ON the heels of the premiere of the sixth season of TABS Talk Live, a weekly programme spearheaded by the Ashe Company, the group is pleased with the positive impact of the edutainment series.
“The reception has been remarkable, as more and more people learn about the show and get familiar with the good vibes and impactful messaging and conversation which [have] seen our social media following on Instagram grown from 4,000 at the beginning of the pandemic to over 7,600 to date. T ABS Talk Live became the after-show for season 1 of CHILL — the series on YouTube,” Faybian Grizzle, communications coordinator of the group, told the Jamaica Observer.
The company, in partnership with Ministry of Health and Wellness and funded by international donors such as United States Agency for International Development (USAID) and Global Fund (GF), launched the TABS (Talk About Your Business Safely) project in 2011, a text line where disenfranchised youth and members of vulnerable populations could text counsellors to ask questions and talk about issues affecting them in areas of sexual and reproduction health.
Season six premiered on January 17.
The Ashe Company has collaborated with acts such as D'Angel, Mr Lexx, D'Yani, Shawn Antonine, Chozenn, Kemar Highcon, Alaine, and Naomi Cowan to provide entertainment during different episodes.
The live studio production is hosted by Wesley Hylton and Lyric Rochester.
Grizzle added that the weekly topics are inspired by everyday happenings, so as to appeal to youths.
“Our topics of conversation are informed by what is happening in the society locally, regionally, and internationally, as well as popular trends and conversations on social media/online. The topics are also informed by data and responses we receive from clients who access our services,” he added.
The company has further hopes of taking the edutainment programme mainstream in the near future.
“Our ultimate hope for the show is to get it to local and regional television. We believe we are producing a high-quality talk show, engaging hundreds of young people, with performances from local artistes with international recognition, shot in 4K, and so we want to take it to the next level soon,” Grizzle said.
Started in 1993 by Paulette Bellamy and Joseph Robinson, the Ashe Company has established itself as one of Jamaica's premier ensembles.