Entertainment Newsmakers Of 2018

Written by on January 3, 2019

For many, 2018 was a very short year. But for some entertainers, it was enough time to dominate the headlines. From 18-year-old Koffee, who inked a recording deal with Columbia Records UK, to dancehall heavyweight Shaggy, whose collaborative album 44/876 with Sting dominated the Billboard Reggae Album charts, there were several other entertainment newsmakers of the year. Today, Midwest Reggae looks back at some artistes who became the talk of the town, creating tales to be added to the history books of reggae and dancehall.

1. Buju Banton: Undoubtedly the biggest newsmaker of the year. The island and region welcomed the artiste home on December 7th, after he was released from a US federal prison after being convicted on drug-related charges in 2011. Scores of fans waited with bated breath at the Norman Manley International airport in Kingston to catch a glimpse of the 45-year-old after news broke that he was released from the McRae Correctional Facility in Georgia that morning. Sporting a white knitted tam, white sweater, blue jeans and timberland boots, Banton was whisked away through an area usually used by dignitaries. From there he travelled to his Gargamel recording studio located in St Andrew, where he greeted fans and stopped to take photos before visiting his father. Buju Banton, whose given name is Mark Myrie, has been maintaining a low profile since his return, as recommended by his contemporary Yellowman. Banton has since issued a statement on his Instagram account thanking fans for their warm welcome and support, but requested time to bond with his family before returning to the stage. His Long Walk to Freedom tour is slated to begin in Jamaica in March.

2. Dalton Harris: December was also a victorious moment for this entertainer, who became the first Jamaican to win the popular televised British talent competition X Factor. The feat earned Harris a recording contract with the Sony-owned Syco Music, and an automatic spot in the X Factor Arena tour scheduled to begin on February 15 in Nottingham, England and end in Ireland. Harris had won the hearts of viewers worldwide, through emotional and soulful performances of songs like Donny Hathaway’s A Song for You and Nina Simone’s Feeling Good. Following his win, Harris released the single The Power of Love featuring 2012 X Factor winner James Arthur which soared to the top of the Itunes chart. The singer hails from Sanguinetti in Clarendon and attained prominence after becoming 2010 winner of Digicel Rising Stars competition.

3. Spice: The Female deejay broke the Internet when she posted pictures of a light-skinned version of herself on Instagram in October. The photo caused many to speculate that the So Mi Like It artiste had bleached her skin, and international media like TMZ and the Wendy Williams show reported on the viral image. The move was accompanied by the track Black Hypocrisy, which detailed criticism the deejay has received for being a dark-skinned woman, and the issue of colourism she hopes to change through activism. Though she later revealed she had not bleached her skin, the song went to the top of the Itunes reggae chart, and the accompanying body of work, on her Captured mixtape, went number one on the Billboard reggae chart. Spice also made the news in 2018 for joining the cast of popular US reality show Love and Hip Hop Atlanta, and for also becoming the first female Jamaican artiste to attain one million followers on Instagram.

4. Popcaan: The St Thomas native created history last year by bringing Grammy-winning rapper Drake to the Jamaican stage. Popcaan orchestrated his first Unruly Fest in December in Lyssons, St Thomas, and brought Drake and Canadian rapper Tory Lanez on stage. Patrons at the packed venue roared for Drake who is known for using Jamaican creole and beats in his music. The rapper also confirmed that Popcaan is the newest act to be signed to his OVO record label and thrilled fans with a performance including songs One DanceWork and God’s Plan.

5. Mavado: The dancehall act was a hot topic in the summer, after police listed him as a person of interest in relation to shootings in Cassava Piece, St Andrew where he grew up. According to police, the entertainer was in the community when he and an individual had an argument on June 2. The person left the scene and returned with a group of men, one of whom fired shots at Mavado who escaped unharmed. The deejay, who has since returned to his US residence, was also in the news as his teenage son is currently facing murder charges. He has not been seen in Jamaica since.

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