TEMPO Networks hosted an amazing line-up of entertainment and talent in the form of Caribbean Rocks NYC – TEMPO Turns 10 Anniversary Celebration on Sunday, June 5 at the legendary B.B. King’s Blues Club and Grill in Times Square, New York. The line-up was designed to honor the legacy of Caribbean music as a dominant cultural force worldwide and its importance in defining the Caribbean tourism product.
The exciting array of talent included the next generation of powerful Caribbean artists, music and entertainment, selected both to stimulate and energize the Caribbean diaspora and general market and cement the relationship between Caribbean entertainment and tourism. Caribbean Rocks NYC – TEMPO Turns 10, a combination of destination, talent showcase and awards ceremony was the crowning event in the annual week of activities comprising Caribbean Week NY 2016.
The event was presented by TEMPO Networks, in partnership with the Caribbean Tourism Organization (CTO), and sponsored by the beautiful Islands of the Bahamas, who took center stage as Platinum sponsor. Joining the Islands of the Bahamas were the islands of Barbados, Turks and Caicos and St. Kitts.
The Caribbean Rocks NYC – TEMPO Turns 10 talent line-up included Romain Virgo, R. City (“Rock City”), Cecile, Loyal Flames, Ziggy Ranking, Isaac Blackman, RKG, soca stars Kerwin Dubois and Shurwayne Winchester. The event also featured a very special performance by Caribbean music royalty, The Mighty Sparrow who was also honored with TEMPO’s very first Icon Award. The legendary calypsonian spoke about what the award meant to him. “It means that I am very lucky to be here in person to receive it than to be receiving it posthumously. Something like is, I have had in my mind for a long time. To be present here at TEMPO to receive it, you wouldn’t believe how happy I am.” Sparrow also gave sage advice to up and coming superstars who would aspire to achieve half of the success that he has in the business. “Well, what I think that they would have to do is get down on their knees and pray that they’re lucky enough to get an opportunity like this as I have been and if they are, give God all of the thanks.”
One of those superstar performers who had the honor of sharing the stage with Sparrow was Jamaica’s own Romain Virgo, specializing in the lovers rock style of reggae music. He spoke about the honor and excitement of performing at TEMPO’s tenth anniversary celebration. “Caribbean music is in my heart. I always look at the Caribbean as one people with one aim and we should always work together. So, when TEMPO puts on something like this and I get to share the stage with people like Mighty Sparrow, it really and truly is a blessing; I give thanks and praise for it.” He went on to speak further about TEMPO’s value in the Caribbean community. “TEMPO is celebrating 10 years and they have contributed to the Caribbean islands by helping us move forward and helping our voices to be heard by people inside and outside of the Caribbean.”
Another pillar of the Caribbean community honored at TEMPO turns 10 was the incomparable Dr. Una S.T. Clarke with the Pioneer Award. Dr. Clarke was accompanied by her daughter and equally prominent figure in the community, Congresswoman Yvette Clarke as well as other family members. Dr. Clarke spoke of the importance of recognition in the Caribbean community. “I believe it is very important that there is recognition on behalf of our community. I have given my best as a politician, an educator, and one who cares deeply about the Caribbean and its people. I believe in our unity is our strength. It is my hope that through events like TEMPO and through the promotion of CTO and everything else that we do as Caribbean people that we will get the recognition we deserve.”
Congresswoman Clarke, beaming with pride of her mother’s accomplishment added, “My entire family is just elated with this Pioneer Award that Dr. Clarke has received from TEMPO. We see her as a trailblazer, having brought voice and recognition to the Caribbean diaspora in the context of the African diaspora. I think that we are all fortunate that Dr. Clarke remains a vital part of our community and she is certainly a vital part of my family.”
Frederick Morton Jr., founder and CEO of TEMPO networks along with hostess for the evening, Sharon Gordon, founder and CEO of the Coalition to Preserve Reggae (CPR) spoke of the purpose, significance and impact that TEMPO is having in the Caribbean world. “The purpose of Tempo is to uplift the Caribbean people, elevate them; market and promote our destinations. The Caribbean is an amazing place filled with amazing people. So the purpose is to show the world what we have and with that, change the world for a better place,” said Morton. Gordon added, “It is significant that I am standing next to Frederick Morton Jr. as this tenth anniversary celebration closes out Caribbean week. It was 10 years ago that Frederick Morton Jr. launched TEMPO at the South Street Seaport.
“Many artists were there at Tempo’s launch including Machel Montano, Wyclef Jean as well as a young woman whose career would also be launched that night and who would go on to become a household name. Her name is Rihanna. TEMPO has gone on over the past 10 years to be a platform where Caribbean youth are seeing themselves in a positive light.” Morton ended by saying, “The impact of bringing something like TEMPO forward is that it empowers the Caribbean people; impact is already being felt. The artists and entertainers have a platform to showcase what they have to offer and we in the Caribbean community benefit from that. So, the impact is profound.”