Thursday, April 24, 2008

Our Caribbean: A Gathering of Lesbian and Gay Writing from the Antilles

By now everyone knows that even though Jamaica is the greatest country in the world we do a very poor job in showing tolerance toward homosexuals (gays and lesbians). Well-thinking Jamaicans recognize that we need to make significant changes in this area because we just cannot continue to represent ourselves in the global arena as a homosexual-hating-haven.

The truth be told, change is underway in Jamaica. It’s a bit slow but hopefully we will get to a more tolerant society sooner than later.

Enter Thomas Glave with an anthology (book) that is already a conversation piece, entitled Our Caribbean: A Gathering of Lesbian and Gay Writing from the Antilles. Professor Glave is a Jamaican-American who has been doing his part to keep the Jamaican flag flying high. It took Professor Glave five years to gather writings from 37 writers from 14 Caribbean countries. The result is ‘an unprecedented literary conversation on gay, lesbian, bisexual, and transgendered experiences throughout the Caribbean and its far-flung diaspora’. Some very rich and powerful themes are explored in this book.

Let’s make one thing clear. Caribbean writers are some of the best writers in the world. Get your copy of Our Caribbean: A Gathering of Lesbian and Gay Writing from the Antilles. Read it with an open mind and see how it compares with writings from great Caribbean writers of the past. Please keep the conversation going. Every Jamaican should have equal rights to Jamaica.

Professor Glave will be reading at this year’s Calabash Festival in Treasure Beach, St. Elizabeth, Jamaica. This prestigious event will be held from May 23-25, 2008.

Click these links
More info on Thomas Glave
Purchase a copy of
Our Caribbean
The Calabash Festival’s website

Bonita Jamaica
Beautiful Place. Amazing People.

See you in Jamaica.

Saturday, April 19, 2008

Foods and Beverages of Jamaica


Some of the best tasting foods and beverages in the world can be found in Jamaica. Of course, the proof is in the tastes.

Let's Eat & Drink

Bonita Jamaica Foods & Fruits of Jamaica Group

Bonita Jamaica

Beautiful Place. Amazing People.

See you in Jamaica.

Wednesday, April 16, 2008

If My Car Could Talk, a short story by Samantha Gilzean

Bonita Jamaica is always very proud to show the world the talent and creativity of Jamaicans. That’s what we do. Please take a minute to read this beautiful short story by 10-year old Samantha Gilzean, another bright Jamaican star in the making.

What would you do if your car was talking? Well let me tell you what happened.

One early Friday morning I woke up and got ready for work. While I ate breakfast my daughter Antoinette came to me and said “Mommy can we go now I don’t want to be late for school.” I replied, “yes”, and put the plate in the sink and went outside. When I went outside I heard someone say “Why do you always carry Antoinette to school late?” I looked around and saw no one. I started to wonder where the sound came from. Then I thought out loud was it the car. Then sarcastically I heard a voice say “NO!!” I could not believe it, my blue Mercedes Benz was talking. Antoinette came running out of the house saying “Mommy get in the car!!”

On my way to drop off Antoinette the car said “Don’t you think you should drive faster? Don’t mind me asking, but how many late slips has she gotten?” I replied “You are one rude car.”

When I arrived at work my boss came to me in the parking lot and said “Miss Sweet I want to talk to in my office.” Then my car said “Yes, because you need help with that outfit. Haven’t you heard of fashionable clothes, maybe not because of the amount of grey hairs I see? “Wow.” My boss looked at me angrily and said “Miss Sweet see me as soon as you can.” I said to my car “You are going to get me fired or is that your plan”? Then quietly I heard a voice saying “Um yes.”

I went to my boss’s office and he said “What kind of rudeness did I hear from you Miss Sweet. I don’t like the behavior that was shown in the parking lot. You are lucky you are such a good worker or I would have fired you.” I replied “thank you so much and I am extremely sorry.” I went into my office and started working.

While I was packing up to leave in the evening the phone rang and it was Antoinette’s teacher on the line telling me to come there quickly because Antoinette’s feeling sick. I packed my stuff and rush outside into the parking lot. My rude car said “Why are you rushing? Antoinette’s school is not over yet. Pay attention to the time.” I said to the car “Antoinette is sick so we need to go get her.” My coworker came outside and said “Um who are you talking to?” “Oh no one, I’m talking to myself,” I said. I jumped into my car and left my work place.

When I got to her school the car said “Go get sickly, I mean your sick daughter.” I went up to her classroom and got her and then we left.

When I arrived home and Antoinette went inside the house the car said “Maybe things will work out between us, don’t you think.” I said to the car “goodnight” then the car said to me “fine don’t answer, oh goodnight.” I went inside and had a good sleep.

I pretended this day never happened.

Samantha Gilzean 10 years old and is in Grade 6 at St. Peter & Paul Preparatory School, Kingston, Jamaica. Photograph above shows Samantha and her mother Sheron Gilzean. Her dad, Ewart Gilzean, barely made it in the photograph in the back at the right.

Bonita Jamaica

Beautiful Place. Amazing People.

See you in Jamaica.

Tuesday, April 15, 2008

How Jamaica Changed The Voice of Teenage Britain

It is one of the mysteries of modern life.

How on earth did a peculiar kind of mockney patois become the default spoken English of a generation of British kids - white, black, Asian; rural, urban; posh, poor (and Ali G)? A new CD offers one solution. An England Story, a musical anthology that charts the impact of Jamaican reggae on British pop culture, is a fascinating survey of the musical scene in which that patois first took hold on these shores.

Jamaican MCing - also known as toasting, chatting, and, confusingly, deejaying - has been around since the late Sixties. As Jamaica's DJs invested in ever grander and louder equipment, the sound systems sought to outdo each other with both raw power and exclusive material. This led not only to the invention of the modern remix, but also the rise of the live MC, whose job was to enliven the crowd and insult rivals.

Read the full story here: The UK Telegraph

Bonita Jamaica

Beautiful Place. Amazing People.

See you in Jamaica.

Monday, April 14, 2008

April Jackson is Miss Jamaica Universe 2008

Source: The Jamaica Observer

Congratulations April. Good luck and all the very best to you.

18 year-old April Jackson (Miss Swift Cash) beat out 24 other young ladies to cop the 2008 Miss Jamaica Universe title. The grand coronation took place at the National Indoor Sports Centre on Saturday April 12 before a capacity audience.

22 -year-old Doneika Plowright (Miss Cherry Bomb Creative Labs) and 21-year-old Rebecca Silvera (Miss Digicel Tropical Plaza) placed second and third respectively. Francine Hall (Miss Jergens) and Adrianna Bryan (Miss Minott Services Mobay) completed the top 5.

The show was entertaining and the production of the event was commendable. Emcee for the night, Paula Ann Porter Jones, guided the proceedings with class.

The show kicked off at 8:43 pm with an opening dance number featuring members of the Ashe Ensemble alongside the 25 finalists who were dressed in red. The contestants then appeared in swimwear courtesy of Mushroom. Miss Jamaica Universe 2007, Zahra Redwood, made a cameo appearance with the Ashe Ensemble.

After appearing in evening wear courtesy of Uzuri International, the top 12 finalists were announced. These included Johnnell Eastman (Miss French Connection); Kadia Campbell (Miss Patmar's Car Rental); Kimberley Cummings (Miss McMasters Centre); Salome Campbell (Miss Superior Parts); and Noelle Kerr (Miss Cool Group of Companies).

A video presentation showcasing the journey of the contestants from eliminations to the grand coronation preceded the performance of boy group A2O, which gave a creditable account of themselves. The group performed two songs including their current video hit Take You There.

A rush to the front of the stage by overzealous patrons, thus blocking the view of those in the VIP area, greeted the arrival of rhythm and blues singer Keyshia Cole. Cole who rarely interacted with the audience, performed with a band, back-up singers and dancers. She delivered the hits that her fans came to hear. What sounded like audio tracks could be heard during Cole's performance.

Songs, including the mellow Love, Just like You, I Changed My Mind, I Remember, Shoulda Let You Go and Last Night, had the crowd jumping from start to finish. Eager fans tried to drag the singer off stage. But Cole's security detail wouldn't have any of this and she made a hasty retreat from the stage. Security personnel inside the venue then hurriedly rushed to disperse the crowd that had gathered in the front. However, the damage had already been done.

After the question-and-answer segment, the top 5 were announced and then the top three. April Jackson copped the Most Aware sectional prize, while crowd favourite Doneika Plowright was voted Most Congenial. The Bling Bling Style Award went to Jeseka Williams (Miss Springtime Laundry and Household Products), while Adrianna Bryan won Best in Swimsuit. Another crowd favourite Rebecca Silvera won Most Photogenic.

A hail of boos greeted the new queen. Many patrons stormed out of the venue visibly and vocally upset about the choice of the new queen. There were also complaints from patrons in the VIP section who raised issues about having to pay for drinks and unable to see the performance of Cole. Others complained about the presence of peanut and snack vendors who were seen plying their trade in the VIP section.

The new Miss Jamaica Universe title holder won for herself $1 million cash courtesy of title sponsors WorldWise Partners; a fully loaded BMW 120i courtesy of Stewart Motors; a trip to Vietnam to represent Jamaica in the 2008 Miss Universe pageant; guaranteed modeling contract with Pulse valued at one $150,000 over two years; lifetime gym membership at Gymkhana; Miss Universe wardrobe courtesy Uzuri, and Keandra Francis; accessories valued at $100,000 courtesy of Bling Bling; and active wear from Puma Jamaica collection among other prizes.

The second place winner will receive $100,000 cash; a modeling contract with Pulse valued at $100,000 over two years; one year membership at Gymkhana; and dinner for two at Strawberry Hill among other prizes.

Third place winner walked away with $50,000 cash; one year membership at Gymkhana; a modeling contract with Pulse valued at $75,000 over two years; and a gift voucher from Go West valued at $25,000.

Miss Jamaica Universe 2008 was produced by Pulse with title sponsorship from WorldWise Partners, in association with Stewart Motors, CVM TV, the Hilton Kingston Hotel, Fame FM, Zip FM, Irie FM, Heffes Sales, Gymkhana, Uzuri, Hype TV, Bling Bling, Grizzly's and Splash.

Bonita Jamaica

Beautiful Place. Amazing People.

See you in Jamaica.

Thursday, April 10, 2008

Bob Marley's Mother, Cedella Booker Has Passed (RIP)

Cedella Marley Booker, mother of late reggae icon Bob Marley, died Tuesday night (April 8, 2008) at her South Florida home after a long illness. She was 81.

Booker was surrounded by loved ones inside her South Miami-Dade home and was ''very happy and very peaceful,'' said daughter-in-law Sharien Booker. ``Her vision was always to bring people together. She was a very loving person, and we know she's happy.''

Booker's grandson, Ky-Mani Marley, an accomplished musician himself, told The Miami Herald she had always been a ``caring and supporting person in my life. She was always there to help me -- even when I didn't ask for help, she knew I needed help. She had that instinct to know when things were wrong and had the courage to fix it.''

Marley said the family was fortunate to be by Booker's side.

''We all live very close by, really just blocks away, so we were all in the vicinity,'' he said.

And though Booker had been struggling recently with heart problems, her death still came as somewhat of a shock, her grandson said.

''We knew she was sick, and she'd keep fighting and pulling through,'' he said. ``So it was expected, but unexpected. It's a great loss.''

Several prominent Jamaican leaders were moved to comment on Booker's legacy.

''Mrs. Booker was the matriarch of a movement so powerful that the mystical qualities of the Marley musical legacy remain strong and potent,'' said Jamaican Information Minister Olivia Grange.

''She was a star in her own right,'' Jamaican Prime Minister Bruce Golding said in a statement. ``Her life was one of hardship, struggle and eventual fulfillment, and through it all, she exuded hope, strength and confidence.''

Born in Jamaica in 1926, Booker was 18 when she married Norval Marley, a 50-year-old British quartermaster. After he died in 1955, she married Edward Booker, moved to Delaware, then relocated to Miami, where she lived for the past 20 years.

Booker was best-known for her famous son, but she was also an author and musician. Her two books about Bob Marley -- 1997's Bob Marley: An Intimate Portrait by His Mother and Bob Marley, My Son in 2003 -- offered glimpses into his personal life, shedding light on his relationships with his wife Rita and bandmates Peter Tosh and Bunny Wailer.

Bob Marley died in Miami from a brain tumor in 1981.

Booker released two albums, Awake Zion in 1991, and in the following year a collection of Caribbean folk songs for children called Smilin' Island of Song.

She also frequently performed with Bob Marley's sons Ky-Mani, Ziggy, Stephen, Damian and Julian. Although she didn't perform at the family's annual Caribbean Fest concert in Miami in early March, Ky-Mani Marley said she was still performing as recently as ''about a year ago'' in Jamaica.

Booker is survived by two children, Claudette Livingston and Richard Booker, and 52 grandchildren.

Services will be held between 10 a.m. and 6 p.m. Monday at the Range Funeral Home, 3384 Grand Ave., Coconut Grove (Florida).

Source: The Miami Herald

Cedella Booker Wiki

Bonita Jamaica

Beautiful Place. Amazing People.

See you in Jamaica.

Wednesday, April 09, 2008

Ken Ramsay - Great Jamaican Photographer (RIP)

Ken Ramsay was a great photographer who traveled Jamaica and the world capturing remarkable images. He died peacefully in his sleep on Friday March 28, 2008. May his soul rest in peace.

Jamaican celebrity photographer Ken Ramsay was found dead at his home in Portland yesterday morning. Police said that Ramsay, who lived alone, was found by his gardener at about 9:00 am.

"The house was locked up and the gardener had to force open the door to get in," Senior Superintendent of Police Derrick Shand told the Observer. "Mr Ramsay was found in his bed and the house was intact," he added, suggesting that Ramsay had died in his sleep.

Shand, who is in charge of the police's Area 2 Headquarters, said that Ramsay was seen by a doctor recently.

At the time of his death, Ramsay was a freelance photo-journalist with the Observer and had recently made plans with the newspaper to cover the involvement of Jamaicans and other West Indians in the Barack Obama campaign in the United States.

In the past, he covered major sporting and celebrity events overseas for the Observer, including the summer and winter Olympics, Wimbledon, the US Open, the West Indies cricket tour of South Africa in 1998 and gave special focus to the Williams sisters (Venus and Serena) on the international tennis circuit.

Ramsay, known for his signature riding boots and scarf, studied photography at Harrow College, London, and Germain School of Photography in New York in the 1960s, after which he worked for a short time with New York fashion photographer Peter Basch.

He returned to Jamaica in 1969, and the following year concentrated his efforts on classic black and white photography, earning international fame with his creations, among them The Head.

In the 80s, he did a lot of work with Pulse model agency and eventually in 1994 published his first book, Dare to Dream with co-publisher Verlag Rombach of Freiburg, Germany.
In 1997, Ramsay published his second book, The Dream lives on - a range of black and white photographs of late Jamaican Prime Minister Michael Manley.

Between 1999 and 2000 he started working on a series of black and white photographs featuring Jamaica's ethnic diversity.

Ken Ramsay, brother to late defence attorney Ian Ramsay, is survived by his wife Pat Ramsay, one of Jamaica's foremost educators and charity fund-raisers.

Story taken from: The Jamaica Observer

View a few Ken Ramsay shots here: Dare to Dream, by Ken Ramsay

Can someone please add Ken Ramsay to Wikipedia. Thank you.

Bonita Jamaica

Beautiful Place. Amazing People.

See you in Jamaica.

Tuesday, April 08, 2008

Huntley Brown - Pianist

Huntley Brown, you are truly a very talented pianist and great Jamaican. May the good Lord continue to shine his blessings upon you. Keeping ministering to the world through your music and keep our Jamaican flag flying high in the sky. We love you.

Huntley Brown grew up in a Christian home on the island of Jamaica. His parents, taught him what it means to be a Christian, and at an early age he accepted Christ. Without knowing how to read music, he learned to play the piano.

After high school Huntley started to play keyboard in various hotel bands and piano bars in Jamaica. He tried to justify being a Christian while playing in the clubs, but he couldn't--the atmosphere of the clubs and his Christian ideals didn't match up. He kept remembering his mother's words: "Huntley, only what is done for Christ will last." Soon he prayed and rededicated his life to Christ and started to spend time daily in the Word and in prayer. This decision led him to the United States, where he enrolled at Judson College in Elgin, Illinois. Four years later Huntley graduated with a bachelor's degree in piano performance. He then went on to Northern Illinois University, where he earned a master's degree in piano performance and pedagogy. While at NIU, Huntley met the lovely Annette Chestnut, a fellow Caribbean student from Barbados, and following graduation, he and Annette were married.

Huntley's music ministry has taken him all over the world, with TV, radio, and concert appearances in Austria, Bahamas, Barbados, Canada, China, England, France, Germany, Holland, Hungary, Ireland, Italy, Japan, Russia, Singapore, South Africa, Spain, Taiwan, and Ukraine, among others. In the United States, he has performed from coast to coast, with ministry opportunities at churches of every size and denomination, from the Crystal Cathedral, to Willow Creek Community Church, to Big Rock Baptist Church. He was also the regular crusade pianist for the recently retired Dr. Ralph Bell, an associate evangelist with the Billy Graham Association.

His music has been described as inspired, anointed, powerful, and explosive. He has recorded many CD's that cover a wide range of musical styles. People are not only impressed with his incredible technique; they are touched by his deep love for Jesus.

This is a ministry based on prayer, and Huntley realizes that to be effective as a musical ambassador for Christ, his spiritual life is more significant than his keyboard skills. He has to spend time daily in the Word and in prayer. Music is an offering of praise, a gift that Huntley wants to give back to God. His continual prayer is that the glory of God will shine through the notes, and the Holy Spirit will send the music straight to the heart, drawing people to the abundance of life in Christ.

See Huntley Brown in Action Here: Huntley Brown

Story taken from: Campfest

Bonita Jamaica

Beautiful Place. Amazing People.

See you in Jamaica.

Thursday, April 03, 2008

Remembering Desmond Dekker (RIP)

Desmond Dekker was truly a remarkable Jamaican. He really did an outstanding job in being a musical ambassador for Jamaica. Gone but not forgotten.

Story courtesy of the NY Times: Desmond Dekker

Bonita Jamaica

Beautiful Place. Amazing People.

See you in Jamaica.