. Similarly, in the Dunn case, Corey popped up only after the split verdict to state, with no sense of urgency or passion, that Dunn would be retried on the top count.

Florida Sate Attorney Angela Corey (L) declines to personally prosecute non-blacks who murder unarmed black teens but she relishes personally prosecuting black mothers such as Marissa Alexander (Right) who fired a warning shot at her abusive spouse but did not harm anyone.

Vindictive Florida State Attorney Angela Corey (L) declines to personally prosecute non-blacks who murder unarmed black teens but she relishes personally prosecuting black mothers such as Marissa Alexander (Right) who fired a warning shot at her abusive spouse but did not harm anyone.

For the duration of the Dunn trial, no mention was made of the stark fact that Dunn pre-judged Davis and his friends, shooting up their vehicle in anger because they, black teenagers, whom he described as “thugs,” dared to enjoy the music of their choice. Somehow, the racial motivation was not deemed important to the Florida prosecutors. Dunn and his girlfriend calmly returned to their lodging after the brutal murder, ordering pizza and enjoying themselves, without deigning to call 911.

During his testimony Dunn showed emotion when he talked about his girlfriend and his dog but he was expressionless when he talked about his dastardly execution of Davis. Such heartless disregard for a teenaged life is grossly appalling. It is even more troubling that the trial seemed focused on the prosecutors trying to explain that Davis was a “good boy,” as if Davis was on trial, instead of the murderous Dunn.

After the verdict was announced, Ron Davis, the victim’s father, chose his words carefully. “We were good parents to Jordan. He was a good kid,” he said. By all accounts, the teen certainly was a good adolescent, on the cusp of adulthood. But that did not matter in a society where Stand Your Ground Laws empower bigots to shoot and kill innocent black boys without provocation and then craft what is perceived as a perfect alibi: claiming that they feared for their lives, that they were being threatened or attacked.

Not only does the Stand Your Ground law that exists in Florida and other southern states need to be struck down, it is imperative that jurors, particularly those in Florida who seem to have difficulties getting it right, be better versed on the nuances on examining evidence through the prism of reality instead of being blinded by race. This siege that has enveloped the survival of black boys needs to be fought as aggressively.

Murderers fight to walk free when they kill innocent children and young adults for no other reason than the victims are black. These killers feel that they have a right to kill because black lives, in their minds, lack valueThe fight continues for justice for Davis, and other innocent black boys whose lives were snuffed out too soon. Parents, activists and concerned citizens across the globe need to stand up and say: enough!–

Please follow us on Twitter at OnPointPress_.

NBA buries All-Star Weekend, misses chance to increase fan base

The starters for the Eastern and Western Conference were revealed Thursday night.

The starters that were voted for the Eastern and Western Conference.

By Charles Glover, Jr.

The National Basketball Association (NBA) All-Star Weekend started on Friday February 14, 2014 in the evening, one week later than in its heyday, in keeping with a trend that began in 2004. The consistent conflict with scheduling the festivities at the same time as Valentine’s Day is a missed opportunity for the NBA to promote its brightest stars. After all, even the most hardened basketball fans realize that Valentine’s Day must not compete with sports or anything else and when that day of romance falls on a weekend, all bets are off for sports.

By continuing to schedule the NBA All Star Weekend to coincide with Valentine’s Day, the NBA is demonstrating that it is unable to relate to its core fan base or that those in charge are cynical at best, or tone-deaf at worst.

The 2014 NBA All-Star weekend is held in New Orleans this year.

The 2014 NBA All-Star weekend is currently underway in New Orleans during Valentine’s Weekend.

All-Star Weekend is an excellent chance for the NBA to give the casual fan a glimpse at the best of what the league has to offer. Recent changes in the date of the All-Star Weekend festivities and the decision to broadcast the All-Star game live on Sunday night have detracted from what is usually an exciting time of the year for NBA fans. The 8:30 pm Sunday evening start time for the NBA All-Star game inhibits casual fans from tuning in to the game because numerous scripted shows with huge followings are routinely on at the same time. Additionally, the late start in the Eastern time zone makes it more difficult for the NBA to reach a wider demographic in terms of age range since the target audience may not be able to stay up late or potential viewers may have other plans for their late evening hours.

The NBA had its greatest popularity when their best players (l-r) Michael Jordan, Isiah Thomas, Scottie Pippen, Patrick Ewing, and Charles Barkley were seen in the All Star game on network TV on Sunday afternoons.

The NBA had its greatest popularity when their best players (l-r) Michael Jordan, Isiah Thomas, Scottie Pippen, Patrick Ewing, and Charles Barkley were seen in the All Star game on network TV on Sunday afternoons.

Simple tweaks to the NBA All-Star Weekend would go a long way towards the stated goal of the new NBA Commissioner, Adam Silver, to “bridge the popularity gap between the NBA and the National Football League (NFL).” Moving the All-Star Weekend back a week in February to the first weekend after the Super Bowl, where it was for decades, would help avoid the Valentine’s Day dilemma that many NBA fans face.

The NBA would also benefit from changing the NBA All-Star Game back to an afternoon game on network television on Sundays, as it was during its greatest period of popularity in the 1990’s. The earlier start time would allow all basketball fans, casual or die-hard, to tune in to see the best NBA players with far less competition on television at that time. The NBA would also reach a broader demographic that may not have cable or want to stay up late to watch the games.

With all that said, this NBA fan will continue to watch the best NBA players this Sunday in the All-Star game while being thankful that the DVR and low-level All-Star festivities on Friday night created no conflict in my home on Valentine’s Day.––

Charles Glover, Jr. is a sports aficionado and a management training specialist. Follow me @OpenWindowMES on