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February – Reggae & Black History Month, Grammy and Oscars too

Minister of Tourism, Edmund Bartlett and Minister of Culture, Olivia Grange at the launch of Reggae Month in Jamaica.
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The shortest month of the year bears a plethora of significance.

With only 28 days on the calendar Valentine Day and Presidents Day are probably the most commercially celebrated here.

However, to at least two ethnic groups, February presents an opportunity to flaunt pride and cultural heritage.

This year China, the most populous nation on the planet will revel for 23 days from Feb. 5 to mark the Lunar New Year.

Those on the Asian continent and millions abroad will regale the year of the pig.

In addition, the legacy of Africans who first arrived on ships in 1619 will be fully displayed, celebrated and honored with cultural acknowledgements dedicated to Black History Month. Since 1976, the year President Gerald Ford designated a month in tribute to African-Americans and the contributions they made in shaping the nation, each White House occupant has endorsed the practice now adopted in Ireland, Canada and the United Kingdom. Acknowledgement of significant contributors are often spotlighted and regaled on postage stamps and other national platforms. United States Postal Service will issue forever stamps this month honoring the artistic contributions of rhythm and blues singer Marvin Gaye as well that of Gregory Hinds, a multi-talented entertainer who excelled as dancer, singer, actor, choreographer.

Films, television, theatrical presentations, concerts, photographic exhibitions, radio broadcasts, dance showcases, sports events, symposium and numerous high-profile events will mark the historic and unprecedented survival success of a people who were shackled, stolen from their homeland and enslaved to work for free in order to make America great.

The first days of the month, AMC Theaters offered free screenings of the history-making “Black Panther” movie. Twice daily, at 4 and 7 p.m. the film which stars Chadwick Boseman as the Marvel comics super-hero theatres allow audiences to view Disney Pictures’ groundbreaking big-screen film which showcases a high-tech African nation called Wakanda. Participating theaters in each borough are honoring free, reserved tickets accessed at weticketit.com/blackpanther

In Jamaica, the entire month of February is also dedicated to the home-grown genre of music the world acclaims as reggae. Concerts, pageantry and awards are already dominating private and government-sponsored events and will also laud two sons of the soil who excelled promoting the music.

Regarded as reggae royalty, Dennis Brown and Robert Nesta Marley were born Feb. 1 and Feb. 6 respectively and during their lifetime were internationally known as the Crown Prince and King of Reggae.

On the first day of the month, a floral-laying ceremony at Kingston’s National Heroes Park marked the 62nd birthday anniversary of the avowed Crown Prince. On that same day a street party ensued downtown Kingston along with the opening of a month-long exhibition on Reggae Music at the African Caribbean Institute of Jamaica. The Global Reggae Conference at the University of the West Indies, Mona is offering a series of weekly reggae films uptown at Emancipation Park in New Kingston. In addition, the JARIA Honor Awards and the Reggae Gold Reception and Awards Ceremony will honor 50 icons for their contribution to the reggae music of Jamaica.

Government ministers and celebrated entertainers are collaborating to make this 50th anniversary year of reggae, a momentous time-honored celebration.

In addition, to national and international commemorations, America’s super-sport captivated betters, fans and profiteers with the Super-Bowl. Controversial again due to the “take a knee” approach player Colin Kaepernick adopted during the singing/playing of the national anthem in order to protest the killing of Black men, the biggest sporting date invited r&b singer Gladys Knight to perform the protested music which allegedly is rooted in racism.

Activist Al Sharpton expressed outrage at the singer’s decision to accept the invitation saying that although he enjoys her music vehemently disagrees with her decision.

On his Sunday morning program here on Super Sunday he parodied her lyrics saying: “Neither one of us will be first to say goodbye.”

That the National Football League offered a kind of Olive branch adding Georgia Cong. John Lewis, Bernice King and Andrew Young to the guest list — and images of Cardi B in commercials may have diluted the controversy.

In any case, it’s now history that the New England Patriots are six-time champions of the Lombardi trophy and victorious over the Rams by a 13-3 margin.

The Patriots’ win might have eased some agitation the president might have endured when Congress denied building the wall he promised Mexico would pay for. After a long feud with the Democrats and a month-long shutdown of government operations, President Donald Trump conceded in order to deliver a State of the Union message to the nation.

Nancy Pelosi, the speaker of the House stood her ground by denying him access to the historic site the SOTU has traditionally been delivered. She defiantly maintained that unless the government reopened, the no access stance would prevail.

Ultimately the Democrat won bragging rights and the concession immediately decided the first Tuesday in February as the date in 2019 America will receive the leader’s report.

Sunday, The Grammy Awards will regale the biggest achievers in the music industry with a red-carpet reception and a global television presentation of trophies lauding winners in 84 categories. Hosted by Alicia Keyes, this year’s standout achievers include Drake and Kendrick Lamarr with the most nominations.

Jamaicans and reggae music lovers are betting on a win for Protoje for his fourth album. The 37-year-old accomplished much last year touring with Lauryn Hill. However, in order to triumph in the best reggae album category and surpass his first-time nomination he will have to beat first time Grammy winners Black Uhuru, seven-time and all-time most achieving Grammy winner Ziggy Marley, Etana, the fourth female reggae nominee who strives to be first female winner (over Judy Mowatt, Rita Marley, Sister Carol) and the much-hyped pop-infused Sting/ Shaggy collaboration titled “44/876.”

Check out the 61st annual at 8 pm. on CBS-TV on Feb. 10.

The last week of the month will feature the anticipated 91st Academy Awards on Feb. 24.

From the Staples Center in California, black-tie audiences are anticipating who will win the best picture category.

“The Black Panther” is among the voted few and already a winner as the first-ever comic book character to be nominated.

Director Spike Lee jumped for joy when his name was announced as a finalist among the 24 top winners vying for Oscar gold. In his storied film career this year’s presentation marks the first time Lee has been nominated in the best director category.

Catch You On The Inside!

Posted 12:00 am, February 5, 2019
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