Kanye West's redemption songs

Jean Lowrie-Chin

Monday, October 21, 2019

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My mother always said that singing God's glory sends up twice the praise. From the comments about the Kanye West 'Sunday Service' pop-up concert last Friday evening at Emancipation Park, she had it right.

Friday did not begin as well as it ended. In the morning, social media blew up with protests about this entertainer who had said “slavery was a choice” in a media interview being allowed to perform in a location which celebrated emancipation. Indeed, I had posted that I had found West's comment infuriating, but then noted, “Okay – with all the criticisms, we have to acknowledge Minister Babsy Grange's comments – a show of this magnitude will help promote #Kingston and #Jamaica as entertainment destinations. Just hope the Kingston traffic can be managed.” I suggested that everyone, including West, could be redeemed, but not many agreed.

Well, by Friday night we saw the power of a twice-praised God in the responses of the live and online audiences. Clearly, Kanye West and his amazing choir had inspired them. I loved that the choir wore city of Kingston T-shirts and that Jamaica was given respect throughout the concert. The professionalism of Phase 3 Productions and Main Event shone, proving that our country can match the best international teams stride for stride. Kudos, Dr Marcia Forbes, Delano Forbes and Solomon Sharpe.

Further, the Jamaica Constabulary Force (JCF) also showed their mettle, with no traffic delays around the New Kingston Area.

This is a lesson that we should not underestimate the strength of Minister Olivia “Babsy” Grange's leadership, the JCF, and the dynamism of the Kingston and St Andrew Municipal Corporation led by the #stillbelieving Mayor Delroy Williams and CEO Robert Hill.

StGC honours outstanding 3

Just a few metres away from Emancipation Park, last Friday, the St George's College (StGC) Old Boys' Association held its annual Monsignor Gladstone Wilson Awards at the Spanish Court Hotel. It is a blessing to know the three individuals who were honoured: Michael Chuck, Tony Wong and Wayne Wray. Hubie and I recall that these three have never forgotten their school, always supporting its many projects.

We also know of Michael Chuck's dedication to the Stella Maris Foundation, his constant fund-raising efforts, his compassionate heart, and his multiple business successes, particularly in real estate development, always supported by his beloved Karen.

Tony Wong and his wife June have taken giant leaps in business, expanding their Liguanea footprint from the Liguanea Drug & Garden to the entire plaza, and later to the impressive General Foods supermarket. They are patrons of Jamaican culture, hosting the annual art show. And, avid photographer Tony has captured exciting StGC football moments, a treasure for his fellow Georgians.

Wayne Wray and his wife Christine are accomplished professionals. Wayne is widely respected for his achievements in investment advisory, corporate finance and structuring in the Jamaican and Caribbean financial services markets. As an approved mentor under the Junior Market programme for the Jamaica Stock Exchange, Wayne provides corporate governance guidance and advice to publicly listed as well as private companies. He serves as a consultant to the Ministry of Finance and Planning, following a four-year consultancy with the Inter-American Investment Corporation.

The awards are a fitting way to honour the memory of one of the intellectual giants of the 20th century, the legendary Georgian Monsignor Gladstone Wilson.

Students celebrate

In a whirl of music and dance, the students of Convent of Mercy 'Alpha' Academy celebrated Jamaica's heritage last Wednesday. The inimitable Dr Owen “Blakka” Ellis was emcee for the show which highlighted the cultural achievements of four graduates. You may have heard of the L'Acadco dance movement founded by L'Antoinette Stines, but you may not have known that her first foray in dance was at age 15 when then Principal Sister Mary Bernadette Little entrusted her with the task to create a religious dance for a special mass, and that she aced it! Now one of her young dancers has risen to the Broadway stage, playing the lead gazelle in The Lion King, with a solo created just for him.

Then there is Natalie Thompson, creator of Cinecom and leader of local production teams for several top films including Disney's Cool Runnings, How Stella Got Her Groove Back, and only this year the latest James Bond movie. My former classmate Natalie reminded us that, even as the year's advance, we remain Alpha girls, conscious of our mission to serve with excellence.

Hope Blake-Wade skyrocketed to fashion designing fame during a jobless phase of her life. She decided to sew herself a dress for a formal occasion that would turn heads and, as they say, the rest is history. The US-based designer has created red carpet gowns and has been featured in leading fashion magazines.

Yours truly was humbled to have been one of the recipients for media and creative writing. What great company to be in.

Heroes' Day honours

If you ever doubt the depth of service of our Jamaican people and international friends, please visit the Jamaica Information Service website and see the list of recipients who will be conferred with national honours by Governor General Sir Patrick Allen today, National Heroes' Day, at King's House. They include colleagues and friends Professor Gerald Lalor, Robin Mahfood, Ambassador Brenda LaGrange Johnson (honorary), Clovis Metcalfe, Jason Henzell, Brian “Spuddy” Rickman, Commodore Antonette Wemyss-Gorman, and Raymond McIntyre.

I confess to being partial about Raymond McIntyre, a member of our extended family. He was a prodigy, scoring a full scholarship (including boarding) to Jamaica College at the tender age of eight. At 17, he won a federal scholarship to Sheffield University to study architecture, a further scholarship to complete his master's degree there, and later pursued studies in project management in Sweden.

Supported by his beloved Yeavon, he is an untiring patriot, serving on various boards and is currently chairman of the Procurement Commission. Devoted to St Jude's Anglican Church, Ray is their design guru and has created and donated their exquisite baptismal font.

Here's to all the well-deserving recipients. You keep alive our hope in Jamaica, land we love.

Rainforest products

Rainforest Seafoods, Jamaica's top exporter of various seafood products, has congratulated the governments of Jamaica and China on their successful negotiation to further trade relations between both countries. Following the most recent signing ceremony Jamaica will be able to export a wider range of products, including lobster, to mainland China. The move will provide a significant and viable marketplace for Jamaican fishermen, processors and exporters.

Credit is due to the tireless efforts made by the officials within Jamaica's Ministry of Foreign Affairs; Ministry of Industry, Commerce, Agriculture, and Fisheries; and the Veterinary Services Division for driving this initiative — a welcome step towards furthering Jamaica's stated goal to develop our blue economy.

My colleagues at Rainforest relish this wonderful opportunity and are the first Jamaican company to export a 40' container of frozen lobster and lobster products to mainland China. The container with 11 metric tonnes of lobster products has sailed from Jamaica and will arrive in Ningbo during November.

lowriechin@aim.com

www.lowrie-chin.blogspot.com


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