Down in Jamaica Where I Born and Grow: Ode to Reggae Month

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Love Not Likes blogging network I founded recently signed on to help The Ministry of Culture, Entertainment, Gender and Sport to spread the word about Reggae Month in the online space including social media and blogs.

The goal of Reggae Month is to attract international acclaim for Jamaica as the reggae mecca of the world, enhance travel and tourism for the month of February, and provide an educational platform of entertainment for all ages.

One of the bloggers was out of the country and I filled in, so I went to Montego Bay to cover the first Children of the Icons concert held in Sam Sharpe Square. The first thing I have to tell you about these Reggae Month events is that they are all FREE. It’s amazing to see the wonderful talent that exists in this country.

We traveled on the bus with the musicians who were mostly quiet and reflective. When we got to the Square, I was amazed by the set up. The backdrop was the Sam Sharpe Cultural Centre and on the side of the building was Haile Selassie looking down on us.

The acts that came on were Imeru Tafari (Ifrica’s son), Jahbari, Indie Allen (who is slated to be at the Jamaica Rum Festival March 1st, 2020, another great event put on by the Ministry of Tourism) considers himself an emerging artist but I must say he’s now my new favourite. With charisma that of a seasoned performer, his song, ” Catch a Fire” is now fully repeat on the playlist. Another amazing performer was Richie Spice, who energized the crowd. Richie Spice sang all the songs I’d hadn’t heard in years–Earth a Run Red, Brown Skin, Ghetto Girl…all of them!

Richie is the representation of everything Reggae Month represents, the brother of Pliers and has been singing since the 90’s. He’s been traveling around the world, carrying the message of reggae all the while staying true to himself. Giving the same energy that he would have given a crowd of 10,000 people, I was honored to hear his new release, “Together We Stand”.

Jamaica Jamaica Exhibition launched 02.02.2020, a palendrome day–the first one in 909 years. Photo Credit: Courtseye Visuals
Ebony Patterson’s installation was the nod to the future of reggae music. Photo Credit: Courts Eye Visuals
Diedre in Wanderland covered Reggae Month’s IG Stories for the launch of NGJ’s Jamaica Jamaica exhibition

On 02.02.2020 the first global palindrome day in 909 years, according to CNN.com, The Ministry of Culture, Gender, Entertainment and Sports, the National Gallery of Jamaica (NGJ) and the Jamaica Music Museum along with with La Philharmonie de Paris opened the first of its kind Jamaica, Jamaica!

World Nomad contributor and international travel writer Diedre of http://www.DiedreinWanderland.com was assigned to cover the exhibition as well as the film series for the month. She took over Reggae Month’s IG stories for the day and showed what to expect from the exhibition. Check out http://www.instagram.com/reggaemonthja IG highlights to see an insider’s view of the exhibition.

Initially launched at Philharmonie de Paris in 2017 and titled after the 1985 hit song by Brigadier “The General” Jerry, Jamaica, Jamaica! examines Jamaica has become an extraordinary force in the world heritage and history of music.

From the Afflicted Yard’s photos of Sean Paul, Ninja Man and Vybz Kartel to Peter Tosh’s famed M16 Guitar and the rod that late Prime Minister, Micheal Manley stretched out to the audience as he shared the stage with music icon Bob Marley and late Prime Minister Edward Seaga during the historic “One Love” Peace Concert in Kingston in 1978, the “Jamaica Jamaica Exhibition” features rare memorabilia, photographs, audio-visual clips and art pieces that provides evidence of the potency of how music simultaneously shaped Jamaican culture while impacting world history.

Jamaican music is known world wide yet, its rich history and diversity is often overshadowed by its most famous icon, reggae superstar Bob Marley. This exhibition aims at showcasing a broader vision that has allowed the world to know the island’s music, by digging deep into its past and present in search for the roots of “rebel music”, beyond the cliché and the postcard.

The most ambitious exhibition ever staged on the topic, Jamaica, Jamaica! celebrates the musical innovations born on the island in its specific historic and social contexts, unveiling the story behind the musical genres of kumina, revival, mento, ska, rocksteady, reggae, dub and dancehall – as well as the impact of the local sound system culture, street culture, and visual arts on today’s global pop culture.

You can download the Reggae Month app on the Google Play store and Apple store. There is everything from film series to lectures and concerts. http://www.reggaemonthjamaica.com

The National Gallery of Jamaica opening hours are: Tuesdays -Thursdays: 10 am to 4:30 pm, Fridays: 10 am to 4 pm, Saturdays: 10 am to 3 pm, Last Sundays: the NGJ is open every last Sunday of the month, 11 am to 4 pm. Closed to the public on the other Sundays and on Mondays and Public Holidays (Offices are open on Mondays)

The NGJ is also occasionally open on Sundays and evenings for exhibition openings and special programmes – for more information, please visit their blog regularly.

Admission:

Adults: Ja$ 400

5 Most Instagrammable Places in Jamaica

If you’re traveling to Jamaica or consider yourself a dryland tourist, here are the top 5 places you must take for Instagram. These locations will have you using the #ILiveWhereYouVacay hashtag in no time. You can vote here.

The Grande is rafting on the Rio Grande

There are many variations to this, but any pose you choose will definitely be monumental. Go early morning and float gently through the waters on your long bamboo raft. The ride itself is about 3 hours but make sure you bring your own photographer because it’s difficult to keep your balance and take a selfie at the same time.

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so far so good 💕 #themacmillans

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Frenchman’s Cove is a Classic

Taking a picture at the famous swing at Frenchman’s Cove is a must when visiting Portland. Other major cool spots include the river flowing into the beach, Blue Lagoon and the Trident Castle. Almost every spot in Port Antonio is grand.

Sandals Suite Life is the Living Your Best Life Hashtag IRL

If you want to say you’re truly living your best life, you have to photograph the over water bungalows. Jamaican Influencers such as Corey Hamilton, Natasha Leeds and Yendi Phillips have taken epic shots there. The drone shots of the heart shaped bungalow formation shot!

Take the Plunge at The Old Spanish Bridge

Another money shot is the Old Spanish Bridge, a hidden gem is just 45 minutes from Ocho Rios. The road may only be for the 4 wheel drive but it’s definitely worth the effort. With its rope swing, you can get a pretty cool capture like Kaci Fennel’s. If you’re into landscape shots the bridge in the background is also quite beautiful. If you’re brave enough,  get some video swinging on the rope!

Strawberry Hill Hotel is the Mostest

Just imagine an image that looks like you’re staring over a cliff overlooking Kingston but it’s really just an Infiniti pool? This optical illusion is a must for anyone visiting Jamaica. Not to mention the view itself!

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Reflecting…. • • "Death is only the end if you assume the story is about you" • • There are moments in life where I get lost in my head; lost in my feelings…just yearning for clarity. The past couple years have just been filled with so much loss it has left me doing a lot of questioning. Some persons who I truly loved, cared for, respected and held in high regard have left this realm. Some through agonizing illness, tragic accidents and some violenly ripped away. I ponder on each of them. I ask repeatedly "Why would God let bad things happen to good people?" Why would God allow His children who are serving His kingdom to experience such suffering? I remember struggling with this very concept with my mother's death and I was so hurt and felt so betrayed by God as a young girl that I turned away from Him. 16 years later, I am now asking again…this time from the perspective of someone who has rekindled her relationship and who is serving His kingdom. And while it still carries weight and pain, I acknowledge the promise of free will of man. I understand that as mankind we have choice. And with that comes so much of the turmoil we now encounter in existence. But I also more than anything understand that what we do here is not about us, but living in His truth and promise, in accordance to His word, to fulfill the purpose He whispers in our soul, and when the day of reckoning comes, to go home to Him knowing it is well and it is done. #MyHeartWasHeavy #SometimesYouHaveToBareYourSoul #But #IPlaceItAtHisFeet #ThePowerOfSurrender #Peace #Understanding #Clarity #ForMyFriends #ForMyLovedOnes #ForThoseFeelingHurt #ForThoseGoingThroughLoss • • Thank you @_jayenigma for this capture. • • PS. @keneealintonboutique I LOVE this dress!

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Honorable mentions include:

Waterfall at Serendipity Holistic Resort

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#serendipityresort #bluemountain #jamaica my #paradise

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Fleet Street

Victoria Pier Waterfront/DownTown Kingston 

So all these places are up for debate! Do you agree with picks? Which places do you think are the most instagrammable places in Jamaica? Vote here

Top Ten Jamaican YouTubers you Should Know

After the success of my blog post: Top Seven Bloggers to Showcase your Brand, I decided to take a more in-depth look into the YouTube industry. This is my top ten list based on subscribers and the quality of the original content:

1. Andrew Trabass is not based in Jamaica but you would never know as his accent is straight “yahdie.” His blogs are original and hilarious! Trabass’s has over 284,081 subscribers and over 49,286,894 views on his channel.

He also has a personal v-log that showcases his day-to-day life. He’s a singer/songwriter and even sells t-shirts on his website.

 

2. With boy band looks and charisma, the YaadBwoys are the hottest “yahdies” on YouTube. They over 143,844 subscribers and over 14 million views!  These guys technically don’t live in Jamaica, (they are based in Florida) but the content produced is appealing to the Jamaican teen (girls) market.

3. JamaicanMakeUpArtist offers makeup tutorials and weave reviews. She hosts over 120,000 YouTube subscribers on and 1,393,935 views. She’s ranked in the Top 100 YouTubers on Social Blade. Great for beauty products and makeup brands.

4. See2TwinTwo are Jamaican twins who basically v-log about their lives. Even though they are all grown up, these young ladies would be great for the tween market. They have over 62,000 subscribers with over 4million views! Lots of tag and challenge videos.

5. Copping the Personal Achievement Award for Excellence in Blogging at the Caribbean Blog and Social Media awards last year, Dutty Berry has been an overnight success since he started posting his reviews of Tessanne on NBC’s “The Voice.” He hosts over 60,334 subscribers and has 4,984,166 views on YouTube. He’s currently the spokesperson for #NuhDuttyUpJamaica, a Jamaica Environment Trust public education initiative geared towards keeping coastal environments clean.

He’s also been nominated for YouthView Awards’ Favourite Break Out Celebrity of 2014.

5. Award winning Jamaican Video Blog of the Year in 2012, The Duke Powell Show is funny, authentic Jamaican content with over 49,375 subscribers and over 5 198 302 views.

Popularly known for his video that went viral: “The Pum Pum Tun Up!”

6. Bella Blair is a comedic actress who writes and produces a lot of her own content. She also has a show on RETV called Bella’s Bizarre World. She was recently appointed the brand ambassador for Cran Wata. She boasts over 36,141 subscribers with over 3,690,984 views.

7. With over 15,900 subscribers, Wally British is the rawest talent on the roster. Her unorthodox preaching keeps fans engaged and screaming for more. Subject matter is very adult, so best suited for the 18 years or older crowd.

British would be a great candidate for a public awareness campaign around sex education or any subject matter centered around sex and reproductive health.

8. A modern day Louise Bennett, Carla Moore was inspired to start a channel devoted to sharing her love for her country after going away to study. Just recently, Carla presented a competition sponsored by Jamaica Jazz and Blues requesting video submissions of their best Mariah Carey impression. The winner received a 3-day pass to the event.

With over 10, 463 subscribers, she would be a great spokesperson for anything Jamaica.

9. MakeupbyPetiteSue showcases mostly makeup tutorials and weave reviews. Interesting note, she doesn’t wear foundation! She has over 5,996 subscribers and over 110,201 views on YouTube.

10. Mamachell is a well-poised, sassy media personality and lifestyle blogger who talks about everything from Teen Wolf to the Kartel Murder Trial. She would be great for partnering with brands targeting the entertainment or travel/tourism industry.