Jamaican Artist Displays Dazzling Masterpieces in New York

Artist Extraordinaire Mr. Paul Blackwood thanks longtime friend Mrs. Coleen Robinson-Cobblah for hosting a successful exhibition of his work in her home.

By Carmen Glover

Art usually evokes a myriad of emotions, ranging from awe to excitement and joy. The works created by self-taught Jamaican artist Paul Blackwood explode with vibrant colors and sceneries, often fueling lengthy discussions and intense concentration as patrons carefully study the pieces, trying to decipher subliminal themes. Recently, while exhibiting his artwork in Westchester County, New York and Alpharetta, Georgia, Blackwood joined his family, friends and patrons to discuss his hectic exhibition schedule and the range of emotions that his masterpieces elicit.

Some of Paul Blackwood’s breathtaking pieces of art.

“Since the year started I’ve been doing a lot of exhibitions across Jamaica and the United States,” Blackwood said during a lull in the Westchester County event, while explaining that he loved the Westchester location because “It has a nice vibe.”  But while art lovers were deep in thought trying to figure out multiple meanings and themes in his work, Blackwood laughed when he stated, “I don’t have a set theme for my art. I paint the way I feel. You can see abstract, semi-abstract or realism but I put my all into my work so when people purchase my work they are buying a piece of me.”

Onpointpress.net Editorial Director Carmen Glover, M.S.Ed. enjoys the exhibition with Coleen Robinson-Cobblah, MSN, and her sister Dionne Robinson.

Blackwood says his work has wide appeal. “My paintings are for everyone. People will say that they see a lot of houses and cottages in my work. That’s because I try to bring out a lot of my upbringing in my work,” he said. “I grew up in a little board house in Long Hill, Westmoreland, where you get the best bammy and fried fish in the world,” he said, laughing. Blackwood said that he caters to every taste and budget. “I do coasters, prints and originals so that there is something for everyone. My dream is to let as many persons as possible have a piece of my work,” he said. “If everyone across the globe could have a Blackwood painting, that would be nice.”

Happy patron shows off her outfit next to the artistic display.

Coleen Robinson-Cobblah, who hosted the Westchester event, said she is committed to showcasing his work as much as possible.

“I met Paul about five years ago, selling his work at Golden Krust in White Plains,” she said. “I loved his work and bought a few pieces. I found them inspirational. We ended our conversation like we knew each other for a long time.” She said that she and Blackwood’s friendship grew. “I see him as a big brother. I don’t see him as a friend. He’s family. When I go to Jamaica he treats my family well and I want to expose his work as much as I can. Last year, he hosted a show at my mother’s and this year I decided to host the exhibition here and invite my friends.”

Robinson-Cobblah was pleased with her guests’ feedback at the exhibition she hosted in her home. “The guests all love his work. They bought coasters and paintings. Some took his card to visit his website and purchase more of his work,” she said.

To view and purchase his work, visit www.paulblackwoodart.com.

Nonprofit focused on affordable housing celebrates 45 years, hosts fundraiser

Southside United HDFC-Los Sures Executive Director Ramon Peguero, Esq.


Brooklyn, NY: Forty-five years after opening its doors with a mission of developing affordable housing units in the Southside of Williamsburg, Southside United HDFC-Los Sures is still going strong. On Wednesday, April 26, at 6:00 p.m., the nonprofit will host its annual fundraiser at Freehold Brooklyn, 45 S. 3rd St., to honor its inspirational story, under the theme “Celebrating 45 years of commitment to affordable housing, community development and advocacy.”

“Now more than ever, with affordable housing still being a major issue for residents of Southside Williamsburg, our organization is keenly aware of its role in stabilizing families and the community as a whole, despite the challenges that we face,” said Southside United HDFC-Los Sures Executive Director Ramon Peguero, Esq. “Many organizations close down after 45 years but we are determined to achieve even more in the next 45 years as we work diligently to meet the needs of the community and continue to be a beacon for those who rely on our services.”

The non-profit has expanded its mission over the years and now it not only develops affordable housing units. Los Sures manages affordable housing units, operates a weekly food pantry, hydroponic farm, senior center and provides entitlement services such as tax preparation at through its social services office. Additionally, the organization operates a local museum, El Museo de Los Sures, which is a hub of exquisite artistic expression, attracting patrons from the neighborhood who are eager to experience diverse artworks.

“We hope that the community members will come out in large numbers to support our 45th anniversary fundraiser because it is through their involvement that we are able to provide the menu of services that we do,” Mr. Peguero said.

Among the distinguished individuals who will be honored at the event are Luis Garden Acosta, Founder and President of El Puente; City Councilmember Antonio Reynoso and NY City Council General Counsel Jason Adolfo Otano. Hirschen Singer & Epstein LLP will receive the corporate award and a surprise humanitarian award will be presented at the event. Dime Community Bank, which is based in Williamsburg and has been in operation since 1864, is the event’s legacy sponsor, while FG-PH Corporation is the platinum sponsor. Kings County Politics (KCP) is the media sponsor. For tickets and sponsorship opportunities, please contact mduran@lossures.org. For interviews, please contact cglover@lossures.org.

Southside United HDFC-Los Sures, www.southsideunitedhdfc.org, is a pioneering, community-based non-profit organization that was among the first to answer the call to rebuild North Brooklyn 45 years ago. Not only has Los Sures undertaken large-scale rehabilitation of many buildings, allowing families and individuals to live comfortably while creating an aesthetically pleasing neighborhood, but the organization provides a range of social services, including a food pantry, a fresh produce distribution center, a senior center, tax preparation assistance, community and tenant advocacy and workshops. The organization also operates a community museum, El Mueso de Los Sures, which showcases diverse artists.–OnPointPress.net–

Jamaica’s AG, outstanding Manning’s alum, honored

Jamaica's AG Hon. Marlene Malahoo Forte.

Jamaica’s Attorney General Hon. Marlene Malahoo Forte, Q.C., M.P. J.P., will be honored by the New York Chapter of her alma mater’s alumni association, the MPSA-NY, on October 12, 2016 at Eastwood Manor in the Bronx.

9/26/2016, NY: Jamaica’s Attorney General, Hon. Marlene Malahoo Forte, will be the guest of honor at the Manning’s Past Students’ Association New York Chapter’s (MPSA NY) 28th Anniversary Reunion Ball.

Manning's students will benefit from the proceeds of the fundraiser.

Manning’s students will benefit from the proceeds of the fundraiser.

“We are very thrilled that Attorney General Marlene Malahoo Forte, a proud former head girl of Manning’s School, will be serving as our guest of honor,” said Kevin K.O. Sangster, Outgoing MPSA NY President.  “Having had a distinguished legal career at both the Bar and Bench and having contributed meaningfully to the governance process in Jamaica, the AG has a wealth of knowledge and insights that our attendees will find highly valuable.”

Outgoing MPSA-NY President Kevin K.O. Sangster, Esq. and the executive team, have worked tirelessly to organize the event.

Outgoing MPSA-NY President Kevin K.O. Sangster, Esq. and the executive team, have worked tirelessly to organize the event.

In what is expected to be a night of fun and revelry for a good cause, the ball will feature a Caribbean buffet with a little international flair, an open bar and music provided by DJ Andrew with Jugglaz International. The event will take place at 8:00 p.m., on Saturday, October 15 at Eastwood Manor, located at 3371 Eastchester Road in the Bronx, NY.


An early bird rate of $85 per person is available until September 30, 2016 and $90 per person after that date.  Proceeds will benefit Manning’s School in Westmoreland, Jamaica.

The MPSA NY, over its 28-year history, has been an active source of support for the school, organizing numerous fundraisers and making significant donations to ensure that the school’s rich legacy of academic excellence will endure.

To purchase tickets for the events, please call Anton Tomlinson at 917-541-3348 or 718-287-9366.--OnPointPress.net–

African Diaspora Int’l Film Festival celebrates Black History Month


New York, February 27, 2015:– The African Diaspora International Film Festival (ADIFF) is pleased to announce the Celebrating Black History Month film series at Teachers College, Columbia University from February 27 to March 1. The film series has an international spin that puts the notion of Black History month in the perspective of a quest to critically understand what the Black human experience has been and is in different parts of the world.

A selection of ten films from eight countries will be part of the ADIFF Celebrating Black History Month film series. The program will feature several documentaries about the Black experience in the United States. Stubborn as a Mule by Miller Bargerton, Jr. and Arcelious J. Daniels, an internationally award winning film that presents an eye opening depiction of lesser known historical facts and contemporary commentary regarding the call for reparations for African-Americans. In the process, the film disseminates USA black history that is not taught in most educational systems. Spies of Mississippi by Dawn Porter is an explosive documentary based on a book by the same name that tells the story of a secret spy agency formed by the state of Mississippi to preserve segregation and maintain white supremacy during the Civil Rights Movement.

Linking the US and Africa is the very popular documentary Bound: Africans vs African-Americans by Peres Owino, about the tensions between these two groups and winner of ADIFF 2014’s Public Award for the Best Film Directed by a Woman of Color. The screening of this hard-hitting documentary – that walks us through the corridors of African colonialism and African American enslavement – will be followed by a conversation with Director Peres Owino.

Three historic epic dramas that explore the fight for liberation by colonized and enslaved Africans are in the program: Ninga Queen of Angola by Sergio Graciano about a 17th century Queen who fought for freedom against Portuguese colonialism, Tula, The Revolt by Jeroen Leinders, a film set in Curaçao in the Caribbean during slavery times and Sergio Giral’s classic Cuban drama Maluala, about the Maroons – the communities of escaped enslaved Africans in the 19th century.

Four documentaries complete the series: The program African Leaders is comprised of two documentaries that offer a portrait of two leaders of the Pan-African Liberation Movement: Thomas Sankara from Burkina Faso and Amilcar Cabral from Cape Verde directed by Balufu Bakupa Kanyinda and Ana Ramos Lisboa respectively. The Story of Lovers Rock by Menelik Shabbaz is a musical documentary about Lovers Rock, often dubbed ‘romantic reggae,’ a uniquely black British sound that developed in the late 70s and 80s against a backdrop of riots, racial tension and sound systems. Denying Brazil by Joel Zito Araujo is a documentary that explores the history of the stereotypical representation of Black characters on Brazilian TV and the negative impact of these stereotypes on the Afro-Brazilian identity formation.

For more information about the Celebrating Black History Month film series, to receive screeners and high resolution images please contact Diarah N’Daw-Spech at (212) 864-1760/ fax (212) 316-6020 or e-mail pr@nyadiff.org. Festival web site: www.nyadiff.org. The African Diaspora International Film Festival is a 501(c)(3) not for profit organization.–OnPointPress.net.



New Beginnings celebrates five-year anniversary with gala

Students at New Beginnings Performing Arts Studio (NBPAS).

Students at New Beginnings Performing Arts Studio (NBPAS) show their talents.

8/31, New Rochelle, NY: Minority and woman-owned New Beginnings Performing Arts Studio (NBPAS) will host its fifth anniversary gala on September 6, 2014 at 3: 00 p.m. The event will take place at the studio, located at 457 Main Street,New Rochelle, New York 10801.

A student at New Beginnings Performing Arts Studio shows some moves.

A student at New Beginnings Performing Arts Studio shows dexterity and physical skill.

The purpose of the anniversary gala is tri-fold: to celebrate five years of operation, to honor those who have contributed to the school, and to raise funds to expand programming. While currently offering a variety of dance, theatre and health opportunities for children as young as four years old to adult, Kyra Johnson, founder and executive director, plans to incorporate other educational and career support opportunities at the site.

Students practice their routine at New Beginnings.

Students practice their routine at the dance studio where various dance techniques are taught.

The mission at NBPAS is to expose children and young adults to life through the arts. This is accomplished by employing artistic educators who have a passion for their gifts, children, and assisting young people gain self-confidence. Members of staff at the facility trained at Alvin Ailey Dance School, the University of California and SUNY Purchase College Conservatory of Dance. They have performed nationally and internationally with artists such as Lazuko Hirayabiyashi (Ballet) and Mary J. Blige. Academic credentials include Spelman College in Atlanta, Georgia; Adelphi University in Garden City, New York; Saint John’s University in Queens, New York and Fordham University in the Bronx, New York.

Kyra Johnson, founder and executive director of New Beginnings Performing Arts Studio.

Kyra Johnson, founder and executive director of New Beginnings Performing Arts Studio.

NBPAS offers Tap, African, Afro-Caribbean, Ballet, Modern, Salsa, Zumba, Praise, Tiny Steps, Jazz, Dancing in Pumps, Cuban Fusion, Dance Circuit, Total Body Fitness, and Body-Conditioning classes. Classes are offered Monday through Friday during the evenings and all day on Saturday.

A group of students in various poses at the dance studio.

A group of students in various poses at the dance studio while displaying a range of engaging emotions.

Johnson, who is affectionately called Ms.J, earned bachelor’s and master’s degrees, with an emphasis on secondary education and Mathematics . After six years of teaching, she pursued a career in acting and dancing. Johnson performed in the film “Step Up 3D” and has toured the USA, Mexico, Canada, Barbados and Trinidad. She is currently a member of Harambee and Seewee Dance Companies. For more information visit www.newbeginningsdance.com.-OnPointPress.net.

New York hosted superb celebration of Jamaica’s 52nd Independence


state ministrer

State Minister in the Ministry of Foreign Affairs and Foreign Trade Arnaldo Brown, Sheryl Lee Ralph, Former Prime Minister Hon. P.J. Patterson and Paulette Willoughby, JICFI chair share a moment at the Jamaica Independence Gala in New York on August 16, 2014.

New York/CMM/August 27, 2014: Jamaicans and friends of Jamaica turned out in huge numbers to the New York Marriot Marquis on Saturday, August 16, to celebrate another year of independence, and 52 never looked so good. It was an evening of elegance, sophistication and sheer class, all bound by the simple yet profound theme: “Honoring Greatness.”

Greatness was plentiful at the event with honorees including the he Skatalites, represented by the band’s only surviving member, Lester Sterling; accomplished actress, singer and humanitarian, Sheryl Lee Ralph; Karl and Faye Rodney of the New York Carib News and by no means least, special guest presenter for the evening, former prime minister, the Honorable Percival J Patterson. In his short but distinct remarks, Former Prime Minister Patterson lauded the Diaspora for its continued civic engagement, making special mention of the newly launched ‘mapping project’ which seeks to identify individuals and document the skill sets spread throughout the Diaspora. He spoke of his belief that it is a Jamaica for all, whether within or outside of her borders.


JICFI chair Paulette Willoughby poses with  honorees Jerome Haynes, son of Jah Jerry Haynes, Karl and Faye Rodney, Sheryl Lee Ralph and Lester Sterling.

Wearing his `special presenter’ hat Mr. Patterson, who managed the Skatalites before his transition from lawyer to politician, had the privilege of presenting Lester Sterling with his award and posthumously to former original members: Don Drummond, (trombone); Lloyd Knibb, (drums); Jerome, “Jah Jerry” Haynes, (guitar); Jackee Mitto, (pianio); Lloyd Brevett, (bass and drum); Tommy McCook, (tenor saxophone); Roland Alfonso, (tenor saxophone) and John ‘Dizzy Moore, (trumpet).

Sterling went on to wow the room with powerful renditions of Freedom Sound the Skatalites’ theme song, Take 5 and Puppa Lick. Backed by Fab 5 and accompanied by Leroy Graham Jr, on tenor sax, it was Ska resplendent and awesome to the ears–a true moment in time. Master of Ceremonies for the evening, Jeff Barnes kept the room buzzing with quips that elicited plenty laughter, enhancing the already pleasant and lively atmosphere in the room.

Other notables in attendance at the gala included Congresswoman Yvette D. Clarke, NY State Assemblyman N. Nick Perry, State Minister in the Ministry of Foreign Affairs and Foreign Trade, with special responsibility for the Diaspora, Arnaldo Brown; Consul General of Jamaica to New York Mr. Herman G. LaMont, and former NY Council Member, Dr. Una Clarke.

It was an evening of which all Jamaicans would be proud. Patriotism, pride and Jamaican verve waxed a-plenty. The ballroom, bathed fully in the unmistakable colors of the national flag-black, green and gold, shone with energy. Reggae songbird Etana graced the stage, belting out her familiar hits, which turned things up a notch. Fab 5 band, with their usual sparkling set, followed before a short but electric set by DJ Roy and Road International, who kept patrons on their dancing feet into the early morning hours. The Alpha boys Home will benefit from part proceeds of the ball. For more information about this annual event, contact Ms. Andrea Daley at andrea@cmmus.com–OnPointPress.net.