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Gordon Arthur ‘Butch’ Stewart O.J., C.D., Hon. LLD is an anomaly in the business world. He’s managed to not only create an estimated billion dollar empire, but has done so wearing an ever-present smile along with his trademark striped shirt. The man often referred to as the “Cupid of the Caribbean” (he’ll tell you why later) has control of his privately-owned Jamaican-based empire that today includes 23 Caribbean properties, Appliance Traders Ltd., ATL Automotive, ATL Autobahn and The Observer media company. All told, Stewart spearheads two dozen diverse companies that collectively represent Jamaica’s largest private sector group, the country’s biggest foreign exchange earner and its largest non-government employer.

The 78-year-old Sandals Founder and Chairman is responsible for flipping the “all-inclusive” resort market on its head and making it a luxury enterprise, offering everything from butlers trained by the English Guild to airport transfers via Rolls-Royce Ghosts. And he is constantly working, creating new opportunities set to engage guests, such as his new golf course in St. Lucia alongside Greg Norman, a new Rondovals at Sandals South Coast and refreshed restaurants and rooms at Sandals Royal Caribbean.

Simply put, the Jamaica-born businessman—who is still based in the Caribbean to this day—is fueled by a dogged passion for hard work, duty to country and love of family who always seems to be having the most fun. “Honestly, I’ve never worked a day in my life,” he says. And now, he’s sharing how to do what you love—as he did—and make billions in the process. Talk about living your best life…
Sandals-South-Coast-Aerial-View-e1570186246958.jpghttps://hauteliving.com/wp-content/uploads/2019/10/Sandals-South-Coast-Aerial-View-e1570186246958-688x423.jpg 688w" alt="Sandals South Coast" width="752" height="462" />Photo Credit: Sandals

How did you get started in the hotel business and what drove you towards the hospitality industry?

Serving customers with a generosity of care and exceeding their expectations is the essence of hospitality and the values that have driven my lifelong approach to business – even before the start of Sandals. The late 70s and 80s were a politically sensitive time in Jamaica. As the value of the local dollar dropped, it became necessary to find a way to earn the stable foreign currency necessary to meet business obligations. That was the impetus for Sandals Resorts and exceeding expectations the source of its success.

You didn’t invent the all-inclusive concept, but you say you’ve perfected it. What do you mean?

After significant innovation in the space – from in-room amenities such as hair dryers and coffeemakers – which may seem quaint today to included transfers and premium brand drinks, we made a very conscientious decision in 2007 to go further, much further and create a premium all-inclusive resort experience that would compete successfully against any resort experience in the world. And we’ve done it. No beads, bracelets or winding buffet lines. The Sandals Resorts five-star standard begins with a phenomenal beachfront setting; selection of groundbreaking and beautifully appointed suites including over-the-water bungalows, which we introduced to the Caribbean; choice of at least 16 restaurants at every resort; top-shelf liquor and enhanced service including butlers trained by the Guild of Professional English Butlers. Quality, service, style and choice are what define our luxury included concept and we’re very, very proud of it.

What, in your opinion, is the secret to the success of your company?

Teamwork, a commitment to exceed expectations and leadership that makes these values the priority has been the essence of our success.

Rolls-Royce-Private-Transfer.jpghttps://hauteliving.com/wp-content/uploads/2019/10/Rolls-Royce-Private-Transfer-688x458.jpg 688w, https://hauteliving.com/wp-content/uploads/2019/10/Rolls-Royce-Private-Transfer-357x238.jpg 357w, https://hauteliving.com/wp-content/uploads/2019/10/Rolls-Royce-Private-Transfer-225x150.jpg 225w, https://hauteliving.com/wp-content/uploads/2019/10/Rolls-Royce-Private-Transfer-621x414.jpg 621w" alt="Sandals" width="752" height="501" /> Luxury stays at Sandals include private transfer via Rolls-Royces

Do you need consistent innovation and ingenuity to keep the brand fresh, or has the product simply perfectly established a formula at this point?

Any organization that stops innovating will not last very long. We are committed to exceeding guest expectations and they change, as they should. That’s why we include fast and free WiFi and have invested heavily in areas that today’s audiences demand such as quality interior and exterior design, excellent food and beverage, thoughtful service and new destinations. Whether it’s an incredible rooftop experience, opportunity go bowling or sip cocktails in an authentic speakeasy, we’ll never stop creating new ways to delight our guests.

Can you tell us about your five-star initiative?

Luxury customers know that signing chits and tipping don’t make for a better experience and that’s what our 5-Star campaign is all about. We are on a mission to dispel myths and to make sure customers seeking a true luxury resort experience – from in demand destinations and spectacular beachfront settings to standout suites, personalized service and incredible dining, consider Sandals Resorts.

What does Sandals offer that you yourself seek on vacation? What are you five “musts” for any hotel/destination?

When I travel, I look for an authentic vacation experience that’s true to the destination matched with the luxury of a 5-star resort, and I believe that Sandals does just that.

1. I’m a Jamaican who loves the water so a great beach with easy access and crystal-clear waters is a must!
2. Friendly, local staff are very important to me. I always like to learn more about a destination from the people who live and work there.
3. A variety of options! I like to have lots of choices when I’m on vacation. One day I might want to relax by the pool and then the next day, get out and explore the water sailing on a Hobie Cat.
4. Unique rooms and suites are key. I want to be wowed when I walk into my room, whether it be a large, spa-style bathroom or a pool on my balcony.
5. Top-notch dining is non-negotiable for me. A high-quality, authentic food and beverage experience is one of the most important elements of any excellent vacation.

Sandals-South-Coast-Bungalow.jpghttps://hauteliving.com/wp-content/uploads/2019/10/Sandals-South-Coast-Bungalow-688x459.jpg 688w, https://hauteliving.com/wp-content/uploads/2019/10/Sandals-South-Coast-Bungalow-357x238.jpg 357w, https://hauteliving.com/wp-content/uploads/2019/10/Sandals-South-Coast-Bungalow-225x150.jpg 225w, https://hauteliving.com/wp-content/uploads/2019/10/Sandals-South-Coast-Bungalow-621x414.jpg 621w" alt="Sandals South Coast" width="752" height="502" /> Luxurious accommodation at Sandals South Coast

Photo Credit: Sandals South Coast

Have you considered opening Sandals resorts outside of the Caribbean? If you’ve considered it, is this something we might see in the future?

Options are always to be considered. For now, we are proud of what we’ve built in the Caribbean, which is our home; the Caribbean people who have benefited from the opportunities Sandals has presented and the many people we have introduced through the resorts to this incredible part of the world.

There are plenty of perks that come with being the leading Caribbean Luxury Included resort company but what are some challenges that you have faced in your career that you’ve overcome, and if so how?

Every success comes with challenges and I’ve had my share along the way. Nothing worthwhile is ever easy, but I would point to the period immediately following 9/11 as one of the most challenging moments in the history of the company, as it was for too many. With travel absolutely halted, there was great temptation to slash prices and cut services. We made the decision to bet on us and an American customer in need of our style of vacation. While we did put incentives into the marketplace, we also used that time to acquire new resorts and begin extensive renovation at existing resorts. The risk was rewarded, and the company celebrated by initiating “Operation Relax,” donating $2 million in free vacations to active-duty military at home or abroad.

Obviously traveling is a part of your routine, since you get to travel to so many stunning destinations, where would you say is your favorite place in the world?

My favorite place is to be on my boat fishing.

GAS-Rio-Chico-HIGH-RES-800x706.jpghttps://hauteliving.com/wp-content/uploads/2019/10/GAS-Rio-Chico-HIGH-RES-688x607.jpg 688w, https://hauteliving.com/wp-content/uploads/2019/10/GAS-Rio-Chico-HIGH-RES-768x678.jpg 768w, https://hauteliving.com/wp-content/uploads/2019/10/GAS-Rio-Chico-HIGH-RES.jpg 1369w" alt="Gordon "Butch" Stewart" width="752" height="664" />Photo Credit: Rio Chico

Which of the Sandals properties do you enjoy the most and why?

Oh boy, that’s a tough one! I mean, how do you pick one child over the other? Sandals Montego Bay, our flagship resort, holds a very special place in my heart. I mean, that’s where the Sandals story first started. Whenever I visit Sandals Montego Bay, I’m always overcome with a flood of memories of those early days when we really had no clue how to run a resort. And yet, here we are in 2019 leading the way. The fact that Sandals Montego Bay recently completed a massive transformation from top to bottom, adding new rooms, new restaurants and new amenities will guarantee that a whole new generation of Sandals guests also fall in love with this amazing resort.

You’ve been in the game for a while now and have likely seen changes in the travel industry. How do you think the all-inclusive category has evolved since you started, in regards to luxury accommodations and service?

I think the most dramatic change within the all-inclusive space since we began in 1981, has been the shift in the perception of the category. Once upon a time, guests believed all-inclusive meant one thing: mediocrity. Every all-inclusive resort was the same. We changed that, paving the way for more entries into the category and more choice for consumers. And this is a good thing because Sandals has never aimed to compete on price. We are focused solely on quality of experience. This is why we take such tremendous pride in the location of our resorts, the beauty of our grounds, our incredible variety of suites that dazzle in their uniqueness from rondovals to over-the-water bungalows. It’s why we put so much care into our food and beverage, operating multiple standalone restaurants run by a dedicated staff and chef rather than servicing diners from a single commercial kitchen. Today’s luxury customer seeks customization above all else, personalization of every facet of the experience. That is the Sandals difference and the essence of our new 5-Star campaign.

What can we expect moving forward from the “Cupid of the Caribbean” (and how/why do you have that nickname)?

I always laugh when I’m called “The Cupid of the Caribbean” but when I first started Sandals in 1981, I was targeting the honeymoon market so everything was geared towards romance, for two people in love. And while weddings and honeymoons are a big part of our business, Sandals is also a great place for couples to get away and reconnect, away from the hustle and bustle of everyday life, and enjoy the very best in luxurious accommodations, delicious dining, impeccable service and so much more. From romantic candlelight dinners under the stars to relaxing spa treatments in a seaside gazebo, we offer something for every couple at any stage of their relationship.

You’ve said in the past that you’ve “never worked a day” in your life, because you enjoy it so much. Do you think that’s the key to success in both business and in life?

Being fully engaged in the things that are important to me, committing to do my best – this is living life to its fullest. That is the ultimate success.

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Ladies night out - Trini style

Beauties filled the precincts of the Trinidad Country Club in Maraval to witness the unveiling of Harts International Carnival 2011 portrayal Planet Rock designed by Gerald Hart. The launch, which was held on August 14, was a perfect reminder that Carnival is woman. There were 15 sections: Turquoise in Matrix, Andesine, Aquarmarine, Ametrine, Peridot, Moonstone, Howlite, Hematite, Heliodor, Goldstone, Citrine, Chrysocalla, Azurite, Sardonyx and Rhodochrosite. Cosmopolitan women represented the beauty and richness of the gems contained in Harts International’s collection. Of course, Miss Universe 1998 Wendy Fitzwilliam was the crown jewel. Patrice Roberts and the sultry HD dancers as well as Michelle Xavier of Imij & Company showcased their feminine wiles, while the promotional girls on locations weren’t undone at the cooler party which had the right ingredients for a night of unbridled fun.

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ON A MISSION TO CHANGE HER WORLD

Harlem New York will never be the same after being exposed to the passion and energy that Marva Allen brings to the conference table. Single-handedly her activism has brought unity and structure to a floundering community. She has taken on a role that has been uniquely American and designed for politicians, but like most West Indians with a vision, she refuses to accept mediocrity and living beneath the threshold of success. At the time of her birth in Sav-la-mar Jamaica West Indies, no one knew that this innocent little girl would grow up to impact the lives of an entire community thousands of miles away in America. Marva Allen left her beloved birth place in rural Jamaica at the age of 9 years, and attended boarding school at Alpha Academy in Kingston. At the age of 16 years, she graduated high school and migrated to England. She achieved her first degree while in England and became a nurse. After 6 years there, she moved to the United States of America., and attended medical school at the University of Michigan. In her sophomore year she got married, left the medical school, and completed her master’s degree in Business. For the next twenty-three years, she successfully owned and operated her own computer company. Then she retired and moved to New York to become an author. In 2003 she walked into the bookstore that she now owns, and that was the first time that she had ever been in an all black community; Harlem. That was when she discovered that she really did not know the history of her people; and that the people around her did not know who they really were.In 2004 she became the owner of the bookstore, and there she began a journey to receive as she describes it, ‘an education that her degrees did not provide’. The book store features a café that accentuates the heartwarming ambiance that permeates throughout. The store carries an impressive collection of books written by authors in the black community; also highlighting the works of many West Indian writers. Every age group is facilitated at Hueman Bookstore and Café, which is home to several writing and reading clubs. Along with its book signings, readings, community discussions and other activities, Hueman Bookstore and Café has become a pillar in the Harlem community. Marva Allen champions the idea of self-sufficiency, and has devoted every waking moment to motivate her people to embrace a paradigm shift, and rise higher to achieve their goals. “For too long”, she says “Black is seen as a limitation of our culture; it prevents people from dreaming big”. “The hardest thing for me is to help people understand their total value”. She says. Mrs. Allen believes that a vehicle must be created to provide opportunities for people to be self-sufficient; and she has created such a vehicle, by establishing the ‘Power of One Program’. Along with 35 Harlem businesses, the Power of One program was launched in 2010. It is the basis for a national campaign to encourage urban communities to spend, save, invest, and donate in their own communities. The Power of One is a for profit social entrepreneurship company designed to support and reinvigorate the Harlem community by re-funneling funds back into the village of Harlem. People who live, work, and visit Harlem can enjoy discounts and benefits at participating Power of One businesses by purchasing the Power of One Affinity card for $1.00. The profits from the sale of the Power of One Affinity cards are then re-invested into those Harlem businesses and become a dynamic means of sustaining and providing economic growth in the Harlem community. The grassroots movement hails the Power of One as a model that can be used in any urban market to transform communities one dollar at a time. The goal is to sell $1 million (plus) $1.00 Affinity cards and then reinvest that money back into the Harlem community.

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The Tivoli Dance Troupe formed part of the kaleidoscope of performances at the Culturama 2010 Mello-Go-roun’
FT. LAUDERDALE - Culturama 2010 Mello-Go-Roun’ returned to South Florida as the audience was treated to a kaleidescope of cultural performances from Jamaica at the Coral Springs Center for the Performing Arts in Coral Springs, South Florida, last Sunday (Aug. 1). Part of the celebrations for Jamaica’s 48th anniversary of Independence, here in South Florida, Culturama 2010 returned after a three-year hiatus and was well received by a packed house at the 1200 seat theatre.

Patrons to the four-hour event were entertained by outstanding Jamaican talent, from Jamaica and here in South Florida, as they performed from a potpourri of traditional folk and contemporary dance, drama, oratory and musical recitals.

The large audience swayed and hand-clapped as they participated in what reminiscent of an old time festival fair singing to the rhythms of the mento bands and dancing to the music of quadrille, dinki minni, gerreh, kumina and brukins as entertainers graced the stage in a panorama of exotic and brightly coloured costumes.

This year, a new feature was added to the full and entertaining programme highlighting performances of Jamaicans of Indian and Chinese descent, living in the Diaspora. ‘JamIndians Lyme Lite Dancers’ performed song and dance showcasing the strong influence of the Indian culture as part of the Jamaican heritage.
Likewise, well-known Jamaican author and folklorist, Easton Lee, shared aspects of the strong Chinese influence in the Jamaican culture, as he read a series of poetry and dialect reflecting periods of Emancipation to present, similarly during which time also chronicled the history of Chinese migration to Jamaica more than 150 years ago.

Known as the oldest mento band in Jamaica, the Blue Glades Mento Band, performing for some 40 years, was most resilient in their performance combining the rhythmic blend of song and dance and stringing sounds from the banjo, the rhumba box, accordion player, flute and violin, as the audience sang a range of old Jamaican favorites like ‘Solas Market’ ‘Long Time Gal’ and ‘Sweet Jamaica.’

Other performances included the versatility of Jamaica Festival winning groups – the Clonmel Cultural Club from St. Mary as they electrified the audience with several pieces from their repertoire of traditional folk recitals, the Tivoli Dance Troupe demonstrating the agility of their bodies with creative dances, and several local artistes such as the Jamaica Folk Revue, Tallawah Mento Band, dub poet Malachi Smith, Kimiela Candy Issacs, and the reigning Miss Jamaica Florida, Shanice Cox.



Members of the Clonmel Cultural Group performing from their repertoire of traditional folk dances at the Culturama 2010 Mello-Go-roun’

Minister of Youth, Sports and Culture, Hon. Olivia Grange, who participated in the festivities, said that the occasion had “taken us back in time, taking us from the deep roots to the contemporary of our Jamaican culture.”

Likening the festivities to that of Jamaica’s Independence festivities currently taking place, Minister Grange praised the versatility of the several performers, and the participation of the patrons as they celebrated a significant period in the nation’s history.
She also commended the organizers of Jamaica Awareness, Incorporated directed by Sydney Roberts and the Jamaica Cultural Development Commission “for keeping Jamaica’s rich cultural heritage alive and strong in the Diaspora.”

Among the many guests in attendance were Jamaica’s Consul General, Sandra Grant Griffiths Trinidad’s Consul General, Ms. Laura West, and civic leaders from the Florida State and City Commissions.

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CDB helps Belize poor

BELMOPAN, Belize, Monday July 26, 2010 – The Caribbean Development Bank (CDB) is supporting the Government of Belize in its effort to raise the standard of living of the poor and vulnerable in that country. CDB’s Board of Directors has approved a loan equivalent to US$15 million to the Belize Social Investment Fund to invest in social and economic infrastructure, social services and organisational strengthening sub-projects. Approximately 100,000 persons living in 90 poor communities will benefit from project. The project is an integral component of the Government’s National Poverty Elimination Strategy and Action Plan. “It is expected to lower deficits in water and sanitation infrastructure, improve access to health and education services and reduce social vulnerability. Community involvement will be an important component throughout the sub-project cycle, and the project will be demand-driven,” a CDB statement said. Since its inception 14 years ago, the Belize Social Investment Fund has played a key role as the Government’s main implementing agency in the provision of basic infrastructure and social services in poor and vulnerable communities. In 2002, the Fund was given the mandate to manage the CDB-funded Basic Needs Trust Fund Programme in Belize, which is a similar poverty-reduction initiative with a community-driven approach.

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Government coughs up money for bacchanal

This year there has been more meetings than actual events when it comes to “Looshan Carnival” 2010, leaving more than just a bitter tastes in the mouths of many over the event which supposedly has a tag line “nothing sweeter than that.” Money and the financing of the event have been at the centre of most of those meetings. Carnival over the years has been heavily subsidized by Government and whilst the various shows at Carnival have been major draws in terms of crowd, the event has suffered perennial financial losses, with little public accountability. This year it would appear that the Ministry of finance which is headed by Prime Minister Stephenson King is going all out to tighten the screws on the financial operations of the Cultural Development Foundation, the CDF, the institution which has the mandate for overseeing carnival events. After several meetings with between the Carnival stakeholders and CDF as well as between CDF and the Minister of Culture, there appeared to have been a stalemate last week about the financing for carnival, which over the past three years had received a boost of EC$1 million per year. Last Friday morning the Saint Lucia Calypso Association told the media that after last weekend they would have been pulling out of any competition events, with Calypso quarter finals due this week and Groovy and Power Soca qualifiers due last Saturday. But in a last ditch effort to save Carnival, hours later the Government’s press secretary announced that yet another EC$1 million would be made available to Carnival 2010. Ah but there is a catch the STAR has since learnt, or maybe more than just one. The money we have learnt will not be placed in the coffers for them to do as they please. Apparently the condition is such that all invoices and bills related to carnival must be submitted to the Ministry of Education and Culture for perusal and for subsequent payment. So what now of the Saint Lucia Calypso Association? Well after Friday’s announcement they were still holding on to their position pending receipt of an official communiqué from either CDF or the Government. On Sunday head of the CDF board Milton Branford met with the Calypso Association to discuss the way forward. The STAR has learnt that the meeting was quite cordial with just one issue unresolved. The Calypso Association had been negotiating EC$150,000 to split among the five tents. But whilst this money was guaranteed over the weekend, there is a little matter of a ten percent tax which would be placed on that figure and all other fees and prize money paid out to Calypsonians and Soca artistes for Carnival 2010. But whilst on Friday the SLCA 2009 had this to say; “we are completely dissatisfied with the disregard and apparent lack of respect from the Ministry of Culture after the assurance that we would receive firm word on our subvention by Wednesday June 16, 2010,” on Monday they were singing a different tune. Having since been written to be the Ministry of Education and Culture the Calypso tents will as of this evening be hosting their quarter finals with Spectrum setting things off tonight, followed by TOT on Thursday night, South tent on Friday and Ambassadors on Saturday. The issue of the ten percent tax the SLCA has been advised to approach Inland Revenue for a waiver. The STAR has also been informed that of the EC$1 million just half of that will go directly to CDF to cover their expenses and prize money whilst the balance will go towards community carnival, Calypso and Steel-pan. The government is also demanding that CDF presents a detailed document about its operations and expenses for Carnival this year as well as its proposals for making the event more financially viable in the future. This was one of the intentions in the first place when carnival was shifted from its traditional pre-lentern period to July.

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Japanese school girls on day trip to local market: GBurkeImages Photo

Today's world is smaller than ever – far more connected than anyone could have imagined it would be when we were kids. That is why one of the best things you can do to prepare your kids for the future is to raise them as citizens of the world.
You don't have to travel the globe to give your children a broad perspective of other cultures and world affairs. There are so many things that you can do right at home to encourage their curiosity about, and understanding of, the world.

The first step is to be curious about the world yourself; your kids will pick up on it. Here are some other ways that you can start to bring various cultures into the lives of your children.

* Invite the world into your home by hosting an exchange student.

There are few things that can broaden a child's world view like getting to know someone from another country. Hosting a high school international exchange student goes beyond a brief meeting and forges a lifelong bond between your children and students from abroad. The opportunities for interaction are almost endless, and it's a chance to not only bring the world into your home, but to share the best of America with someone from another country.

Laurie Scott of Nevada has hosted a number of exchange students. "What these kids share with us is enormous," she says. "We have learned as much from them as they have learned from us ... this is more than just a 'neat' program; it really does positively impact global attitudes and increases understanding among families, schools and communities." Families that want to host a student can contact EF Foundation for Foreign Study, which brings more students to the United States than any other exchange program, at www.effoundation.org.

* Explore other cultures right in your own backyard.

In America's melting pot, there are almost endless options for getting a taste of other cultures. Take a trip to a museum where you can find out about other countries and cultures. Art museums are often a great way to learn about cultures from around the globe, through artworks and crafts that have specific uses and meanings.

* Sample cuisine from other countries.

Take the family out for a meal at a restaurant that serves food from different countries or consider preparing world cuisine recipes together at home. Visit ethnic food blogs written by cooks around the globe, or search recipe databases, to find something that you can make in your own kitchen. Whether it's Indian, Mexican, Japanese or German, you can learn a lot about a country from its food.

* Learn another language as a family.

There are a lot of cultural subtleties hidden in foreign languages, and learning to speak one (or more) is a great way to connect with people from around the world. Consider learning a language as a family through a community education course or a local cultural organization – you can even download language instruction podcasts or mp3s from iTunes and other places on the Web.

* Make the most of media.

There are endless opportunities to learn about the world, right at your fingertips. Using the media to gain perspective about the world can take many forms -- from reading a blog written by someone living in another country to signing up at an e-mail pen pal exchange site.

Look for movies that are set in other countries and can provide insight about what has happened or is currently happening there. Search your TV listings for travel programs or history shows that are valuable learning tools, then watch and discuss them as a family. And of course, the simple, transporting experience of reading books about far-off places will always be a great way to learn more about the world.

Learning about the cultures and people of the world really does begin at home. Whether you talk to your kids about current world events or pique their interest through photos of places you've traveled to, by helping them develop a broad worldview, you're giving them a world of possibilities. Courtesy of ARAcontent

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Richie Loop

At 23 years old, one of the newest rising artist Richard ‘Richie Loop’ Webb, has begun to make his audience sit up and take notice as he makes strides toward solidifying his name in the music history. With a budding catalogue, the singer, songwriter and producer, who already has three singles in rotation on radio within the Caribbean and abroad. Born and raise in the parish of Clarendon, Richie Loop attended Clarendon College but has always had a love affair with music and all that it embodies. An entertainer at heart, he dabbled in dancing and acting as a child. Later he pursued studies in Information Technology at Excelsior Community College and upon completion, worked at Gumption Recording studios as a composer. It was while working at the studio that he received the name Richie Loop. Wanting to further his growth, he ventured to Gal A Rush Recording Studios, where he spent five months fine tuning his craft. During that time he was afforded the opportunity to work with veteran reggae artist Derrek Morgan. It was while working with Derrek Morgan that Richie Loop got his big break when he was approached by Robert Livingston CEO of Scikron Entertainment, also known as Big Yard Music Label, and was instantly offered a contract. Richie Loop describes his experiences with Robert Livingston as a critical learning process in his career as a singer, songwriter, composer and producer. He goes on to say, "In my daily musical walk, I am able to learn from one of the greatest manager/producer of all time and continue the legacy of Scikron Entertainment." My main focus is to work on improving my skills by incorporating new styles of beats (a fusion of dancehall, disco, rock and hip hop) and songs that people will enjoy." One of the biggest riddim that consumed the airwaves in late 2009 to date the ‘Brainstorm’ rhythm produced by Richie Loop and D-Lynx, and has followed-up with ‘Maad a Road’ and ‘Sweat Shop’ rhythms. Additionally, he has produced songs on two of the rhythms he brought to life namely - ‘She Wants It Good’ on the ‘BrainStorm’ rhythm and ‘Gal Whine’ on the ‘Sweat Shop’ rhythm. The production of such captivating rhythms have not only gained Loop media attention but it has also allowed him the opportunity to work with notable artists such as Shaggy, Christopher Martin, D-Lynx, Iceman, D-Major, Ce'cile, Voicemail, Red Fox, Lukie D, Tony Matterhorn and upcoming female dancehall artist Rae Tay. In February 2010, Richie Loop stepped behind the mic and voiced what is setting it self up to be a party anthem, ‘My Cupp.’ The single has been an instant catch that garnered attention from radio, disc jocks and various media outlets. This multi-talented phenomenon shows no sign of slowing down as he hopes to work with other Jamaican artists as well as international acts.

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NEW YORK - Trinidad and Tobago is generating strong exposure in the American celebrity community and mainstream consumer market following Caribbean entertainment brand Antilia's successful promotion of its "2010 Carnival Experience VIP travel packages" to the twin-island nation last month. Antilia's CEO, Simon Khan reports that the campaign was a tremendous success: Trinidad and Tobago received top class exposure and accolades from the visitors and celebrities who Antilia welcomed to the island for the season, including supermodel/actor Tyson Beckford, NAACP Image Award-winning actor Malik Yoba, and Grammy winning R&B songstress Mýa.

mya.jpg

Grammy winning R&B singer Mýa (left) chats with Travelista Teri
at Antilia's "SUNSET" party.
In addition to playing host to dozens of visitors who took advantage of Antilia's travel packages to one of the greatest cultural celebrations on earth, Antilia also invited the popular daily syndicated entertainment magazine program, Extra, representing one of the largest television media establishments ever to participate in Trinidad
Carnival.

During Extra's visit, host AJ Calloway also covered the Beyoncé concert, teaching the R&B superstar how to "Palance" (a Trinidad Carnival Dance), a memorable addition to her show which sent the crowd into a frenzy, and which was also highlighted in the program.

jw.jpg

At left: Jason Williams (JW), singer of Trinidad's 2010 "Road
March" winning single "Palance," is interviewed by Extra's AJ Calloway
at the Carlton Savannah.

Extra also filmed Antilia's star-studded, invitation only Ash Wednesday "SUNSET" event at the Carlton Savannah's "Wow Suite", where Queen Elizabeth of England stayed during her visit to Trinidad last November.
Upon his return to New York, Calloway publicly thanked Antilia for hosting Extra's visit to Carnival in front of millions of viewers. The February 26 and 27 airings of the show were carried on WNBC in New York
among numerous other stations around the country.

malik.jpg

NAACP Image Award-winning actor Malik Yoba takes time for a "wine"
during Antilia's "Carnival Experience" in Trinidad this year.
Antilia welcomed many more taste-makers and notables, including acclaimed celebrity photographer Jonathan Mannion (who has worked alongside Jay-Z, Eminem, Notorious B.I.G., Lance Armstrong and David Beckham); Beyoncé's choreographer Zach Simmons; celebrity stylist Theo Faulkner; runner-up on Bravo's Make Me a Super Model Sandhurst Tacama-Miggins; NFL stars Edgerrin James and Clinton Portis; top New York radio personality Dahved Levy; and Travelista TV which is running eight webisodes about Antilia's "Carnival Experience."

Antilia offered special six-night packages, representing incredible value and convenience, including 4-Star luxury accommodation at the Hyatt Regency and Carlton Savannah hotels; VIP party tickets; airport transfers; chauffeur/ driver services; 24-hour concierge service, a costume and all-inclusive experience with top all-inclusive Carnival bands; and in-room costume fitting and tailoring.

tyson.jpg

Supermodel/actor Tyson Beckford poses in the elevator at the
Carlton Savannah's rooftop during Antilia's "SUNSET" private party on
Wednesday, February 17.

"We're very pleased to have successfully introduced celebrities, media personalities and movers and shakers within the entertainment world to Trinidad and Tobago, and look forward to doing more of the same across
the Caribbean to promote sustainable tourism development and awareness of the region's unique attributes," remarked Simon Khan.

The entertainment brand is currently planning a series of VIP initiatives both in the Caribbean and North America which will similarlyintegrate star power and international media participation with Caribbean fashion, music and travel. Visit www.antilia.com for further details.
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St. Johns, Antigua - Tanzania
“Tizzy” Sebastian returned to Antigua earlier this week from her first appearance in France where she headlined the Karibbean Bounce Carnival in Bordeaux. Bordeaux a city known internationally for its wine got its first taste of the “Tizzy Wine” on Saturday, March 6th. “We knew how popular ‘Expose’ was but I was surprised how well known her other hits like ‘Tizzy Wine’ and ‘Bounce’ are in France” said Tizzy’s manager Rohan Hector. Apparently a youtube video of Tizzy demonstrating her signature dance during a radio interview went viral spawning the dance craze in France.

 

Tizzy and her band El A-Kru have become fixtures on the entertainment circuit throughout the Caribbean and Caribbean Diaspora since she received the award for “Best New Female Soca Artist” at the International Soca Awards in 2007. Having already performed in London, Saturday’s performance became Tizzy’s first in continental
Europe.

 

Her popularity in France was clear as she was approached by fans asking for autographs while sightseeing in Bordeaux prior to the show. “People were running up to me in the streets to show me their ‘Tizzy Wine’” Tizzy answered when asked about her reaction in France. “It was amazing being onstage and having people who do not even speak English, singing our songs word for word.”

The show was a success with an above capacity crowd turning out to see Tizzy’s energetic performance. Forced to improvise when her microphone stopped working in the middle of a song, Tizzy taught the crowd the ‘Tizzy Wine’ until her microphone was replaced. She received several encores, the promoter himself said “she was very good, they loved her.”


Tizzy and French Friends

“I believe Tizzy will be the first female artist to take soca Global,” says Brad Hemmings, CEO of Caribbean Entertainment Tizzy’s agency that has also booked reggae and soca artists to perform in exotic places such as Russia, Australia and the Middle East.

Tizzy is scheduled to return to other countries in Europe this summer on her De Road Show Tour which included stops in Guadeloupe and St. Thomas prior to France and continues on to Calgary, Canada this week.

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Photo by: GBurkeImages

Una Morgan is the sole female sibling of the Reggae band of this decade, Morgan Heritage. Despite having ten studio albums under her belt with her family band, having performed for stadium-sized audiences across the world, and having garnered much of the success and longevity that many artistes can only hope for, Una took a step back from the limelight in 2006. “I wanted to take time to recreate and develop myself physically, mentally, and spiritually.”

 

 

During this time she also focused on building her production company, SIA Entertainment, strengthening family ties, improving her physical health and connecting with her spirituality. As a true performer, however, Una could not sit back idly. Now as a solo artist she has developed with her own distinctive sound. Una Morgan’s signature sound is a blend of Reggae, Dancehall, Pop, Hip Hop and Soul fused to be appropriately called Raggasoul.

 

With this distinctive sound, an excellent voice, and great studio production, Una’s single ‘Giving’, produced by Lenky ‘Diwali’ Marsden (producer of Sean Paul, Nina Sky etc.) perfectly captures her sound. She is also excited about her contribution made on the ‘Tribute to Haiti’ track produced by the great Handel Tucker (producer of ‘Close to You’ and ‘Just a Little Bit Longer’ by Maxi Priest, ‘House Call’ by Shabba Ranks and various hits with Sly and Robbie and Beenie Man).

 

Una is also working with acclaimed local and international producers on her debut solo album. She is very excited about working with multi Grammy Award winning producers Commission Gordon (credited with work for Lauryn Hill, Amy Winehouse and Joss Stone), a collaboration that was set up by Rubikon ENT, who list Gordon among their clients. Her solo album presents collaborations
with established and new names in the industry. On her album, she worked with other established producers and writers, such as Stephen McGregor, Jimmy Cozier, and Taj from the 90’s group The Boys. Una has also returned to her hometown of Springfield, Atlanta to work with rising stars such as Kiana India, ME, and producer “X”.

 

To address the rumors, Una ensures her fans that her solo venture is not signaling the breakup of Morgan Heritage. “We always knew that we would build as a group, use that foundation to take things to the next level, and then come back to the family.” You can even find some more Morgans on the credits, with brothers Mr. Mojo and Gramps assisting in mixing and production, a true testament to the strong bond that keeps their
family together.

Una performing in Charlotte, NC. Photo by: GBurkeImages

 

Looking to fully capitalize on her groups’ international success, Una has recently signed to Gary George Inc. (GGI) and Rubikon Entertainment management companies to use their pooled wealth of resources for management and legal services to propel her development. Rubikon is a UK-based management and legal firm that provide management and legal & business affairs to a slew of prominent artistes and producers amongst other entities.

 

Miss Morgan, even though blessed, has not let her accomplishments go to her head. She remains humble and has made it her personal mission to use her celebrity status and music to champion issues such as health, weight management, self-esteem, and other issues plaguing women around the world. “I’m very concerned that many young women today are doing things to please everyone else. We need to work on being one with the Creator first, and I hope my music can inspire young women to do that.”

The Raggasoul songstress, Una Morgan, hopes that with her new album, entitled ‘Just Me’, she can show her evolution in music, life, and spirituality, while continuing to uphold her family’s legacy.

 

Source: Gary George Inc/SIA Entertainment

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GBurkeImages Photo
On CIAA weekend in Charlotte, NC. Elephant Man provided his many fans with an entertaining concert at the Neighborhood Theater. The event put on by Brightworks Promotions was well attended and Elephant Man had his fans especially the women rocking to his favorite beats.


To see many more photos of the concert and fans visit: gburkeimages.com

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