My pick of the Jamaican artists whose music brought a smile to my face in 2014 – Barbara Makeda Blake-Hannah.

no-maddz-shotta-750x750Top of my list is NOMADDZ, a unique group of which there is no comparison or precedence. A mix of dub poets, performance artists and reggae singers whose music is a fusion of sounds and whose lyrics are always thought-provoking, each is talented in their own right. We haven’t heard from them in a while since they dropped “Breadfruit is The New Bread”, though we’ve been watching some excellent acting performances from Everaldo Creary and Sheldon Shepherd in the Jamaican movie “Betta Must Come”. Now NOMADDZ has teamed up with Sly & Robbie to produce a new album that displays their many versatile talents excellently and will probably earn lots of accolades in 2015.  “(Watch NOMADDZ – ‘Shotta’)  

IMG-20141222-03059stephen newlandROOTS UNDERGROUND and RAGING FIYA are reggae bands in the lineage of Third World and Steel Pulse that command a stage in their own right, not merely as backing artists to a major act. A recent double-bill in Kingston over Christmas confirmed the musical excellence of both bands that has seen them each booked for the major music festivals in 2014 and to come in 2015.  STEPHEN NEWLAND, lead singer of Roots Underground, is an electric performer who brings further dynamism to the group’s rootical music, while Raging Fiya – though only a few years old – show a cohesion and professionalism that makes their performances good to watch, listen and dance to.

kelissaKELISSA McDonald stands out from the upcoming female musical flowers that include JAH9, , HEMPRESS SATIVA, CEN’C LOVE and newcomer NEO-SULAN SMITH with a series of dynamic performances at home and abroad. A powerful solo show before Christmas gave insight that she holds her own as a performer on the recent international tour with Chronixx, and it is clear that her few single hits will surely increase in 2015. Often keeping her company is her brother KEZNAMDI, whose 2014 songs “Darkness” featuring Kabaka Pyramid and “Weekend” showed that he is a talent in his own right. (Watch ‘WINNA’ ft. Chronixx )

jesse royal
and KABAKA PYRAMID all came to attention at the start of the ‘Reggae Revival’ movement, almost indistinguishable from each other. But each has carved out a space as a solo artist in 2014, distinguished by a hit that has given them greater visibility and enabled them to stand out from each other.  Each can be proud of their increased popularity and tour dates in 2014, following hard on the heels of CHRONIXX and PROTOJE, who still hold the top spots among the ‘Reggae Revival’ crowd.  WATCH 
DRE ISLAND – ‘Rastafari Way’: 

exile di brave

dexta malawiEXILE DI BRAVE and DEXTA MALAWI are a new breed of roots artists who have developed an identity while hosting music events that feature them and their group of artist friends. Exile Di Brave‘s ‘Vinyl Thursdays‘ revived interest in vinyl disc sessions and gave a few up-coming artists a weekly chance to dub live. Dexta Malawi launched his catchy hit song and video “Woke Up This Morning” with a Boxing Day 2013 party at popular Afrocentric restaurant Veggie Meals On Wheels that took the song on its global journey. Both artists have toured Europe in 2014 and are set to continue in 2015.  WATCH “Woke Up This Morning’ Dexta Malawi 


NEW REGGAE GENERATION – In late 2013 three friends ARSEENAL D’ARTILLARY, IYAH GIFT and MAKONNEN BLAKE-HANNA who have been working as solo artists on their own careers, united in a musical fraternity to perform as the N.R.G. – the NEW REGGAE GENERATION. The unusual trio who sing together, back each other up and mix it up in a combination of roots reggae, hip-hop and dub, received special attention for their performances at a growing number of 2014 events, including the popular ‘Kingston Dub Club’ Sunday night session, Bob Marley Museum’s ‘One Love Fridays’ and the ‘Pay Attention’ hip-hop sessions.

iyah gift albumRSEENAL ALBUMWhile accepting the growing recognition of N.R.G., each artist continues to work on his individual career with positive results that will increase in 2015. Solo albums were released by IYAH GIFT and RSEENAL in 2014, soon to be joined by MAKONNEN in 2015. IYAH GIFT brings a touch of his African parental roots to his music, (LISTEN HERE) while RSEENAL‘s album ‘A Luta Continua – Vitoria e Cierta” (LISTEN HERE:) reflects his position as a committed revolutionary, whose bullets are his rapid-fire lyrics.

rockers revolution coverMAKONNEN,  a ‘tech genius’ whose early musical years were spent as composer/producer of a number of artists and hits, took on the added musical role of artist in 2013 and came to attention with the popular airplay of his first single “Red Eye”.  Makonnen’s Soundcloud page (LISTEN HERE) features several tracks from his upcoming album ‘Rockers Revoution‘. Dermot Hussey, musicologist and host of “RIFFIN” online radio show, says of Makonnen: “What I like about Mak’s music, is the creative elements he produces. His work is very focused, and he makes use of a wider sonic choice, his beats underscore that as a young brother he marches to a larger sound. There is a lot of talent in Jamaica, but an equally repetitive factor, a kind of mono culture, the same thing over and over, or one thing at a time, but as a young man, he understands the generational shift, because he’s a part of it, and understands that it relates to a bigger picture.”

STARS OF 2015  – These are the Jamaican artists whose performances and music I will be looking out for in 2015. Wishing them all the BEST for the New Year.


Kelissa Live on Reggae Mountain


IMG-20141213-02947The heavy rains all afternoon cooled the temperature at Reggae Mountain, that section of Jacks Hill overlooking the lights of Kingston that is home to the popular Sunday night Kingston Dub Club sessions, and was once home to Bob Marley and his family. It’s also home to the McDonald family, whose elders Errol and Kerida formed their signature group Chakula in 1955 while raising three children who have grown up to make their mark in the entertainment industry. Daughter Kamila is a TV celebrity married to reggae artist Jah Cure, and son Keznamdi is a solo artist.

Kamila with Nomaddz
Kamila with Nomaddz

But it was daughter Kelissa who packed the beautiful venue on Saturday December 13 to deliver a professional one-and-a-half-hour show that had the happy crowd, wrapped in warm sweaters and hoodies, hooting and hollering for her hit songs that were clearly well known by those who came to listen. Introduced by her sister Kamila, Kelissa welcomed the audience by telling them she had come to ‘teach’ and they were her ‘students’. Indeed she did just that, interspersing her music with comments about life, women, music and the art of survival for today’s revolutionary reggae warriors.

Natural High Music

With the showcase already warmed up from early evening by the musicial selections of Natural High Music, and backed by her 5-piece band Ambessadors who showed a professionalism made even greater by their obvious youthfulness, Kelisssa took complete charge of the stage and the evening to give a taste of how she adds strength to reggae superstar Chronixx‘s show when she is on tour with him, as she often is.

Kelissa, Kabaka Pyramid & Dre Island

Chronixx was away performing in Australia, but Kelissa was not without strong company as Jesse Royal, Dre Island, Kabaka Pyramid, Young J.R. and her brother Keznamdi were some of the artists present who came on stage to embellish her show and delight the audience with a short performance of their own. A unique feature of the show was the agile tap dancer Samantha who amazed the audience with steps and style to accompany the reggae rhythms – something new that added to the special-ness of the show.

IMG-20141213-02949Kelissa is an unusual artist, a talented guitarist and song-writer who rides the rhythms with confidence and style, blending easily with her well-drilled band and her backing singers to deliver a performance that deserves the admiration and attention she receives at home and abroad. Kelissa’s infectious smile, frequent laugh and commanding personality endeared her to all present, who greeted her hit songs “Babylon is Burning” and “Winna” with hoots and hollers, singing along all the way. She also performed new songs “Best Kept Secret” on a Natural High riddim, and closed the show with “Live for Today” produced by  Walshy Fire from Major Lazer.

Father Errol McDonald, watching from the sidelines, must surely have been proud to see the great talent his musical parenting has nurtured. The show venue he has built as part of their hillside home is a professional space under the stars and with such facilities at their disposal, the professional result is not surprising. As the night ended and patrons started hugging farewell, the McDonald patriarch can rest assured that the musical baton has been securely passed to the second generation and, from all indications, will be to the next. Reggae lives on!

Donisha      IMG-20141214-02974       Jesse Royal with Makonnen       IMG-20141214-02979IMG-20141214-02975

PHOTOS: Donisha Prendergast, Dexta Malawi, Makonnen & Jesse Royal, Keznamdi, Monique.

(c) Barbara Makeda Blake Hannah

GIMME LIKKLE BASS – The Dub & Rockers Revival


Dub Club

dub station

It is now easy to enjoy a musical night out every night of the week in Kingston. I don’t mean stage shows with reggae and dancehall stars, or high-priced performances at exclusive night clubs – they happen too infrequently, and at a cost not always within reach of music fans’ pockets.

I refer to the rising popularity of a new breed of free, open-air music events featuring sound systems playing Dub & Rockers – a genre of music with heavy emphasis on drum and bass that was popular in the late 60s and early 70s, when Jamaica’s reggae made the world get ‘irie’. Some of the featured artists of that era include Lee ‘Scratch’ Perry, Augustos Pablo, Jah Shaka, Bunny Brown, King Tubbys, Black Uhuru, Mikey Dread and many others whose music filled   the dance floors of that era one generation ago.

wednesdays       By the time the Monday Blues have worn off and the work desk has cleared somewhat by Tuesday, you can begin your musical nights on Wednesdays at DUBWISE, a session held at the popular Whitebones fish restaurant on Constant Spring Road, where plates of steamed fish and curried lobster are as much a part of the night’s fun as the steady pounding of Dub Music.

viinyl thursdays       On Thursday nights the adventurous venture into Tavern, a small community nestled on the banks of the Hope River just above Papine. There, popular artist and DJ Exile Di Brave hosts VINYL THURSDAYS, a session of exclusively vinyl platters dating back to reggae’s 70s and 80s. With the lights of the riverside community as a twinkling backdrop and a cool breeze blowing through the ackee trees, the event is a favourite stop for Rastas of all ages, both from the Tavern community and visitors, such as a Japanese group led by ISHI whose selection and Patois rap are pure Jamaican roots.

On Friday nights you can stop by veteran guitarist Earl ‘Chinna’ Smith’s INNA DI YARD, where the dub is live with any number of musicians and artists stopping by to lend their arts to the session.  On the same night DUB SCHOOL is in session at Veggie Meals On Wheels, the city’s leading Ital restaurant nestled in a corner of Regal Plaza, Cross Roads. VMOW has its own faithful group of supporters who regularly patronize the restaurant, so irie friends are always around to nice up the vibe.

Rseenal, Jahson, Makonnen, Iyah-Gift
mikey general1
Original Mikey General

Definitely spend Saturdays at ROCKERS REVALUTION, that takes place outside Kairo Soul Wholesale at Mary Browns Corner, Constant Spring Road. There reggae artist Rseenal D’Artillery and his partner Marianita Sakiya turn their shop into a music venue every Saturday with dub music and live performances by a roster of upcoming artists such as members of his performing group New Reggae Generation (N.R.G.) Makonnen and Iyah Gift. Producers Jordan Armond and Blaise Davis bring their original Natural High Music dubs to the night, while Supa Nova Sound provides the music backing for the performing artists, who have included Original Mikey Dread, JahsonDexta Malawi and Exile Di Brave. Kairo Soul Wholesale does a regular and brisk business inside the shop while patrons at the club and restaurant in the plaza sit outside and enjoy the evening’s music and performances.

Gabre Selassie

The ‘Pappa’ of the nightly dub music sessions is Sunday night’s DUB CLUB, hosted by Ras Gabre Selassie at his beautifully decorated venue high up in the Jacks Hills overlooking the lights of Kingston spread out below. Every Sunday night the road is lined with parked cars and the venue packed with the beautiful and irie Kingston bright set, as well as visiting reggae fans from around the world. It’s at Dub Club that you will bump into the new popular young artists like Chronixx or Jesse Royal, relaxing from their summer tour dates with friends they knew before they became world famous.

Chronixx & Kelissa

The return to Dub & Rockers music is a recent trend, that highlights one of the many evolutions Jamaican music has undergone since it’s beginning. Asked to explain the popularity of Dub & Rockers, none of the artists involved have an answer. “Just time,” said one. “It’s original and people always like the original,” said another. But another explains: “Rockers was part of the original sound system culture that helped to create and solidify the sound system culture of Jamaica. It was never gone, it never died in Europe. It’s just that the need for conscious music has grown stronger and conscious people want somewhere to go out at night too.”

IMG-20140620-01786IMG-20140712-02010       Meanwhile, patrons say they ‘love the vibe’ of the Dub & Rockers sessions that offer natural juices, ital food and soy ice-cream refreshments, hand-made craft items like the coconut shell jewelry by Trench Town Cultural Yard or the fashions by Zion Ites. It’s a welcome peaceful vibe, with the sound systems, artists and patrons supporting each other’s events. Pick your night to enjoy some Dub & Rockers, old school style.


Reggae Film Festival 2013 AWARDS

Awards in the 2013 JAMAICA INTERNATIONAL REGGAE FILM FESTIVAL presented August 5 at Island Village, Ocho Rios.
born in trenchtown poster (2)DOCUMENTARY:’BORN IN TRENCHTOWN’ (USA); DIR: Greg Pond.
DIR: Judith Faloon-Reid, BarriVision Productions

Patrice J. 052 green jacket grin
Patrice Johnson

INT. FEATURE FILM: ‘HILL & GULLY‘ (USA); DIR: Patrice Johnson.God-&-all-o-we Productions
Keeper Of Zion GateCulture promo


Nat Dub
Natural Dub

MUSIC VIDEO: ‘MYSTICA – (COSTA RICA); Natural Dub – Costa Rica


CINE JAMAICA – ‘THE CROFT – (JA); DIR: Wayne Benjamin, Fabrikated Projex
ANIMATION: ‘‘TEAM X’ (JA); DIR: Stephen Williamson (JA)
Madge Sinclair Award

stranded n Dangriga
Stranded In Dangriga


nomaddz-rise above profanity
Rise Above Profanity



JAMAICAN TRAVELOGUE:  JTB AWARD Inspiring appreciation for the beauty and people of Jamaica.  ‘JAMAICA THROUGH THE EYES OF CARL BRADSHAW’; DIR: George Tait, Guerilla Film International (CAN/JA)

team X
‘TEAM X’ – DIR: Stephen Williamson

ONE LOVE AWARD:  Films that promote the RFF objective to inspire World Peace.          ‘THE COTTON HOUSE‘; DIR: Russ Brandon (USA)

YOUNG FILM MAKER AWARD: Stephen ‘BigBomb’ Williamson. For excellence in both Film and Animation.

Special Thanks to the RFF Technical Team: BariVision Productions,, Peter Chung, Tina True and Makonnen Blake Hanna, with support by  Delroy Morgan – Island Village, Sugashak Records, Orange Hill Records & Jamaica Tourist Board.

Media Launch Screens Trailers



Trailers of documentaries and feature films entered in the Jamaica International REGGAE FILM FESTIVAL were shown to media and guests attending the Media Launch on Wednesday, July 17.  Held in the Cove Cinema, the Launch was introduced by Festival Director Barbara Blake Hannah, who expressed her delight at the large number of films that celebrate Jamaica’s music culture in various ways and said it was the keen interest of film makers around the world, that pressured her each year to continue efforts to present the event once again.

Claudja Barry
Claudja Barry

Celebrating the large number of film makers paying their own expenses to present their films in person, Mrs. Hannah said she was especially pleased to welcome film makers of Jamaican descent working abroad as well as members of the Jamaican film community with films in the CINE JAMAICA category. She introduced to the media Claudja Barry, well-known Canada-based singer and actress, whose documentary “Losing Paradise & Music” is an entry, and international blogger and YouTube viral sensation Carla Moore who will participate in the RFF seminar on Acting.

ISLAND COFFEES sponsor Jonathan Surtees

Giving thanks to Sponsors Island Village, IRIE-FM, Marley Coffee, Jamaica Tourist Board, Knutsford Express, HYPE-TV, Island Coffees and Ocho Rios resort hotels Mysic Mountain, Shaw Park Beach Club and Sunset Jamaica Grande, Mrs. Hannah said she was grateful for all the help that has been given from many sources that has ensured that this year’s Reggae Film Festival will be the best ever.

The JAMAICA INTERNATIONAL REGGAE FILM FESTIVAL takes place August 1-5 at Island Village Entertainment & Shopping Mall, Ocho Rios.


new posterThe Jamaica International REGGAE FILM FESTIVAL taking place August 1-5 at Island Village, Ocho Rios will present a five-night programme of films that celebrate Jamaica’s music culture. Films by Jamaican-based film makers include the first Jamaican horror film ‘THE CROFT’ by director Wayne Benjamin, and the gospel feature ‘JUST ANOTHER FRDAY’ by author/director Judith Faloon-Reid, films in the new animation genre including ‘THE LOGO DESIGNER’ by Stephen ‘Bigbomb” Williamson and a special showcase documentary about dancehall ‘LOSING PARADISE & MUSIC’ by Claudja Barry of the internationally famous group BoneyM.

Hll & Gully 1Dear Jesus PosterThis year films by Jamaicans abroad dominate the programme, beginning with the new feature ‘HILL & GULLY’, written directed and acted by US-based Patrice Johnson, whose love story is set in the New York Jamaican community of Brooklyn. Roy Anderson, Hollywood stunt man, goes in search of his Maroon roots in the documentary ‘AKWANTUU’, while 24-year-old Danielle Scott-Haughton presents ‘DEAR JESUS’, a Black-British TV comedy series set in her Jamaican family’s London neighbourhood. All three directors will be coming to Jamaica to present their films. Jamaican-born director Sharon LaCruise’s documentary on ‘DAISY BATES: FIRST LADY OF LITTLE ROCK’ who led the historic integration of Arkansas schools, is also among the feature documentaries, in a year when the Reggae Film Festival honours Jamaican Women in Film.

land of look behind poster

Which is Witch?
Which is Witch?

UK-based Reggae singer J.C. Lodge and husband Errol O’Meally have arranged for the RFF to screen an episode of the new British teenage TV series ‘WHICH IS WITCH?’ shot in 3D and 2d which co-stars their daughter Gia. ‘ONE LIFE’ the first film from Austria, is a short feature that gives a look at Vienna’s Rasta reggae music culture, while the first film from Israel – the reggae documentary ‘KEEPER OF ZION GATE’ about a visit to Israel by Joe ‘Culture’ Hill — is one of several reggae documentaries including the World Premiere of “TRUE BORN AFRICAN – The Story of Winston ‘Flames’ Jarrett” by US director Nic Nakis, BORN IN TRENCHTOWN – the film that looks at that crucible of Jamaican music from its architectural foundations, and THE LAND OF LOOK BEHIND a famous early documentary on Jamaica and reggae whose excellence has been endorsed by noted German film maker Werner Herzog. Other international films include a new documentary from France on Usain Bolt, THE FASTEST MAN IN THE WORLD.

stranded n Dangriga
Stranded in Dangriga

A surprise short feature from the USA is ‘THE COTTON HOUSE‘, that turns racism on its head, while the feature ‘STRANDED IN DANGRIGA’ from Belize tells a funny story about what happens when a man tries to impress a visiting DJ and nearly loses his wfe. Mildly X-rated, this film is scheduled for the Midnight Movies programme on Saturday, August 3.

Sure to please young fans is nomaddz-rise above profanityRISE ABOVE PROFANITY‘ the documentary on accoustic group Nomaddz, while reggae historians will enjoy ‘LIVE WIRE’ – a TV film on the early dancehall scene of 1992 that praises and presents Super Cat,Ninja Man and Shabba Ranks, with some very enlightened comments by Cindy Breakspeare.  Other aspects of this year’s Reggae Film Festival include Seminars on Acting, Animation and Marketing; the launch of the JIRFF 2014 Script-Writing Competition, a Sunday book fair and the Awards Night August 5.

The Jamaica International Reggae Film Festival is endorsed by EUROCHANNEL, IRIE-FM, Marley Coffee, ISLAND COFFEES and the Jamaica Tourist Board.

For more details: * Facebook: Reggae Film Festival *

new banner

Marley Coffee sponsors Reggae Film Festival Awards

MarleyCoffee_Logo_sized_jpg_280x280_crop_q95MARLEY COFFEE SPONSORS AWARDS

Marley Coffee, the Blue Mountain coffee company headed by Bob Marley’s son Rohan, will sponsor the Jamaica International Reggae Film Festival Awards that will be presented to winners in 20 categories at an Awards Ceremony on August 5. The Awards, designed by Scheed Cole and first presented in 2012, are fashioned as a golden film reel standing on an inscribed wooden base.

awardAwards will be presented for Best Jamaican and international features, shorts and documentaries, as well as several CINE JAMAICA awards for shorts, short features, animation and music videos.


An international committee of film professionals has been invited to judge the Reggae Film Festival entries. Bruno Chatelin, Editor/ CEO of leading film magazine Films & Filming (France); Cordel Green, Chair – Jamaica Broadcasting Commission; Rhona Fox, Actress & CEO – FoxFuse Artist Management company(USA); Michelle Geister, Canadian/Jamaican TV producer & film maker; Craig Phang Sang, Owner-Operator, Advitek Systems.


APRIL  18, 2013

island village


Plans are going well for the staging of the 6th Reggae Film Festival at Island Village, Ocho Rios during Independence Week, August 1-5.   Manager Delroy Morgan says Island Village is pulling out all the stops to ensure the success of the event, to which he personally brings his experience of 3  years as a Sundance Film Festival volunteer.

Seats will be set on the Island Village central lawn under the statue of Bob Marley, facing a large screen onstage under the classic bamboo roof. Each night a programme of Festival feature films, shorts, documentaries and music videos will be shown.  In between screenings, live reggae performances will entertain audiences, who will have a chance to vote on the Best Music Video.

Premium screenings will also take place nightly in the Cove Cinema in the Village, which will host the Film Festival Gala Opening Reception. The Reggae Film Festival ends August 5 with the presentation of Awards and award-winning films.

In the daytime, Reggae Film Festival activities will include the midday start on Saturday August 3 of the Make A Film In 24 Hours Competition, which ends the following day.  The Film Festival Seminar will take place on Sunday afternoon on the topic: “Film: The Business of the Show”.


rhona-fox-02bokeem woodbineAmong the VIP Guests who have already confirmed their presence are US actor BOKEEM WOODBINE, star of “Total Recall” and “Dead Presidents” who visited Jamaica recently scouting locations for a new feature film.  Also coming is GuyaneseAmerican actress RHONA FOX who heads her own successful music promotion and management company, FoxFuze whose clients have included reggae star Shaggy.  Both will be among the judges of the Festival films, as will BRUNO CHATELIN, Chief Operating Officer of the respected website and magazine, who is also  a Board Member of the European Film Academy, Member of Cesar, and Advisory Member IFFS.


theskin poster Keeper Of Zion GateCulture promoAmong the films to be screened are six feature films, including the first from Austria, as well as the first from Antigua — “The Skin” starring Jamaica’s Carl Bradshaw.  Reggae documentaries include the first from Israel, ‘Keeper of Zion Gate‘ about Joe ‘Culture’ Hill‘s Peace mission to that country, and a rare view at “The Land of Look Behind‘, a vintage documentary about Rasta and reggae by noted German film maker Werner Herzog.  International documentaries include ’16 Acres‘ a US film in its Jamaican and Caribbean premiere about the struggle to build a suitable tribute to 9/11 at the World Trade Center, a documentary on Nigerian novelist Chinua Achebe and a special look at Jamaican sprint legend Usain Bolt.

Films by Jamaican film makers will be screened on CINE JAMAICA night, Friday August 2 and will include several animated films, shorts and ‘The Croft’  a new feature film by Wayne Benjamin. CINE JAMAICA films will form a special night’s programme at the upcoming Portobello Film Festival in London

Awards in several categories will be presented on Tuesday, August 5 at a Gala Ceremony at which a leading Jamaican reggae star will be the guest performer.  An After Party will bring the curtains down on another Jamaica International REGGAE FILM FESTIVAL.



I am privileged to be a member of a very select private group on Facebook, where Ethiopians descendants of the royal family of Emperor Haile Selassie and his closest advisors and executives now living in exile exchange photographs, history and memorabilia about His Imperial Majesty and the history of modern Ethiopia.

One of the most beautiful and interesting stories shared on the page is the story of the Gold Purse, a pure gold ladies evening handbag carved with a filigree pattern and carried on a gold chain. The purse first came to our attention in a post which informed that it was going to be sold by a major auction house. Auctions of Ethiopian treasures, especially gold objects and medals, take place often much to the sorrow of the Ethiopians in this group, for whom these were not only works of art, but pieces of history. The massacres of the Emperor, the Royal family and his closest advisors by the Marxist leaders of the Derg revolution scattered those relatives who escaped, and who now live in exile unable to do much to salvage the treasures of an era.

The group’s founder and administrator Abbe Fekade brought good news that the Gold Purse was withdrawn from the auction, but the curiosity that was sparked by the immensely beautiful object led to interesting revelations from other members.

Pres. Lyndon Johnson Reception

Edward L. Buddy King: Gifts to be presented at State Dinner in honor of HIM visit to USA. Notice the gifts, most likely jewelery work done by Solomon Kibriye’s father…

Hannah A….. It’s that stunning gold purse again!

Barbara Blake Hannah: Wow, that gold purse it’s beautiful! Where is it now?

Jackie Kennedy with Gold Purse & Leopard coat


I learned that the gold purse was a gift from H.I.M. To First Lady Jacqueline Kennedy on the Emperor’s first State Visit to the USA. He also gave her a full length leopard coat, and gave carved ivory toys to John John Jr and Caroline.

Emperor Haile Selassie I gives a carved ivory warrior to John John

What then happened to the Gold Purse?

Edward L. Buddy King: Mrs.Kenndey did not turn the purse into the government as required for all foreign gifts. Several months ago it was due to go to auction by members of her family?

Barbara Blake Hannah: So who owns it now? Presumably it was sold after she died.

Bro Adam Simeon: It was in this exhibit:

Notable – and notorious – women of the 20th century

    • Eight years ago, former magazine editor Judith Price launched the National Jewelry Institute in New York to preserve and exhibit fine jewellery. Against the backdrop of New York fashion week, she is opening her 16th jewellery exhibition, Notorious & Notable: 20th-Century Women of Style. Here she describes the curating process.

                    “To stage the show, it was necessary to tell the story of women who made their mark– whether notorious or notable.

                 “We began by making a list of women, those from café society, the art crowd, fashionistas and celebrities, using old newspapers, books and magazines for research. Collaborating with the Museum of the City of New York, we used 50 dresses and 40 pieces of jewellery from 80 such women.

The yellow gold handbag Haile Selassie gave to Jackie Kennedy

Among them would be the Duchess of Windsor in Christian Dior haute couture, Lauren Bacall in her Tissue of Diamonds gown, Lena Horne in blue silk Giorgio St Angelo, and Babe Paley in Valentino – as well as writers/collectors Amy Fine Collins and Barbara Taylor Bradford – all placed next to vitrines containing accessories, such as the yellow gold handbag Haile Selassie gave to Jackie Kennedy and the bling bracelet of Joan Crawford.


My Ethiopian group friends enlightened me further. This was not the only Gold Purse given by H.I.M. Solomon Kibriye the son of the goldsmith who crafted this and other treasures, is a member of our group.

Solomon Kibriye: About the purse, my father made several evening bags of various designs that were given as gifts by H.I.M.

Edward L. Buddy King: ‎Solomon, that explains why this gold purse is on the display at the State Dinner for HIM given by President Johnson….both your father and Grandfather did excellent work.

So where is the golden purse now? It is quite the most beautiful handbag ever made. Not a single red carpet diva has anything like this!

Without an answer, I can only end with a photo of Jackie O’s face when she met His Imperial Majesty. I can see why she is so happy!!!



C0mposer/Producer Makonnen Blake Hanna, returned December 1 from a 3 month stay in Toronto, Canada where he signed with EZ Mak Records, founded by well-known Trini-Canadian artist Kamakaze. Makonnen worked as production manager and in-house producer for artists on the label, including tracks for a new album and mix tape for Canadian rapper QUANCHE, just signed to EZ Mak Records and heralded as ‘the next big thing to Drake” in the North American music market.

The EZ Mak Record label has just negotiated a distribution deal with Universal Records, Canada and plans for the launch of the artist and album in 2012 are being manged by Universal Records Canada which also handles noted rapper Drake. This signing comes in the vein of previous label deals such as Cash Money Records and Rick Ross Mayback Music Group, which were all independent entities before signing with major music companies.



Makonnen arrived in Toronto for the Red Carpet launch of the studio on September 17, held at the Kelly Rowland After party celebrating the end of her ‘Motivation’ tour. While in Toronto, Makonnen got to work closely with and do a remix for rising Ethiopian-Canadian star The Weekend, recorded with a number of EZ MAK artists including Soca-Dancehall artist Study Rider, Neza The Songbird – an African-Canadian singer, crossover singer SamC and had the privelege of having the rap legend Raekwon of Wu-Tang Clan record some tracks on his riddims during an extended visit to the EZ MAK Studio.

Makonnen, US actor Bokeem Woodbine, EZ MAK CEO Kamakaze

The direct links with Universal Records management provides connections for distribution and promotion of the Jamaican artists Makonnen works with and opportunities to cross over to the North American market. EZ MAK Records includes the already-established film division that will see developments including the use of Jamaica as locations for feature films and videos

In January 2012 Makonnen joins the EZ MAK Records booth at MIDEM, the major international music gathering in Cannes, France.


Since 2001 Makonnen has helped to bring hits to such artists as Capelton (“Pain”), Andrew & Wadda Blood (‘Money Print”), Teflon (“Jailhouse Rock’), Vybz Kartel (“Tenth Stage of Evil’) and more recently Keke-I (“Go Round Dem”, “Tivoli Worries”) . He has also participated in starting the careers of several artists including Aidonia, Turbalance, Droop Lion and Abdel Wright.

Fujy De Konero

Makonnen has recently been producing tracks for Sugashak Records solar-powered studio in Mango Valley, St. Mary, where the singles he produced for artist Keke-I have cemented the artist’s name and further proved him as one to watch in 2012. The roster of MultiCast artists extends to Africa, with the signing of Ghana artist Fujy De Konero, whose first single “Queen of the Night” will be an early 2012 release. Upcoming Jamaican reggaeton artist DonRico, a co-founder of MultiCast Entertainment whose single and video “Dally Mammy” is enjoying some popularity, has welcomed the opportunities generated by the company’s expanded business connections.