Gay-Rights Groups, Queen Ifrica Highlight August

 

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In August, the issues of old Jamaican culture versus a New World culture came to the fore. Queen Ifrica and a Canadian gay organisation became embroiled in a tussle over free speech and not seemingly infringing on the rights of others while exercising it. But there were other interesting things about August that made us stop and look.

 

Dancehall artiste Mr Vegas collaborates with Beyonce on the remix of her song Standing on the Son.

 

Reggae artiste Queen Ifrica comes under pressure for her performance at the annual Grand Gala event. During her Independence Day set, statements glorifying heterosexual marriage and the legalisation of marijuana were brought up. The Jamaica Forum for Lesbians All Sexuals and Gays releases a statement expressing disappointment at her anti-gay statements. In response, Ifrica explains that she merely expressed what she believed in and that it was unfair of them to make her into a villain.

 

The Voice of the Jamaican Ghetto, the book penned by Vybz Kartel and co-author Michael Dawkins, is accepted in the libraries of universities such as Princeton, Duke and Vanderbilt.

 

Grammy-winning artiste Beenie Man teams up with artiste Ce'Cile on a new video titled Thug Love. The king of the dancehall premieres Thug Love with a live walk-on performance on BET's '106 & Park'.

 

Although it was one of the most successful parties of the Emancipation-Independence weekend, Marco Polo is removed from the Rum-Bar Flex Week line-up. Administrators of Flex Week say the decision was made because the organisers of Marco Polo did not conform to business ethics.

 

Konshens teams up with United States rapper and producer Lil Jon for the remix of Big and Sexy.

 

Tanesha 'Shorty' Johnson, the common-law wife of incarcerated dancehall superstar Vybz Kartel, debuts Short Boss Muzik with the release of School, by Vybz Kartel.

 

Mavado lands a collaboration with Nicki Minaj on the track Give It All to Me. The song was mixed by Fabian Marasciullo, arguably the best mix engineer in the game, who has worked with everyone including Michael Jackson, Britney Spears, Lil' Wayne, Rick Ross and Chris Brown.

 

Ahead of his upcoming solo album, Revelation Part 11: The Fruit of Life, international artiste Stephen Marley teams up with Busy Signal on another high-profile collaboration called You and Me Attract.

 

Work is expected to commence on Laza Morgan's Korna King Skateopia next year. The St Thomas-based skate park is one of several attractions the entertainer is looking to house on 13 acres of land in Port Morant.

 

Following harsh criticism from a Canadian gay-rights group, Queen Ifrica is removed from the line-up of the Rastafesta International Reggae Concert at Downsview Park, Canada. Her removal comes days after the Jamaica Association of Gays and Lesbians Abroad launch a Facebook campaign to prevent the entertainer from performing on the basis that her homophobic outburst at the Grand Gala was disrespectful to the gay community.

 

Tommy Lee Sparta is detained at the Juan Santamaria Inter-national Airport in San Jose, Costa Rica. It is believed he was detained because of an incident which occurred several years ago.

 

Krystal Tomlinson is crowned Miss Jamaica Festival Queen at Ranny Williams Entertainment Centre in St Andrew. Tomlinson, a 22-year-old TV host also walked away with three sectional prizes - Most Culturally Aware, Community In-volvement and Most Poised.

 

The National Gallery of Jamaica pays tribute to artist Wilfred Francis a week after his death. Francis, who was popularly known as 'Jabba', was born in Spanish Town on August 24, 1924 - he died just three days short of his 89th birthday, and started painting some time in 1966. His first exhibition on record was the 1967 festival exhibition where his work was favourably received, though he withdrew from the formal art world shortly after.

 

At an event permeated with musical nostalgia, the 1978 Winston Wallace-penned, Grub Cooper-arranged, Land of My Birth, a song made famous by Eric Donaldson's vocals, is announced as the winner of the Jamaica Cultural Development Commission's All Time Best Festival Song Competition.


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