Musical about flamboyant singer Sylvester, now off-Broadway, ends 10/5


Scenes from the Off-Broadway musical about the last singer Sylvester.  Performances run through October 5 at Theater at St. Clement’s, located at 423 W. 46th Street, in Manhattan, New York.

New York, 9/27/2014: Late musician Sylvester was known for his flamboyant personality and his strong relationships in the music industry. His life story has been immortalized in an Off-Broadway musical, “Mighty Real: A Fabulous Sylvester Musical” which opened on September 5 and will run through October 5. The musical is now showing at Theatre at St. Clement’s, 423 W 46th Street with tickets ranging in prices from $25 to $84.50.


Sylvester also performed with “Two Tons of Fun” the singers behind the bit “It’s Raining Men.”

The production is the brainchild of Anthony Ken LLC and Sheryl Lee Ralph’s The Diva Foundation. The musical is a celebration of the life of the original 1970s “Queen of Disco” Sylvester, featuring classic songs such as “(You Make Me Feel) Mighty Real,” “Dance (Disco Heat),” “Do Ya Wanna Funk,” and “You Are My Friend.”  The musical stars Anthony Wayne (Pippin, Anything Goes, Priscilla Queen of the Desert) as Sylvester and is based on a book by Anthony Wayne. The musical is directed by Anthony Wayne and Kendrell Bowman with choreography by Anastacia McCleskey, and musical direction by Alonzo Harris. The limited-engagement is scheduled through Sunday, October 5.


The high-octane musical “Mighty Real: A Fabulous Sylvester Musical” has been entertaining New Yorkers since opening September 5. The musical runs through October 5.

The musical chronicles Sylvester’s life, through his point of view. Beyond all the trials and tribulations of his life – and the glitz and glamour of his lifestyle — Sylvester was not only a symbol for being Fabulous, but also a pioneer in the LGBTQ community for showing, unapologetically, you have to be true to who you are. “Mighty Real: A Fabulous Sylvester Musical” allows Sylvester’s classic songs to enter your ears, soar through your heart, and inspire your soul.


Musical on Sylvester’s life is gearing up for its final week of performances. The last show is scheduled for October 5.

Sylvester James, Jr. (September 6, 1947 – December 16, 1988), better known as Sylvester, was an American disco and soul singer-songwriter. Known for his flamboyant, androgynous appearance, he became known in the United States as the “Queen of Disco.” Born in Watts, LA, Sylvester developed a love of singing through the gospel choirs of his Pentecostal church, which he left after being persecuted for his homosexual lifestyle.  An activist who campaigned against the spread of HIV/AIDS, Sylvester died from complications arising from the virus in 1988. In 2004, “You Make Me Feel (Mighty Real),” was inducted into the Dance Music Hall of Fame, and one year later in 2005, Sylvester himself was inducted into the Dance Music Hall of Fame for his achievement as an artist.

The performance schedule is Tuesdays through Fridays at 8PM, Saturdays at 2PM and 8PM, and Sundays at 7PM. For tickets, call (866) 811-4111 or visit

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–

Etana, Fab 5 set to entertain at Jamaica’s Independence gala in NYC

Cultural reggae star Etana will perform at Jamaica's 52nd annual Independence ball on August 16, 2014.

Cultural reggae star Etana will perform at Jamaica’s 52nd annual Independence gala on August 16, 2014.

New York, August 16 2014: The stage is all set for the Skatalites, Sheryl Lee Ralph, and Karl and Faye Rodney to be honored at the Jamaica Independence Ball in New York. The gala will take place on Saturday, August 16, at the New York Marriot Marquis Hotel, located at 1535 Broadway, New York. The gala will begin with a cocktail hour at 6:30 p.m. and run through 3:00 a.m.

Under the theme “Celebrating Greatness,” the event will feature a night of first-class entertainment and patriotic offerings. Cultural reggae star Etana will headline the gala, backed by the Fab Five band.

Former Jamaican Prime Minister P.J. Patterson

Former Jamaican Prime Minister P.J. Patterson will be the guest presenter  at the event.

The Skatalites are in the 5th decade of a long and superbly successful career as they continue to bring the rich culture of the Island through music (from the Ska era to reggae) to the world. The only surviving member Lester Sterling will be on hand to receive the award.

Sheryl Lee Ralph has never been shy to embrace her Jamaican heritage. To that end she has been a tireless advocate, philanthropist, and (unofficial) ambassador of the homeland. She is an accomplished actress; from the small and big screens to Broadway, leaving in her wake, groundbreaking performances which have won her rave reviews and numerous awards. She represents a slew of second and on generation Islanders, who value the culture and history of the land from which their parents originate.

Entertainer Sheryl Lee Ralph

Entertainer Sheryl Lee Ralph will be honored at the gala..

The husband and wife team of Karl; Faye Rodney are renowned in the Diaspora, particularly for their work in media. The Carib News, their brain-child, is a leading publication in the media capital of the world, New York, and serves as a leading voice of the Caribbean Diaspora.

Lester Sterling, the lone surviving member of the Skatalites.

Lester Sterling, the lone surviving member of the Skatalites. He will accept honors on behalf of the group.

Former Prime Minister of Jamaica, Hon P. J. Patterson, will be the special guest and presenter of awards for the evening.

For more information, JICFI may be reached at 631-374-7811, or 718-527-3484; email, The Jamaican Independence Celebration Foundation, Inc. (JICFI) is a 501 C (3) non-profit organization, dedicated to celebrating Jamaica’s independence which was gained on August 6, 1962.–

The Skatalites, Sheryl Lee Ralph, to receive Jamaica honors

Entertainer Sheryl Lee Ralph

Entertainer Sheryl Lee Ralph will he honored at the Jamaica Independence Ball in August.

By Andrea Daley

The Jamaica Independence Celebration Foundation Inc., ((JICFI), New York, will honor the Skatalites, a legendary Ska band of the 60’s, at its annual Independence Gala this year. The event will be held at the New YorkMarriott Marquis, 1535 Broadway, New York, on Saturday August 16. The event will begin with a cocktail hour at  6:30 p.m. while the rest of the activities will run from 8;00 p.m-3;00 a.m. This year’s theme is “Honoring Greatness.”Special guest and presenter of awards for the evening will be the Most Hon., P. J. Patterson, former Prime Minister of Jamaica.

Former Jamaican Prime Minister P.J. Patterson
Former Jamaican Prime Minister P. J. Patterson will present the awards to this year’s honorees.

The Skatalites began their storied journey in 1964 and staked their claim as Jamaica’s premiere Ska Band, while rising to prominence  and racking up legions of fans worldwide. Known for impressive horns and brass, they produced an impeccable, neatly synthesized sound, unleashing hits such as ‘Guns of Navarone,’ ‘Phoenix City, ‘Addis Ababa,’ ‘Silver Dollar,’ ‘Corner Stone,’ and ‘Blackberry Brandy,’ to name a few. This made them truly the soundtrack of that generation. Most of the original members of the Skatalites are now deceased.

Lester Sterling, the lone surviving member of the Skatalites.
Lester Sterling, the lone surviving member of the Skatalites, will be honored at the Jamaican Ball in New York on August 16.

Lester Sterling, the only surviving original member of the band , who played alto saxophone, will accept the award on behalf of the band. Posthumous awards will go to Don Drummond, who played trombone; Lloyd Knibb, drums; Jerome, “Jah Jerry’ Haynes, guitar; Jackee Mitto, piano; Lloyd Brevett, bass and drum; Tommy McCook, tenor saxophone; Roland Alfonso, tenor saxophone and John ‘Dizzy Moore, trumpet. Doreen Schaffer who later joined the group will also be in attendance to receive an award. Today, a new version of the band still tours, giving life to the music of the group while exposing the music to and attracting younger fans.


Cultural Reggae singer Etana will perform at the Jamaica Independence Ball and Gala in August.

The celebration of Jamaica’s Independence 52 years later still evokes great national pride amongst its sons and daughters everywhere. The annual gala attracts diaspora movers and shakers as well as friends and supporters from diverse backgrounds. This makes for a grand affair resplendent with all the cultural nuances: the flavor, sounds, fashion, music and food of the island all elegantly displayed and consumed in fine style.

This year, the gala will also honor noted actress and singer Sheryl Lee Ralph, and Dr. Karl and Faye Rodney, publishers of the Carib News. Part proceeds will be donated to charity. Entertainment will be provided by the Fab 5 Band and Roots, Reggae songbird, Etana.

For more information, JICFI may be reached at 631-374-7811, or 718-527-3484; email, –

Reflections on late Everybody’s editor Patricia Boothe, R.I.P. Editorial Director Carmen Glover, Peter Martin and Patricia Boothe. Editorial Director Carmen Glover, Peter Martin and  late Everybody’s Caribbean magazine editor Patricia Boothe  in 2000 at an event hosted by The Jamaica Tourist Board, honoring entertainer Sheryl Lee Ralph.

By Carmen Glover

As the body of Patricia Boothe, the late editor of Everybody’s Caribbean magazine, is being prepared to be laid to rest, it’s pertinent to share reflections on who she was.

Pat, as she was lovingly called, was the mother of a son, Leon. She was a daughter, sister and friend to many. She was dedicated to the written word, editing Everybody’s magazine in the afternoon hours after sleeping in the mornings because she worked nights as a proofreader for a law firm in Manhattan. I met her in 1998, during my final year of undergraduate studies. She spoke to me, examined my clips and promptly assigned me a series of stories to write. At the same time, she asked me to refer more “quality writers” to her, which I did.


Patricia Boothe, late editor of Everybody’s Caribbean magazine will have her viewing Friday evening and her burial Saturday morning.

As the years elapsed, I would see her from time to time, but we mostly kept in touch via telephone. When I managed the press office at the Jamaican Consulate in Manhattan, she took the time to attend as many events as she could, for which I will always be grateful. When she was unable to attend the events, she would assign a writer. I went to see her in the hospital once in 2001 then visited her at her home in Far Rockaway, Queens, where I was impressed by the collection of her portraits that adorned her home. She explained that a friend had taken the pictures of her. One of the writers of Everybody’s magazine who also shared a close relationship with Pat is Rafika Soaries.

“When I began writing for Everybody’s Caribbean magazine I really did not know what direction I was going to go in. I had a genuine love for the culture and music of the Caribbean but was not an experienced writer. Pat took me under her wing and helped me find myself as a writer. She encouraged me to ‘just write and the words will flow,'” said Soaries. “She gave me confidence and helped me find my rhythm as a young writer. One of her talents as an editor was her ability to flow with the style of the writer and insert the perfect words to enhance the article. Patricia Boothe walked quietly with a big stick and a big smile. She was a phenomenal woman.”

Former Everybody’s magazine managing editor Michelle Stoddart, who is now the director of PR and community development at Resorts World in Queens, New York said in a statement:

“Journalist Pat Boothe loved music and she was never more excited than when a new batch of reggae, soca, or calypso albums hit the market. Her reviews which graced the pages of Everybody’s magazine were informative and compelled you to buy or pass on that new music. Her columns and her great personality will be missed.”

Everybody's magazine publisher Herman Hall unveils a Marcus Garvey tribute issue at the Jamaican Consulate in New York in December 1999.

Everybody’s magazine Publisher Herman Hall unveils a Marcus Garvey tribute issue at the Jamaican Consulate in New York in December 1999.

In a press release, Everybody’s magazine Publisher Herman Hall said:

“Pat was very dedicated to me and primarily responsible for the editorial growth of the magazine especially during the decades of 1980s and 1990s. She preferred to be a behind-the-scene person and shunned the limelight. She declined to do interviews with personalities. I am shattered over Pat’s passing. She inspired me and without her EVERYBODY’S would have folded years ago.”

Soroya Brantley, another writer for Everybody’s magazine shared her thoughts as well.

“I was devastated to hear of Pat’s passing. I will miss Pat terribly and am stilly trying to come to terms with this. It is hard to believe that I will never again have her on the phone checking on me, never again taste her fantastic curry goat, never again attend a play or show with her. I can only seek solace in the hope that she is indeed in a better place now.”

Pat’s wake will take place on Friday, June 27 between 6:00 to 9:00 p.m. at Jeremiah C. Gaffney Funeral Home. The funeral home is located at 92 Wahl Avenue, at the corner of Wahl and John Street, Long Island, NY, 11096. The funeral service will be held on Saturday, June 28 at 10:00 a.m. at Good Tidings Gospel Chapel, located at 345 Malcolm X Boulevard, Brooklyn, New York, 11233.

Rest in peace, Pat. You touched many lives, nurtured a plethora of talent and made a profound difference in the process You will be missed..–

Actress hosts, media pioneer honored, at Jamaica’s independence ball


(l-R) Ambassador Stephen Vasciannie, Alison Lyle, Paulette Willoughby (JICFI Chair) pose with  Hionorees Bobby Clarke, Heather Foster, Ray Goulbourne and Consul General Herman G. LaMont.

(l-R) Ambassador Stephen Vasciannie, Alison Lyle, Paulette Willoughby, chair of JICFI, pose with honorees Robert “Bobby” Clarke, Heather Foster, Ray Goulbourne and Consul General Herman G. LaMont. –Roland Hyde Photo.

By Carmen Glover

The American ballroom at New York’s Hilton Hotel exploded in a kaleidoscope of black, green and gold, Jamaica’s vibrant national colors, as a diverse group of guests celebrated the country’s 51 years of independence.

The festive event took place on Saturday, August 17, 2013 and featured actress Sheryl Lee Ralph, a proud Jamaican national, as mistress of ceremonies. Ralph wore one of the country’s folk costumes during one of her many wardrobe changes, eliciting nostalgic gasps. Media pioneer  and CEO  of Irie Jam Media Robert “Bobby” Clarke, joined Heather J. Foster, associate director of public engagement at the White House and Ray Goulbourne, executive vice president of broadcast media sales at BET, as professionals whose career achievements were honored at the event.

Sheryl Lee Ralph, her mother and Christine Steel of Fly Jamaica in Jamaican folk costumes.--Roland Hyde Photo

Sheryl Lee Ralph, her mother and Christine Steel of Fly Jamaica in Jamaican folk costumes.–Roland Hyde Photo

The function began with a cocktail reception and silent auction, which included items such as a painting of sprint star Usain Bolt.

Jamaica's Ambassador to the USA Professor Stephen Vasciannie addresses the gathering.

Jamaica’s Ambassador to the USA Professor Stephen Vasciannie addresses the gathering. –Roland Hyde Photo.

In the night’s opening remarks, Jamaica’s Consul General to New York Herman G. LaMont, said: “We plan to work hard together and play together,” as he encouraged the attendees to have a good time.  He was followed by Jamaica’s Ambassador to the United States of America Professor Stephen Vasciannie, who said that Jamaicans “must double our efforts to maintain good relations with the USA.” Ambassador Vasciannie decried the large numbers of Jamaicans being deported and urged the guests to “encourage those Jamaicans who are inclined to stay in the United States to live within the confines of the law.” His remarks were greeted with strong applause.

Jamaica's Consul General to New York Herman LaMont addresses the guests.

Jamaica’s Consul General to New York Herman LaMont addresses the guests.-Roland Hyde Photo.

During a lull in the festivities, Ralph brought her mother and cousin on stage to showcase her mother’s clothing designs. She then led the audience in a sing-a- long of the nation’s folk songs including “Evening Time,” “Long Time Gal” and “Day Oh,” which entertainer Harry Belafonte made famous.

Guests at the event listen intently.

Guests at the event listen intently.–Roland Hyde Photo.

While eyeing the ballroom floor longingly in a desire to dance, the audience had to be coaxed by Ralph to applaud the honorees with more energy. “Being able to be the ambassador for the Jamaican people at the White House is very special,” said Foster in accepting her award. Clarke thanked his family, executive team and listeners. “Irie Jam has been around for 20 years and what we do is a labor of love,” he said. Meanwhile, Goulbourne thanked his friends and family, spoke of being a “son of Jamaican soil” and stated that “usually I’m not the one who gets the awards.”

L-R: Bobby Clarke of Irie Jam Media poses with members of his team, Syntyche Dawkins, Michael Williams and Louis Grant. Roland Hyde Photo.

L-R: Robert “Bobby” Clarke of Irie Jam Media poses with members of his team, Syntyche Dawkins, Michael Williams and Louis Grant. Roland Hyde Photo.

The mood of the guests seemed upbeat, despite some lulls in the event. Overall, the guests interacted with each other and socialized in a manner that demonstrated pride in Jamaica’s fifty first birthday and agreement with the recipients selected for the night’s awards. Music was provided by Fab Five Band.—


Actress Sheryl Lee Ralph set to host Jamaica’s independence ball

Jamaica-born entertainer Sheryl Lee Ralph.

Jamaican-born entertainer Sheryl Lee Ralph.

By Andrea Daley

New York: On Saturday, August 17, actress, singer and activist, Sheryl Lee Ralph, who has flown the flag of Jamaica high for decades, will serve as mistress of ceremonies at Jamaica’s 51st anniversary of independence ball. The event will be held at the New York Hilton Hotel. This marquee event is the highlight of social activities in the Jamaican community and serves to bring together supporters of Jamaica who lead the charge to expand the channels of financial contribution to the island.

“I was so excited when I got the invitation to host the Jamaica Independence Ball in New York,” Ralph said. “I remember so clearly, Jamaica’s first independence. My brother Stanley and I were chosen from a group of children in Mandeville to participate in a dance and song to perform for Princess Margaret when she came to visit the island. I will never forget that Independence Day as long as I live”

Ralph’s love and support for Jamaica is unquestioned. She currently serves as the spokeswoman for the country’s national HIV response program, a role she relishes. Ralph is the founder of the Diva Foundation, (Divinely Inspired Victoriously Anointed), a non-profit organization created in memory of the many friends she has lost to HIV/AIDS. This international effort focuses on raising awareness and funding on behalf of millions worldwide who suffer from the disease. Ralph has given back to Jamaica through the arts as well.  One such standout is the Jamerican Film & Music Film Festival, which she successfully organized for a number of years, attracting the influential and powerful in the entertainment industry to the shores of Jamaica. The festival is credited with producing five SHOWTIME filmmaker finalists over its five-year tenure.

“I love celebrating the independence of our great island nation. I’m also looking forward to the fact that my mom, Ivy Ralph, OD, has whipped up another gorgeous gown for me to wear for the evening. I love the fact that Jamaica has a prime minister who represents a strong figure for the rest of the world,” Ralph stated. “I love the fact that we are battling with things like human rights and as difficult as it is we are trying to bring it to the forefront of our society. I just love the fact that we’re a small nation trying to make the best of it and move forward in a positive light. I guess I’ve said all of that to say, I love Jamaica. I really love Jamaica.”

The 21-year-old annual ball has received strong support from the community. Several prominent business enterprises with Jamaicans in positions of leadership are sponsors of this year’s ball. For more information, visit–