Kingston 22 February 2019 – The Minister of Culture, Gender, Entertainment and Sport, the Honourable Olivia Grange, has expressed shock and sadness at the passing of playwright, cultural practitioner, and member of the Board of Commissioners of the Jamaica Cultural Development Commission, Aston Cooke.
Minister Grange said:
“The news of Aston’s passing on this Jamaica Day is a blow for us all. But Aston would be proud of the glorious display and embrace of Jamaican culture in our schools and communities. Our culture was his life. He displayed a level of commitment to his culture that must be emulated and admired.
“In the midst of our cultural celebrations today, we say farewell to a gentleman who has left us a proud legacy that echoes the makings of a cultural icon. We are sure the spirit and legacy of Aston Cooke will live on.
“On behalf of the Ministry of Culture, Gender, Entertainment and Sport and the JCDC, I wish to express our deepest condolences and heartfelt sympathies to the family and friends of Aston Cooke. Be comforted in the fact that his legacy is untouchable and that he has given his best years to what he loved dearly, his culture.”
Minister Grange has been joined in expressing condolences by Chairman of the Board of Commissioners of the JCDC, Mexine Bissasor, who has been equally saddened at the loss.
Mrs. Bissasor said:
“Many giants go about their lives quietly whilst others can be heard shouting from their lofty heights as they journey through life’s ups and downs. Aston Cooke was a quiet giant who contributed to Jamaica’s culture and specifically, theatre, without fuss or clamour. He did what he felt was his duty to country and culture regardless of any hindrances.”
“His legacy is one that speaks to love, passion and honour. His deep love for the artform saw him being a part of all the veins of the heart of the industry; he has served the Commission three different times up to the day of his death. He also served at its highest level having been chairman for the period 2013-2016.”
Aston Cooke was one of Jamaica’s leading playwrights and the recipient of nine national Actor Boy Awards for outstanding achievement in various categories of theatre in Jamaica. Cooke was an inductee to the Caribbean Hall of Fame for Arts and Culture for his contribution to Jamaican theatre over the years.
Kingston 10 February 2019 – The Minister of Culture, Gender, Entertainment and Sport, the Honourable Olivia Grange, has congratulated Jamaican superstar Shaggy and his English collaborator Sting on their 2019 Best Reggae Album win at the Grammy Awards taking place in Los Angeles this evening.
Minister Grange said:
“I’m very happy to send congratulations to Shaggy and Sting for winning the Grammy for Best Reggae Album. Well done to them both for continuing the tradition of producing high quality Reggae music.”
The title of the winning album is 44/876 which refers to the area codes of the UK and Jamaica.
“In a way the title tells a bit of the story of our Reggae. It is a unique Jamaican creation, made on our island by our people. Reggae is a gift from the 876 to the people of the world who have embraced it in several ways, even as practitioners of the music,” said Minister Grange.
Minister Grange has also congratulated Black Uhuru, Etana, Ziggy Marley and Protoje who were in the running for the Grammy Award for Best Reggae Album.
Kingston 5 February 2019 – The Chairman of the Entertainment Advisory Board, Howard McIntosh, is calling for “global support of Reggae Month by Jamaicans at home and abroad.”
McIntosh was speaking after the well-attended Reggae Month Church Service at Fellowship Tabernacle on Sunday.
He said he hoped to see “hundreds of thousands to visit our shores in February next year consistent with our objectives to have 5 million tourists visit our shores annually.”
McIntosh also encouraged the local media to support Reggae Month by playing more Jamaican music during the period. “We need to celebrate our music legacy in as many ways possible,” he said.
The Entertainment Advisory Board was appointed by the Minister of Culture, Gender, Entertainment and Sport, the Honourable Olivia Grange, as part of her programme to establish the appropriate infrastructure on which to construct a viable and vibrant creative economy.
Kingston 5 February 2019 – The Minister of Culture, Gender, Entertainment and Sport, the Honourable Olivia Grange, has expressed sadness at the passing of the Reggae singer Joel ‘Bunny’ Brown.
During his career, which began in 1968, Brown was a member of several groups including The Wildcats, Mighty Mystics, Dynamic Vision, The Falcons and Chosen Few — with whom he recorded the hit ‘Queen Majesty’. He also backed Luther Vandross, The Blow and Lisa Fisher.
Minister Grange said:
“It is with a heavy heart that I learnt of Bunny Brown’s passing. He was an ambassador for our music for 50 years. At this time when we celebrate Reggae Month and the pioneers of our music, we must remember and honour Bunny Brown’s contribution. I convey deepest condolences to his family and friends.”
Kingston, February 1 – The Minister of Culture, Gender, Entertainment and Sport, the Honourable Olivia Grange is urging young and upcoming recording artistes to build on the legacy of pioneers such as Dennis Brown.
The Minister said that it is important for them to do so especially in light of the recent inscription of Reggae to UNESCO’s list of Intangible Cultural Heritage.
“I must appeal to our young people to place special emphasis on creating music at a standard that will last and that will keep the legacy of Dennis Brown and countless others going forever,” said Minister Grange.
The Minister was speaking today at a ceremony to mark the 62nd anniversary of the birth of the “Crown Prince of Reggae”, Dennis Brown at National Heroes Park. The occasion was also used to mark the start of Reggae Month 2019.
“Generations change and we know the inevitability that comes with that. But we can build on what has been done over the past 50 years since Reggae Music was started.
We have the talent and the expertise and so I encourage the elders who are here today to take the youngsters under your wings. Help them to see that this Reggae Music of Jamaica is not to be taken lightly; help them understand that it has been and continues to be a powerful force for good in the world, driving economic, social and political liberation,” the Minister added.
Minister Grange also encouraged Jamaicans to “get out” and enjoy all the planned activities for Reggae Month which include a church service (Sunday, February 3), the showing of a series of Reggae Films at Emancipation Park, a Reggae music exhibition at the African Caribbean Institute (all month-long), Concerts, the Global Reggae Conference and nightly entertainment events across the country.
Reggae Month celebrated annually in February, is being organised jointly by the Ministry of Culture, Gender, Entertainment and Sport and the Ministry of Tourism. It is being celebrated under the theme, Celebrating Reggae’s Legacy.
Kingston 28 December 2018 – The Minister of Culture, Gender, Entertainment and Sport, the Honourable Olivia Grange, says next January’s staging of Rebel Salute will be a celebration of “the role played historically by Reggae music in the liberation of oppressed people across the world.”
Minister Grange made the comment on Thursday (27 December) at the launch of the 2019 edition of Rebel Salute, which will be one of the first major Reggae music festivals in Jamaica since Reggae music was inscribed on the UNESCO Representative List of Intangible Cultural Heritage of Humanity at the end of November.
The Minister said “we had to fight” for this inscription, which is something that we must “never take for granted.”
Rebel Salute 2019, which will receive financial support from the Ministry of Culture, Gender, Entertainment and Sport is one of Jamaica’s premier entertainment events.
According to Minister Grange:
“Among the signature features of Rebel Salute is its unabashed presentation of our Jamaican and African heritage. Tony Rebel and Rebel Salute understand the importance of presenting to our people the dignity and integrity of our African ancestry as represented by the Rastafari culture and ideology. It is about inspiring our people to stand proud in promoting our heritage.”
Rebel Salute will be held on January 18 and 19, 2019 at Plantation Cove in St Ann.
London December 2, 2018 – The Minister of Culture, Gender, Entertainment & Sport, the Honourable Olivia Grange, has congratulated Jamaica’s Dalton Harris on winning The X Factor talent competition in the United Kingdom on Sunday (today).
Minister Grange said Harris’ win was a “well deserved victory for a young man with immense talent who works very hard.”
Minister Grange — who attended the final of The X Factor on her way from a meeting of the UNESCO Intergovernmental Committee for the Safeguarding of the Intangible Cultural Heritage in the Republic of Mauritius — said Harris’ victory “caps a very good week for the promotion and celebration of Jamaican musical talent.”
Minister Grange said:
“Dalton’s victory comes at a time when the world is celebrating Jamaica’s most important musical creation, Reggae, which UNESCO added to its list of intangible cultural treasures for humanity. And here comes another Jamaican treasure in the form of Dalton Harris who has now won The X Factor, after winning our local Rising Star, has shown to the world the kind of talent we produce in Jamaica and is now set to become a global megastar. I couldn’t be happier for his success.”
Kingston, November 12, 2018 (JIS) - Minister of Culture, Gender, Entertainment and Sport, the Honourable Olivia Grange has applauded the late comedienne, Elva Ruddock, for her sterling contribution to the development of Jamaica’s entertainment industry.
At the celebration for the life of Ms. Ruddock, which was held at the Karl Hendrickson Auditorium, Jamaica College in St. Andrew on Saturday (November 10), Minister Grange said she helped to share our “one of a kind, Jamaican kind of vibe” with other Caribbean nationals and foreigners across the globe.
“We’re here to celebrate Elva…. One of the final posts that Elva made on social media simply read, ‘If it’s not uplifting, inspiring and resonating with my entire being, it’s a no’, and I think those words simply, succinctly, but adequately, sum up our dear friend, Elva,” Ms Grange said.
“She was such a positive person, so full of life, vibrant, joyful, hilarious; someone who could bring sunshine on a rainy day,” she added.
The Minister said she was Jamaica’s very own ‘Hero Duck’, which was an alias Ms Ruddock embraced since 2014, after a cashier she purchased a smartphone battery from mistakenly wrote her name as “Hero Duck”, instead of E. Ruddock.
“Elva believed that life will not be perfect, but we have to make it work by doing what is uplifting, inspiring and resonating with the entire being. With that mindset, Elva left the corporate world for the stage. When she left the corporate world, she needed to be free to pursue what she loved best – that was to bring joy and laughter to the lives of others through her comedy,” she said.
Ms Ruddock’s co-presenter for Bashco Infomercial, Omar Azan, said she was a hard-working woman.
“If you knew Elva, you know that the work comes first…. Some of you may have heard, how when we were filming the last infomercials, she really should not have been able to make it, but she took up herself… and [when] we said, ‘Are you sure you can make it?’ she said, ‘Make it?… Mi outside!’ Elva checked herself out of the hospital and came down to Bashco. She did the whole infomercial and checked herself right back in,” Mr Azan said.
“I truly enjoyed and loved every bit of my time knowing and working with Elva. Our bond on the programme and at the events became something I never expected or envisioned. We became amazing friends,” he added.
Mr Azan was supported on the stage by the entire production team of the infomercial when offering his tribute.
The celebration for the life of Ms Ruddock was conducted in the form of a comedy show, as she would have wanted it, with hosts Comedian, Chris “Johnny’ Daley and Dahlia Harris. Many of the island’s leading comedians brought laughter to the mourners.
In addition to serving as a host for the Bashco Infomercial, Ms Ruddock was also a comedienne on FAME FM’s comedy-driven programme, ‘Full House Friday’ and hosted numerous private shows and events for corporate companies.
She died on October 7 after a battle for years with the chronic illness, lupus.
Paris, 7 October 2018 – The Minister of Culture, Gender, Entertainment and Sport, the Honourable Olivia Grange, shares the grief of the entire entertainment fraternity at the untimely passing of comedienne and media personality Elva Ruddock.
Minister Grange said:
"Elva was one of those persons who could easily bring sunshine on a rainy day in anyone's life. Her bubbly personality was quite infectious. Elva was one of a kind and will always be remembered for her hilarious interactions on TV and radio. She commanded our attention with her presence and she will be greatly missed by all of us."
Minister Grange has expressed condolences Elva Ruddock's family and friends.
KINGSTON, Feb. 21 (JIS):
The Ministry of Culture, Gender, Entertainment and Sport is working on building a framework for Kingston to fully operate as a musical economic zone.
This was disclosed by Portfolio Minister, Hon. Olivia Grange, during a reggae month reception on the lawns of Jamaica House on February 20.
“Having received the UNESCO (United Nations Educational, Scientific, and Cultural Organization) designation, we must now translate that into greater tangibles for our people,” she said.
Kingston was one of 47 new locales added to the UNESCO Creative Cities Network in December 2015.
Ms. Grange argued that reggae is the strongest component of brand Jamaica. “Reggae is hot commodity and the world has embraced it, but we are proud to declare that we still own it... (and) the celebration of Reggae Month is a symbolic mark of respect for the eight genres we have given to the world,” she noted.
Ms. Grange said that the importance of reggae music to Jamaica should never be undervalued, adding that “it is the lifeblood”.
“When we look at the role that reggae music has played… the anthropological role in the development of Jamaica as a nation, its role in the transformation of the lives of many young people, its role in the struggle for human rights and freedoms in places like Zimbabwe and South Africa, we must hail and respect our music and the sounds of Jamaica,” she said.
In the meantime, she informed that plans are under way to build a world-class concert hall in Kingston.
“We want to see more global superstars coming back to Jamaica to perform. We want to see a thriving entertainment industry where all the stakeholders can have a livelihood and the production line can continue well beyond our time,” she said.
The reception, which was hosted by Prime Minister, the Most Hon. Andrew Holness, is expected to become a yearly event on the calendar of activities for Reggae Month in February.
The function, which featured musical tributes and dance performances, was attended by members of the musical fraternity, including artistes, producers and promoters, members of the Government and the wider society.