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Despite Global Restrictions, Reggae’s Buju Banton Is Having a Fantastic Year.

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He may not be able to travel or even sell out an arena at home in Jamaica right now, but for what it’s worth, reggae icon, Mark Myrie, the artiste known world over as Buju Banton, is having a favourable year.

The artist’s Upside Down 2020 album, released on June 26th, debuted at #2 on the Billboard charts. Its songs have penetrated the souls of fans worldwide already – hit singles like, ‘Buried Alive’ and ‘Helping Hand’ emphasising the need for positive, sound musical lyrics, in a world that presently seems to be drowning in negativity.

Check out the full interview immediately following. this story.

In a recent interview on New York radio station, Power105.1FM, with hosts of the Breakfast Club, Buju noted that music had over time, lost its potency. “My thing is, as a young man coming up, our music, somehow through the passage and pages of time, lost that potency to illicit certain emotions in people- not violent, but certainly that spiritual essence that we all have inside of us. I’ve been laid dormant and they’re doing everything in their power to kill it,” he said, adding, “we are the most spiritual people that walk on the face of the earth. I’m not taking anything from nobody, but Africa is where God loves to be and when we emerge with our music, we don’t always emerge to put our hands in people’s pocket. We emerge with our music to also touch the minds, the hearts – to illicit that little pearl inside of us that everyone is trying to destroy with hate, malice, contempt, greed, jealousy and all the negative energies you can ascribe to the devil,” said the entertainer.

Myrie, calmly continued to educate the hosts saying that when he first entered the music scene in the United States, he immediately realised that that country was no longer welcoming to people being uplifted. He said there was a gangster culture being perpetrated and he knew then, that the end result would be “to send all these young men to prison.”

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Caribbean Menswear Designer, Ecliff Elie Pushes Past Covid-19 with Big Lessons Learnt.

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When the Covid-19 pandemic reared its head in the aftermath of Trinidad and Tobago’s carnival this past March, Caribbean menswear designer Ecliff Elie had only five months prior, opened his new design house at C3 Centre in San Fernando, South Trinidad. His atelier location in Woodbrook, Port-of-Spain maintained its market position, posturing the designer’s imminent rise to regionwide gratification, by all markers. He never expected what eventually came; a pandemic that would bring great uncertainty, but with it, even greater lessons. 

The Caribbean menswear aesthetic continues to blossom into something of its own niche character, Elie believes, and because of this, he has had unwavering hope for the industry despite the pandemic. “There have been wonderful lessons learnt by the Ecliff Elie team in the past nine months,” he says, explaining that business equates to risk and one must be strong, enduring and fearless to combat the effects of such risk. “This period, while extremely daunting for many, opened my eyes as a business owner to many things, and I’ve weathered the storm very well. I have been able to keep all of my employees over the past nine months and that came with the implementation of more effective business strategies,” he explained. 

Ecliff Elie says he has learnt some very helpful lessons during the Covid-19 pandemic.

Restrictions imposed as a direct result of Covid-19, in Trinidad and Tobago and across the Caribbean has certainly affected sales to some degree, however Elie says he remains steadfast and resolute in his belief that this storm of sorts, will soon pass. “Weathering the storm requires a lot of patience but it also demands resilience. What we’ve done during this period proved effective for the long-term business strategy. Virtual consultations, available at www.ecliffelie.co may have been overlooked prior to the pandemic, and it’s actually an effective method of reaching clients around the world,” said Elie. In fact, he explains, he’s seen increased regional sales during Covid-19. 

The male client, Elie’s target demographic, continues to be acutely marketed to, particularly during the present Christmas season. “While we understand that for many, these are some tough financial times, we also feel that men require emotional support during this time,” said Elie. “Because men are often required to be strong in the face of hardship, the man’s emotional pain can be overlooked. In the same way a woman feels good when she purchases a new pair of shoes or a new dress, we believe men should feel comfortable releasing their stress with a little shopping from time to time,” said the designer. 

Ecliff Elie’s Southern branch offers off-the-rack suits that can be altered for fit on spot. “While dinner parties and New Year’s Eve events may be very limited this year, we’d like to encourage our Caribbean men to boost their spirit and feel good despite the effects of this pandemic. It’s been a tough year, but we must have the right attitude heading into 2021, which will ultimately determine our altitude. For some reason, stepping into Ecliff Elie has a way of changing attitudes,” he said. 

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Caribbean Buzz

Two Years After Prison Release, Buju Banton Takes Home Best Reggae Act Award.

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Buju Banton stays grounded in his truths. The Grammy award winning artist who has been nominated for yet another Grammy in 2020, has taken home the MOBO award for Best Reggae Act, coming out of the release of his latest album, “Upside Down 2020.”

The album was released in June this year.

I thank the MOBO Awards committee, but most of all I thank everyone who has supported me and continues to support me. Let’s continue to allow music to do its job as the great healer, teacher, comforter and, above all, the restorative force that propels human beings to higher heights,” said the artist after learning of his win.

The UK MOBO Awards is the biggest celebration of black music and culture. This track, “Helping Hand,” off the new album is one of our favourites.


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