The end of 2020 comes with a desire by most, to see and experience a New Year that’s far removed from what the last 10 months or so have delivered. It’s been a rough year, to say the least. COVID-19, along with US government elections, exhausted countless people around the world.
In Trinidad and Tobago, crime and an influx of Venezuelan migrants amid the Covid-19 pandemic and its accompanying restrictions, aggravated many. The feelings of Trinbagonians were aired on social media daily.
Internationally, Kobe Bryant’s sudden death and that of his daughter and 7 others aboard a helicopter, at the start of the year seemed surreal. Followed by the passing of Black Panther actor, Chadwick Boseman in August, the year went from 0-100 pretty quickly.
This was also the year that saw Nicki Minaj visit her homeland, Trinidad and Tobago with her hubby, for Carnival. There was a little drama there too – jolly ole’ Iwer George’s name being dragged into the digital debates, but we’ll quickly skip that part and recall that months after Nicki’s return to the US when she revealed her pregnancy and later popped out a bouncing baby boy. She celebrated his 3 months of life earlier this week!
COVID-19 came with the harsh reality that the entertainment sector in Trinidad and Tobago would be hard hit. Travel restricted and large gatherings made illegal, entertainers and others who depend on the industry for their livelihoods, stared financial impediment straight in the face. Overseas, some Caribbean artistes did what they felt they needed to, to earn and take care of their families. The post T&T carnival 2020 reality seemed a far cry from the harsher truth that would present itself by September. Many had forgotten the blissful hysteria caused by Machel Montano and his wife Renee, mere months earlier when they tied the knot at the Red House in Port-of-Spain, followed up with “The Wedding” at Machel Monday, which Montano had signalled would’ve been the final instalment of the annually anticipated concert event. It’s been an unforgiving year, but even so, there may be a silver lining….
“I always try to understand what the true message is, in every challenging situation. To many, 2020 will be dubbed THE WORST YEAR EVER, but to me, this year has taught me a great deal about myself in terms of my strength, my resilience, my talents and my ability to adapt, shift and conquer,” soca hit maker Nadia Batson says.
Batson has been an excellent example of true resilience in 2020. She started her own YouTube channel – Yellow Cow TV and together with Digicel, she served her community with her Wonder Woman Wednesday series.
“As we look ahead, I want to encourage others to always look at the glass as half full and start speaking more positivity, prosperity and goodness over our lives,” she urged, adding, “There is a lesson to be learnt from every single situation that you may go through. Trust yourself, trust God and get rid of self doubt. We haven’t made it this far to only make it this far.“
We concur! As we end the year 2020, we here at EBUZZTT.COM wish you and your families, friends and loved ones, an abundance of healing, life and health, happiness and fruitfulness in 2021. What is done is done and we cannot return to 2020 but we can make 2021 a year of forgiveness, love and spiritual awakening… as Nadia said, “Trust God!”
Tarrus Riley Turns The Heat Up A Notch, Releases “Like That.”
Known for his evolutionary sound, Tarrus Riley is set to kick off the summer with his new single “ Like That”, produced by DJ Frass Records. The single, which was released April 2nd, garnered solid streaming numbers via Apple music and on Apple US itunes charts, has been receiving airplay on various mainstream stations in the US and UK.
Riley, known for his impressive catalogue of hits which includes, “Good Girl Gone Bad’, “Lion Paw”, “Memory”, a soca track done with Soca music maven, Machel Montano and the unforgettable, “She’s Royal”, is no stranger to creating hits, nor is he far removed from innovation. According to a media release issued by Destine Media, “Like That’, ifuses dancehall and R&B flavours and delivers a groove geared at getting women around the world, dancing and feeling perfect within themselves.
The media release highlights that over the past few years, reggae and dancehall music have been scrutinised for its evolution of, but Tarrus believes this evolution should be enjoyed and embraced, rather than negatively labeled.
In an interview with Pat Meschino for Daily Beast, Riley said “don’t watch the tempo because I like doing new things. People are concerned with names, labels, trap, rap, hip-hop, dancehall, I can’t bother with dem things. I have always been doing different kinds of sounds and I will continue. Music is going through a change right now, people are blending and fusing, everybody wants to call it a name, but I just call it good music.”
“Like That” is another song that highlights the Jamaican artist’s ability to blend sounds while maintaining his authenticity and entertaining his fan base. Currently set to headline Best of the Best Miami Music Fest 2021, Tarrus plans on releasing a few more sings this year.
The World Needs More People Like Her. See Who, and Why.
There’s often one person whose ambitions, as herculean as they may seem to the naked eye, is necessary and humbling to those looking on from a distance. In Trinidad and Tobago, a female Primary school teacher is proving that service goes beyond the portfolio that comes when one chooses a particular career path; she’s proving that true service is heartfelt and never dispassionate.
Michelle George Bermudez wears many hats. These days, the school teacher with 21-years professional service is teaching young women between the ages of 11 and 15, the art of photography via a free digital course. The course, provided via her company, Octomedia Studios offers these young women basic photography steps inclusive of lighting, angels and composition. “My aim with this free online tutorial is to simply give back and to empower these young women,” she explained. Prior to the Covid-19 pandemic, a very active Bermudez could be spotted competing on stage as the Queen of the Band at T&T’s Dimanche Gras for bands like Kalicharan Carnival in South, Trinidad, or acting in local productions, or even shooting photographs at major festivals, concerts, sporting events and fashion shows. Her resume is as dynamic as it is strategic. “I’ve always been involved in the arts. I’ve always loved culture,” she said, explaining that both her parents are artists who’ve been intimately involved in the creative sector and more specifically, Carnival. When it comes to giving back and mentoring the young and impressionable, Michelle’s resume also boasts strong involvement in the Girl Guides Association of Trinidad and Tobago where she has served as caption and district commissioner during her 19 years within the organization.
Michelle says she will soon be embarking on a career change and plans on adopting the titles of Director of Photography in addition to film director and producer. Her artistic background, shared by her parents and mastered by her along the way, has afforded her the tools needed to deliver workshops and special classes to those who desire such. “My goal is to teach others – especially young men and women so that they can empower themselves and enrich their lives,” she said, noting that her personal cache of resources includes models that have been crafted for film and photography sets.
Eternally grateful for the guidance afforded through mentorship by Ian Pantin- an entertainment industry stalwart, Michelle says her business model at Octomedia Studios will continue to incorporate passion and love. She understands the importance of truly enjoying a profession, and says there’s never a dull moment in her life. “I enjoy learning and it gives me even greater pleasure to pass on what I learn, to others,” she said.
With numerous years of experience as a Carnival Queen on stage at the Dimanche Gras competition in T&T, in addition to her involvement in Best Village Competitions, playing the steelpan for Panorama and of course, her photography and filmmaking experience, this school teacher is proving that service goes beyond the confines of career and can only be truly shared with the world, from a place of love.
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