Final hurrah at Claude McKay
LAST Tuesday, TEENage made the last stop on the fourth season of its Expression Tour to Claude McKay High School.
After a season that took us to 16 schools, Claude McKay had the right amount of talent, flair and hype to take us out in style.
The first talent piece — from one of the school's Jamaica Cultural Development Commission (JCDC) Festival groups — was a set of youngsters called The Golden Group, with an original dub poem called Nah Wash Nuh Face. The fun and comical poem about a group of street boys who refuse to bathe, enthralled the audience and judges and kept them laughing.
The second talent piece was done by Claude McKay's own singjay, Romaine 'Singing Star' Edmondson, who serenaded the crowd with his original song Only You.
The first dancer of the afternoon, Paul Shaw did a high-energy Dancehall piece to Aidonia's One More Gyal.
Another talented JCDC group, this time a group of seniors, Di Krew, did an original dub piece entitled Jamaicans, that was patriotic and humorous, and had the audience cheering them on from start to finish.
Jovadine Smythe recited Louise Bennett's Mi Granny, which was amicably received by the crowd, before Norris Ingram performed Bennett's Uriah Preach, which was a bit more appreciated.
Poet Joan Andrea Hutchinson was also represented when Malik McPherson performed Deh Pon A Mission about a self-proclaimed Rasta living a not so natural life, which had the audience in stitches.
Duvaughn Burke gave an equally impressive recital of Hutchinson's Mad Man Power, who while still on stage, stepped into another costume and performed an original piece about his preference in My Type A Woman.
Oraine Corney sang Chris Martin's Cheater's Prayer a capella, and deejayed his original song Money. He won points from the crowd for his vocal range.
The second dancer, Travis Vernon was up next with a dancehall piece featuring the "pop and lock" style that had the crowd going crazy.
After, Jason Campbell sang Whitney Houston's inspirational I Believe The Children Are Our Future, and was loudly assisted by the audience.
Another dancer, Dwayne Henry did a high-energy medley that covered dancehall, club music, R&B and pop, and had the crowd cheering.
Di Krew, albeit just two members this time, was back with another original piece called The Best Thing About High School.
Claude McKay's own Michael Jackson, student Anthony Smith did a special MJ-themed dance piece before crowd-favourite Sharn 'Peas Head' Carty, deejayed his original pieces One Woman Can't Satisfy Me and Teachers. He did not fail to please the crowd.
It was finally time for the Pronto Cornmeal Porridge Mix Eat-Off Competition.
Five contestants entered the arena, but after two minutes of intense porridge cooling tactics, only eighth-grader Fuchima Rochester was left holding her empty cup over her head in victory.
Following the porridge eat-off was the Flow dance-off competition. Four young men took to the stage showing off all of the latest dance moves, but only student Travis Vernon was found worthy by the crowd to take the title of Flow Dance Champion.
In the trivia section of the show, Ariel Shaw and Stacy-Ann Williams walked away with a prize courtesy of sponsors Flow and Seprod.
While the judges deliberated, guest artistes — Reggae singer Bescenta and Dancehall singjay Navino — pumped up the crowd and had them singing along to their numerous hits.
When all the marks had been tallied, third place was a tie between Singing Star with his original song Only You and The Golden Group with their original dub Nah Wash Nuh Face.
In second place was Duvaughn Burke with his pieces Mad Man Power and My Type A Woman and taking first place and a chance to take home the title at the TEENage Expression Tour Finals in July, was Di Krew, with their well-received, patriotic piece Jamaicans.