Top Jamaican Entertainment News Stories of 2023

One of the big entertainment stories of 2023 was the announcement of a new release date for the Bob Marley biopic, “One Love,” a film that has been eagerly awaited by Marley fans worldwide. Several talented Jamaicans were honored for their achievements in the entertainment industry during the year as well. Jamaican DJ Kool Herc was inducted into the Rock and Roll Hall of Fame, while two Jamaican actors – Kerry Washington and Sheryl Lee Ralph received stars on the Hollywood Walk of Fame. And the inaugural Caribbean Music Awards were presented at a ceremony in Brooklyn’s “Little Caribbean” neighborhood.

The Top Entertainment News Stories of 2023

“Bob Marley: One Love” Biopic Announces New Release Date

The long-awaited biographical film, “Bob Marley: One Love,” will be released on February 14, 2023. Fans noted there is no better day than Valentine’s Day to celebrate Marley, who shared messages of love and positivity throughout his short life. The film will provide fans with a chance to view Marley’s story on the big screen after several years of delay. The film centers on Marley’s political activism and the making of his ninth studio album, “Exodus.” Rita Marley, Ziggy Marley, and Cedella Marley, Marley’s widow, son, and daughter, all have worked on the film and serve as executive producers alongside Robert Teitel. The trailer reveals that the biopic will highlight both his private and public life, including when he became the target of an assassination at the height of his career.

Jamaican DJ Kool Herc Was Inducted into the Rock and Roll Hall of Fame

DJ Kool Herc was inducted into the Rock and Roll Hall of Fame in 2023, the third Jamaican to be honored in this way. He received the Musical Influence Award at a ceremony on November 3, 2023, at Barclays Center in Brooklyn, New York. Joel Peresman, the CEO and president of the Rock and Roll Hall of Fame, said that 2023 was a perfect time to honor DJ Kool Herc as it is the 50th anniversary of hip-hop. He also noted that the ceremony took place just 15 miles from the apartment building in the Bronx where the deejay invented the hip-hop music genre in 1973. DJ Kool Herc created the genre at a back-to-school party for his sister on August 11, 1973, when he isolated the percussion breakdowns in recording and repeated them on two turntables. DJ Kool Herc has previously been honored with a feature at the Rock and Roll Hall of Fame Museum, the Peoples Hall of Fame Award from New York’s former governor Mario Cuomo, and the first Hip-Hop Honor from VH1.

Jamaican Author, KWAME McPherson, Won the Commonwealth Short Story Prize

The Jamaica writer Kwame McPherson was the winner of one of the most prestigious writing prizes in the world, the Commonwealth Short Story Prize. The prize is presented annually for the best piece of unpublished short fiction by writers in Commonwealth nations. In 2023, the prize entries totaled over 6,600. Managed by the Commonwealth Foundation, five regional winners are chosen first, and from among those five, one is selected as the overall winner. The prize totals US$6,237 and accepts entries from Africa, Asia, Canada and Europe, the Caribbean, and the Pacific. Caribbean regional winner McPherson received the prize for his story “Ocoee,” a tale named for a town in Florida where, in 1920, a group of Black people were brutally killed in a racially aggravated attack. In the story, he combined the experience of Black Americans with Caribbean folklore and traditions of the African Diaspora. Previously, McPherson won a Poetic Soul prize and was the first Jamaican to receive a Flash Fiction Bursary Award from the Bridport Prize in 2020.

Two Award-Winning Jamaican American Actors Received Stars on the Hollywood Walk of Fame

Jamaican actors Sheryl Lee Ralph, a popular Jamaican American actor best known for her award-winning role in the television program “Abbot Elementary,” and Kerry Washington, the Emmy-winning actor who starred in the hit TV show, “Scandal,” were honored with stars on the famous Hollywood Walk of Fame. Both actors have received consistently high praise from critics and the public for their work. Ralph also received the Order of Jamaica, the fifth-highest honor presented by the nation’s government for her contributions to the global film industry.

The First Caribbean Music Awards Were Presented in Brooklyn’s “Little Caribbean”

On August 31, 2023, the inaugural Caribbean Music Awards were presented at Kings Theater in Brooklyn, New York. The musician and Grammy winner, Wyclef Jean, hosted the event, which showcased the rich musical offerings of the West Indies. The Caribbean Music Awards differed from mainstream music award ceremonies as they focused solely on the Caribbean genres of soca, dancehall, and kompa. The winners were selected by fans who cast votes for their favorite songs, artists, and music videos. Performing at the awards ceremony were numerous Caribbean artists, including Karnival Bounce Crew, Mya, Dexta Daps, Toni-Ann Singh, Majah Hype, Wayne Wonder, Ding Dong, and deejays Jabba and Bobby Konders, among others.

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