Reggae kicks-off Brooklyn holiday bacchanal

Spragga Benz.

Much has been banded about regarding the soca, calypso and masquerade aspects of the 52nd annual West Indian American Day Carnival Association’s spectacular five-day presentation. As always, to a lesser extent the Reggae Night presentation which usually focus on the hard-driving Jamaica-birthed music has been virtually overshadowed in promotion and publicity by the Eastern Caribbean touters of the Brooklyn Museum activities slated during the last weekend of August.

However, to those clueless about the first night’s presentation slated for Thursday, it is reggae that will kick-off the revelry with a presentation to highlight the beat rooted in African rhythms and later repackaged from Jamaican to capture universal audiences and accolades that surpass the Caribbean region.

Reggae-Afrobeats begins at 7 pm at the Brooklyn Museum, 200 Eastern Parkway with a showcase hosted by Tamara Ivey and Glitterati representing Nigeria / Ghana.

Jamaica’s Wayne Wonder is likely to bring his A-game to a lineup featuring Ding Dong (Jamaica) Runtown (Nigeria) Nessa Preppy (Trinidad) with music by DJ Young Chow of radio station Hot 97, Kevin Crown Crowd, DJ T-Mings and DJ Gringo, Supa T.

In recent years Tony Rebel, Third World, Stephen Marley and others have performed to predominant Jamaica loyals dedicated to keeping Jamaica in the mix.

In the distant past, Steel Pulse, Aswad, Shabba Ranks, Mutabaruka, Miss Lou and others from the land of wood and water carried the red, gold and green banner that identifies the hard-driving beat and its supporters.

During his heyday Robert Nesta Marley, the avowed king of reggae and first Third World Superstar graced the stage to join celebrants of the holiday weekend tradition.

On each occasion, audiences were treated to incomparable performances and enviable showcases that rarely are presented in the borough.

It is unlikely patrons will be requested to “get something and wave” however, the option is open when feelings of irieness prevail.

Regardless, WIADCA organizers are urging patrons to “Catch the Vibe” because they “have a lot to give.”


Dancehall kingpin Spragga Benz surprised more than a few recently when he unleashed a litany of literature about the genre he has been honing for decades.

After waiting patiently for his turn to opine on the topic of the future of the dancehall genre, the deejay — billed last to speak — enlightened the UWI / SUNY assembly with a clear, concise, definitive portrait of his journey this far.

Detailing his start in a Kingston neighborhood, which could have steered him in a less enviable direction, Carlton Errington Grant AKA Spragga Benz, the father of Shanice and Carlton Jr. used the forum to explain the intricacies of his craft and how he applied his talent to emerge the iconic figure he is now revered.

Actually, he did not brag about his movie role, his recent appearance at Reggae Sumfest in Montego Bay, his children or his many rendezvous with members of the Marley off-springs, instead, he gave what seemed like a course lecture that could be titled ‘Dancehall Reggae 101.’

That a university professor named Dr. Carolyn Cooper preceded him with a keynote address fraught with a Power Point presentation that seemed to collapse with redundant information and irrelevant references on the topic, Benz’s off-the-cuff message offered a real and raw relatable response.

Reggae Insider Cristy Barber and Irie Jam FM radio innovator Bobby Clarke also registered favorably in addressing and defining the subject.

Thanks to the partnership between the University of the West Indies and the State University of New York, much was gleaned.

Their collaboration will be repeated on Sept. 20 with a symposium questioning whether Climate Change is real or fabricated.

Slated for the SUNY Global Center in Manhattan, 116 East 55th at from 9 am to 1 p. for more information, call 212-759-9345.

Catch You On The Inside!

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