Reggae Gold 2015, featuring a musical mix, is set for summer release


By Tiffany Mea

For over 20 years, the world’s #1 Caribbean music compilation Reggae Gold brings the genre’s top hits into one must-have collection for the masses. 2015’s installment, out July 17, 2015 on VP Records, is filled with the season’s freshest sounds in roots, dancehall, lover’s rock and pop-fused reggae from a diverse group of talent.

Busy Signal is featured on Reggae Gold 2015

Busy Signal is featured on Reggae Gold 2015

From the Canadian pop supergroup Magic’s #1 Billboard single “Rude” to comedian/actor/singer Eddie Murphy’s return to reggae on his latest single “Oh Jah Jah,” (following his 1993 Shabba Ranks collab “I Was A King”) – there is no shortage of crossover appeal on Reggae Gold 2015.

Chroniixx is featured on Reggae Gold 2015

Chroniixx is featured on Reggae Gold 2015

This year’s installation features a multitude female artists reigning in reggae today – from emerging stars like the Rastafarian singer Jah9 (“Avocado”), reggae pop princesses’ Toian (“Love It”) and Ikaya (“My Man”) to Jamaica’s leading ladies, like dancehall diva Spice (“Conjugal Visit” ft. Vybz Kartel), the soulful songstress Etana (“I Rise”) and roots reality lyricist Queen Ifrica (“I Can’t Breathe”). The latter song carries a strong message to stop police brutality and racial profiling worldwide.


Etana is featured on Reggae Gold 2015.

The set also delves into exclusive new music from Jamaica’s top male artists. Jah Cure reveals his latest single “Made In California” off his upcoming album The Cure and the legendary crooner Beres Hammond delivers his stellar new anthem “Jamaican International Dance.” Singer-songwriter Christopher Martin turns heads with the island’s chart climber “I’m A Big Deal,” while overnight sensation Gully Bop proves ground with his popular tracks ” My God Dem Nuh Bad Like We” and “Body Specialist.” Dancehall star Busy Signal drops lyrical fire on the flirtatious fun track “Text Message,” and Gyptian unveils his latest steamy single “All On Me.” Every song counts on this collection.–






Good mental health is important to achieving optimum 2015 lifestyles

Publicist, Author and Mental Health Advocate Terrie Williams.

Publicist, Author and Mental Health Advocate Terrie Williams.

By Carmen Glover

There is nothing as euphoric as the first light of a new year to make plans for improving in the areas of life in which we all fell short during the previous year. For 2015, it is natural for resolutions to be made, plans to be developed and promises devised, all in the name of ensuring a successful year.

Yet, while exercise regimens are established, gym memberships soar and resumes are freshened up, scant attention is typically paid to promoting optimum mental health. This can be a huge mistake that can shatter dreams, derail well-laid plans and cost lives. After all, without optimum emotional and mental well-being, it is difficult to navigate life’s challenges and stressors successfully.


American Idol winner Fantasia Barrino attempted to commit suicide in August 2010. Appearing on ABC News two weeks after being hospitalized she said : “I just wanted to get away f rom the noise.”

In the African-American community especially, mental health is not dealt with as part of preventive medical wellness checks. It’s not considered to be a routine part of a yearly physical and that oversight can lead to devastating results, most often, untreated mental illness resulting in suicides. For instance in August 2010, American Idol winner Fantasia Barrino tried to take her own life by overdosing on pills. After her hospitalization, she said of her suicide attempt:

“I just wanted to get away from the noise.” But Barrino is not alone, Don Cornelius, the genius who created Soul Train, shot himself to death with a firearm. Music executive with Violator Records Chris Lighty, Donny Hathaway and Phyllis Hyman were admired musical talents who committed suicide. Hathaway struggled with schizophrenia while Hyman was depressed and had bi-polar disorder. Hyman left a note stating “I’m tired. I’m tired.” Titi Branch, co-founder of Miss Jessie’s line of natural hair products took her own life in December 2014.

don cornelius shot himself to death.

Soul Train creator Don Cornelius shot himself to death.

The stigma that is associated with mental health challenges and the fear of being ostracized professionally and socially often causes African-Americans to justify longstanding failures to obtain routine mental health assessments and follow-up diligently with treatment if a diagnosis is made. One significant exception to that approach is media personality, mental health advocate and author Terrie Williams.

Williams received undergraduate and master’s degrees in social work from Columbia University in New York City. She worked in the social service field for years, where she ultimately met and treated musician Myles Davis, who encouraged her to purse a career in public relations. Williams launched her public relations agency, The Terrie Williams Agency and attracted an impressive client list that included Essence Communications and actors Eddie Murphy and Nia Long. Williams went on to write the public relations Bible: “The Personal Touch.” I met Williams in 1999 when I served as the editor for the business and professional magazine “The Network Journal,” based in lower Manhattan.

Phyllis Hyman commited suicide in 1995 leaving behind  note which said: "i'm tired. I'm tired."

Phyllis Hyman committed suicide in 1995 leaving behind note which said: “I’m tired. I’m tired.”

I’ve seen Williams over the years at different events but I was puzzled when she  retreated from the spotlight.  While attending a regional conference for the National Association of Black Journalists (NABJ) at the Associated Press (AP) headquarters in New York in October 2013, it was eye-opening to listen as Williams spoke passionately about the issue of mental health in the African-American community and her experience with the disease.

“I had a nervous breakdown,” Williams said candidly before urging journalists at the conference to “take time to love and care for yourselves.” She explained the fear that often consume African-Americans when they are confronted with mental health issues but she explained the importance of seeking help.


Symptoms of Depression, the main indicator that someone is in danger of committing suicide.

One of the myths of mental health awareness and treatment in the African-American society is the belief that seeking treatment means that the individual is “crazy.” There is nothing crazy about seeking help when it is needed. People from all walks of life experience a myriad of struggles, which sometimes include varying degrees of depression, which often leads to suicide.

It is prudent to seek preventive care before signs of discontent morph into symptoms of depression, which, if left untreated can deteriorate into severe or major depression that can lead to suicide.


The Suicide Prevention Hotline is an easily accessible resource if you feel overwhelmed and have suicidal ideation.

As the new year gets underway, one of the best things we can do for ourselves and loved ones is to be vigilant of mood swings and changes in routines so that issues that could lead to mental health illness are addressed before they are exacerbated. If necessary, make that important wellness call to 911 so that those who are experiencing crisis can get help before it is too late. It is unfortunate that as a community, African-Americans have lost many talented individuals whose battles with mental illness overwhelmed their lives.

Yet, the new year offers an opportunity for all of us to be more observant and aware so that preventive care is included in all resolutions and goal setting activities. That is the only way for 2015 to deliver optimum lifestyles for more people than was achieved in previous years.–

Entertainer Eddie Murphy releases reggae single “Oh Jah Jah” on VPAL


By Tiffany Mea

VPAL Music, the subsidiary label and distribution arm of VP Records, Jamaica’s largest distributor of reggae music worldwide, teamed up with revered comedian/actor/singer Eddie Murphy to release a new single “Oh Jah Jah.” The single will be available January 27, 2015.

The song’s release is not the first time that Murphy has dabbled into the reggae genre.  “Oh Jah Jah” follows Murphy’s 2013 collaboration “Red Light” which featured the formerly named rap star Snoop Dogg who now goes by the name Snoop Lion after spending time recording reggae music in Jamaica.

Murphy penned and co-produced “Oh Jah Jah”  which was recorded and mixed at Soul Mountain Studios in Beverly Hills, California. Ralph Hawkins Jr. and Trenten Gumbs also had a hand in the production.

Murphy released his first single, “Party all the time” with the late Rick James in 1985. He has recorded more singles since then and seems determined to be taken seriously as a single as well as an actor and comedian.

For more information contact VP Records/VPAL at or through Murphy’s contact Arnold Robinson at–

Foster care children benefit from celebrity support, testimonials

Alicia Keys and her husband attend the 8th annual gala in support of the benefit in October 2013.

Alicia Keys and her husband Swizz Beatz attend the 8th annual gala in support of the benefit in October 2013.

By Charles Glover, Jr.

As the school year nears its conclusion throughout the country, parents will try to figure out how to keep their children occupied during the summer. Meanwhile, there are thousands of children across the country who are hoping to return to their families from foster care this summer as well. The plight of children in foster care is typically emphasized in May, Foster Care Month. According to, roughly 640,000 children spent some time in out-of-home care last year.

There are many factors that cause children to be removed from their homes and ultimately placed in foster care. In many instances, parents have legal, physical or mental health issues that prevent them from being capable of being the primary care givers for their children. The children are also removed from the home because of their own issues, such as legal issues, sexual, emotional, drug or physical abuse, or mental health problems. Once removed from the home, the children have to receive treatment to address their presenting issues.

President and CEO of The Children's Village, Jeremy Kohomban PH.D  oversees an agency that services foster children in New York City and Westchester County.

President and CEO of The Children’s Village, Jeremy Kohomban Ph.D. oversees an agency that services foster children in New York City and Westchester County.

According to, nearly half of the children in foster care have chronic medical conditions and upwards of 80 percent of these children have diagnosed emotional or mental health problems. This reality makes it challenging for potential foster parents who want to make a difference in these children’s lives. As a result, group homes, residential treatment facilities (RTF), and residential treatment centers (RTC) have become alternatives to provide resources and care to children who need extra attention. However, this solution has drawbacks for the children.

Many are unaware of the fact that actor/comedian Eddie Murphy spent a brief part of his childhood in foster care.

Many are unaware of the fact that actor/comedian Eddie Murphy spent a brief part of his childhood in foster care.

The Children’s Village is a foster care agency that services children in New York City and Westchester County. Children’s Village President and CEO Jeremy Kohomban Ph.D. believes that  “The longer kids stay in institutions, the less capable they are of reintegrating into society.” There structured settings often do not resemble everyday life and limits emotional, educational and social development of many foster children. There are also unfortunate incidents where children endure physical or sexual abuse while in these institutions, from either other children or staff, that compound their situation. These factors make it difficult to find the proper place for these children that need the proper care.

Actress Victoria Rowell may be most known for her role on The Young and the Restless, but she is also a strong advocate for foster children as a former foster child herself.

Actress Victoria Rowell may be most known for her role on The Young and the Restless, but she is also a strong advocate for foster children as a former foster child herself.

Ideally, children can find the care they need within their neighborhoods and stay as close to their families as possible. John Mattingly is a senior program associate at the Annie E. Casey Foundation in Baltimore, Maryland. While studying national trends in childcare services he surmised, “The key [to helping foster children] today is to build a stronger neighborhood to protect our kids.” Mattingly highlighted trends that demonstrated that children greatly benefited from being in traditional settings when possible. However, there is a balance that needs to be met that allows the child to be properly healed, or instilled with the proper coping mechanisms, so that they can thrive in their returns from foster care.

NBA Hall of Famer Alonzo Mourning has used his platform to bring awareness to foster care issues as a former foster child.

NBA Hall of Famer Alonzo Mourning has used his platform to bring awareness to foster care issues as a former foster child.

The awareness that children have of their circumstances while in foster care cannot be understated. The average age of foster children entering care is over 9 years old. Former NBA player Alonzo Mourning became a foster child at the age of 11 after his parents divorced. Mourning remembered, “I wasn’t comfortable at home. Divorce is hard to understand when you’re a kid.” The decision that resulted in Mourning’s entrance into foster care helped him come to an understanding that, “No part of life is always going to be milk and cookies.” The resolve he developed at that age helped him in his career and forged a mindset that was the genesis to Mourning’s giving spirit.

Author and director Antwone Fisher uses his personal background as a foster child to inspire others.

Author and director Antwone Fisher uses his personal background as a foster child to inspire others.

Mourning used his celebrity profile to bring to issues surrounding children in need including the Overtown Youth Center he helped found. Other notable celebrities who have been in foster care include Eddie Murphy, Victoria Rowell, and Antwone Fisher. They have all brought attention to the improvements needed in the foster care system while standing as positive role models for those who share the foster care experience.

For those interested in becoming a foster parent, information is readily available at––

Charles Glover, Jr. is a former foster care case worker. He is also a sports writer and  management training consultant. Follow me @OpenWindowMES on