Wednesday, December 30, 2009

Buju Redux: What Boom Bye Bye Means

This cartoon is a play on Banton’s 2006 hit single ‘Driver A’, which ironically makes references to a hypothetical secret ganja (marijuana) smuggling operation in the U.S. Taken from Dancehall Mobi's website.

I just came across this rather nuanced and critical post on Buju on Afrobella's blog and found myself responding at length. Thought i may as well cut and paste my response here. Afrobella was making several points (among them the absurdity of denying that Buju seems to have had more than a close encounter with a certain white powder) but I was responding to her point that contrary to what is claimed Buju does often still perform Boom Bye Bye. Here's what she said:

"I know there are those that deny that Buju still performs the song, but I’ve seen him tease it, freestyle it, and rile up an audience with it more than once — most memorably in 2006, at Best of the Best in Miami. I turned and left that Buju concert because of that switch in his personality, from incredible entertainer to hatemonger at the drop of a beat..."

I found myself leaving the following response. My thoughts on all this are really developing in response to the opinions i come across on the subject in blogs and other online fora. i've added and edited my original response a bit here:
I too find the argument that Boom Bye Bye is such an old song, Buju doesn't do it anymore etc, specious because at almost every concert he is required by the audience to at least gesture towards it in the way that you've mentioned, if not actually perform it. I've always believed that Jamaica's anti-homosexual rhetoric especially as expressed in the music is much more than merely an exhortation of violence against homosexuals.

This one song Boom Bye Bye probably captures many of the varying targets for public disapproval in Ja in its seemingly straightforward lyrics originally written to protest the rape and kiling of a male child by, presumably, homosexuals. From targeting one particular homosexual rapist and murderer, the song went on to become an anthem targeting all such predators. The problem is that in Jamaica (as in many other places) male homosexuals are invariably seen as predatory and the proscription against predatory homosexuals then becomes one against all homosexuals.

Unfortunately matters have now got to the point where in addition to this conflation the figure of the homosexual has also become conflated with the evils of globalization in Jamaica. It is in effect as if the culture believes it is being raped by the outside world (as my Facebook friend Paul Anthony Vaughn would say: Violation!), and one of the manifestations of this is the demand by developed nations that homosexuality should be legalized or de-criminalized; another is the addition of programming on American/UK cable tv with central characters who are unabashedly homosexual; and of course there is the recent direct, concentrated pressure from international gay rights organizations on Jamaican musicians. I believe that when Buju's audiences demand that he sing Boom Bye Bye and he playfully gives them the intro, wheels etc and appears to perform it or actually performs it it is an affirmation of Jamaica's resistance to the onslaughts of globalization and not so much any longer a mere call to rid the nation of homosexuals. The audience's response is one of jubilation at their mutual refusal to back down in the face of 'unreasonable' and arbitrary demands to change the culture from the outside.

anyway, that's my take on all this. For me it's actions, not so much lyrics, that count and Buju lost his stature in my eyes when he was accused of actually breaking into the house of and beating up some homosexuals so severely that they needed to be hospitalized. that's when i stopped listening to his music as i used to before.

So in summing up, just as you and Sarah Manley have pointed out the good and bad sides of Buju, presenting a more nuanced portrait of this conflicted figure it's necessary also to nuance what homosexuality represents in cultures such as Jamaica, that homosexuality too has its good and bad sides, to differentiate between predatory homosexuality and just being a homosexual...because its the latter that we want to defend not the former. And people do have a right to protest the former.

So in effect Boom Bye Bye has what in academic parlance is called 'multivalence'. It is a multivalent allegory or text, meaning simply that it has multiple meanings. I now await the wrath of Long Bench and various anonymous friends. Please be gentle.

Friday, December 25, 2009

"To all the pilots I ask for your comments": A pilot's take on the AA331 crash in Jamaica

Ok folks...sometimes blogs take on a life of their own and when that happens you just play a parental role and facilitate it. A pilot calling himself Dave has responded to my last post by speculating on the causes of AA331's crash just beyond the Norman Manley International Airport on Dec. 23rd...he suggests pilot error was most likely the cause...but read what he said for yourselves. i've cut and pasted his comments left on my post What Next? below:
Blogger Dave said...

AA Jamaica crash: Although I am aware that it is irresponsible to speculate on a cause before all the facts are know, I do however feel that, at least on forums like this one, it is ok to speculate based on known facts. Here is what's known. 1) 15Kt. winds out of NNE. 2) Heavy rain at night on a non-grooved runway. 3) Pilots near the end of their 12-hour max. on-duty time. 4) Plane fully loaded with passengers and probably heavier on fuel than domestic flights. 5) Pilots had not flown much in previous weeks. 6) Plane touched down very far down runway 12. 7) Plane landed hard. Based on what’s known I think you can make the follow deductions. I believe the tail winds played a very significant role in this crash. Ground speeds would have been 20-30Kts fast than pilots are used to. This along with a nighttime wet runway would have made it easy to misjudge the point of touchdown. Glide slope would have been kept in check on approach but near the ground pilots take over and visually fly the plane. Things would look much different than they normally do especially taking night, rain and fatigue issues into consideration. A go around would have been resisted because of a desire to get the plane on the ground due to bad conditions and current preferred patterns at that airport. As a pilot who has made down wind landings I can tell you that it is very difficult to hit your spot maintaining glide slope without stalling the plane. You have to descend at a quicker rate to maintain glide slope and touch down speeds to hit your spot. This is not a comfortable normal feeling to the pilots. Things happen so much quicker down wind and pilots are not used to this type of approach. Extra weight, rain, night, and fatigue and stress of bad conditions add to the level of difficulty of this down wind landing. I would not be surprised if the black boxes show the plane did or almost did “stall” just before touch down. That would explain the heavy landing reported. Higher ground speeds and weights with reduced runway length due to mid runway touch down point along with wet non-grooved runway made this crash, at this point, inevitable. At the end of the day there will be several factors pinpointed at fault (as there always is), however the primary cause will be pilot error for the following reasons: a) not going to an alternate airport given conditions at primary b) having proceeded to primary not asking to land from the east. c) having proceeded downwind failing to abort the approach and or landing prior to touchdown d) having proceeded downwind having misjudged the point of landing and not maintaining proper glide slope, approach speeds and touchdown point. To all the pilots I ask for your comments

Wednesday, December 23, 2009

American Airlines Flight 331 crash lands in Jamaica

People walked away alive from this!

There is such pathos in this image, poor broken plane--uncanny resemblance to a beached whale!

OMG, it looks as if L.A. Lewis got to the plane before the emergency crews reached there!
photo courtesy Peter Dean Rickards.

Well, that was a close call. Only a miracle kept AA Flight 331 from bursting into flames after it hit the ground running (as it were) last night. After a turbulent ride from Miami to Kingston, the 148 passengers were relieved and happy when the plane appeared to make a smooth landing; relieved enough to break into applause, the normal way for Jamaicans to celebrate a skillful touchdown. But then the plane proceeded to race down the runway without braking to a stop as it normally would. The Norman Manley International Airport's runways extend almost into the sea and AA331 looked as if it was determined to make a splash, ripping through the fence at the perimeter of the airport, across the main road to Port Royal, before coming to an abrupt and violent halt on the rocky coastline on the other side of the road, merely ten feet from the sea. The impact was sudden enough to rip the fuselage apart breaking the plane up into three sections.

Inside the plane it was completely dark and the overhead compartments had disgorged their contents on the heads of the passengers below. "Open the doors! Open the doors!" they screamed. One passenger said he realized there was a problem when he felt the rain coming through the roof. In short time the crew got the emergency doors open and were ushering passengers through them as quickly as they could. The stench of fuel was overpowering and everyone was terrified that the plane would burst into flames at any minute. According to one passenger there was only one thing on their minds, to exit the plane by any means necessary and then run for their lives.

As they picked themselves off the ground the first passengers to disembark saw a bus waiting in the distance. They hurtled towards it, flinging themselves in with the help of the busdriver and a male JUTC employee who was with her.

Annette Howard, the busdriver, had just completed her last run for the day from Kingston to Port Royal. She asked an old friend, Horace Williams, to accompany her on the lonely trip back to town. As they approached the airport they saw the familiar sight of a plane landing, which made Annette wonder aloud "Bwoy when mi a go fly pon one o dem plane there?" Then something astounding happened. The plane taxied down the runway, burst through the fence and crossed the road in front of them. @!#$%?! exclaimed Annette, as the plane hit the rocky coast with a loud explosion like a bomb. A few minutes later the two friends watched in stupefaction as the plane doors opened and a stream of passengers issued forth running towards the bus for all they were worth.

While Annette helped as many passengers onto the bus as possible, Horace tried to call 911. He got through immediately but the policeman who answered refused to believe him when he said that an American Airlines jet had just crashed. The police initially hung up thinking it was a hoax...

Well, the rest is airline history. What i've recounted here is what i obtained from listening to Dionne Jackson-Miller's programme on RJR radio this evening. At the end of this post there is a youtube video recounting more information on the crash.

Immediately below is a Facebook conversation (convo) between some media friends who are incensed at the tack taken by the international media which seem to be alleging that the Jamaican airport authorities are at fault for inadequately lit runways.Not surprisingly this has become an occasion for touting the virtues of the national airline, Air Jamaica, versus the bumbling foreign airline whose pilots clearly lack the skill of Jamaican pilots. Initials have been mildly disguised to protect identities.

DM: How convenient it is, that its not the airline's fault. Look how much rass plane lan' a NMA n nuh complain bout poor lighting! Bet seh if it was Air J, you would hear that it was a fault of the airline. But now that is AA its the fault of the local authority! Gweh!!!

53 minutes ago · ·
yuh seet! di raas pilot never guh a landing class....bout come lighting was never a problem before?
52 minutes ago
mek sure u mention dat pon yuh program tonight.... trace dem off...
50 minutes ago
Authorities or bad weather? R u sure you heard correctly?
50 minutes ago
CNN and NBC claim the AA pilot overshot the runway bc it was poorly lit. By doing so, the US media is already ascribing blame to the local authorities. And EVERYBODY know seh AA pilot nuh lan good ahreddi! Mi always cuss seh dem jus fling dung d plane dem 'BLOOF!' Thats why I prefer Air J
47 minutes ago
YL: they're now blaming the local authorities saying the lighting on the runway was bad! Now there are soooo many holes in that argument, I can't even begin to tear them apart but let's just use the most basic - this AA flight is the first incident EVER!!!! Hmmmm, so if lighting was bad, how come we've never had an incident before? How Come?
46 minutes ago
Amen D! Dem AA bitches can't fly for shit & dem damn bright pon top of it! A Jeanne airline still! AirJ fi mi money from long time!!
40 minutes ago
@Tasha...Jeanne has been known to make poor choices. hmmm
23 minutes ago
Any plane can crash! A so media stay, dennis a u fraternity! Me dis say me 'goodbyes' when me a go no weh cos me no ave d luxury fi 'choose' cos eeda me walk or tek whieva carrier a go weh me a go! So e set up
22 minutes ago

What Next??

This Voodoo doll pen holder by Dead Fred is a good representation of the Jamaican body politic post tax axe...

Sincerely hoping that the following photos are not harbingers of the year to come...American Airlines crashes on arrival in Kingston and Bruce afflicts us with taxes on Christmas Eve. The joke is the new taxes are called PBYE (Pay Before You Eat) as opposed to PAYE (Pay As You Earn)...

That's on the local front and on the global front warm times are ahead now that COP15 seems to have been a COPout, see the Banksy graffiti below...what next indeed??

Photo, What Next? by Colin Hamilton

American airline photos, photographer unknown

Thursday, December 17, 2009

Buju IS Jamaica: "the full has never been told..."

Click to view image details

No one captures the contradictory figure of Buju Banton and what he means to Jamaica better than Sarah Manley in this lyrical, elegiacal piece she posted on Facebook. After reading this you will hopefully understand better why this country is reeling with shock in the aftermath of Buju's imprisonment in the United States. Reposted here with her permission.

the full has never been told...

by Sarah Manley

i know this subject has been exhausted this week, and in weeks months and years past as well, but to stand in solidarity with buju im writing it this morning, and all who want to cuss can cuss, and all who want to bringle can bringle... but this is my buju banton story... and he remains a hero to me and to many jamaican people...

i have written before that i spent 4 years abroad, finishing up my university degree, this was 1991 - 1995. i came back to ja on a sweltering august afternoon, filled with excitement and trepidation to be returning to my colourful, dramatic, often terrifying and always wildly alive homeland. on the drive in from the airport, smelling the slightly rancid salty kingston harbour, breezing past the coconut man, looking across at the cement factory... i knew i was home... and then, in that way that jamaica has of making random magic... i heard a song on the radio... it was my first experience of "untold stories" and i recognised that gravelly voice in an instant, "is that buju?" i asked? it was. by the end of the song i had tears in my eyes... "when mamma spen her las and sen u go class..." buju had captured the essence of our thoughts, our prayers, our hopes, our fears... and just like that... i became a fan. i had heard boom bye bye from back in the day... it was a huge hit in its day and like most jamaicans, i loved it for its unique riddim, for its "tuffness" for its typical jamaican dark hard line... a wicked mixture of posing tough and giving voice to a deep and real sentiment, but not a literal reality. being jamaican i have no problem understanding this... we pose tough in jamaica... we have our street face... our public position... and yes.... we can be a vicious people... but i knew then, have always known that we are also a very tolerant people, that we have every kind of religion, politics, and even sexuality here, and as long as no one "shoves it it anyone elses face" we live and let live. boom bye bye had its day, became a classic, and we moved on... our music moved on... (gully and gaza are gonna move on folks, nature of the beast) as it always does... and a new hit, riddim, artist claimed the spotlight. but buju had sealed his fate with that song on a global stage in a way i think jamaicans did not fully appreciate at the time.

buju moved on... and had his rasta conversion and released til shiloh... which remains an indisputable classic in our long and prodigious musical output. he wrote songs that spoke about all aspects of our hot, tough, beautiful, terrible, spiritual, carnal, jamaican lives... and he hit the nail on the head again and again.... all the way to the now ironic iconic "drivaaaa..." did we know he coulda mix up inna dealings?.... sure... did that make us love him less.... no. as he said.. "it's not a easy road... who feels it knows.." this is no easy country to live in, to be an icon in, to support entire communities in, to have so much expectation and responsibility in.

when i finally met buju in 2002 on a documentary about the history of reggae i was blown away by the sheer poetry of the man. his exquisite handsomeness, his combination of electric charm and cold indifference.... in many ways he summed up jamaica for me in one man: beautiful and scary... and that is no small feat.... to sum up my country, my painful, excellent, magical, dramatical, amazing heartbreaking country is something indeed.... i went out one day and bought every cd he had ever released and to this day can sing til shiloh and inn heights from beginning to end and often play his 23rd psalm as part of my morning worship. he spoke briefly in that interview about boom bye bye, the cuts did not make it into the final doc, but i remember his responses, that he was young when he released that song, that he did not then, and never will compromise his position on homosexuality, that he knows he has the support of jamaicans on the issue, that it was NOT a literal call to action to kill gays.... we jamaicans know that because if we were to kill gays here, there would not be a gay man standing... we are no strangers to killing....

and now dem a go lock him up... and maybe deh did set him up fi tru.... and maybe not....maybe he was just caught plain and simple... and he will have to pay the price for being caught.... but something deep in my heart is bruised... in third world's 96 degrees they sing... "excellency, before you i come wid my representation, you know where im coming from....." i know where we are coming from here in this land we love... "entertainment for you, martyrdom for me."

Monday, December 14, 2009

Jamaican police: All dressed in uniforms of brutality? The Robert Hill killing

These are my most recent tweets this evening after listening to a radio discussion on the killing of Robert Hill by the police here. The story had been reported in yesterday's Sunday Herald which had already reported in October that Hill was being threatened:

"Robert ‘Kentucky Kid’ Hill predicted his death and he actually named the cops who would be responsible."

Acc to the Sunday Herald’s team, Hill, virtually in tears, said he was convinced that cops were stalking him and he felt intimidated.

Based on a police report, Hill was killed during a shootout with a police party on Wednesday, December 9

"They killed my child. How am i going to come down there and bury my son?" Robert Hill's mother on Nationwide Radio.

Its not the Jamaica Constabulary Force, it's the Jamaican Criminal Force, declares Cliff Hughes on Nationwide radio

"He's never going 2 see his baby grow. She's never going to know her father" Robert Hill's sobbing mother said.

Carolyn Gomes, spokesperson for Jamaicans for Justice, is holding Acting Police Commissioner responsible for safety of Junior, Robert Hill's cousin, who saw the killers. He is missing, alleged abducted...

"None of us is safe. They can get away with it. " Cliff Hughes. Nationwide Radio.

One of my 'tweeple' responded asking:

who was Robert Hill Annie?

i referred him to the Sunday Herald article.

Then he sent this: ok. Kentucky. You seen the youtube link i posted last week? he names the police

i begged him to repost the link and he did urging me to read Kentucky's comments on the video. See it below...

Saturday, December 12, 2009

Rohan's Nine Night and Buju locked up in Miami

Young Rohan Laird, a Sickle Cell patient, who was a member of music producer Mikie Bennett's family, died in November 2009 aged 25. These are some video clips of the fantastic drumming from the Nine Night held for him at Grafton Studios.

what's interesting is that people are always lamenting how young people have lost the old traditions etc. but these were a lot of young people save for the one guy in the white ganzie.

Meanwhile the nation is in shock over the news of Buju Banton's incarceration in a federal lock-up in Miami on charges of possession of a large quantity of coke. From 3 pm yesterday Mr. Vegas was tweeting for info from Europe: "hellooooooooooooooooo r u there, any info on buju please?"

And then last night breaking news that Buju Banton is in a federal lock-up in Miami accused of possession of 5 kgs of Coke! More info as i get it. This is shocking news.

Wednesday, December 9, 2009

Pressure in Berlin: Will Mr. Vegas's show be cancelled?

RT @MrVegasMusic: There's a attack against reggae music,now they want me to meet with the head of police in germany to say I will not sing certain songs. they will also be sending their representative who speak patois to the venue to hear if I am singing certain lyrics, so if I do not meet with the police chief my show will be cancel,what is reggae gone to,the bible said it best,whosoever does not take the mark of the beast 666 will not be able to work,nor buy,nor sell,lord your word is coming to pass.

it does not matter if you sing about them or not, as long as you do reggae or dancehall,u will have to meet with them, we're now being mocked. I don't give a hell about these people I do not sing them, their shit is their shit, long as they stay in their lane mi nuh business with them. so it is provoking when you trying to get people involve who has stayed far from this shit.

These heartfelt words come from dancehall singjay Mr. Vegas (one of my favourite 'artistes'), who is touring Germany right now. Apparently the anti-oral sex crusader ('Heads High') is feeling the effects of the international gay rights 'murder music' campaign. Mr. Vegas uttered these sentiments on Twitter this morning (Dec. 9) in a series of tweets (which i've amalgamated here), each ending with the abbreviation 'cont.' to indicate continuation, a clever way of getting around the 140 character limit of the medium. Full marks to Mr. V for adept use of the technology. I tell you--if only our journalists would take a leaf out of his book. This, dear PAJ members, is how news is communicated these days; if you want to keep abreast of what's going on, you need to tweet.

Because Tweety Bird gets the worm, coz Tweety Bird is the early bird! Will Mr. Vegas go to see the German Police Commissioner? Will his show be canceled (He is scheduled to perform in Berlin tonight)? We watch and wait...

5 pm

And a few hours later another series of tweets from Mr. Vegas apparently after he did the needful:

Read.You are not allowed to do public: Appeals,or statements for, discrimination,violation,hatred,or even murder,offensive or insult. no such statements,no such lyrics,no such gestures,against anyone or community,due to race, color,religion,ideology,political views, opinions,ethic,or social origins or lineage,sexual orientation,gender,disability,genetic,features,age or any other personal community, bound German law and German foundation any people living here are equal.any violation of these principles would be a criminal offense and may lead to an arrest and expulsion and will cause criminal proceedings by official [public] prosecutor. in addition a complete suspension for entering the countries of the European Union may be signed on you.[We will give a report to the authorities of other German cities,it might be the base for the decision of taking measures due to your concerts over the .signed vegas.

so I just took the mark of the beast, I sold out God for vanity and Gold.

    This is ironic because Mr. Vegas is not one of those who utters anti-homosexual lyrics. So as he points out the attack seems to be against the music now, not individual performers guilty as charged.

    Meanwhile here is a video of Mr. Vegas's hit "I am Blessed". Some wonderful footage. Hopefully the blessings extend to Germany...

    Friday, November 13, 2009

    Notes from the interview between Cliff Hughes and Vybz Kartel

    Vybz Kartel
    NB: have had to rename this post because it was hijacked by a site called mediazoneja which is passing it off as its original content and harvesting the resulting traffic. please note that these are my notes, and only i have the right to disseminate them. Originally this post was called: Vybz Kartel Makes an Impact: "when two gladiators are gone 2 more will appear"

    Nov. 14, 2009
    Ok, sharing my notes from the interview between Cliff Hughes and Vybz Kartel on TVJ's Impact which aired on November 12, 2009. Remember this is not verbatim, much of it is my shorthand to myself. And there are occasional gaps, i didn't try to note every single detail. Occasionally i comment in bold type. i frequently summarize CH's questions. VK's responses are italicized. He often refers to himself in third person as Vybz Kartel. There has been so much demand for news about the interview (judging by the hundreds of page views this blog is suddenly getting) that instead of waiting till i can write a proper post about it i thought why not share these notes? They provide quite a glimpse into the path the interview took if not actually being a blow by blow account. i thought Vybz was in complete control and this interview is a striking record of a very important moment in Jamaican cultural history--i have much to say about this but for now here is almost the full 100 i promised yesterday. Incidentally Cliff neglected to ask the two top questions anyone with some knowledge of popular culture here would have asked. 1) is it true that Kartel has pierced his tongue? 2) Is it true that he bleaches and if so, why?

    8 pm, TVJ, November 12, 2009, Impact
    crazy ads before show, real coup for Cliff, interview outdoors in uptown Gaza (?), nice yard, Laing is clearly lurking in the background judging by asides addressed to him by Adidja “Vybz Kartel” Palmer

    VK introed as the most popular DJ, most influential entertainer in Jamaica, incredible lyricist with an incredible fan base spanning socioeconomic grps. Also a shrewd businessman who owns rights to all 4000 of his songs.

    Interview kicks off, Why is yr music so controversial?

    I don't know. VK just does music...

    How do you see what you do?

    as music, as art, art is a reflection of life

    my creative right as an artist

    a musician, not a religious leader nor a political one nor a social one

    parenting, takes responsibility for teaching his kids

    sylvester stallone, Rambo, shooting officers, action movies from Hwood? What about those?

    I DJ about life in Jamaica

    VK is not a killer

    I do a lot of socially conscious songs most of which are not played

    i'm an entertainer, I get paid to entertain, its not my responsibility to grow fatherless children.

    Society has a responsibility...

    children in the ghetto need social programmes, they need motivation.

    I don't see anyone in Cherry Garden going out and killing anyone after listening to my music

    How do Cliff H, VK, the PM help Jamaica? Cliff includes himself which is good...

    VK employs a lot of Jamaicans, I have a company, that is my responsibility to Ja--to be a good citizen

    If VK is to be held responsible as an artiste then Hwood must be held resp....

    all of us grew up on gangster movies...

    only VK buttons have been focused on by the media

    media out to get him

    VK most influential artiste...

    VK finds this a burden...asked to mind people's children, to care for everyone's children

    he condemns sale of buttons, he wasn't involved with manufacturing them, his own posters are about staying in school, abstinence make sense etc. Daddy don't touch me there, is that to be interpreted as actually having happened to Queen Ifrica?

    what is your message to the young people? Cliff asks. "Stay in school, always use a condom..."

    VK: gaza gully superimposed on schisms that exist, can't expect mavado and him to bear the burden for what society has created, the decay in society isn't created by them. They are mirrors.

    Cliff; but you're contributing to it! You're most influential, you;'re a very bright man, that's why you're under pressure, you're capable of doing much better than that...don't you accept that there comes a point when u say my country is at risk, I have a talent, ray ray ray ray.

    VK: the right people to ask are the politicians, people who have access to money, to knowhow, the resources, people who can help the garrisons, lightbulb scandal, how many millions that could have been spent on improving quality of life of the poor...

    when do we, cliff and kartel, use our talent to say to the people of this country blah blah...why the violence in his music?

    Because it sells basically...

    since start of this year i've done 4 gangster songs, they get ratings, sound sytem play, dub plates are made...

    anything the people want the people will get

    at root of violence are the socioeconomic conditions, gun culture cultivated by our politicians,

    CH: take off the artiste hat and put on the citizen hat, what wld u say to the politicians?

    VK: I have nothing to say to the pols, as artistes we stay far from politicians, Gaza mi seh

    CH: what gaza mi seh mean?

    “Gaza means Fight for what you believe in against all odds, against all adversity”

    Mr. Addy the he arrived at name Gaza?

    When I left the Alliance VK came under so much pressure, i said to Blak Rino and others we need to form a group. But we need a perfect name

    the 1st war was just happening in Gaza, israel was bombarding them but the people were fighting back regardless, and VK said to Laing, we're going to use that name coz it means to me--dem people deh serious and dem nah back down. Makes link to the pressure he came under when he left the Alliance, when his career was threatened. So that was the perfect name for him at the time.

    1996...VK and a singer called Escobar and another friend decided to join forces, they got the name from a movie about Escobar and his infamous come this attraction for notorious, infamous people etc

    VK: No, the idea of adopting the name Kartel predated that becoz “a cartel is a group of people coming together to limit prices and control competition and that's what Vybz Kartel wanted to do at that time”

    “we distribute music, legal narcotics...”

    falling out w Bounti happened over the latter's desire to control his life, but VK is a man, couldn't allow that, no matter how grateful for the start BK gave him; also his friendship with Beenie didn't help

    whence the rivalry w Mavado?

    when I fell out of grace w BK so to speak, I guess Mavado figured he shld defend his honour.

    CH: are u prepared to go on a stage together etc to make statement to yr fans?

    But, VK responds, they did this already, with Mark Shields, but he'll do it again, no problem

    ready to go to schools and talk to students, but no one has ever approached them, tho there is a series of school tours with other artistes

    "sometimes I wonder if its like a conspiracy by society to watch us fight in the ring like a gladiator and till both of us die. Why nobody don't step onto the field and say we need u to go into the schools and this event will be sponsored by this company or that company--"

    “i'm shocked that society took so long to come to us w a plan like that.”

    CH: Greatest threat acc to prinicpals—the G culture--

    VK says he knows: Ganja, guns, graffiti, Gaza, Gully--

    VK is a musician, limits to what he can do, he is willing to do something but who will take the initiative? Private sector not stepping up, no one else coming forward

    “remember. when two gladiators are gone 2 more will appear.”

    CH: Bounti Killa says Vybz Kartel the worst thing he has ever done to dancehall...(VK used to be BK's protege)

    that is typical bad man BK, that is his persona, I have no comment

    born in Waterhouse, four sis one bro, third in fam, eldest sis a teacher

    speaks to his Mom almost every day...

    Life is life and we live and we die...the only thing that is certain in life is death

    “except smoking which is bad, don't do it...”

    VK was a truant always sculling school and going to studios, got expelled from Calabar

    good at litt, tells all children, “education is the key and VK is not a dunce and if u want to be a good artist u have to have an education”

    he just meditates the lyrics, doesn't use pen and paper anymore...a lot of artists do this...Sizzla too.

    Name Adidja Palmer...”made me feel more special, more indigenous to what I was doing”

    i'm a very spiritual person, not necessarily religious, rel too confusing, he reads bible, close links w family and friends

    how many kids, by how many women? Five, 6 to 3 mths (honestly would Cliff ever ask an uptown citizen this? And why not? many of them have several children by different women)

    An artiste has to remain a bachelor, so to speak, to maintain his appeal. (refuses to be drawn on his love/sex life--smart move VK)

    Family is basis of society and civilization, I'm a great father, my kids and I are friends. Didn't get to bond w his own father who was working 24/7

    music business doesn't follow a set time, in between time lots of time for family

    never heard anyone say of his son...yu see is thru him father is a dj...1st thing his son has to do is his homework. Normal family life, coz when VK steps into his home he is not VK—he is Addy the Daddy.

    Not the teacher...Daddy, which is the ultimate teacher, That's why we're saying--family is first-- Jamaicans shld take the responsibility as parents and adults to grow their child in the right way and not leave them to outside influences like a DJ or a taximan in the street playing a VK.

    CH: Lapping up etc...bus porn. VK's reactions. (reminds me of time years ago when Cliff Hughes and was it Carol Narcisse visited Gemini or Caesar's or one of the nightclubs and Cliff unabashedly enjoyed a lapdance, live on radio as it were--hey this is my memory of it ok?)

    VK sings Schoolgirl don't go inna di schoolbus. complains he has addressed things like this over and over but these songs never get highlighted by media or played very much...(why don't Cliff, Boyne and com ever harrass media owners and managers about things like this?)

    VK doesn't have a US visa, was turned down, doesn't know why, has reapplied. The Empire is touring w/o a problem, the Empire only concerned with the musical aspect no control over member's lives

    proud of products such as Street Vybz rum, 'Daggerin' line of condoms. “I'm a conspiracy theorist you know” wonders why the name of the condoms was banned the moment it came out. (referring to Romping Shop controversy and ban by Jamaica Broadcasting Commission).

    CH: anything to say to fans and detractors?

    Well we have nothing to say to our detractors coz if u don't like VK I guess you probably never will. As I have told people before i'm a musician and I will never stop doing music.

    Appeals to his fans in the streets not to take the Gaza Gully thing to an extreme “Just keep the music as music” and don't take it literally don't fight over this GG thing, and give your artiste a bad name because at the end of the day it is Mavado and myself who have to take the blame yknow what I mean for what is happening in the streets. But I have nothing to say to my detractors becoz if u nah like mi you nah go like mi and if you love mi you a goh love mi, Vybz K is not somebody you can like, you have to love him or you have to hate him.

    no in between?

    No in between, no gray area...

    Thursday, November 5, 2009

    Tweet Tweet! Tweetmeats anyone?

    Click image to view full size editorial cartoon
    Former ACP Mark Shields as depicted by Clovis in Observer, Nov. 5

    Well, we know who the new Bank of Jamaica governor is going to be--Brian Wynter, son of Hector Wynter and nephew of the brilliant Sylvia Wynter. When it comes to the new Police Commish, your guess is as good as mine. No, contrary to previous speculation in this blog it won't be L.A. Lewis, or Hell A. Lewis as some have named him. And much to the regret of many, his fans at Tivoli notwithstanding, its unlikely to be The Most Wanted Whose Name I Dare Not Utter here. So that leaves Daddy Cool, Mr. Reneto deCordova Adams, and a field of unknown talent. One grasps at any clue, however faint, and in that context i offer here the last three tweets of Mark Shields, or @Marxshields as he's know in in Twitterland. These are the most informed 140 characters you're likely to encounter anywhere on the subject of the new Commish. Tweet Tweet!

    Yesterday, my worse fears came true. The beginning of an erosion of external influences over an organization that is already inward looking.
    @Marxshields Mon 02 Nov 12:42 via web

    The aftershock. Uncertainty and speculation. Insider or outsider? Let's hope they act swiftly; make the right decision for JM; and not them.
    @Marxshields Mon 02 Nov 22:00 via web

    A job description has been requested from London. The post will be advertised but is it a foregone conclusion? The fool will apply - again.
    @Marxshields Thu 05 Nov 08:21 via web

    Who's the fool? Who Who? and the new Commish? You have a clue?

    Monday, November 2, 2009

    Hardley Surprising...Let us resign ourselves...

    Clovis, Jamaica Observer, Tuesday, November 3 2009

    Well, you might say the country is resigned to it. We have resigned ourselves to the fact that the economy will continue to decline while the crime rate continues to spiral. The mood of resignation even influenced some influential people into resigning over the weekend. On Friday the 30th of October the Governor of the BOJ resigned. On Sunday the first of November the Police Commissioner resigned (Hardley Lewin), incidentally just a few hours after I wrote about the pressure on him to resign (see below).

    Derick Lattibeaudiere had been Governor of the BOJ since 1996 and was no stranger to the public sphere where his unorthodox expense accounts had come under scrutiny. He was not however one to profile with the Page Two class and seemed to share a sense of privacy almost as comprehensive as Christopher 'Dudus' Coke's. Like the latter he was said to rule with an iron hand, and shunned rather than courted media attention. In fact when contacted by Cliff Hughes (Nationwide radio) for an explanation of his sudden resignation, his forthright rebuff seemed to suggest that it gave him no end of pleasure to turn Hughes down because for once he didn't HAVE to answer a journalist's questions; he was no longer a public servant obliged to account to the media for his actions. When the pugnacious Hughes persisted, Latty, as he's fondly known, essentially terminated the interview by exhorting the media whiz to avoid vulture-like behaviour.

    You have to remember that both these resignations have taken place while an IMF team is here negotiating terms with the Finance Minister (or explaining whatever new method of lassoing us it has developed) for a loan. I would have to conclude then that these two resignations had the approval of the IMF, if not actually coming at their instigation. Someone like Latty would have been a prime candidate for an IMF-recommended chop. He was hired in the 90s when neoliberalism reigned supreme and fatcat salaries were the order of the day "because if the public sector wanted the best they had to pay private sector salaries and perks."

    Click image to view full size editorial cartoon
    Clovis, Jamaica Observer, Nov. 2, 2009

    Whereas fatcat CEOs have fallen or been taken down in the US as a fallout of the failure of their banking and investment system we haven't gone through such a process here. Maybe this is the beginning?

    By the way there were some interesting responses on Twitter and Facebook to the Police Commissioner's resignation:

    bigblackbarry Since mostly clowns get the work I wonder if dem going to give Hell A Lewis the commish job??

    Winsome (Fbook)
    Strait! Me go start a campaign dis week fi Hell A! Plus e ave nuff nuff button pon him clothes already!

    @Fledgist: Dem a go mek Dudus di commish.

    and echoing that this last one from the comments on the Observer website is priceless:

    kgn 13 yute

    Christopher Coke is the man for the job. If all the JLP enclaves are under one order and the prezi gives the orders, he most certainly can handle the job

    Ask some police officers, they are already under the order.

    I will wait sit here in the US and be the first to nominate Mr. Coke.