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Shaggy and Friends serves healthy desserts to Jamaica's children

Shaggy and Friends serves healthy desserts to Jamaica's children

Shaggy and Friends serves healthy desserts to Jamaica's children

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A comprehensive overview of Shaggy's recent week in Jamaica.

Grammy Awards winner Orville Burrell, better known as Shaggy, gets it about the arts. He not only understands the culture of love, but he also envisions the creative force behind Jamaica’s culture.

In the first weeks of January alone, he involved himself in focusing on the betterment and development of Jamaica’s children through the visual and performing arts. First off was a highly successful concert titled Shaggy and Friends: 1 ticket=1life: I dare you which raised J$27million for local Bustamante Children’s Hospital.

During the week, the book titled “Shaggy and the Reggae Band”, brainchild of Jana Bent, was launched at the Kingston and Saint Andrew Parish Library. Shaggy plays the book’s title role, with as much passion as headlining the concert he executed for January 3.

All for the betterment and development in health, mind and cultural awareness of Jamaica’s children, employing the visual and performing arts.

On the night of the concert, the décor done by Jacqui Tyson gave a warm embrace to patrons as they arrived, while over 100 Scotiabank volunteers scurried around to make everyone feel welcomed and appreciated for being there.

Then, aside from the sumptuous food finely spread everywhere, there were the special gifts from the sponsors to further define the royal treatment for guests. Chocolate Dreams had a warm chocolate fountain, at which guests repeatedly dipped mini doughnuts and marshmallows. Mint chocolate squares, all imprinted with the Shaggy concert logo, were given away to selected guests.

Platinum guests had their fill , and the participating artistes were given pieces measuring approximately 2 by 3 inches packaged in golden boxes and tied with gold ribbon.

The elegant moments which kept pace with the rhythm-based events, were equally enjoyed by everyone, regardless of the tickets they walked in with, as the entertainers united their hearts and souls to deliver an unforgettable package of impacting performances. Somewhere in everyone’s hearts, there were constant prodding to give to the cause of children, but with special emphasis on the Hospital.

Under the Platinum tent, while Platinum guests dined, there was an auction held just before the concert began. The visual artists although disconnected from the performers, lacking the opportunity to dress them, had rights with a few seizing the opportunity to donate pieces for charity. Three artworks garnered fair contributions towards the auction’s netted J$1.5 million of the total J$27million raised for the hospital.

These were “Scotch bonnet”, a painting by Graham Davis (sold at $400,000), a necklace by Bijoux (sold at $50,000) and a vine sculptor interpretation of Usain Bolt.

Then there were no more distractions.

All were focused on the main stage to witness the completion of the night’s miracle.

The concert’s preliminaries included the performance of the National Anthem, by a combined mass choir, in which 2 children, ages 6-13, from Payneland sang in Hands across Jamaica teeshirts. Prayers were offered by Ryan Mark Reynolds, brother to Goddy Goddy, who was slated as one of the original performers.

Getting down to business at approximately 9:45p.m., Mr Boombastic himself appeared on stage to much applause.

Bringing their tithes in spectacular order were Dean Fraser, Shaggy, Tony Rebel, Tessane chin, Christopher Martin, Tarrus Riley, Sean Paul, Allison Hinds, Da’Ville, Marcia Griffiths, Freddie McGregor, Luciano, Etana, Morgan’s Heritage, Buju Banton, Macy Gray, Lady Saw, Elephant Man, Shaggy, Barrington Levy and then the grand finale with all the artistes. The surprise performance by Lady Saw with Shaggy will be an repeated chant on many lips for a long time to come, as much as the trot of Bolt on stage.

The more indelible visual marks were by the visual presentations of Etana, Luciano, Marcia Griffiths and of course the “big child” himself Shaggy, who obviously spent time on their presentations through their dress codes.

To further nail the points, several artistes paused during their delivery to discuss the cause at hand. Apart from Shaggy, others who travailed more for the children’s needs and kept the theme prominent were Lady Saw, Tony Rebel, Etana, Christopher Martin. These artistes obviously thought about their choice of songs and lyrics. Elephant Man’s rendition of “We are the world” revealed much about the humane side of the man who still proved to be the Energy God. Allison Hinds, the night’s Energy Goddess, teased more than the hearts of the men especially when she performed “Roll It Gal” in her black halter black and pants suit. They both were electrifying, but were no match for Shaggy who obviously thought his performance through from start to finish.

At one point the diamond-selling artiste would have wanted the praise for the night’s success to be passed unto someone else as he delivered “It Wasn’t Me”, but joined by Rik Rok he showed the “Bonafide” friend he could be to everyone, especially children

Towards the end of the night and just before the finale, he turned the spotlight to the women as he dedicated “You are my Angel” to caregivers and nurturers. His final segment included “Strength of a Woman”, after teaming with Macy Gray for “Thank You Lord” and at some point “Bad Man Don’t Cry” with Lady Saw who was a bubbly comfort of joy.

The performances were a dynamic package, as the artists pulled tears, cheers and laughter from the patrons. Nonetheless, hardly anyone sat throughout, and more even inching closer once the electrifying forces of the performers began pulling them.

The parental instincts of the entertainers were sharp, and they answered the roll call of Shaggy in daring to care for Jamaica’s children as much as the patrons took up the challenge to support the venture amidst worldwide recession.

Artistes like Goddy Goddy, Omari, Tami Chynn (Tessane Chin’s sister) and Beenie Man were proud to support the venture although not actually performing. Tami shared her desire to see more artistes taking better responsibility in dress and lyrics, although she left the primary responsibility to parents in putting everything in perspective.

Helping children is not new for Tony Rebel. In sharing thoughts with the media, he was quick to say that one cannot change people’s minds overnight, so entertainers should really focus on uplifting.

Christopher Martin took a serious look at the priveleges and pleasures that are not experienced by the Hospital’s children, and was grateful for the chance to participate.

For others such as Fancy Cat “It was a blessing to volunteer”, and for Nadine Willis “It meant a lot” just to be asked by Shaggy’s girlfriend to model during the auction.

On the other hand Milk who feels that children are among the very exploited reiterated Tami’s point about parents being more in control and entertainers realizing how much their music was a vehicle in delivering the right message.

Goddy Goddy’s only regret is that more gospel artistes had not caught the vision earlier, being the expected leaders in society as Christians. He was dropped from the list after unforeseen circumstances prevented him from attending rehearsals.

Both the Prime Minister, Bruce Golding and the Minister of Youth and Culture, Olivia “Babsy” Grange were ecstatic. Minister Grange reiterated that the performing and visual artists are playing a pivotal role in giving direction and influencing the minds of young people, “who are very very impressionable.” She expressed joy in observing Jamaicans are becoming more cultural in terms of lifestyle and verbal expression.

On the Wednesday which followed, the cultural awakening, at least of Jamaica’s new One Love anthem, continued.

Shaggy and all his friends were dutifully rewarded at the launch of book titled “Shaggy Parrot and the Reggae Band”. The book, brainchild of Jana Bent, is done for children 0-8 years.

John Mills All Age students sang “Clean It Up”, one of the tracks paying “nuff” respect to Shaggy, a just reward for his combined efforts through the concert and contribution to the book for Jamaica’s children on a whole. Swimpy, the singer, teaches children how much of an artist they can be when focused on what they want to be, and of course guided by experts.

A recent addition to Jamaica’s Early Childhood Curriculum Resource List, the book is

an effective tool for art in education and teaching through entertainment.

As main character Shaggy as Shaggy Parrot, leads a team of sea creatures, indegenious to Jamaica, in saving the popular waterfalls “Laughing Waters” from pollution.

The book offers visual, audio and literary lessons. These include about musical instruments, notes, Jamaica’s coastal scenes, harmony in nature, music and relationships, perseverance, respect. Dance moves are as limited as the limbs on the members of the Coral Line dance crew, but Trinidadian illustrator John Mendes manages to capture the “To The World” signal on one of the members.

The electrifying sounds of the CD’s music created by Jana’s brother, Rupert Bent 111 and incorporating other members of Sean Paul’s band, are enough inspiration for children to play, sing and dance along while learning.

Canadian Ambassador endorsed his Government’s support of “Edutainment” in Jamaica. “Edutainment is not new to the world and is a concept whereby children learn through fun education. He then threw out challenge for more similar products to be conceptualized noting that the possibilities in Jamaica are endless.

Mrs Marjorie Gaynor, manager of the Dudley Grant Childhood Resource Centre, reported at the launch that the book has so far been impacting at schools where it has been tested.

The week was about making money, lots of it, but no none had the chance of loving it too much to be evil. The monies collected were for the good of Jamaica, especially Jamaica’s children, the future of Jamaica.

Freddie McGregor is one participating artists who believes that “From here on, you’re gonna see a movement, to show all that we can as we have the power to do it.”” WE have to make a positive difference, and as a result of our contributions tonight(January 3) much will be accomplished if not started.”

While Toots independently gave money to the Hospital, internationally-known Squeeze has pledged US$6,000 to the Shaggy Foundation, as a result of Shaggy’s efforts.

The week’s earnings of J$27 million (US$337 000) has just barely dented the needs list amounting to US$2 million.

However among those to be thanked are the sponsors which include Wisynco, Coca Cola, The Gleaner Company, Air Jamaica, Scotiabank, Get Caught Media, The Stewarts’s, RJR, CVM, Wray and Nephew, Digicel, TVJ, SAgicor, Phoenix Printers, Atlas Protection, Jacqui Tyson from Thought to Finish, John Swaby Entertainment, The Creative House, L.P. Azar, Friction, Solid Entertainment , Hilton, Hype, Turn key Productions, Phase 3, Observer.

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