Coalition to Preserve Reggae (CPR) in association with UJAA, JAHJAH Foundation and DARC Foundation commemorated the Coronation of Emperor Haile Selassie I and Empress Mennen of Ethiopia with their co-presentation of the 10th Annual Reggae Culture Salute on Saturday, Nov. 1, 2014. Many reggae lovers graced Nazareth Regional High School’s Performance Center in Brooklyn to see and hear the fabulous artists.
The auditorium was packed with reggae enthusiasts and media to see the Queen of Reggae Marcia Griffiths and she did not disappoint. Ms. Griffiths, who received the CPR Pinnacle Award for Excellence, performed her many greats with her son Taff (who also performed a couple of duets with her) along with Althea Hamilton and Simone G providing backup vocals.
The evening began with a libation followed by remembrances with a dance tribute to the late Faybiene Miranda performed by the Ifetayo Youth Ensemble, while CPR poet laureate Ras Osagyefo remembered the late great Peter Tosh with poetry. The reggae salute by CPR members opened with flutist Ichelle performing “Red Gold and Green” and “Revelation Song” to an enthused crowd. Following, “Simone G” wowed with her rendition of Maxwell’s “This is Woman’s Work” and Freddie McKay’s classic, “Picture on the Wall.” Turban X warmed them further with his “Kings and Queens” and “Jah Love.” Da Real Storm, heated things up with her vocal prowess, strong lyrics and commanding presence especially when she performed “Real Jamaican Rock” which had everyone rocking, she gave way to former wailers lead singer, Gary Pine who was as impressive with his own material as he was with Bob Marley covers.
The debonair Don Minott provided a solid performance with songs including “I’m working” and “Speak for the Poor” to pave the way for special guest Everton Blender who soared in a dynamic 45-minute set including his hit “Ghetto People Song.” Preceding Marcia Griffiths was Tasha T who sung three tracks from her new album “Real Talk” so much so that Ms. Griffiths, who spoke of feeling grateful for being able to be an inspiration to other female artists in such a male dominated industry asked her to sing along with her during her set, in a poignant moment for aspiring female artists.
The praise of CPR just goes on and on. The event promoted as a family event had many children present, an unusual sight at a reggae concert. The promoters indeed provided a family centered mood and the food was scrumptious and plentiful.
Unlike many reggae shows where the artists remain backstage until their performance, many artists could be seen mingling with the audience, taking photos and having a great time. The age of the intergenerational crowd seemed to range from nine to 99 as no one was left out of the grand time had by all. It was indeed a royal affair; a tough one to beat in 2015.