Smooth NY Jerk Fest launch

L-R: Richard Lue of VP Records is joined by actor Duane Henry (formerly of NCIS) and two members of the group New Kingston, which will perform at Grace Jamaican Jerk Festival on July 22nd.–CG Photos.

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.

Ms. Pat Chin, Owner of VP Records, welcomed the guests and encouraged them to spread the word.

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 and

Grace Jamaican Jerk Festival will take place on Sunday, July 22nd, at Roy Wilkins Park in Queens, New York. For more information visit

Want to boost sales? Try Yaadmarket/links/


By Carmen Glover

Canadian-based entrepreneur Steve McDonald has nurtured a keen interest in finding solutions since his high school days

Steve McDonald, Manning’s Alum & President of, and

at Jamaica’s elite Manning’s School in Westmoreland. So in 2015 he took quick action after hearing a farmer plead for help during a radio interview.

“He was saying that he had watermelon spoiling in the field but the host said there was a shortage in Kingston,” McDonald stated. “The interview gave birth to Yaadmarket, which provides that farmer with a medium to tell Jamaica, and the world, that he has watermelon for sale. was, in essence, developed to rectify the situation where there is a glut in the field and a shortage in the marketplace.”

As he traveled the country, McDonald spoke to small business owners and artisans. In August 2017, he debuted to promote other industries, with launching January 3, 2018 to spur cross-sectional networking. Integrating accurate market research with in-person observations, the savvy businessman provides a valuable service to all segments of society. With just one click, patrons can access any of the three portals that he designed for specific industries:, and

“ is designed for the agricultural industry to connect buyers and sellers of agricultural produce in a fast and efficient manner,” he said. “We also have a section to highlight and promote complimentary services, for instance, equipment rental. We also do a blog with best practices.”

Moreover, he explained, “ is designed to provide websites to small business owners and artisans, while is designed to connect people in the diaspora for social and business purposes by promoting and highlighting their businesses and services. It can also be used to review business and service providers in Jamaica.”

McDonald hopes that the trifecta of platforms will greatly enhance agricultural, trading and networking within the Jamaican community both home and abroad, for one simple reason:

“When we have a more affluent diaspora, the members are better able to help Jamaica develop,” he explained of his rationale.

Judging from the feedback, McDonald has created a winning strategy that has the potential to revolutionize the marketing landscape, much like Facebook, Linkedin and other social media outlets.

“Since I started to advertise my produce on the benefits are wonderful,” said Leroy Bruce. “I grow scotch bonnet pepper and other farmers have been calling me. Exporters….persons who do sauce have also been calling me, giving me an excellent opportunity to increase my income. Great job!”

Others concur as well, with feedback pouring in from far and wide.

“This website is beneficial and easy to manipulate. The response of a buyer was speedy and the medium by which the advertisement was displayed is advanced,” said Hibernia Farmers Group in Manchester.

Utilizing any of the three platforms is simple.

“On each platform, users only need to register and create an account,” McDonald said.

As Jamaicans make plans for the year ahead, feverishly vowing to keep resolutions for personal, professional and business growth,, and have the potential to become a routine part of that planning process and yield priceless returns as a result. Check them out and see.––