For the first annual Boston Most Elite Awards held on 5/19/2012,  Russell Auditorium in Dorchester, MA was transformed into an elegant venue with rows of Red & Gold satin draped chairs to create a suitable atmosphere for the award show.  A backdrop for photos on the Red Carpet and a Red & Gold themed decor throughout the auditorium further complemented the award show ambiance.  Attendees certainly heeded the advice of the Boston MEA to dress to impress in stylish attire. 

Red Carpet Style

Co-hosts for the evening were Rushy Boo (one of the coordinators of the event) and Steve Timers who filled in for DJ Goldfinger who could not be in attendance.  The award show featured over 30 categories of awards.  As with most award shows,  award distributions and performances alternated throughout the evening.  KingMidas with Ghetto Hype and Ban International with DJ Preszy kept the music flowing all night.  What is most unique about this award show is that the categories highlight the urban businesses and community members that support the events instead of focusing solely on music award categories.   The award recipients showed their appreciation to the Boston MEA and recognized the efforts to get the first annual Boston MEA off the ground.  This new annual award show is off to a good start and will need the continued support of the community to build this into an even bigger and better event for years to come. Toward this end, the event coordinators Rushy Boo and Fluffy have already communicated their commitment for the 2nd Annual Boston Most Elite Awards which will take place on Saturday, May 18th, 2013  at a venue TBD.  They have also announced that the Boston MEA is now registered as a non-profit organization and they will be taking applications for a diverse group of committee members.  Interested parties should make contact via  their Boston Most Elite Awards Facebook Page.     

See below for the complete list of winners and photos of the event. 

***** And the Winners are ******

  • Best Restaurant: Only One
  • Best Hair Salon:  Kookies Hair Fortune
  • Best Barbershop:  Boom Kutz
  • Artist of the year:  Nancia
  • Fashionista:  Gail Ann
  • Power Couple: Gail and Preszy 
  • Club of the year:  Kays
  • Best weekly event:  La Dolce Vita
  • Cyber person of the year:  Southend shizz
  • Up close and personal:  Modey Bloom
  • Bold Beauty Shelly Right:   Shelly
  • Crew of the year:  Fabulous Queens
  • Best dressed crew:  Clean Crew
  • Flier designer:  Art boy cali
  • Sound of the year:  Sound International
  • Selector:  Cypress and Biggie Riddim Rider
  • Slim and Sexy:  Amanda Toney
  • Figure 8:   Lala Murphy
  • Radio station:   Bigcity
  • Radio show:   Rodigans show
  • Radio Host:   Rodigan
  • Staying power:  Tillie
  • Rookie promoter Madbreed
  • Breakout Sound:  Powa Vibes
  • Promoter of the Year:   Lion Entertainment
  • Supporter of the Year:   Tallest
  • Out of State Supporter: Dansa
  • Dancehall Contribution:  Tifa
  • Most Creative Theme:   Pirates of the Carribean
  • Most Anticipated Event Black and White
  • Video Man of the Year: Code Red
  • Photoshoot Photograper:   Jay Hunt
  • Camera Man: Trickstar
  • Special Recognition to Jr Rodigan for Lifetime Achievement
  • Special recognition to Cleon James independent film maker

A Few of the Boston Most Elite Award Recipients

Boston Most Elite Performances

The Boston Most Elite Awards showcased local talent as well as international talent during the show which encompassed multiple genres of music including R&B, Dancehall, Hip Hop and Cultural Reggae.   Boston based talent included Janey David, Laquandra  Seymore, International Dancehall Queen Smallie, Lady Keyz and King-I.  Muma Gee based in Philly was also present to perform as well  as special guest International Dancehall artiste Tifa. 

Special Guest  and Recipient of Dancehall Contribution Award  -  International Dancehall Artiste Tifa

Supporters enjoying the evening 

Photos and feature by Empress K for Reggae Reflection. 

Another top quality VipConnectedEntertainment event .  VIP Connected Entertainment is the largest Caribbean-American booking agency worldwide. For more information link with them on www.vipconnectedentertainment.com for all your entertainment needs. 
The First Annual Food, Arts and Music (FAM) Festival was held  at the Providence Stadium in Georgetown, Guyana featuring Damian "Jr. Gong" Marley on Saturday 5/26/12  - celebrating Guyana's 46th Year of Independence and Jr. Gong's first appearance in Guyana. 

The FAM Festival was organized to recognize the diverse music and culture of the Guyanese people with various local, regional and international performances slated for both Saturday, 5/26 and Sunday, 5/27

Jr. Gong was the headliner for Saturday 5/26.   Backed by his own Empire band, their set kicked off about 11:30pm and included Ghetto Youths International Artistes Black am I and Wayne Marshall.   Damian performed songs from all three of his own albums as well as song selections from 'Distant Relatives', his collaborative album with Nas. His 2011 single  'Set up Shop' was performed early in the set while his latest single  'Affairs of the Heart' was reserved for later on. Receiving  an enthusiastic response from the audience when he asked the fans "If they love Bob Marley?", he performed 'Could You Be Loved' before an encore of 'Get up Stand up' and saving his well known and loved anthem ' Welcome to Jamrock' for the final song of the evening.  Performing for about 2 hours, Damian made this a memorable moment  to mark the grand occasion of Guyana's  46th Independence celebration. 

Damian Marley  - Live and Direct from Guyana (Click on photo to enlarge)

Damian Jr. Gong Marley live in Guyana - Affairs of the Heart

Special Moments behind the scenes and in  the crowd (Click on photo to enlarge)

A few photos in Guyana (click on photo to enlarge)

                                       Guyana  -  Did you know? 

  • Guyana Guyana is located in South America bordering Suriname and Venezuela. Guyana is one of the few caribbean countries that is not an 
  • Guyana was originally colonized by The Netherlands. Later, it became a British colony and remained so for over 200 years until it achieved independence on 26 May 1966.*
  • Guyana is the only English speaking country in South America.*
  • Georgetown is the capital and largest city in Guyana with an estimated population of 239,000+.*
  * http://en.wikipedia.org/wiki/Guyana

Sunfest Day 4 Rock Highlights - A Dirty Little Secret, a Bad Reputation, and a Semi-Charmed Kind of Life 

Story by Sheldon Robertson  - Reggae Reflection Correspondent
Photos and Feature by Empress K  - Editor at Reggae Reflection

This Oklahoma pop-punk band has played Sunfest before (back in 2007), and once again they brought a high-energy performance to the festival’s main stage, kicking off their set with the relentlessly upbeat  “Dirty Little Secret”.  The four-man group kept the fun going throughout their set, with lead vocalist Tyson Ritter entering the crowd for “Walk Over Me”,  a track from its latest release, 2012’s Kids In The Streets. As guitarist/keyboardist Nick Wheeler played piano for the group’s big ballad “It Ends Tonight”,  the  massive crowd sang along with its emphatic lyrics. Also well-received was the title track for the band’s 2nd release, 2005’s Move Along.

All American Rejects take the Main Stage

All American Reject Fans Enjoying the show

Joan Jet & the Blackhearts Make Saturday Night Special

This veteran female rocker that Little Steven calls America’s underrated treasure wasted no time in making Saturday night special.  The title track of 1981’s Bad Reputation got things off to an explosive start, and Joan Jett kept the energy going with “Cherry Bomb” , a song from her pre-Blackhearts group, The Runaways.  With an appearance more youthful  than her fifty-three years, Joan Jett was clad in a black leather outfit covered in studs as she sang, strummed guitar and stomped around the stage. Third song of the set was “Light of Day”, from the 1987 movie of the same name, in which Joan Jett co-starred with Michael J. Fox.

Third Eye Blind Rocks the Final Set

The final set on the festival’s main stage got off to a heavy start, but eventually this San Francisco band moved into more familiar melodic material. The 1999 hit “Never Let You Go” was rendered in all its pulsating glory, complete with a mysterious-sounding instrumental break. This Sunfest date is technically not part of a tour, as the band is currently back home recording a new album. But earlier in the year, the quartet had played a few dates with fellow festival headliner, reggae artist Matisyahu.

The centerpiece of the band’s set was an extended version of one of its earliest hits, 1997’s radio staple  “Jumper” .  The crowd sang along with the midtempo track’s anti-suicide sentiment, then lead singer Stephan Jenkins’s acoustic guitar gave way to drummer Brad Hargreaves’ much-extended drum coda, complete with triggered vocal samples and other sound effects.

The set then turned mellow with the acoustic guitar ballads “Slow-Motion” and “Anything”, played solo by Jenkins to fulfill a request. For the encore, the band played “Blinded”, with Jenkins accompanied mostly by piano and guitar arpeggios, then it launched into its biggest hit, 1997’s chartbuster “Semi-Charmed Life”. The group also noted the passing on the previous day of Beastie Boy Adam Yauch (AKA MCA) by playing the flute sample that starts off the rap group’s  track “Sure Shot”

Third Eye Blind

Sheldon Robertson is a freelance music writer covering the South Florida music scene for his blog The Music Type (http://themusictype.wordpress.com)

The Sound of Sunshine Reigns at Sunfest Day 4

Story by Sheldon Robertson  - Reggae Reflection Correspondent
Photos and Feature by Empress K  - Editor at Reggae Reflection
To say that dreadlocked  frontman Michael Franti put on a high-energy show is an understatement.  As the band launched into the title track of their 2003 release Everyone Deserves Music, the barefoot vocalist bounded on to the stage, exhorting the audience to jump along with him. A minute later he was leaping offstage to lead a sing-along while wandering through the crowd.

Michael Franti joins the fans

Franti returned to the stage to strap on a leopard-print acoustic guitar which he strummed on most songs from that point on. Bandmates consisted of lead guitarist J Bowman, keyboardist Raliegh J. Neal II, bassist  Carl Young and Nigerian drummer Manas Itiene. 

Throughout the set the music was consistently upbeat and positive. The uptempo rocker  “I Will Always Be The One” was followed by the title track for  2010’s “Sound of Sunshine”, Franti’s most recent release.  As beach balls bounced around the crowd and girls in the audience whirled with hula hoops, Franti took another excursion into the crowd. This time he was accompanied by both his guitar and his lead guitarist. Like Franti, Bowman was clad in camouflage pants.

Beach Balls and Hula Hoops common sights of the day


Back onstage, Franti took video of the crowd to show off the nice weather to his friends back home in San Francisco, where he said the weather was rainy and grey. He then launched into a new reggae tune “Earth from Outer Space.”

More upbeat material followed (“Hey Hey Hey”,“Life Is Better With You”) and more audience interaction (Franti brought fans onstage to mime playing guitars). Then after the U2-like rocker  “I’ll Be Waiting” Franti played his best-known hit : “Say Hey (I Love You)”  from 2008’s Sly-and-Robbie-produced All Rebel Rocker.  As to be expected, the radio staple was warmly received by the audience, who sang along even as the song lurched into a sped-up ending.

Michael Franti & Spearhead Fans soaking up the sun

SOJA Soldiers of Jah Army at Sunfest

SOJA (AKA Soldiers Of Jah Army) is a reggae band from Virginia whose non-stop international touring has garnered them a Grateful-Dead-like following. So undoubtedly some in the crowd watching the 7-piece white-dread outfit on that scorching Sunfest Saturday had probably  followed the band in from another town.

SOJA  took to the main Sunfest stage mid-afternoon to performs songs from their various releases.  “Sorry” (from 2006’s Get Wiser) proved to be a great showcase for the band’s horn section,  trumpet player Rafael Rodriguez (spotted playing along with Bob Marley’s “Stir It Up” pre-set) and saxophonist Hellman Escorcia (who wore a T-shirt with the logo “Rastafari”). “Strength To Survive” is the  title track of their current album,  the band’s 4th  release but its first for Dave Matthews’ ATO label. Most lead vocals are handled by lead guitarist and band founder Jacob Hemphill, but co-founder/bassist Bobby Lee brought a deep gravelly delivery to  “Here I Am” (from 2009’s Born In Babylon).  The band also performed “I Don’t Wanna Wait” from the same album.

Soldiers of Jah Army out in full force at Sunfest

Sheldon Robertson is a freelance music writer covering the South Florida music scene for his blog The Music Type(http://themusictype.wordpress.com)
Wiz Khalifa & Snoop Dogg Blaze the Stage at Sunfest 
Story by Sheldon Robertson  - Reggae Reflection Correspondent
Photos and Feature by Empress K  - Editor at Reggae Reflection
Any doubt that rappers are the new rock stars was cast aside by  Wiz Khalifa’s stage image for his performance Thursday evening.  Hip-hop’s hottest  flavor  sported  Stars-and-Stripes pants a la Mick Jagger in the ‘70s, and rocked a bandana-adorned mike-stand like that of Aerosmith frontman Steven Tyler. None the worse for a North Carolina weed-possession arrest two days earlier,  Wiz commanded  the festival’s  main stage as a large youthful crowd responded  enthusiastically to hits such as “5 o’clock”, originally recorded with T-Pain and Lily Allen. Next up was the ganja ode “Mary  3x” followed by “Blazin”, a reggae track that segued into the Bob Marley classic “Three Little Birds”.  The young rapper’s band consisted of a DJ, a bassist and a drummer whose explosive breaks were showcased on tracks like “No Sleep”.  Wiz had the crowd chanting along with “On My Level” and brought his well-received set to a conclusion with the single “Roll Up” from his 2011 album Rolling Papers.

 Wiz Khalifa commanded the Main Stage

Jazz Legend Herbie Hancock Rocks It at Sunfest


If anyone could go up against two of the brightest stars in the hip-hop constellation, it’s this 72-year-old legendary keyboardist whose jazz career has spanned five decades. Accompanied by bass, guitar and drums, Herbie alternated between piano and synth, using a vocoder for the 1978 jazz-fusion track “Come Running To Me”  to give his voice the original Autotune effect.  Herbie also strapped on a keytar (i.e. a portable keyboard) to play his 1983 classic “Rockit”  during the only encore done by any artist that night.

Snoop Dogg  Tops the Night

So how do you follow a big hip-hop act like Wiz Khalifa? With a much bigger one, of course.  And when you’re talking about a rap sensation with nearly twenty years in the game, no ordinary entrance will do.  Fog machines flooded the stage while Snoop’s DJ played “Still D.R.E” . Next came classical choral music over which the keyboardist played live piano as a trio of dancers took the stage clad in fishnet stockings, corsets and knee-high boots. Finally, Dr. Dre’s former protégé came on wearing a green Bob Marley Rastaman Vibration tour jacket, darkers and a red, gold and green tam. Snoop also sported a gigantic piece of bling on one hand with his name in diamond-encrusted letters. 

Snoop makes a grand entrance

As Nasty Dogg the dreadlocked dog mascot  joined the dancers onstage, Snoop launched into a string of his biggest hits (“Nuthin But a G Thang”, “The Next Episode”, “Gin and Juice”) and also a cover of Fifty-Cent’s “P.I.M.P.” A less confident artist might have saved such popular tracks for later, but Snoop knew the massive audience, quite possibly the largest in Sunfest’s thirty-year history, wasn’t going anywhere.  He took a seat for  “I Wanna F*ck You” while the dancers encircled him with their best stripper moves, then later sang the chill synth track “Sensual Seduction”

As his set rolled into its final leg, Snoop invited girls in the audience to dance on stage and a few dozen young females took him up on the offer. Next up was a cover of “Jump  Around” so faithful, it sounded like Snoop was channeling Boston’s finest Irish rappers, House of Pain. Two more Snoop classics followed (“Drop It Like It’s Hot”, “Who Am I? (What’s My Name)” ) then Wiz Khalifa joined the West Coast rap veteran to perform their collaboration “Young, Wild & Free”.

Snoop's Fans Pack the House

Sheldon Robertson is a freelance music writer covering the South Florida music scene for his blog The Music Type(http://themusictype.wordpress.com)