Wednesday, 21 June 2017

Dancehall Lovers- Macini Hits Spain this Friday!


Sharing a recent Facebook update:

'Popular Dancehall/Reggae artist Macini is thrilled to announce that he’ll be performing again in Europe on Friday 23rd June. You’ll find him pumping up the party vibes at Sin’s Villa Pool Party, Cala Tarida, Sant Josep- perfect for Ibiza. ‘Man A General,’ as he’s become known since first performing his song in Gambia where he thrilled an audience of over 20,000 at the NationalStadium, has found his career spiralling upwards. Macini was invited to Germany off the back of this song, and Shaggy was so impressed when Macini sang it at Shaggy’s single release party where Stylo G also performed last year, that he called him back on stage and shook his hand! More recently Macini has blown people away with ‘Bad Gal,’ a song for the ladies, receiving airplay worldwide which has resulted in countless interviews and invitations for live performances including the Pool Party. Macini’s next interview is ‘the biggie’ on Jamaican Station ‘Nightly Fix’ at 3pm Jamaican time, Tuesday 13th June; so catch it if you can! Make sure to link with Macini on your social network sites for more updates.' 

Jaz McKenzie~The Word Magician

Sunday, 18 June 2017

Reality TV- Are we doing our kids a favour?


The world of reality TV has opened new doors- but what do you want for your child? To dream about being on TV and becoming a celebrity or would you prefer them to understand that there's more to life? This is a one of the challenges facing today's parents.

Progress is and was and ever will be. Children used to be children but now they're frequently mini-me's due largely to media influence across the board; but following on from fashion, a new phase has swept nations worldwide to influence us- it's called reality TV.

Reality TV has become so popular it's taking over more than the airwaves, it's actually programming our minds. Top of the list are the talent contests which have gained incredible momentum, giving people their 5 minutes of fame and possibly a great career. Having proved hugely successful, The Voice is now running a children's talent contest. Is this simply ITV capitalising on our hunger for talent and love of child performers or do the producers genuinely want to offer youngsters an opportunity? That's the first debate- the second is; are these programmes of real value to children?

In some ways society seems to embrace talent above and beyond other more basic values. To be a star is a common dream and always has been, but today there are many more avenues to fame, so all children have to do is keep dreaming and keep practicing! Many youngsters have grown up in the talent show era and the only thing they have ever wanted to do is get on the Xfactor or similar. It could be deemed sad given that the vast majority will not make it beyond the auditions, however ambition is a better choice than lack of ambition and gives children something positive to work towards. The Xfactor has a track record of producing huge stars- not so with The Voice, but at the same time it is very cruel; the nature of the business is cut throat so unless your youngster has a steel core they will endure heartache.

There have always been truly talented children who are destined for fame and these children will naturally be obsessional about their dream, rightly believing them to be their destiny. The majority of children on The Voice have musical backgrounds, attending stage school or having experience of gigging and singing in public. They really want to make this their career. But children are susceptible to suggestion and trends, so how many just jump on the band wagon and see this as their escape from what might be considered a less glamorous future? Years ago children wanted to be policemen or air hostesses- thanks goodness we have moved away from gender stereotypes; so is this really any different or do these shows fill a generation with false hope?

Children's pageants have been running for years and we are often horrified by compulsive, driven parents who deprive their children of childhood in order to live their own dreams and drag their children around the country. Children have always been pushed if they show talent; gymnasts, footballers and ballerinas come to mind- but how does this equate with new TV opportunities? That will depend upon the parent, but what is the reality in households where dreams such as these are prevalent and the children are not being coached? Coaching is the key difference here however you could say the application process will weed out the no-goers and acts as a safety net. You could also say that these programmes provide free tuition for children with potential and give them the kind of contacts and opportunities they cannot otherwise access.

Social history is interesting. Years ago the average teenager admired pop stars and had countless posters on the wall, dreaming of meeting their idol, but now huge numbers want to be the star. Is reality TV a good thing or a bad thing? It's definitely not a trend having continued to grow  rapidly over more than a decade. If you have children, it's something to think about. We need to encourage ambition and ambition is born of dreams so it's a difficult balance. Children grow up fast physically and have more emotional pressure than they did a couple of decades ago, so we need to be clear as to our own family values and create as many care-free hours for our children as possible. Keeping it real is key. Family, friendships and school should come first and your children should benefit from using their leisure time as they choose.

Jaz McKenzie~ The Word Magician

Saturday, 10 June 2017

How well do you handle criticism? Reject Criticism~ Reject Growth-


All of us face criticism at times within our personal and professional lives. Dealing with criticism requires a level of self-confidence and maturity coupled with understanding. When criticism is dished out on a regular basis it can impact upon the individual's confidence and personality, creating self doubt and acting as a barrier to natural positive energy. In the long run constant criticism can lead to low self-esteem in both children and adults, who often become easy to manipulate as they begin to doubt their capacity to think for themselves and make good decisions.

When does criticism become intrusive? People who consistently criticise a particular person are actually abusing them through an insidious form of bullying. Sometimes people do this through their misguided belief that repetitive criticism will spur people into action. It doesn't work. People who are constantly told to do something such as lose weight or stop smoking rarely respond to criticism especially if they are made to feel badly about themselves.

Now let's good consider 'good' criticism, the type designed to help us move forwards. When people are very skillful criticism can come across more as suggestion. Example: When shopping, you might pick up a top that seems to drain the colour from your complexion. Rather than saying- that top's dull and does nothing for you, a sensitive person might just offer a couple more tops for consideration. Where this technique is used you create a win-win situation. Even if the person sticks with their original choice, you have presented an opportunity to expand their thinking; the aim of critique.

When we have what we believe to be brilliant ideas it can be hard to accept criticism, especially when we feel flushed with success, but we are all students in life and learn great things from one another. I was criticised by a friend last night and yes, I naturally felt defensive however I have learnt to listen patiently, go away and digest the information. Sometimes I will seek other opinions or research for myself before making a decision regarding the advice received.It is this process that leads to growth. If you receive criticism from an expert, realise that experts usually get it right due to their wealth of experience.The times people refuse expert advice on programmes such as 'Ramsey's Kitchen Nightmares,' or 'The Hotel Inspector,' are rare. People often put up resistance initially, especially as people such as Gordon Ramsey deliver their critique likes bulls in a china shop, and barriers may need to be removed before advice can be actioned. If you feel really upset by a criticism, ask yourself why. It might just be they way the criticism was delivered. Alternatively, it could go a lot deeper especially if viewed as personal. Uncomfortable feelings usually point us towards issues needing to be resolved or suggestions that might go against our integrity. Past experiences can be the underlying issues that create a defensive stance. Of course, experts aren't always right so just understand the reasons for your decisions and allow gut instinct to have its say.

 At work we receive performance reviews to help us identify our strengths and weaknesses. SWAT analysis are essential tools for large and small organisations, enabling them to constantly monitor goals, input and output. Achievement is key. Ultimately strengths and weaknesses occur in everyone and everything. Pause for thought: the beauty and strength of the flower lie in it's roots, colour, shape and scent however the stem is usually it's weakest point and if bent, can destroy the flower. It's worth remembering that weakness is natiral, especially when feeling vulnerable.

We often criticise ourselves, but how many times have we done something a certain way for years and suddenly discovered an easier way to do the exact same thing? It's part of our purpose as we are here to develop and expand, not to stay still! Good bosses encourage employees to assess themselves and good bosses seek criticism regarding their own performance. This is why organisations send out questionnaires and sales assistants often ask you to go online and comment on their service. Evaluation is an everyday tool so we should embrace criticism, but not be overly critical and too harsh on ourselves- that can create fear of failure.

Criticism activates the mind. We often pay to be criticised- does that sound strange? If you pay for tennis lessons your technique needs to develop so you will be criticised whilst you're learning- and at world class level when you make a mistake! The question is, how well do you give and receive criticism?

Once we accept criticism and decide to act on it we create new momentum in our lives- change activates momentum. People notice when we do things differently and often comment on our growth. As we improve new opportunities reveal themselves leading to more choice and control over our lives.

Be wise- actively encourage criticism and open the doorway to growth and opportunity- alternatively, stay where you are and critise those who critise you, keeping the ball of negativity rolling!

Jaz McKenzie~ The Word Magician Contact: itsbraap@live.co.uk



Tuesday, 30 May 2017

Black Diamond- Poetical Tribute to Angie Le Mar



Recently I blogged about Angie Le Mar's book launch, an event that quite literally spoke volumes. As I concluded my piece the words, 'Black Diamond,' jumped into my mind; so I immediately started working on the poem! After several edits it has reached a point fit for publication. Many of my works are posted unedited but when writing biographical poetry or poems of significance such as, 'A Change is Gonna Come,'  and 'Warrior For Love,' I like to sit on them for a while as they tend to brew, just like a good cup of tea! I believe that when crediting people who have made an impact on me, attention to detail is especially important.

Just a quick note regarding this beautiful image of Angie, I discovered it at schotheatre.com and decided to go with 'natural' as we're speaking 100% real woman!

BLACK DIAMOND
A tribute to comedienne, presenter and personality: Angie Le Mar

You’re a black diamond
No debate
Without question
A jewel in Black British history
Your-story, needing to be told
So you led the way by writing immortal lines
Revealing the winding road to your fame,
Whilst riding a horse
In life’s un-ending Grand National
Whose official name is
‘I can open any door!’
You tackled life head on
Setting yourself challenges
And jumping hurdles of ‘ISMS
Whilst blinkered by dyslexia-
So let’s give thanks for these afflictions
Without which there would be no solutions!

Forward vision hastening
Beneath you a concrete foundation
Eyes fully opened to the truth
My future is in my hands
And I am strong!
I will overcome every set back
I will create change, cut a path
Through the carefully laid strata’s
Of British society, World society
When the cap doesn’t fit
I’ll throw it to the wind!
And design the beret of my choice
Using textures and colours
Knit from the fabric of my life

You see- the talents of a woman
Are aligned with the truths of her soul
And there is nothing on this earth
That can keep the cork in the bottle
When personal expression reaches overload
Non-acceptance, ambition, desires- explode
IGNITED- the Black Diamond creates
Energy, fueling her destiny
In the only way she has ever known
Whatever you start... Finish
The greatest lesson imparted
By a loving Father to his Daughter
Absorbed by the Black Diamond
Of comedy, wisdom and ingenuity

Life is an upward spiral of expansion
And satisfaction, a constant evolution
Where love, faith and charity commune,
Leaving the presence of the Black Diamond
To remain in her wake
As a spark of pure joy, an inspiration
Dwelling in the hearts of those
Who truly appreciate the richness
Shared by such an open, honest soul.

But how do we benefit from the richness of her legacy?
By overstanding the core values
In evidence before our very eyes
Laughter, love and empathy
The humanitarian formula
At the centre of the Black Diamond
And therein, lies the secret of her success
The pathway to individual happiness and fulfillment
A great example to our generation
And all those who follow on.

Jaz McKenzie ©2017



Friday, 26 May 2017

BGT- Age is nothing but a number for The Pensionaires | Britain’s Go...



Britain's Got Talent is one of our most successful TV shows and has gone from strength to strength. Every year the acts become more complex and we really do see things we have never seen before. People are frequently on the edges of their seats for many of the artists and it has become the greatest variety show on earth. People fly from as far away as China to take part yet there are always one or two more simple acts.

The Pensionaires are a wonderful example of people who still want to give it a go and live their dream.These guys are 84 and 75 and have such a special bond that actually took my mind back to Morecombe and Wise. Their song choice was brilliant as was their performance. The audience clearly warmed to them and yes, wouldn't it be wonderful if they won and went on to perform at the Royal Variety Show- I'm sure the Queen would really enjoy this!

The likelihood of that happening might seem far fetched however we are an emotional species and the probablity of this may be a Bookmakers dream or nightmare- I am really not going to guess! Last years winner deserved the title, entertaining us with a highly original programme based around his career in the military. It will be very interesting to see which of this years contestants make the final week and who can pull off the coveted title of 'Winner!'

Jaz McKenzie ~ The Word Magician

Sunday, 21 May 2017

The Project- a Jaz McKenzie Poem


A little motivational poem! This came about when I was starting a new project however facts are facts.

THE PROJECT

We're going to do it
We're going to try
Coz if you don't spread your wings
You're never gonna fly
We have the info
We have ideas
So we'll put them to the test
And forget about our fears
Without venturing
nothing is gained
And pleasure means more
When you understand pain
Challenges are great
Challenges are fun
And the prize is right there
Waiting to be won...
So bring on the battle
Here we go...Round one!

Jaz McKenzie ©2017

Wednesday, 17 May 2017

Are you too helpful and experience rejection?


Are you the kind of person who is continually helping others only to be left feeling unappreciated or worse still, rejected?

This is quite a common phenomena and happens to people who help others with the best of intentions. When we have an outgoing, helpful nature it is very easy to get into the 'habit' of helping others. Some help could go under the heading, 'good manners;' when we help people up and down stairs with buggies, help out with chores or other practical elements. Suggesting a good book to assist someone's studies is a perfectly acceptable form of help but even little things can create tension.

Elderly or infirm friends and relatives who refuse help can leave you feeling embarrassed when they insist on carrying the shopping, weeding the garden etc. Whereas we understand the importance of maintaining independence there are times when it can be foolhardy. It can even be selfish if other people are left feeling awkward when offering help with the best of intentions. I accept offers of help now and hopefully won't be cranky about it in my old age!

If people ask for our help we tend to give it but have you noticed how help and advice can still backfire? There are many reasons. The one to avoid is giving advice where you might open yourself to rejection. Marital situations and our children's relationships with their partners are a case in point. So many times we might utter words that are thrown back at us when people reconcile- very tricky. People can sometimes ask for help as an avoidance technique. This help will not be appreciated, it will be expected and taken for granted; encouraging laziness of mind or body. If you do your children's homework how will they learn and who will get the blame if errors are made? Not the child whose homework it is that's for sure. Helping children too much financially isn't a good idea either. Most of them require some help however they need to learn to contribute and understand the true cost of living and how to juggle money. It is a society of credit cards but financial responsibility also needs to be mastered.

Now on to the big one. Emotional assistance. Your friend has problems and it's upsetting to see, so you really want to help them straighten themselves out and reach a better place. Great objective; the problem is you are not them. Firstly, why do you want to do this? Does their condition make you feel uncomfortable? Do you want more from them than they can offer- if only I could help her get a better job so we could go on holiday etc. Sometimes it is good to identify your desire to help. Some people are constantly down or facing one bad situation after the next.This lifestyle has become their default setting and there are people who would be unable to cope if all was well and they no longer need attention.Subconsciously people might be afraid of losing that type of attention and do not know how they would interact if all was well. If all is good in your world others may regard you as a bit of a do-gooder and then they will resent you.

One of the underlying causes of resentment that is less obvious is, by helping find solutions for people we actually strip them of their power. Does the man in the picture need an umbrella or might he benefit from a good soaking to get back in touch with himself? You see, too much protection shades us from our true feelings and ability to tune into ourselves. Sometimes we just need space to work it all out. The solution you come up with might seem obvious to you however you do not know the processes and learning points another person requires on their journey. We all see things differently and if someone is constantly coming up with solutions it may feel more like conflict, especially if they have very different opinions. For example, a risk taker might want to give up their job and go to university whereas a 'safe minded' advisor might think it a bad idea. If the risk taker requires courage to follow the plan they have decided upon, presenting the safe option may create unnecessary internal conflict.

When you help someone through a difficult time and then they reject you this can be very hurtful. It might be that they don't want to be reminded of their weaker side or having you around becomes a constant reminder of that period which they haven't completely put to rest. If people ask for our help and reject our suggestions that is healthy. It is a rejection of the suggestion and not of you. If you feel rejected then you have an issue to deal with as it has created some insecurity. If you need to be needed, you clearly need to invest more in yourself- more love, more care, more time tending to your needs. Being over helpful and pleasing others continually is not a healthy way to be and detracts from a balanced lifestyle.

Next time you are about to offer help consider:

  • Have I been asked for my opinion
  • How often do I help this person
  • Will my help really benefit them
  • Am I the best person to help or can I recommend another source
  • Am I doing this to satisfy my own needs
  • If things go wrong will it backfire on me
  • What degree of help can I afford to give
  • Will giving help strengthen or weaken this person
Helping people at the right time and to the right degree is a necessary part of all our lives and to be commended, but there are times people need to find their own solutions in order to grow and feel good about themselves. Instead of rushing in, relax and decide upon the best course of action.

Jaz McKenzie~ The Word Magician  Contact: itsbraap@live.co.uk

Saturday, 13 May 2017

Going 'Full Circle' with Angie Le Mar


Full Circle- interesting title for an autobiography as attributed to her book by Angie Le Mar. Circles and cycles are key to life and interestingly attending this book signing came about through one such circle, the circle of friendship and business via Mark Galloway. Thanks to Angie’s inspiring and infectious vibe I’m sure many more circles will be created wherever she goes, and this includes inspiring my circle of creativity- think I’ll stop running rings around you now however I’ll encourage you to study the links within your life.

This fabulous event was held at Nu Dawn Coffee shop & neighbourhood hub in Well Street, Hackney- a new business venture. It’s a fairly intimate little venue and well suited to this type of event.The evening was hosted by Juliet Coley whom I met previously during the Everybody Dreams campaign, a major, newsworthy project in Hackney. Juliet has a lovely relaxed style and read passages from Angie's book, afterwards asking what she wanted to know; in my opinion the way to achieving an insightful interview.


Question: What was so great about this particular event? For me, Angie’s portrayal of her stories, her spirit and determination to take charge of her life in every situation. Angie spoke about how she found ways to overcome each challenge as it presented itself from childhood to adulthood. These included challenges of filling long summers with childhood games whilst other families went on holiday, accepting siblings whom she was unaware of, and several serious 'biggies', battling with dyslexia, professional rejection and living through an immensely painful and almost fatal pregnancy.

Dyslexia is a make or break phenomena that was barely recognised during Angie’s early school days although we are well aware nowadays that many entrepreneurs are dyslexic. In many ways the dyslexia gave rise to Angie's natural ingenuity, creating opportunities to develop her God-given humour. In what way? I hear you ask. Angie loathed school and messed around in class, telling jokes so that she was sent out before being called to do the one thing she dreaded most- reading aloud. Angie trying to read English was the same as me trying to read Japanese- this we understand as the words make no sense! Refusing to be beaten by auditions, where she had to read scripts, Angie conquered Dyslexia to some extent in her own indomitable way later in life, writing highly successful plays- ‘Funny Black Woman,’ being the first of several, and most recently progressing to writing her new book. As Angie said, she was determined to write her place in history!


Angie described many memories which had the audience in fits of laughter as they were re-living similar childhoods. Along with these stories came the serious issue of racism experienced in Angie’s professional life. Racism is clearly rampant within the showbiz industry yet Angie finds ways to stand up for herself and is a great role model for others in similar positions- as Angie says, being black and a woman has the advantage of being a two in one deal! Angie watches, learns and when the time is right strikes back by doing the same thing, only better. Angie spoke about her experience of being thrown off The Vagina Monologues on the fabricated pretext of not being happy, so she faced her colleagues head on and later created ‘The Black Vagina Stories’, which proved even more popular. This demonstrates Angie’s fundamental belief that we need to ‘Keep It Real.’ I believe Angie’s attitude demonstrates the need to acknowledge but not accept the realities of life. So often what appear to be facts are generally creations of the masses, ie: the result of popular opinion. Regardless, Angie has a special talent for delivering her truths to a constantly expanding audience.

Along with creating opportunities for herself Angie made openings for others. In her book Angie displays her empathetic side when speaking about the need to overstep people who have helped you to establish something because you know that they are not yet ready to perform at the next level when the occasion demands it. Dealing with these situations is hurtful' so Angie speaks about putting yourself in other people's shoes and the true art of forgiveness- something we have looked at on Its Braap previously.

Throughout her career Angie has worked with fabulous comedians such as Felix Dexter and Richard Blackwood- and too many actors, actresses and radio guests to name. Angie met several of her idols including incredible poet, social activist and more- Maya Angelou, larger than life Whoopi Goldberg, Sir Lenny Henry C.B.E. and singers John Legend, Stevie Wonder and George Benson- the list goes on! Once again, Angie demonstrates on occasion how this came about through her ingenuity through her ideas, actions and quick thinking. She blagged her way to meeting Whoopi and got a free ticket to see American actor, comedian and film maker Tyler Perry. Angie paid tribute throughout the evening and in 'Full Circle' to her family, friends, co-workers, mentors and those who have been there for her at significant times in her life.

A book is never finished until the story has been told. To be real is true strength and we were all touched when Angie dissolved into tears as Juliet read passages about Angie’s incredibly close bond with her father. Angie went on to speak about this special bond and how she had been encouraged to add a chapter about her relationship with her father before the book was published. In its way this was about coming full circle, fitting beautifully with her Father’s mantra- Whatever you start... finish! This just goes to show that when writing an autobiography where we are free to pick and choose, it is essential that we include the key players in our lives and our greatest challenges. It is equally important that we look at our successes and failures- Angie openly describes some of her worst moments and how the things that are meant to be still come into being.

With my signed copy!

One significant final point out of the many Angie made throughout the evening, which helps encourage us on our individual journeys, is Angie’s self belief. Angie spoke about her deep set belief that she can open almost any door and the reason for this is Angie’s faith resulting from her church background, self confidence and the family love she has been immersed in which she shares with everyone who is tuned into her channel. Angie attended church in her youth and returned as an adult, finding God's purpose; surprisingly to bring her gift of stand up comedy literally into the church!

I have read Angie's book and whilst doing so found myself writing a poem about her called, 'Black Diamond,' which I will blog later. I have to say that the message Angie inscribed in my copy of ‘Full Circle,’- ‘Whatever you start... finish’ speaks volumes, so I am taking this forwards in my on-going journey and will finish by saying, thank you Angie for being such an inspiration.


More links to Everybody Dreams can be obtained via the search button!
Inspirational material also available on my page, 'The Word Magician.'

Jaz McKenzie~ The Word Magician  Contact: itsbraap@live.co.uk



Thursday, 4 May 2017

Where did the mojo go?


I used to blog about a wide range of things when I started Its Braap. Why? because just about everything is inspirational in some way and the more open we are the more this world speaks to us. With time I have narrowed the blog content somewhat sticking more with arts and entertainment, but my mind is telling me that business and motivation remain the foundation of our lives, so it's time to expand once again!

We need to allow ourselves the freedom of expression in all its forms as without it the mojo goes and it's hard to generate enthusiasm for life. I love this quote from Napoleon Hill and I guess we all hit the wall from time to time- the same one marathon runners face during the course of the race. It is the moment when you sit in front of the computer whilst your fingers are stationery and your mind, a million miles away, assuming you even get as far as the computer in the first place. It's not necessarily writers block, just life dragging us down for a bit whilst we try to re-group all our inner resources and get back on the proverbial horse.

We do not necessarily recognise a shift in our output immediately and are left thinking, 'hang on a minute, when did I last xxxxx? If that's the case, why has it happened? Sometimes practicalities play a part and other times our emotional perspective may have changed causing our mood to dip or worse still, crash.

Sometimes we have to dig a little deeper to discover the cause behind the change. I'm on the cusp of a number of things right now and need to push myself forwards hard because it is time to achieve and not allow procrastination a foothold. I guess there's a little seed called 'fear of failure,' which takes the form of self doubt- how can you possibly achieve what you want just because you have potential? Self-belief and the refusal to look at your current circumstances in favour of the desired outcomes takes some doing. Having been listening to 'Abraham Hicks'- Esther Hicks, check it on youtube, for some time I have come to realise that we can become exactly who we choose to be provided we practice the right mind set. The thing is we need to be consistent and recognise our humanity and the natural desire to give up that may occur. We can be very good at talking ourselves out of things, so it may be time to talk ourselves into things instead, Even when we have a great mindset we need to understand that ups and downs are natural and it is only with practice that we can make any real headway in our bid to control our minds.Mindset is the difference between success and failure- check my page The Word Magician  for regular mini motivational hits on a number of aspects.

The word 'temporary' is key. Recognise that your weakest desires are temporary and admit that they exist. Make sure you allocate the temporary label to them before thinking about where you want to be. As i said to someone yesterday, no mountain is easy to climb so there will be times when we take a breather and lose momentum, but we can take a deep breath and carry on. Giving up is an option however it is the least satisfying thing you could do whereas 'time out' enables new thoughts and ideas to flow which may prove very valuable. It's important to understand that true joy comes from fulfilling our desires and life can prove difficult at times, especially when re-arranging our circumstances to meet desires we may not realise we harbour until a later date. Everything works out in the end so accept your natural state of being and work with yourself; ultimately everything changes and you will become all that you are meant to be.

Jaz McKenzie~ The Word Magician  Contact itsbraap@live.co.uk


Wednesday, 3 May 2017

Up Soon- That's my Life- and evening with Angie LeMar


Last week I attended an event that made a deep impression on me- an evening with Angie Le Mar, and will be sharing the key points with  you later. One of those events that makes you take stock and inspires change~ Jaz

Wednesday, 12 April 2017

EASTER- A Time for us focus on our lives and attitudes


All religions have focal points and as we know Easter is a major Christian festival. If you're a believer this is a tremendous time to celebrate however if you're not we can still make the most of this opportunity.

Ideally, we take time everyday to reflect on our attitudes, feelings and different aspects of our lives with the intention of continually striving for better. When we speak about focusing on what truly matters this will mean different things at different times but the core truths remain the same. We should focus on ourselves and our spiritual being regardless of Religion. We need to know who we are and what we believe- hopefully we believe in the power of love and choose to make this our core practice. Before we can be of any true service to others we have to re-learn how to love ourselves. I say re-learn because I'm sure we arrive perfectly aligned however the course of life changes and moulds us into earthly beings who generally adapt to societies expectations.

What are you focused on daily? Creating a balance is important as is the need to remain flexible. If we followed the same programme everyday we might be regarded as exceptionally disciplined or robotic! There are key elements that help us maintain focus including diet, meditation, relaxation, work and exercise. We can play about with these and are sometimes affected by external demands such as deadlines or organic aspects like health.

A good practice is to get up every morning leaving the previous day's concerns behind. Expect the best from everyone you meet and the situations you encounter- this helps eliminate the need for drama, allowing you to handle tricky situations from a more loving perspective.

Sooooo- have a good Easter break and re-charge your batteries, always giving thanks for life, love and opportunity!

Jaz McKenzie~ The Word Magician Contact: itsbraap@live.co.uk

Thursday, 6 April 2017

Cutting Edge Art by Tim Stocks! Fascinating Exhibition

Chris and Catherine with Tim 
Artist Tim Stocks recently exhibited some of his new works at Brixton Pound, Atlantic Road. I went along to the opening and was thrilled to see Tim’s wonderful paintings displayed to full advantage, grouped in a very complimentary manner; their vibrancy enhanced by the pure, white walls. These bright colours contain a 'power' which hit me upon entering the room as I felt my inner energy immediately re-balance- I can't exactly describe this but it’s a little like the effect you feel in a room of surround sound.
Jackson Pollock in his studio

I believe you really do not need to understand art in order to connect with Tim’s work- you can always ask about it as he enjoys explaining his inspirations, feelings and the importance of individual pictures. Tim is currently entranced with the 'non-colour' black, using it to frame and accentuate aspects of his work. Catherine, visitor and keen supporter of Tim’s work, discussed the use of this with Tim and commented that she was delighted to see evidence of his fast developing trade mark- leaving small areas of the canvas blank to cleverly enhances the picture. A technique expertly incorporated in his painting here entitled 'The Hulk'

Tim has clearly developed a following and this is the third art exhibition of his I have attended. Interestingly the occasional pictures that Tim re-exhibits hit me in a fresh way. This was the case with his ‘Jesus’ picture that represents the crucifix, and having forgotten that it was Jesus- typical with my memory, I felt it totally captured the vibration of triumph also associated with a Phoenix rising from the ashes- which demonstrates Tim’s intent and power to convey his message. Tim also exhibited a painting of Wurzel Gummidge who was obviously in the same style of pose, and yet this gave off a completely different and slightly sinister feel. I was thinking 'scarecrow,' not 'Wurzel-'silly mistake as Tim’s work is usually based around know characters/situations or superbly athletic men! I think my feelings were appropriate in a way given that Wurzel by his very nature is eternally bonded to the pole up his back, however the bird in his apron pocket and nearby children appear totally at ease!

James Last and his Orchestra + Wurzel Gummidge
Political situations are one of Tim’s specialties and on this occasion we visited Isis painting together with the Nazi’s- woooah, daring work! I was very interested in Tim’s hand written descriptions which are key learning points for me. For instance, I had never heard of Baba Vanga, famous for her predictions. 

Pope Francis
On this occasion my favourite painting is undoubtedly James Last and his orchestra. Maybe my musical leanings are marrying up with art! Once again, vibrancy was flowing with a canvas full of people and colour! Tim’s paintings tend to be extremely large on the whole- surprisingly I have managed to house his refugee picture from the last exhibition and am thrilled that Tim is painting the cover illustration for my first ever book, ‘Piranha in the Goldfish Bowl,’ an eclectic mix of thirty poems that will be published later this year. It was exciting discussing ideas regarding the cover- just love Tim’s imagination- Note to self: I’m definitely purchasing that picture!
Baba Vanga
Whilst on the subject of commissions, two of the visitors, Chris and Catherine, mentioned above, as existing customers, took the opportunity to discuss the possibility of Tim painting their family portrait, including the dog, to be given a designated spot in the new family home. How wonderful is that!

If you do have an opportunity to visit  one of Tim’s exhibitions in the future, take it. I know he is due to exhibit in may- details to follow. In the meantime you can check out his works on Facebook and while you’re here, read my previous review featuring more of his paintings- including the Refugees
Atlantic Road, Brixton


The Chelsea Hotel
Jaz McKenzie~ The Word Magician  Contact: itsbraap@live.co.uk


Wednesday, 29 March 2017

Shirley & Co - Shame Shame Shame- Dance & be Happy!




In life you just have to put your dancing shoes on! To me, this song is the beat of life- it flows, bops and weaves like a never ending stream but always on the upbeat. Our higher selves are tuned into the upbeat all the time and if you want to be in sync, put on your dancing shoes- or kick off your shoes and have a crazy dance in the living room. Music just has that feel-good vibe and this song, like many songs from the same era, has an indefinable quality that resounds happiness through our bodies and soul. Girl put your records ON as Corinne Bailey Ray once sang- it's the antidote to those down days and 'The Drug with no Side-effects,' as Macky McPherson always says!
Living The Dream Interview- with Macky

Jaz McKenzie~ The Word Magician Contact: itsbraap@live.co.uk

Thursday, 23 March 2017

Living The Incredible Dream!!! Interview with Macky McPherson~ Creator of Urban Delight Entertainment

With Mumma Mac- The beginning!
Having been working with Macky McPherson for the past few years, reviewing events and far more; we decided it’s time to take an indepth look at the creation, development and future plans for his business, Urban Delight Entertainment. Urban Delight is far more than just another musical enterprise as you are about to find out. 

At what point in your life did you decide to go into business for yourself?  I’ve been Deejaying from a young age so I’ve always done my own thing- like little events and parties, and I got my friend Soundkilla from Digital Clash to do my flyers. I really just had a little business of Deejaying for house parties, clubs and venues.

At what point did you decide to expand and start formulating Urban Delight Entertainment?  When I was  Deejaying I had Black Stuff Crew which was my little sound system; I had my friend War One who was my main man and he used to come to events with me. He was my one mic man and when he died Black Stuff Crew didn’t seem the same. Obviously from a business perspective Black Stuff Crew, which we named as we were playing vinyls, could be mis-interpreted- do you see what I mean? So I’d always been toying with Urban Delight and I thought, well, Black Stuff Crew, I wear the tattoo so it’s still me and this is the business end, so that’s it. Urban Delight is the brand I can take and develop and make it what I want it to be.

Winsome and Norris B
In what ways do you want your company to be different to any other record labels that have emerged across the UK? When I look at us as a small independent label I am looking at the smallest side of the business because I look at everyone’s skills; everyone using their own life experiences, their gifts and their talents, and we use music as a vessel just to connect people really- for me to deliver my message as well as everyone else to deliver theirs under one hub. Urban Delight’s the hub, almost like the heartbeat. You can look at it as a solar system where everyone’s orbiting around and it’s just a movement of like-minded people.


Let’s look at artists. When you have artists who want to work with you what qualities are you looking for in those artists besides the music?  I think with artists it’s the same as with everyone. Finding people who are true to themselves; people who feel they are good enough and if they’re not good enough yet, developing them. It’s just finding that connection. You can hear lots of songs but when you speak to people you find the reason why they want to do music, you get that connection and you just want to develop them further. As well as helping artists we help people through our Deejay workshops and shows on Life FM. It’s about using music really to connect people and connect businesses, but doing it in a way where we are not going to be conformists. We don’t need to do airbrushing; we don’t care how old you are. It could be someone’s Nan who sings in the kitchen and she’s seventy years old. If she wants a music video and is right for Urban Delight she’ll get one; and if she wants it in the kitchen round her pots while she’s singing we’ll do it. We want to do music but without the rules to a certain degree, that’s what Urban Delight’s about.

One of your big straplines is Music The Drug With No Side-Effects. When did that raise its head? Well. everyone in life, we all go through problems and music was my way. It was my anti-depressant and it’s always been that. I’m not knocking anyone who has had to take anti-depressants but music has been my anti-depressant. You know there’s no side-effects; not unless you’re my next door neighbour maybe- you know what I mean! LAUGH!! Apart from that, music heals people and makes them feel good. It can change people’s mood instantly for the better- although people can contaminate music and try and portray it in a negative light. It’s very positive and I don’t believe music is used enough to heal communities. I feel music is being owned like a drug cartel. It’s a billion dollar industry but there’s enough room for all of us so what we’re doing is just going out and getting it for ourselves. We’re going to open up arguments and doors so that every artist can get their fair share of music whether they’re independent or part of a collective.


Would you like to speak very briefly about the different artists who are working with you currently? Yes, at the moment we’re working with Winsome Moncrieff- Mitchell who is part of Family Love and sings with them now and again. We’re working on her debut solo album with Computer Paul who’s a multi-award winning producer with numerous credits behind him. 

Award winning producer- Computer Paul
Winsome is more of a Lover’s Rock vocalist however we’ve got a few tricks up our sleeve and you’re gonna see that she’s a real recording artist. Like all our artists, we don’t really like to put them in a box.You might hear Winsome do an Afrobeats track if she can and she wants but right now Winsome’s got a couple of Lover’s Rock tracks out.

Abijah Smith with Usain Bolt
 J2G- Ras Buba and D-Skin, they’re an Afrobeats duo. D-Skin does more of the vocals and Ghanaian add-libs coz he has vocal skills and Ras Buba is the Jamaican Dancehall DJ side of it- a lovely combination, lovely pair of guys. We got Nahum Effick who is a wicked, multi-talented Beat Boxer who could win something like Britain’s Got Talent. He’s so good he just adds a different dimension to the outfit. Then we have Jeremiah Bonez who’s based in New York and is working on his new materials to show more flair and styles to surprise people. When he’s ready he’s going to be giving us his first UK Debut single to release. In Jamaica there's Daigo Baddis who’s actually dancer Urkle’s brother (Ras Yechiyah) who’s known for the Urkle Dancehall Dance. Urkle dances with us as well. Daigo’s a wicked Dancehall artist with good lyrics, good timing, great delivery and it’s all about how he’s promoted and marketed- he’s got a lot in the tank and we’re currently working on getting him over here so he can do some TV interviews and promotions. I’m also really excited about Abijah Smith in Jamaica who I believe could be as influential today as Bob Marley was. He’s fresh and his material is current so he’s ready to get out there and has already had a number one in Jamaica. We  also do one off’s which we did with Zaluma Cheek, based in New Jersey who just released a debut single, ‘Love Again, which was produced by Matthew Daniel- he’s one of our production team and runs Butterfly Dez Records.  

Artists working in different ways with U.D.E.
We also work with certain artists who we support and they appear on our shows like Saint Paul for instance. We support him because he’s a good experienced rapper- and he moved my Mum! Well, anyone who makes my Mum happy is part of my team, so he’ll be promoted on the Urban Delight Website, and don’t be surprised if you see us releasing a single with Saint Paul.

The Wooden Men
We’re a small growing collective and our new artists include Kofi Dennis as we like to work with kids who have some sort of additional needs as well. He’s a vocalist and we’re gonna be mentoring him. I told him to go out and get a job and he got a job- If you’re with us you got to pay your way. Another new addition- and I always wanted to bust a Wandsworh artist, (Macky’s home turf,) is a young rapper by the name of Tee in his early twenties. He’s a nice guy and a bit of a mummy’s boy- I like that, so look out for Tee.  We are expanding all the time and we've got The Wooden Men who are very contemporary and we've just joined up with Global Reggae Band who'll back all our shows and we also feature their lead singer Otis Irie. They’re from Birmingham. In Bristol we got Norris B and Jah Garvey with Yam n Banana Productions- the producer 's name is Uri Green and they work at Dadaras Studios. So look out for some great new Reggae music.

U.D.E.'s resident band
What makes Urban Delight special?
What I like about us is artists come on board, they like what we do and they invest in themselves- that shows us that they are serious. We’re not like Sony and we don’t try to operate like Sony. We’re Urban Delight and we got our own swag. We got the tools and the platform for artists to come on board at any time and we have Europe’s leading, largest digital distributers who's on an on-going contract, so life is rosy for Urban Delight and the whole team. It’s a collective of great talents and when I look at Urban Delight we’re like music’s answer to the X Men, that’s the only way I can describe it and we just want to use it for good things.

Jaz McKenzie~ The Word Magician  Contact: itsbraap@live.co.uk

Monday, 20 March 2017

U.D.E. Update!



Keep your eyes peeled for the Its Braap interview with Macky McPherson, coming shortly. We will be bringing you the braap on Macky's career history and how Urban Delight Entertainment was formed later this week.


New Update: Norris B's long awaited album has now officially received its title, 'Hands Of Time.' More about that later.

This Saturday- more Urban Spice, so check the poster and make your way over to this fun event.

Jaz McKenzie~ The Word Magician  Contact: itsbraap@live.co.uk

Thursday, 16 March 2017

A Night of Urban Spice- What a Treat!

Macky McPherson introducing Las McNeil- Blue Cap & Jacket!


Team Urban Delight recently launched their new venture, ‘A Night of Urban Spice,’ in conjunction with DJ Spice- Groove Radio, at the Leilani Restaurant and Ashanti Lounge Bar, Battersea. This is an historical move as the venue previously hosted U.D.E. events on a regular basis and are now returning live and direct.

The  DJ’s on launch night were Macky Mcpherson, C.E.O. of Urban Delight Ent, Laurie Mathura aka DJ Spice and DJ Sharmayne Pink... and Jimmy Davis, Sound Fusion Radio, who enjoyed their night playing popular music, creating the much needed dance vibe thus ensuring a successful evening.


The Ashanti & Leilani restaurant/lounge has been remodelled since the early days and has distinctive areas for dining (upstairs) and chilling, including a smoking area for those so inclined. My colleagues and I enjoyed some excellent food including chicken, jerk chicken and fish in the relaxed upstairs  retaurant environment. By contrast, the UDE event took place in the more enclosed downstairs area, becoming very busy as the evening progressed. Note; seating is available downstairs.

Nahum Effick
Showtime: Nahum Effick instantly Beatboxed everyone to attention, opening the evening’s live entertainment with a slick, jaw dropping performance. Nahum exploits his incredible talent and everytime I hear him I’m left with the over-riding question- ‘How does he do it?’ In fact, I heard a couple of people asking that same question. Nahum was followed by Les McNeil, member of very successful British Reggae Band Tradition. Les sang a trio of popular songs, to the audiences delight as they joined in...’ I promise you every little beat of my heart!’ I have to say, Les gave a beautiful rendition of Tradition’s songs, wonderful to hear, especially as his voice still retains all its qualities.

Up next- Winsome Moncrieffe Mitchell, one of the warmest people I know; who embraces that warmth within her voice. Winsome unleashes her vocals powerfully at every event from The Giants of Lover’s Rock, O2 to local shows around the UK. Urban Spice was no exception and having sung her token tribute, ‘I am Blessed,’ Winsome moved easily to her new release, ‘Something About You.’ Winsome’s songs are easy listening numbers with a feel good vibe although they are based around challenging themes! Winsome concluded with ‘Hurting Me, a song recorded with the group Family Love and a favourite of mine.

Norris B
Unexpectedly at this point there was a long break as some technical difficulties proved difficult to resolve! Eventually the live show got back on track with Norris B, a Bristol based artist, performing songs from his up and coming album as yet untiltled. Norris’s super smooth voice reels the audience in... ‘Here we go again’- Norris B is in the house! I like the fact that Norris presented his original material giving us a taste of what’s to come. Norris delivers his Lover’s Rock music in a very relaxed manner and is good at engaging with people- as is Otis Irie who rounded off the evening in true Otis style. Otis’s first song, ‘Wherever I lay my Hat,’ suited his voice extremely well and warmed the audience to him instantly. Otis Irie is definitely the super cool Ladies Man and much to my surprise I was swept into a dance! Otis sang one of his own songs... ‘Only Girl for Me,’ recorded with Global Reggae Band- formed by drummer Trevor Greaves. I first saw the Global Reggae Band perform at the Lambeth County Show last summer and was very impressed. My review brought their music to the attention of Macky; and as a result Trevor and the band are now working in conjunction with U.D.E. and will be backing their artists at live shows.

Otis Irie of Global Reggae Band
In addition to the music and food I must at this point make quick mention of Caroline Allinson, photographer on the night who, as you can see, captured the essence of this event so expertly.
A Night of Urban Spice will be a monthly event with the next one scheduled for 25th March. This event will take a slightly different format so check the flyers or contact Macky for more information. U.D.E. will also be putting on live shows complete with Global Reggae Band so we’re all looking forward to exciting times ahead.


Jaz McKenzie~ The WordMagician Contact: itsbraap@live.co.uk

Wednesday, 8 March 2017

Poem For International Women's Day by Jaz McKenzie


I believe everyone needs to be in touch with their own power which enables us to be all we want to be. In some ways it's become much easier for women to achieve their dreams however generations of thinking take time to overcome - outcome: many women still put everyone else's needs before their own. In this poem I am not speaking about major achievements from a wordly perspective, but individual major achievements that come from a personal perspective. It is about what you want to do with your life.

International Women's Day
Arise sisters
And feel your power
Every minute, every hour
Of the day
Take your life in hand
And make a stand
By doing things your way
Reach inside
Allow your inner guide
To have its say
Be who you believe in
And start receiving
The brightest day
You are your sunshine
The morning dew
Don't dwell
In the shadow of night
Let apprehension
Take flight
And start each day anew
Jaz McKenzie 2017

Jaz McKenzie~ The Word Magician  Contact: itsbraap@live.co.uk