Local reggae acts and the charges they have faced
FOR one reason or another some of our entertainers have issues when it comes to staying on the right side of the law. For some, it is viewed as a case of art imitating life, based on their sometimes violent lyrical content. While, others see it as a case of a citizen, like any other crossing the line of the law.
Issues of entertainers and the law have been brought into sharp focus this week following the highly publicised arrest of controversial deejay, Vybz Kartel on a number of charges. The deejay, who is also known as the Teacha, is now facing charges ranging from conspiracy to murder to murder and illegal possession of firearm. Kartel remains in a Corporate Area lock-up.
Vybz Kartel is not the only Jamaican artiste facing murder charges. After two years the don gorgon Ninjaman is clueless as to his trial date, but that whole scenario is being played out because, despite his One Umbrella Movement preaching peace, he was fingered in the murder of Ricardo Johnson in the 2009 shooting incident along Marl Road in Kingston.
Come February next year, dancehall artiste Mavado is to stand trial on charges of malicious destruction of property and assault. The charges stem from an incident in which Mavado and his entourage are alleged to have assaulted a man and his son after they failed to move their vehicle out of the roadway during a traffic snarl in the hills of St James.
Perhaps the most high-profiled case involving a Jamaican artiste was deejay Buju Banton's drug trial. The artiste is now serving his 10-year prison sentence at the Limestone County Correctional Institution in Groesbeck, Texas. The artiste whose real name is Mark Anthony Myrie, was found guilty of drugrelated charges and sentenced to 10 years in a Tampa, Florida court in February. A first trial ended in a mistrial after a panel of jurors could not unanimously decide on his guilt or innocence.
He has maintained his innocence, claiming entrapment by the United States Government.
Lest one is of the opinion that youth is an excuse for running afoul of the law, that can be dispelled as veteran entertainer and patriarch of the Morgan Heritage clan, 66-year-old Denroy Morgan was recently arrested in New York on ganja possession.
According to police reports, detectives noticed a strong odour of marijuana coming from a car they stopped, which was reportedly being driven by Morgan. Police say there were two bags containing about 25 pounds of marijuana in the trunk. Morgan is currently out on bail.
Last month another artiste, Gyptian, was questioned by the police regarding the shooting incident at a recording studio in Kingston and subsequent death of Davian 'Burru' Bailey. The artiste was not arrested.
Conscious crusader Luciano had his moment with the law when in 2009 he was said to be harbouring a fugitive after a renowned gunman was killed at his house following a stand-off with the police.
Only recently up-and-coming sound system selector and radio disc jock, Wa Wah, fingered the deejay Aidonia and his entourage in an attack on him at a Kingston nightclub. Aidonia subsequently denied the allegations.
Entertainers getting in trouble with the law is nothing new. Peter Tosh, in September 1978, was arrested for smoking marijuana and also found himself facing charges of attacking a policeman, resisting arrest and using indecent language.
Dancehall artiste Zebra repeatedly got himself in trouble facing rape charges on numerous occasions. He is currently incarcerated. Meanwhile, singer Jah Cure is currently a free man, however, he too did time on rape charges. He has persistently denied committing the act.
Of course, entertainers getting in trouble with the law is not restricted to Jamaica nor the dancehall, as hip hop artistes such as TI and Lil Wayne have been convicted on various charges.