Jamaican among Oprah’s entourage

Prince William coin from Royal Mint.

Jamaicans claim a mantra — “If ah egg we inna di red.”

Interpreted, the saying is that Jamaicans are often in the midst of everything significant.

The common phrase was not lost in translation on Dec. 5 when Jamaican Ronford Ricketts was distinguished the sole Jamaican among 300 individuals from the USA and Canada bound for an eight-day, all-expense-paid, prizewinning trip to Australia. The significance of the trip is that it was presented by talkshow legend Oprah Winfrey. Also significant was the fact a Quantas Airliner would be piloted by actor John Travolta.

Ricketts who lives in Jamaica won the distinction when he attended a taping of the Oprah Winfrey Show at her Harpo Studious in Chicago.

He had gotten the ticket from his sister — who lives in the USA– wrote in, many weeks earlier to take her mother. Ricketts said when his sister told him about the opportunity to see the show he wanted in. His mother yielded to his request and he became a part of the lucky crowd when the host with the most said “You, and you and you are going to Australia.”

Fans of the show are usually most excited to view, experience and share some of the “favorite things” the host annually dole out for promotion. Throughout the years, the pre-Christmas airing has attracted the biggest viewing audiences. While most have been memorable with studio audiences receiving cars, designer items and coveted charms, the final, 25th anniversary season will not long be forgotten.

“I will never ever forget,” Ricketts said.

One week after returning to Jamaica from Melbourne, Australia, Ricketts told Ron Muschette of IRIE-FM:

“I had no idea I would be going to Australia.”

He said when he got to the show one of the producers joked about how he had edged out his mother from appearing on the show. He said she “offered to give my mom tickets to another show anytime she wants.”

Ricketts said he was flown from Jamaica to the U.S. to join 300 other lucky winners. He said the first stop was Sydney and then Melbourne where they were greeted by thousands of fans in adulation of the talkshow legend.

“We went to the Opera House and we saw U2 and everywhere I went I told them I am from Jamaica.”

Ricketts said he was distinguished by media as the only Jamaican on the celebrated trip. He also stated that Brazilians there made him feel very welcomed querying about the island and its reggae music.

“They asked me to sing some reggae for them so I sang Bob Marley’s “One Love.”

While there Ricketts and the lucky winners surfed at Sydney’s Bondi Beach, snorkeled at the Great Barrier Reef and explored the Outback.

Winfrey taped four shows which will air in January and features appearances by Australian actor Russell Crowe and Hugh Jackman.

Reportedly, audiences for the taping of the shows were selected from a pool of more than 350,000. Among them, one Jamaican who sang “One Love.”

Ring In The New Year With Royal Collectibles

Those Barack Obama commemmorative coins are now history. One week ago, a new collectible introduced a two-faced coin on reserve for royal collection. Engraved by lettering marked “Celebrating the engagement of William & Catherine” a circular, bronze non-tender bears the facial images of Britain’s Prince William and his fiance Kate Middleton. The likeness of the young prince is at best identifiable, not so much for the commoner. The coin is the first ever minted to commemorrate a royal engagement. Fifty thousand coins are available at $7.75 cents and can be pre-ordered at www.royalmint.com

Coins produced by the Royal Mint are approved by Queen Elizabeth II.

Also on demand and already on the market for sale is a replica of the oval, blue, sapphire and diamonds ring Prince Charles gifted Lady Diana Spencer 30 years ago. According to sales promos aired on television for a mere $199 anyone can feel like a princess by wearing the sapphire/diamond jewel. A replica of the 18-carat gem set inside diamond encrusted 18-carat white gold can be placed on reserve for $19.99 until they are ready for shipment.

Motown “Ivory Queen” Teena Marie Dead At 54

It seems to be a recent tradition that a death toll includes at least one celebrity name passing on Christmas Day or soon after the Christian holy day. Most recently, soul giant James Brown and actress/singer Eartha Kitt departed during the season. 2010 started off with the passing of soul crooner Teddy Pendergrass. On Dec. 26, Bernie Wilson, one of his collaborators from the group Harold Melvin & the Blue Notes passed on. The 64-year-old baritone died of a stroke in New Jersey.

Also on that same day, shocking news of the death of soul singer Teena Marie. She was signed to Motown Records where she collaborated with funkster Rick James. Acclaimed as the “Ivory Queen of Soul” Marie 54 was discovered in her bed by her daughter, Alia Rose. Reports are that she died from grand mal seizure in her sleep.

Some prominent names who died in 2010 include:

George Steinbrenner (Yankees owner)

Lincoln “Sugar” Minott (reggae deejay)

Gregory Isaacs (singer/songwriter)

Glen Adams, 65 (musician)

Clay Cole, 70 (producer)

Teddy Pendergrass (singer)

Marvin Isley (singer)

Manute Bol (athlete)

Lena Horne (singer/actor)

Gary Coleman (actor)

Lynn Redgrave (actor)

Eddie Fischer (Actor)

Tony Curtis (actor)

Pernell Roberts (actor)

Catch You On The Inside!

Princess Diana’s ring.

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