Caribbean writers begin new season

Chef Nigel Spence and Wai Chu of Whole Foods.

The Caribbean Cultural Theatre will kick-off their fifth annual “Poets & Passion” monthly series on Oct. 15 with celebration of the work of two acclaimed Caribbean writers, Marlon James and Tiphanie Yanique.

The festivities are slated for the downtown Brooklyn campus of St. Francis College, 182 Remsen Street, and will begin at 7:00 p.m.

James, a native of Kingston, Jamaica will launch a paperback edition of his debut novel, “John Crow’s Devil.”

Yanique, a fiction writer, poet and essayist hails from the Virgin Islands will introduce audiences to her first work, “How to Escape from a Leper Colony.”

“Poets & Passion” is a project of the Brooklyn-based Caribbean Cultural Theatre.

According to Artistic Director Ewayne McDonald, the creative configuration is “a multi disciplinary arts organization that presents work for the stage, screen and page that honors a balanced rendering of Caribbean culture and the Caribbean-American experience.”

Now in its fifth season, the presentations of shared creativity, experience and insight have featured renowned literary talents and poets: Kamau Braithwaite (Barbados), Merle Collins (Grenada) and Linton Kwesi Johnson (Jamaica/UK), novelists E.R. Braithwaite (Guyana), Thomas Glave (U.S.), and Elizabeth Nunez (Trinidad & Tobago).

Scheduled for this season are: Trinidadian, Cheryl Boyce Taylor and Everton Sylvester, from Jamaica on Nov. 11, and Bahamian, Christian Campbell and Jacinth Henry-Martin from St. Kitts-Nevis on Dec. 9.

King Of Jamaica Jerk Cuisine Cooks In N.Y.

Jamaican chef and acclaimed king of jerk cuisine, Nigel Spence shared his talents with students recently during a cook fest in Manhattan.

Spence, a two-time cooking champion hosted the Caribbean-focused cooking class at the Whole Foods Market Bowery Culinary Center.

The class featured traditional Jamaican dishes with a twist.

Some of the most delectable dishes included: Jamaican coconut rundown with mussels and calamari; curried kingfish steaks, spiked by 100-year-old island rum punch to savor the unique tastes.

Participants received gift bags which included aprons and other Jamaican culinary-related items.

Griffey: Black Music Icon Passes

Perhaps the name Dick Griffey is not as well-known as Berry Gordy.

However, Griffey’s contribution to the music industry could rank no lower than second to Gordy’s magnanimous achievements.

While Gordy made his mark in the Midwest, Griffey established precedence on the west coast to emerge a veritable music mogul and the founder of SOLAR (Sounds of Los Angeles Records).

Griffey founded the stellar record label in the late 1970’s and went on to become one of the preeminent Black music pioneers of the 20th Century.

In music circles some knew him as the chairman of the board.

He is credited with breaking records and recording artists that ushered in the era of contemporary crossover Black music.

He was first to recognize songwriters/producers James “Jimmy Jam” Harris and Terry Lewis, Reggie and Vincent Calloway, Leon Sylvers and Antonio “L.A.” Reid, and Kenny “Babyface” Edmonds.

His galaxy at SOLAR and Constellation labels produced numerous R&B and pop acts: including Shalamar, The Whispers, Lakeside, Midnight Star, KLYMAXX, Carrie Lucas, The Deeles, and Babyface.

Griffey has always believed in giving new talents the opportunity to create and develop their craft.

Regarded as a music mogul before the term entered popular culture, Griffey’s talent for picking hit songs and superstars defined the music business for more than two decades. He spent the last 10 years of his life in West Africa involved in commodities and international trade.

With a SOLAR branch in full operation in Lagos, Nigeria, and distribution of SOLAR records in the United Kingdom, France, Germany, and Benelux, Griffey’s acts consistently reached and scored well on the music charts, selling millions of records throughout the world.

The imposing record label founder also had a penchant for influencing Blacks employed at major labels.

I recall a specific encounter during a Black Music Association (BMA) convention at the Fountainbleu Hotel in Miami, Florida when Griffey railed at young, Black executives who opted for beach over one of his sessions.

Griffey died on Sept. 25. He was 72 years old.

The venerated music industry titan allegedly died from complications of quadruple bypass surgery.

A private ceremony was held recently in Los Angeles. However, an industry driven, public memorial will be announced for a later date.

Catch You On The Inside!

Author Tiphanie Yanique.

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