Wednesday, 29 February 2012

I Am the Very Model of a Modern Major-General... Celebrating Leap Year!

Let’s celebrate this extra day by listening to a song that was around long before the days of rap & is lyrically quite impressive! This song comes from the musical, ‘The Pirates of Penzance’ written by the popular duo Gilbert & Sullivan.
The story line is somewhat ingenious, following the tale of Frederic who entered the pirate circle accidentally as a youngster; the story commencing with his 21st Birthday where the pirates are celebrating Frederic’s coming of age. At the time Frederic was all set to marry his nanny which would have kept him within the pirate circle, however he wished to meet other women & eventually came across some beautiful maidens & fell in love with the Major General’s daughter.
The pirates attempt to abduct Mabel so that Frederic can marry her but the Major General cooks up a plan to change their mind & get his daughter back. Basically the pirates are known to be orphans so the Major General makes out that he too is an orphan. The storyline is a little complex, the true streak of ingenuity becoming apparent when it is revealed that Frederic was born on 29th February, a leap year , therefore officially only 5 and still within the bounds of the apprenticeship which expires on his coming of age. After a few more twists & turns including police intervention, it is revealed that the pirates were originally old nobles and not orphans & they end up renouncing their piracy which frees Frederic from his apprenticeship leaving him free to marry Mabel.
This is a fun musical full of popular songs and well worth watching, although it is many years since I last saw it!
For those of you with an interest in musicals we will be posting our interview with Vicky Watkins shortly. Vicky is a long standing member of the Croydon Operatic & Dramatic Association, providing us with a good insight into the dynamics of putting on a musical. Hope you are looking forward to it!
Jaz McKenzie
If you would like to let us know about your production please contact

Monday, 27 February 2012

HOW THE PHOENIX RISES... Poem about putting grief to rest

Letting go of a loved one is always hard but when that person is removed from our life prematurely we are not only dealing with grief but also anger & a disproportionate amount of anxiety at being left too soon and having to take on extra responsibilities that can affect what we could consider our pre-destination. Sometimes the shock can actually prevent us from moving forwards in life however at some point we will come to terms with it if we are to lead healthy lives. This poem deals specifically with the loss of 'Mum.'


When you break a link in the chain of dependency
Your emotions will fly free
But after a while they'll settle down
Allowing you to BE FREE

To feel
To explore
To find the reality of who you are

The essence of independence
Pulsing through your veins
And you will find it wasn't so hard
To cut the apron strings of love
Because love holds you forever in its bounds

True love is true freedom
And a mother's love is always a mother's love
Whether in this world or the next
No substitutes in the game of love
For nobody does it better

And as time rolls with the seasons
The season of tears will be replaced
By the season of joy
A true coming of age

To be you
To achieve your dreams
To love your children

The gift of a mother is to love
To encourage & nurture
Helping her children all the way
From this world into the next

Reunion is a split second in time
The catching of breath in the morning air
A slight extension of the fingertips
The midday sun shining full in your face
And the grace of God is filled with understanding
Tomorrow becomes today
For love IS the greatest gift

Jaz McKenzie 2012 ©

This poem was written in response to Pink's poem which can be viewed on her blogspot

Pink AKA Peach is one of our writers contributing to our blogathon,'Live Life~Love Life', aimed at encouraging a positive life style. This is usually posted every Sunday.

If you have written a poem or article on the subject of grief, please submit to

Many hands make light work... the fun factor! LIVE LIFE~LOVE LIFE WK 10

This saying is so familiar to us & quoted ad-lib over the years to try & motivate others to help; usually within the family setting.

There is a lot of truth in it & we could add a modern day twist, many hands make work fun! When we work together as a family we find a greater sense of achievement & accomplishment than when we leave everything to just one person, usually Mum or Dad! Running a household, whether in a bedsit or large family home, is still a difficult task. This is an area where those in third world countries so often put us to shame. If we ask our children to wash the dishes they may well complain because we are interrupting their WII game or other activity, yet a child in Africa who doesn’t know about these self absorbing activities, might walk miles to carry water home from a well so that dishes may be washed. The sad thing is that we seem to have lost our way & so often end up cutting our family bonds which is clearly evident in many places, so who are the poorest? Richness of spirit is the answer we will find within a religious context.

When we watch programmes designed to help families who are warring with each other due to extremely ‘difficult’ children, we are so often re-united with the power & joy a traditional family unit incorporates. Businessmen who take time to play football with their children at the weekend after years of focusing on their work pretty much 24/7 suddenly realize what fun life with their children & partner can be. These programmes usually include a fair distribution of labour according to the ages of family members and previously stubborn children actually accept the new programme after an initial showdown. This re-enforces a child’s need to be part of the pack and their underlying desire to contribute within their own family; it actually adds ‘value’ to their existence & teaches them that they are important, valuable people in their own right. Sometimes I think that we parents have learnt to over-burden ourselves with a false sense of guilt regarding our children’s wants & needs, removing their responsibility as a way of showing our love which is actually inappropriate.
ADULTS LOSE THE FUN FACTOR!! A sad development caused by increased demands at work, having to network continually both on & off the internet, meeting deadlines & all the rest that goes with today’s work environment. Balance in life is essential and so often when it goes wrong it is the family that suffers. Instead of children cementing a loving relationship through building on the foundations of family life, our concentration & focus is sidetracked. Instead of building a powerhouse of family memories we have a unit of individuals struggling to get along together. Even family holidays are not necessarily an opportunity to, ’get away from it all.’ On-line is always open with our laptops & smart phones, no peace for the wicked! How upsetting when the children are excited about going to the beach & a little business means that everyone has to wait or go on ahead.

Memories are precious and we may not realize how time is passing us by. If you don’t get into the ‘family mode’ you may ultimately lose your family as bitterness and upset will set in. Sharing is love, helping is love, being together is love. These cannot be replaced lightly, so make sure everyone in your home has a job to do and once the work is done it’s time for the fun to begin. Rewards are simply recognition for a job well done & can be as simple as a story, dancing in the front room, playing a game together or anything age appropriate.

Finally, through working together you are putting the needs of everyone above the needs of the individual & helping your children to acquire a less selfish & willing attitude whilst learning basic skills such as co-operation, teamwork, good communication & most of all how to value themselves which creates great self esteem.

Taking this to the optimum point; many hands make happier families & that’s BRAAP!

& now the age old story!!
The king had issued an order. It was meant to be obeyed by Everybody. From king's point of view it was an important job to be done. Everybody was sure that Somebody would do it. Anybody could have done it, but Nobody did it. Everybody thought that Anybody could do it, but Nobody realised that Everybody wouldn't do it.

Jaz McKenzie

Does you family have a great story to tell? If so contact us

Friday, 24 February 2012

Chris DeBurgh - Lady In Red Posted in aid of the British Heart Foundation's WEAR RED DAY

"This week's top outfits are all red to support The British Heart Foundation's National Wear Red Day. The British Heart Foundation is encouraging the nation to wear red today and to upload their outfits to You can donate £2 to The BHF's life saving work by texting WIWT24 £2 to 70070.'... TAKEN FROM MSN NEWS

What a lovely opportunity to play this beautiful, highly popular song from Chris DeBurgh. Some people call it cheesy but for many of us it is almost the ultimate in romance, creating wonderful mental images which you can tap into to enter daydream land! I really like the video which its collection of picture images... very nice relaxing spot in the day.

On the serious side, the British Heart Foundation does wonderful & valuable work that is more necessary than ever with the increased stress in society. It is also reassuring to know that it still exists... nothing is safe these days.

As a nation we are well educated about diseases yet as humans we are weak and continue with our bad habits which are so often the cause of heart attack; namely smoking & obesity being major contributors. Of course there are still natural causes, but let us have a little consideration for our bodies & do the best we can to look after ourselves.

If you are taking part in a charity event contact us on

Thursday, 23 February 2012


Big thank you to Peter Hunnigale for sending us information about the up & coming 'REGGAE IN DA CITY' event which he will be hosting next Thursday. You have enough time to prepare your version of a Whitney song so get practicing!! This promises to be a great evening & mega tribute time so thanks to the team in advance.

Message from Peter

Bless up you guys.
Looking forward to seeing you at the next RIDC event Thursday 1st March 2012. As usual we will have featured guest artists alongside audience participation and all kind of craziness going on with pure good musical vibes as standard.
The featured artist for March will be sister Whitney Houston so any vibes you got I.e. Songs: "Saving all my love for you"
"My love is your love" or the classic "I will Always love you" can be performed in Reggae! backed by the Supa Dupa RIDC BAND.
If you have a friend who can sing bring them along too! and come share your musical vibes at Reggae in da city
Anyway nuff love for now and I shall see you next week.
Almighty Bless.

If you are planning an event please send flyer & short write up to:

Wednesday, 22 February 2012

Whitney Houston - I Know Him So Well ( Feat. Cissy Houston )

'Nothing is so good it lasts eternally, perfect situations must go wrong...'

This amazing performance will always stand as a strong tribute to both Whitney & Cissy Houston yet at the same time really illustrates the fact that we don't know people as well as we think.

I feel very sorry for Cissy, clearly a strong Christian woman who watched her daughter grow from babyhood into a phenomenal superstar. How any parent can bare the death of their child is beyond my comprehension & I sincerely hope I will remain in ignorance.

To journey with your child from such a promising start, seeing them achieve the little & the large successes is an exciting part of life and Cissy must have been so thankful for this gift; the joy Whitney brought to millions worldwide. To see her reduced by the pressure of life to a barely functioning person must have been almost soul destroying. We have seen Cissy & the pastor praying in public for restoration of her child. I wonder how she can possibly feel as I am sure Cissy will have maintained her faith believing that time would eventually enable Whitney to recover. How do you put away that hope to handle the reality that there is no more time & your child's life has come to a premature end?

Sharing grief publicly is another issue and everywhere Cissy turns Whitney will be for a while to come. Seeing clips showing her going through those excruciating interviews,looking physically ill- a bag of bones. How much hope Cissy would have clung onto when Whitney was set to re-launch her career and then to have that hope snatched away so soon. Poor Cissy has also lived the emotional roller coaster & all the blame we throw at Bobby Brown or anyone else will never answer the questions of what went wrong. There is simply too much pressure for one person to contend with.

In some ways WE, THE GENERAL PUBLIC, are just as guilty as anyone else because we have paid our money and expect our star to perform to the max; anything less and we are disappointed. The problem is that stars are people and not robots so of course they will fail to please us from time to time. Maybe, following the loss of Whitney, Michael & Amy the time has come for the industry to look at the pressures facing artists, especially the extended tours that are physically exhausting.

Ultimately all we can do is give thanks for Whitney's music and the way it moves us whilst praying for her family who are distraught & need all the support they are able to receive.

Whitney Houston you were talented, beautiful & an absolute icon so our final wish is that you will truly Rest In Peace.

Jaz McKenzie

Tuesday, 21 February 2012


We're having a change of scene here on Its Braap... entering the world of thrills & exciting adventures!!! This is the new ride coming soon at Thorpe park, greatly anticipated by many. Of course producing this ride was a huge challenge & constantly thinking of new rides must be pretty mind boggling. I can hardly imagine the engineers excitement on the day of the test run... all that planning and precision engineering to produce an exquisite piece of machinery; fingers crossed no doubt that it works beautifully. The best part must be knowing how much pleasure your work is going to bring to millions. What a wonderful thought at the end of the day & who knows, maybe you will be brave enough to sample it!

Sunday, 19 February 2012

Holding Hands With Myself. Self Acceptance. Live Life~Love Life WK 9

Self Acceptance is a feeling of contentment within the individual; understanding & accepting where you are at the present time within your life

Why is self-acceptance so important?

I believe that self acceptance is significant because if you do not accept yourself for who you really are you can generate many barriers and issues throughout your journey in life. Some of these problems are internal, affecting you on a personal level and these issues will in turn affect how others treat you. Some of the issues that I have come to realise may surround individuals, creating a struggle with self acceptance and includes factors such as low self esteem, denying who you are or being blind to what you really want; this means you may suffer from low self esteem and this can lead people to live a lie.

If we do not accept ourselves then we may push to be what we are not and the result of this is a false life filled with unhappiness which is connected to the last two points. Denial of self prevents you enjoying life to the full by ignoring your inner voice and your heart; inner initiatives that should guide you through life and push you towards accepting the things that you cannot change thus defining yourself as an individual with meaning and purpose, above all being happy with the person you truly are.

Failure to accept your true self can sadden your soul and lead you to become a victim of self doubt. When you fail to listen to your inner self and trust your own judgement, you may start listening to others and believing what they tell you. Asking for advice from the right people at the right time is perfectly acceptable, however you need to weigh up advice and reach YOUR own conclusion. Remember, sometimes we do not know people as well as we think and it might be that they do not really have your interest at heart. Sometimes we are really in the dark, maybe a decision involves another person who is not revealing their own agenda. To do what is best for you we must learn to trust in yourself and the judgement of self. The more good decisions we make the more our confidence and self esteem increase.

Low self confidence can follow when you are unsure of who you are and what you want from your path in life. I know this because I have experienced these feelings and was once a victim, being unable to accept & be comfortable with myself, I simply could not find myself and felt alone, I believed the negative things people thrust upon me day after day, however I came to accept myself with time and so can you!

How can I accept myself?
Accepting yourself is your own personal journey which only you can experience, so everyone will go about finding themselves differently. In order to truly find and accept yourself you must take time to think about who you are, your personality, your background, your ethical principles (what you believe is right or wrong) and through this you must understand that there are both positive and negative aspects of your character that you should accept as these as part of who you are. There will be things about yourself which you will not like however you can improve on them but first you must acknowledge and accept them. You may be able to do this by writing them down, even more so if you are a visual learner like myself. Write down how you can improve yourself and read them every other day! You must begin to understand and know yourself before your journey can continue and you will come to realise who you are and what defines your character, making you an individual.

Motivation: We use our lack of acceptance (punishment - because it feels bad) as motivation to get us to do the things we need to and refrain from other behaviours that we know we need to address and we may need to ignore interference from others. Sometimes people don’t like it when they see us change and do our own thing because they start to feel that they no longer know us and the balance of the relationship changes.

Self Judgement: Typically, we Judge ourselves unfavourably with the hope it will motivate us to change. We hope if we feel bad enough about ourselves, then maybe that will motivate us to change.

Does this work?
Sometimes, but usually only in the short term. Most times all it does is to cause us to feel bad which saps the energy we might have used to make changes. It can be a vicious cycle. It works exactly counter to what you wanted to do.

“When you begin to accept yourself the way you are right now, you begin a new life with new possibilities that did not exist before because you were so caught up in the struggle against reality that that was all you could do.”

I know that you will recognise when you are truly accepting yourself because it feels fantastic! It’s an agreement with yourself to appreciate, validate, accept and support who you are at this very moment, even those parts you’d like to eventually change…Self acceptance, the beginning of your journey to the real you.

Jessica Lea

If you wish to write an article on any positive subject for Its Braap please contact us;

Friday, 17 February 2012

Speaking with Lindsay Donald, His Life & Photo's.

We are very pleased to be invited to interview Lindsay Donald, one of Jamaica’s finest photographers. Lindsay is well travelled being born a Jamaican and also having lived in the UK, Sweden, America & Africa, where he has practiced the art of photography. Lindsay is well known for his unique photos, particularly of Bob Marley & has photographed many other famous people from musicians to politicians. We are covering a little of Lindsay’s background before moving on to his association with Bob Marley, which may be found part way down the interview. We would like to thank Lindsay for this interview & wish him success with his book, a true work of art!

(LEFT: Portrait of BOB MARLEY, sitting smiling.)

How old were you when you came to the UK?
I was 10 years old & that was in 1962. It was spring & the first thing I noticed was that the housing was different.

What was your first job?
The first job I ever did was to work for Kodak in the paper department, the synthesizing department.

Tell us a little about your job and did it help you to understand photography?

We worked in the dark making & rolling giant rolls of synthesizing paper before they were taken to be cut. I learnt the process of making synthesized paper which helped me understand the basis of photography & I can even make a camera with a box if I have the chemicals. It’s called a,'Pin Hole camera.' Before digital photography took over photographers knew about paper, film & developer. Thanks to digital, in 20 years time people won’t remember using film.

How do you feel about modern photography?
We knew about the art & craft of photography. Nowadays anyone can use their built in digital camera & take a picture, even a monkey can take a good picture. They don’t know about composition, lighting or anything, so that doesn’t make them a photographer any more than if you or I were in formula one, could be called a Nigel Mansell.

When did you take your first picture & how did you feel?

I took my first picture before I applied to Kodak & it was of my brothers. It was shaky & out of focus. I knew I wanted to do photography from 13 so my Aunt who had been working there 25 years got me the job. I still have the first camera I ever bought & it cost me £5 in 1967, a Kodak Roll-fill camera; I still have it. The shop I bought it from is in South Harrow & it’s still a photographic shop. I looked at it everyday & saved up the money from my paper round until I got it. Once I got it I knew I would spend the rest of my life taking pictures because I can see. Some people write, but I can see. I am visual.


After Kodak you went to Sweden didn’t you, how come?
I wanted to start taking pictures & was too busy with work here. I went to Sweden because I was invited by a Swedish photographer I met over here. I got another camera & spent 2 years there & lived in a house with 8 photographers; it was like an apprenticeship really. We each had our own dark room & spent out time taking pictures of each other till we were sick! Of course we’d go out & take pictures too.

Why did you go from Sweden to Jamaica?
It was time. I went back to Jamaica in 1974. There’s a little place in Kingston where they sold Ganga & I met an American guy called Rocky who had come to buy some weed because they were making a film called, ‘The Marijuana Affair.’ Rocky was the stills man for the film, so I told him I was a photographer & he wanted me to be his assistant so I came on set the next day. I ended up being made a gofer & carrying bags about for Calvin Lockhart, who was the star of the film.

Did this experience interest you in the world of filming or did you prefer to stick with photography?
A lot of film makers will take photography as a hobby and visa versa. I had been taking films for years & being on set was the first time I saw the mechanics of how a film was made. I picked it up very quickly. I knew one day I would lose the buzz from taking pictures & I am glad you asked me because after I release my book, I will make a film from a 2 page synopsis I wrote 20 years ago about Marcus Garvey. Nobody has made a movie about Garvey, only documentaries. I can get someone to play him & shoot everything in Jamaica. It will give me a buzz.

How did it affect your work when black & white was overtaken by colour?

Colour has always been there but most photographers started with black & white which is the basis of photography; colour is just a technique. The aesthetics of looking at a black & white picture compared to colour will affect you differently. Black & white is stark & can make things look more real than colour which subdues things.

Do you prefer black & white or colour?

I always shoot in black & white. It is relatively easy as you only have 3 grades, black, grey & white. Colour is more technical as you have to know your tones & hues, also your clashes. I use a lot of colour as well but I always buy black & white film. The colour I used is now obsolete. Kodak stopped making it, Extrachrome & Kodachrome, you can’t get it now.

What prompted you to go to Africa?
It was a spirit thing; I felt it saying you have to go to Africa now. I spent 3 years there in Nigeria & photographed the festival.

Why did you decide to join up with Janhoi Jaja?
When I got back to Jamaica after Africa in 1977, Janhoi had already started the studio he called ‘Diplomat.’ I met up with him when he was trying to build it up & at that time I needed work. I had been in London, Sweden & Africa so I felt I wanted to spend time in Jamaica as it was the first time back since 1974. I decided to help him & we moved from the first studio to a bigger studio up the road.

At that time did you expect to be photographing famous people?

No, not really. The only famous person I knew was Bob. Bob was getting big & I didn’t deliberately do that. You just move in these circles, see these people & you got your camera so you photograph them.

Are you saying that you weren’t a close friend but you were in the same circles as Bob?

I used to see a lot of Bob at the studio. I used to go up to Bob’s studio which was in his house, 56 Hope Road. I stayed in Jamaica photographing people until 1980 until I went on tour with Bob to America. Bob was my main subject but I also photographed Burning Spear & Third World at the studio.

Were you getting any commissions by this point at all?

No, I didn’t have to look for any money out there because the studio provided me with that & I could do what I wanted to do. Janhoi surprised me because he did very well with Diplomat & I could subsidize myself with the money I made there.

(RIGHT: Picture of NEVILLE GARRICK, Jamaican born graphic artist, photographer, writer & Film maker)

How did the studio manage to make such a good living for you both?

Diplomat was set up right opposite the American Embassy & people needed to go there for their visas' so we ended up supplying the photo’s for them. We also did pictures for the artists when they were going on tour & because they always came to us we got a name. People called us the biggest photographic studio in Kingston.

Did the artists ask you to do photo’s for their album covers?
Janhoi got a couple of things & so did I, but most of them were on Island Records & they had their own in-house teams so mostly we would shoot things for local consumption, like the papers.
1980, when Ziggy Marley & the Melody Makers released their first tune we went with them for a Sunday to Newcastle & we did the first publicity shots of them; these were used in the local paper. If you go on Ziggy’s site they still got it up because it’s one of the first pictures of them as a group.

How come you went to America with Bob Marley in 1980?

During 1980 Bob set up the first Rasta newspaper & called it ‘Survival.’ Bob was the publisher, Mortimer Plano was the editor & he was Bob’s mentor; the man who taught him about Rastafari. Because I was living with Morti, he tells Bob I had to come along as the photographer. That picture I sent you of Bobby sitting smiling, that was the picture I took of Bob that was going to be on the front of the first paper but they decided to use the picture of a little boy standing beside a portrait of Selassie with a drum which I call, ‘Portrait, Boy & Drum.’ We did the paper in the July & in September when they were going on tour, we were in the studio when Rita (Marley) asked me if I was going on tour. I said,’ I don’t know,’ so she said, ‘Don’t you want to go on tour?’ I said, ’Yes,’ so she got my papers set up & I went on tour. When I got to America I went off to Bob’s mother house in Miami & everything was great!

Did you stay with Bob in America?

I’ll tell you whom I stayed with. I stayed with the woman who had the last child for Bob & her daughter now is in her 30’s & that’s Jahnesta Marley. Jahnesta is the last child that was born & she was born 2 weeks after Bob died.

How long were you in America for?
I stayed in America for 3 years. The tour collapsed before the end of September because Bob took ill & it wasn’t until later that he actually died. During that time in 1980 communication wasn’t as key as it is now so even whilst I was there, when Bob was ill I didn’t know too much. I was calling from Miami for information & they just said, ’Oh Bob’s going to be alright,’ so I went along with that.

So how long was Bob ill for that you knew of Lindsay?

The last time I saw Bob, he did 2 shows at Maddison Square Gardens & he played a Friday & Saturday night then had a day off. The Sunday they had a party for him at a club in New York called ‘The Negril’ & I went there. Monday morning I went to the hotel because my father was still alive & lived in Brooklyn & I told Bob I was going to see my father. Bob then got on the tour bus & they were going to a place called Pittsburgh where Bob played his last show. He played that show on the Monday night, the Tuesday they were off & the Wednesday they should have played at the University in Washington. When they were getting on the bus, Bob actually said to me he thought I was going to come on the bus with them & I said, ’No, I’ll see you guys in Washington’ & that was the last I saw of him. I visit my Dad on Monday & on Tuesday I took myself to Washington. The Wednesday morning I went to the venue & when I got there they said,’ didn’t you hear, Bob was sick last night & collapsed in Pittsburgh.’ At that time I thought it was just exhaustion so I called Yvette in Miami because she was co-ordinating things & she said, ’Lindsay you better go back to New York because this is serious,’ & this was the first time I knew something was wrong. So I went back to New York & I had to go stay with my father & spent about a week there. The next week I had some money so I flew back to Miami & I went to Yvette & said, ’Yvette, what’s going on?’ & that’s when I think they took him to Germany or something. Nobody was really saying anything & it slowly, slowly came out that Bob wasn’t coming back. It went on & one month went to two months & I was hoping he was coming back again but it wasn’t to be. The following May I was back again in New York & Donna, of Althea & Donna, told me Bob had died so I called Yvette & she told me. There were a lot of rumours & it was all mysterious so I don’t know when he really died. In May of 1981 I went back to Miami & spent a week at Bob’s house. They were all going back to Jamaica for the funeral & thought I was too, but I didn’t because Bob’s Mum asked a few of us to look after her house. I got their passports coz everybody was in shock, went to the airport & checked them in & after a week when they came back we had a big party for Bob at his mother’s house, a farewell party. After that I went back to New York & also went to California & Jamaica.

When did you come back to London?

In 1985 I came back to London & worked for the Caribbean Times for 7 years. The publisher was going to help me with the book but there was so much work to be done we forgot about it. It was a very exciting time & I started meeting a lot of high profile people: Margaret Thatcher & I was in Douglas Herd’s office, the Home Secretary, chatting with him while I photographed him. I met Bernie Grant, Diane Abbot & back in the hotel with Diane Abbot I took some compromising pictures, well very embarrassing because a congressman got a bit frisky with her. I felt sorry for her so I gave her the film. Actually she invited me to her son’s christening. I think he was the first child to be Christened at the House of Commons. The Godfather was Maggie Thatcher’s minister of Defence & he went to prison for some shit. It was really swanky.

(RIGHT: 'Portrait, Boy & Drum;' First cover of Bob Marley's magazine 'SURVIVAL.')

Tell us about some of the other people you have met.

Steel Pulse were playing in a place called the Country Club in San Fernando Valley, California & I was taking photo’s back stage. Stevie Wonder was backstage & he wanted to meet the band. He had a load of girls with him, a lot of champagne & shit. He invited me over, I took some shots & after a little while he wanted to go to the toilet so he grabbed my hand & I walked him to the toilet & back... laugh. The thing is Stevie remembers me because about 15 years ago in London he was staying at the Hyde Park Hotel & I went over there to show someone some pictures & he knew who I was. I first met Stevie in 1977 in Lagos, Nigeria when I photographed him with the King of Afro beat, Fela Kuti.
I photographed Michael Jackson on stage in 1982 before Thriller. I didn’t meet Michael but I hung out with Randy. That’s when he was the real Michael Jackson so to speak. I met Patti Davies, Ronald Reagan’s daughter, The white Kung Fu guy & Shirley McClean. All the pictures will be in the book.

How many hours has it taken you to archive your book?
Starting from scratch you can do it in a month, but you have to get the money to get the book together properly. Every thing is in place & I need around £90,000 to print 5000 copies & sell at a decent price, probably £100 a copy & some people say it’s cheap because Kate Simon’s book cost much more. Even the Marley’s want a copy. My biggest selling point is that when Kate Simon’s book came out she claimed she had the last unpublished pictures of Bob. I put my stuff out & I am challenging anybody to come & say they have more, but so far nobody has.

Please tell us the name of your book & where people can link with you.

My book is called, ‘PORTRAIT OF A LEGEND AND OTHER FOLKS.’ There is more information on my website & I am also on Facebook & Linked-in


Ir you have an interesting story contact us

Thursday, 16 February 2012

'SON OF AFRICA' by Jay Dizzle

Its Braap wishes to thank Jay Dizzle for sharing his poem about the strength of an African man during this period; Black History Month in the USA & Canada. We are including a picture called 'Southern Plantation Slaves,' by Thomas Nast, a white American who was very anti-slavery & produced highly detailed pictures relating to different aspects of slavery.

This is a Poem that I am sharing with Its Braap and followers of your blog and whomever else might read and be uplifted by positive vibes. Jay~


My name is Jarrett aka Jay or Jay Dizzle when I write poetry. I am 29 years old. I have been writing poetry since age 11 & have always found peace in writing my thoughts on paper. I have never performed in public or at any events, however I have had my work published in the high school newspaper, online magazines etc. Whatever comes to mind I usually write about; social awareness, fun and laughter, emotional states of being.

Son Of Africa

Whispering Calm winds blow
Palm trees sway and sometimes moan
Hot Sun riches my dark skin
Son of African Men
Warrior's run throughout my blood
This is how I Show African Love
River Nile is my father
Deepen The Roots
Smiling at my African people in Uganda
Respect to Mr Lincoln
Signed the Emancipation Proclamation
So we could be Freemen
The Choice is ours to Multiply
Minus the Fear
Don't Fear my Black Mind
Stand up for our own
My people suffered so to me its more than wrong
Injustice made me stronger
Racism fuelled the fire
Mamma Africa and I am a Survivor

Written by~ Jay Dizzle

Thanks to Its Braap for sharing my poem. Stay positive and keep the vibes kool ~Jay

Jay’s work is available on the following links: (you will find more poems on that website either under the name Jay dizzle or punedaddy30188

To read more about Thomas Nast & view more pictures check this link:

If you would like your work featured on our blog write to

Wednesday, 15 February 2012

About our Interviews!

We are all about interviewing interesting people who have a positive focus in life & bringing you their stories. These can be people who are working in the public arena such a musicians & other arts related people, or people who have faced individual challenges such as starting their own business enterprise or overcoming adversity.

Most of us have a story to tell and it is good to encourage one another by sharing our views, experiences & how we have overcome the barriers to achievement in our own lives. It is good to be reminded that we all have to find inner strength to make the most of living!

Its Braap reports the situation as we are told it & do not alter the information we have been given in any way. For this reason we cannot guarantee the accuracy of ANY facts and would advice you to research areas of particular interest.

If you would like to discuss the possibility of an Its Braap interview please contact us on Thank you

Monday, 13 February 2012

Fela Kuti - Fefe Naa Efe

As a prelude to our interview with photographer LINDSAY DONALD, today we are playing music by the King of Afrobeat, 'FELI KUTI' who created this amazing musical fusion of Jazz Funk.

Fela died in 1997, however Lindsay photographed him in his homeland Nigeria 20 years earlier in 1977; his pictures will be included in Lindsay's amazing book, 'Portrait of A Legend & Other Folks.' This exclusive work will contain previously unpublished photographs of Bob Marley from the early days & spanning his career.

Lindsay was with Bob during his final tour of the United States & gives us an account of that period along with other stories that form Lindsay's own life-long journey. THIS IS A MUST READ!! WATCH THIS SPACE!

Sunday, 12 February 2012

Inside Every Acorn There’s An Oak Tree. Achieving Potential. Live Life~Love Life WK 8

An acorn will remain an acorn until it is planted!

The fact is that we are capable of a great deal more than we could ever imagine, even bearing in mind that we only use a very small percentage of our brains. Everybody is born with potential, endorsed by the fact that children from poor backgrounds can really excel once they receive a proper education, achieving way beyond their families expectations. We looked earlier this month at Carter G Woodson who fulfils this example being born into a poor family, self educated & founding ‘Negro History Week’, that eventually became Black History month.

We do not know what we are capable of. A very simple statement which is true in the main as most of us do not really put ourselves to the test, preferring to stay within our comfort zone.

We must realize that people develop at their own rate. Some show their talents early whereas others do not blossom until much later in life. Sometimes we are aware of our talents however we do not feel ready to use them. Life is about timing and it is also about balance. If we have a lot to contend with, taking on a new challenge to stretch ourselves might seem too much. Naturally mental & physical health both have a huge part to play in our decisions & with regard to our limitations. Equally self esteem is very important. The X-Factor highlights the importance of self belief. How many times do we listen to excellent singers, Rebecca Ferguson being a prime example, who fail to trust their own ability. Look how Rebecca has grown due to the level of professional backing & proven popularity amongst viewers. Being told ‘Yes you can,’ to coin a popular phrase, may give you the incentive to improve your abilities across the board. If other people believe in you then you have every reason to believe in yourself!

What do you most want to achieve in life?

Maybe you are the kind of oak tree with solid branches to support those around you. Nobody can achieve without the support of others, friends and family frequently playing the most important role. This is part of being a silent hero and is a very important role in life. A film is not a box office hit without the lighting engineers, make up artists etc. Yes the actors, actresses and directors will walk away with the awards but even the tea boy’s contribution was important!... do they have tea boys these days? Wasn’t Simon Cowell a tea boy once?!?! Even with that said, there is probably something you wish to achieve for yourself.

Reality TV provides very good examples of how people respond to challenge. Pop Star to Opera Star, Strictly Come Dancing and years back there was a programme where people were trained within 6 weeks to undertake a profession that they had no links to at all, in fact jobs that were so far removed from their own it was laughable. I recall a vicar who trained as a used car salesman... moral conflict wouldn’t you say! The point is that on many occasions they fooled the experts who had to spot the faker. These willing guinea pigs were up against people who had years of experience. Maybe their enthusiasm & determination to bluff had a good effect however some people gained skills for life as a result. Giving you a personal example, I had no computer skills & couldn’t even cut & paste in 2007, however was determined to learn how to use a PC properly & have since passed an NVQ level 2 in ICT skills... a little training, attitude of mind and application are powerful tools!

Another class of people discovering their potential are those who undertake tremendous challenges for charity, conquering a fear of heights to sky dive, challenging themselves to run marathons when the word ‘run’ doesn’t usually enter their vocabulary. Sometimes it is easier to do things for other people than it is to do it for yourself.

SUGGESTION> Think about the things you would most like to do in life & plan how you will achieve them. It could be a simple dream such as visiting an exotic location; maybe it’s more complex, owning your own business or changing careers. Whatever your goal, everything is achievable with time if you plan and execute. This does not mean that ideas will jump into your head immediately, they might but often we start with the acorn... Its Braap was simply a name in a haze of ideas at one point but has come a long way & is still developing; it has definitely not fulfilled its potential BUT we are on the way & receive many enquiries from people wishing to find ways of working together. Another point to remember is that as you reach one boundary and cross it you can impose another to ensure constant progress.

Potential is a word that suggests more & to summarize I would say, ‘Life is evolution & evolution is life!’

Jaz McKenzie
If you have undertaken successful challenges & would like us to tell your story contact

Friday, 10 February 2012

HERITAGE OF SKA ... THE LAUNCH!! Friday 9th March

HERITAGE OF SKA, DUBBED 'THE INFLUENCE,' is a brand new festival set to hit the UK this July, weekend 7th & 8th. It has been organised by Michael Arkk & associates at a time when many established festivals will be taking a break due to the Olympics; Glastonbury & the Lambeth County Show being two of these popular events.

'The Influence,' as it is primarily referred to, will be bringing us a joyful weekend filled with festivities aimed at showing people how ska, an early form of reggae music, has affected many of the genres we enjoy today. Ska music is known for its universal appeal, crossing racial & cultural barriers, so we are delighted to embrace this event within the local community of Lambeth. It will be hosted at Brockwell Park and in addition to featuring many artists from different musical persuasions, local traders will have the opportunity to sell their wares. Organizations such as Peacekeepers UK & Youthanasia Films will present the work they are doing in schools and clubs to help our youth focus on the value of living productive lives. The Influence is aiming to provide work shops for all ages including practical classes and plans to give us more information about the background of ska music.

To kick off the proceedings the Ritzy, Brixton will be hosting the H.O.S. launch party Friday 9th March, so come along & get a feel for the festival, experience live music and meet the organizers! Pop the date in your diary NOW.

The Influence has been planned on a large scale, therefore if you are able to help with sponsorship in any capacity please email or contact us on All enquiries welcome.

If you would like us to feature your event please contact

Thursday, 9 February 2012

PS I Love You Day 10th Feb 2012

BIG THANKS TO GAIL GANT for bringing 'PS I Love You Day' to our attention. This event is scheduled for tomorrow however we are posting NOW so that you can all search your wardrobe for purple clothing! Wouldn't it be great if this became a truly international day where even school uniforms were put aside. DREAM BIG... never fails!!

The sad thing is that so many people are feeling rock bottom, especially in the current economic climate which has caused the suicide rate to rocket. Sadly lack of money creates not only stress but can challenge our values. Love gives way to resentment causing relationships to break up. The realization by people that they can no longer provide fully for their families leads to a disproportionate sense of shame.

Many of us have dark fears that can really take over our minds if we allow them to and once bedded in they can have the power to destroy our self belief. The ways in which we handle them dictates how determined we are to live the life we want. Of course, some people become mentally ill and at the mercy of their own minds, but many of us are in a position to take the positivity challenge and find ways to support others & help ourselves.

This video is basically asking us to be aware of those around us. To open our eyes and be encouraging to others. The words, 'I LOVE YOU' are powerful but we need to go a little further and SHOW people. Sometimes all that is required is a listening ear. So, do what you can today & don't wait until tomorrow to spread a little love. Remember, PURPLE is the colour!

We are running a weekly blog, 'Live Life~Love Life' to give a few ideas of how to step up to life!! Check it out.

To contact us with your stories relating to overcoming adversity, contact

Wednesday, 8 February 2012

MY EMPIRE... Poem dedicated to the self-centred!!


ME... I AM
The centre of my world
The centre of your universe
No time to spare
Your wants and needs
Will not impact
This is all about
My Empire
What makes me tick?
Tell me...
What can you do for me?
Are you part of my solution?
Or part of my problem?
Tread carefully lest
I chew you up and spit you out!

ME... I AM
The centre of my world
Problems of the real world
Simply don’t exist
Wrapped up in the bondage of self-importance
Wrapped up in the bondage of self conceit
Swathed in layers of self delusion
The ultimate invisible prison
Even Houdini would not be able to release
Himself from bonds such as these
The vice grip of discontent has its day
For peace cannot enter a hardened heart
Joy cannot spread her clipped wings
To love oneself is a blessing from God
But to idolise oneself is a true affliction
Freedom can only exist through love.
Walk in the love
Walk in the light.

Jaz McKenzie 2010 ©
If you would like your work featured on our blog send to

Monday, 6 February 2012


WE ARE SORRY TO ANNOUNCE that we are currently experiencing some difficulties with the internet which has interrupted the flow of posts to all our sites. We have not been informed when normal service may be expected to resume however will do our best to ensure thatyou receive some posts over the next few days.
Thanks for your understanding ~IB~

Bob Marley - One Love

Today we remember Bob Marley on the anniversary of his Birthday.
This is a great song and one of the best know reggae tunes ever. It summarizes the basis of love, that it should be shared freely to everyone. No more to say!! Enjoy & share!

GRAPHIC WORKS!! Communication is key. Live Life~Love Life WK 7

Communication is key.
Graphic works... why that title? Because graphics are generally clear images that provide a very popular way of communicating, from flyers to films showing us that clarity is an essential component in successful communication.

No I am not about to give a lecture telling you to improve your listening skills!! That would be teaching Grandma to suck eggs, but what I will say is that everything comes down to communication; be it good communication, poor communication or a distinct lack of communication and all of us have experienced the joys and frustrations associated with these.

Today we are going to challenge ourselves by linking these areas to our own life situations. The idea is to throw complacency to the wind because there is always room for improvement and to set about identifying the tender spots. For example, a businessman might say, ’I’m a great communicator. I run a team of 30 people and my staff know exactly what’s required of them.’ If that’s the case, fantastic, but does that great communication continue into other areas of life? There are many lonely people in this world who have hard working, sociable partners who in turn do not realise that their partner is actually suffering isolation by facing the ‘me, me, me’ syndrome on a daily basis. Worse still, having a partner who is too tired to bother even to speak about their day never mind enquiring about anyone else’s.

Sometimes the thought of tackling such problems can seem daunting. The business man may well be genuinely exhausted and to accept this situation is difficult whilst attempting to correct it is harder still. The same problem exists for the partner whose attempts at discussion may fall on closed ears.

Communicating with colleagues who do not seem to understand what is being asked, which becomes evident when a task is half done or completely misunderstood, can be very frustrating. Similarly, how many times do we hear people addressing their children in ways that horrify us? Continually shouting or making negative comments; not listening to what the child has to say?

The key points to improving communication, hence any form of relationship are as follows:
1) Know what you want to achieve
2) Consider the other person and how your expectations will impact on them
3) Set aside time to communicate & make decisions where appropriate
4) Be patient
5) See how much better everything becomes!

Let’s consider each point briefly:
1) By knowing what you want to achieve you can decide what strategy to use & how to communicate your wishes, eg: your business is losing money. Your aim is to identify new opportunity/losses etc. Strategies might extend to include all levels of the organization & you will need to decide the best way of doing so in order to communicate this effectively to your team.
2) Remember that we all have different priorities & expectations in most situations, eg: Your children hate doing their homework but you want them to do well. You could set aside time to identify the problems and find out the help they need or incentives to encourage them.
3) There is no point in making hasty decisions except in emergency situations. The best thing is to allow time in your schedule and also make time at home, eg: Don’t just expect your partner to book the annual holiday. It is en experience to be shared. Set aside time to discuss where you would like to go, type of holiday & accommodation. The whole experience will then be fulfilling for both of you.
4) Patience is a skill. If people do not understand what is expected then you may need to try to find alternative ways to communicate your wishes. Patience is also required in relation to change and improvement. Do not set your expectations too high and support the people you are trying to help. This will provide a better outcome than a list of demands.
5) Seeing how things improve is basically the ongoing process of evaluating change. This enables you to make continuous improvements in the areas of communication, understanding, decisions and therefore your situation.

Let’s make this the week where we do our best to improve communication in one area of our lives however small and see what a difference it can make.

Jaz McKenzie

If you would like to write an article in this series contact us:

Friday, 3 February 2012


Blackk Blunt Interview with Its Braap
Big thanks to Agent Grungstar for giving us the opportunity to interview dynamic dancehall artist Blackk Blunt. ‘Blunt,’ as he refers to himself, is an unassuming person who is totally on fire once he hits the stage. Its Braap witnessed Blunts popularity & command of his audience at Savana’s launch party late December 2011; witnessing Blunt’s potential to become a significant name in reggae; a mission that is most definitely on track!

We’ll start with your name, why the AKA Black Diamond?

It was Blunt at first, then the Blackk added on, then the Black Diamond added on, so it went from Blunt to Blackk Blunt aka the Black Diamond. My friend & fellow artist Shawn Mental said to me, ‘You are the black diamond that’s in the ground, you only need to be found you know. I’m going to live with that now & ever since I say,’ Blackk Blunt AKA the Black diamond in the ground, need to be found. I guess I am now... laugh.

Tell us about your arrival in the UK... how you managed to adapt to the culture & how ‘at home’ the music scene felt to you.
The music scene was a bit strange from what I was used to. Coming into a country which you don’t really know nothing about & coming from a culture where every turn you turn there’s something banging music in every corner. Coming here was a bit different & I can remember the first night I been here, searching through the radio to find some reggae music & I couldn’t find nothing. The one that I bucked up on was Chris Goldfinger when he was on BBC. Them times there was songs like ‘look into my eyes,’ back in 1999 & I remember finding that & I was so happy that Saturday night. I will never forget finding that. I was just there listening but I didn’t know it was going to finish at 2 and when it finished there was no more & I didn’t know where to find more reggae music! Basically music in the UK is a bit different but I been here for a while now so I get used to it & know how to deal with it.

Was that your biggest culture shock?
I got a lot of culture shock because I see things I didn’t expect to see. In Jamaica there’s this thing about foreign, the picture that they paint & what you get to see is totally different. There’s a lot of things that was strange to me at first, but it took me a while & I eventually got bedded in.

When you came to the UK you went from King Tubby’s sound & then formed your own sound Mighty Stereo Mellow... did you find there were particular songs you played on a regular basis or did you keep changing up?
Things were always based on the event and the crowd where we were playing. At some events we can play certain types of songs. We might be playing at a wedding or an ‘after funeral do,’ so the right song for the right place and right time basically.

Did you play many commercial events or were you mainly family orientated?

We did do loads, majority of these dancehall clubs even ones that are closed down now. I played Chicagos, The Meantime Lounge, you name it we played it.

What was your favourite venue?

I would say for the record, ‘Domino Club’ coz when we just started Stereo Mellow that’s where we really got established from, Domino Club and that’s in Brixton.

You appeared alongside Buju Banton... How long ago was that & how did it make you feel?
That was in 2007 at Stratford Rex & it was a good feeling. Even though we weren’t on stage together, just knowing that he’s on that show & I did end up meeting him in person, sitting like I’m sitting with you now & that was even greater. Assassin was there as well. I was sitting like this, like we were childhood friends & it felt good. It’s good to meet artists like Buju Banton, you know him from small so it was a really good feeling.

How come you met him in the UK? Did you do more with your music when you got here?

Buju Banton; what happened was, the person who was promoting the show is someone that I know. Basically they had a show up in Bristol so he asked me to come along & we went to the hotel where they was staying & we all were chilling in the lounge, sitting with Assassin & Buju Banton. There were some new kids there, up & coming artists & it was good.

Are there any festivals this year or special events you will be performing at?

Yes, there are loads. The 28th Jan I was in Derby, 10th Feb I’ll be in Slough & Channel 4 will be documenting it for Dancehall in the UK. It’s something to do with the 50th anniversary of Jamaica and Tenza will be on that show as well, so I’m really looking forward to it.

You worked with Tenza, what did you do together?

We did a collaboration together but it’s not released yet, soon to be released.

You said you had a Sing-Jay break in the UK, could you explain more about this?

Sing-Jaying is like mellowing it down. You know how the guys did it back in the days, punching it hard. I think in my era we kinda mellowing it down Instead of saying ‘the’ we say ‘theee,’ like we’re rounding it off. It just brings a bit more melody into what we’re doing. If you listen to Mr Vegas or I-Octane, all of them guys Sing-Jay. It’s now a popular thing in the business.

Do you think it gives dancehall a more Universal appeal?

It does because it’s like filing down the edges I think. Dancehall music is a bit punch hall, a bit rough so if you can round off the edges it should help to elevate it a bit more.

Following on, there have been various problems with councils refusing to allow dancehall events. What do you think will help improve the negative image of dancehall in the UK & move it forwards? Do you think the over-all image is improving?
I’m a Jamaican & I’m going to be honest. I know when it comes to Jamaican events the council & everybody would have to think twice because it’s Jamaica. Hopefully, because every youth now is doing this so it’s being more recognized, where at first people would think it’s a joke. Especially the guys who come over from Jamaica & are now living here, they didn’t take it serious. In the last year and a half things are changing dramatically and hopefully the higher society, the councils & everybody can see that we are doing something. We’re not making trouble and if there are trouble makers they will get the law in to deal with it and give us greater security.

How long ago did you sign up with Agent Grungstar & what difference has it made to your career?
Agent Grungstar has always been around, so when we ready we sat down and said this is what we’re going to do. I’m the artist and at the end of the day I’m going to need someone because I can’t do everything myself. We been friends for a long, long time so we decided what we going to do to move forwards. You do this and I do this. Grungstar had I-Shenko and Indecka, two Jamiacan based artists they were pushing and they went far & everything. Even then I was there, but it wasn’t my time so I was just sitting humble and giving advice as it was like a family business. It’s my time now as an artist to go forward.

What would you say is your biggest song to date?

I would say ‘Woman Intuition’ on the Lockdown label. It’s loved by all, young and old, middle aged everyone.

Does it get airplay in Jamaica as well as the UK?
It does get airplay over there but not as much as it does over here yet.

Are you focusing on building your reputation over here first then extending to Jamaica?
Yes that’s what I’m looking to do.

Could you tell us a little about the background to your ‘Usain Bolt’ song?

The Usain Bolt song came along when I went to see the producer, Shanks Production. Shanks said ‘Blunt I got this new riddim & someone told me to name it the Bolt Riddim because it’s chopping.’ I said ,’yeah, the Bolt Riddim, like Usain Bolt?’ He said. ‘ yes right.’ I said, ‘then if it’s the Bolt riddim I’ll do something for Usain Bolt on it’ and that’s how it came along. I just think about what he’s done & put in words.

The Usain video is brill & has a really good look

Thank you, that’s the work of Troytan. (To listen, tune in below on this blog 31st Jan)

Moving forwards, are you going to try and be more adventurous with your videos?
Definitely; I am looking to do loads of videos even for some of the songs I’ve done already. I want to do loads in the summer when we have more scenery outside. That’s what I’m looking to do, loads of videos.

I have noticed that most of your lyrics are pretty focused and specific; is that the way you like to work, focusing on certain subjects and working your thoughts through them?
The way I write music Jaz is, I can’t just get up now like you & me sitting here & you say , ‘Blunt write me a song’. You might get the song, but there can be a time when I’m sitting here & I don’t know what went off in my head. I might be thinking of something, just watching telly & hear one word, or look through my window & see something that inspires me and the whole entire song, all 3 verses, come from that one thing. I try to keep my songs non-fiction so people can relate. As things come along I just address them. There was one song I did but didn’t really get to voice it yet, It was when the riot was on and I am a bit disappointed that I didn’t do it at the time, but I’m still going to put it out. That’s how I write, the riot went on and I did a song about it.

Agent Grungstar with Blackk Blunt

You recently won the D.I.A (Dancehall Industry Award UK) for the best new artist. How did you get nominated for that & what was the process you went through to win it?

It was a vote system via the internet. I was nominated through hard work, being in the streets, being on radio stations like Clock Work. We were pushing it, pushing it & pushing it everyday. Eventually people started to hear Blackk Blunt, Blackk Blunt so the promoters linked the management team & said they wanted to nominate me, so they sent us a link and told us how people could vote.

Winning the D.I.A. is a great achievement

Yes, and we did put in the work Jaz, up & down the motorway, all over!

You have already mentioned Lockdown Studios, you have down quite a bit of work haven’t you with Tippa Irie?
Yes and the latest one that’s due to be released is the Driver riddim which me and Tippa collaborated on called, ‘Sleepy Eyes.’ The Free riddim, that’s released already & ‘Woman Intuition’ is on the UK flu riddim. I am real busy and I’m due to go back in to do more work, but we’re both busy.

Are there any up & coming collaborations for us to look forward to?
I recently done a collaboration with Savana, I done one with Tenza, Mr Peppa from Jamaica & Tippa but there are none in the pipeline right now, but if an artist should call then why not, it’s music.

Blackk Blunt definitely has a lot going on, what’s the latest news on you?

Best new artist of the year 2011. I know 2012 should be a good year, we’re working on it. We have loads of new songs waiting to be released & it’s going to be good. I got touring pending for Africa & touring pending for Europe at the moment so it’s looking good. I have a show in Wales 2nd March & there should be one is Scotland. I am going to tour with Big Ship The Genius, that’s Stephen McGregor, in Ilford & Luton. Another good thing, I’ve been nominated for the CMA’s (Community Music Awards) so that’s coming up. 2012 is definitely looking good.

Jaz McKenzie

+44 (07931829090)
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If you would like an interview or have your work featured on Its Braap~Its Life contact us on

Wednesday, 1 February 2012

A History of Black History Month

Black History Month... what does this mean?

Black History Month began in the USA as far back as 1926, however it started out as ‘Negro History Week, being founded by the son of a former slave family, Carter G Woodson. Carter’s story is a journey from poverty to education via self-determination. This man whose parents could not even afford to school him was self educated until he entered the system and ultimately gained a Bachelors & Masters degree at the University of Chicago. He truly is the cornerstone of everything that Black History Month now stands for.

‘If a race has no history, if it has no worthwhile tradition, it becomes a negligible factor in the thought of the world, and it stands in danger of being exterminated.’
Carter G. Woodson

One of the best things about Black History is that it remains a story in the making and thanks to Carter G Woodson it is celebrated in 3 countries: USA, Canada & the UK. Carter originally set the week according to President Lincoln’s Birthday and naturally Canada also celebrate in February. Here in the UK we celebrate in October, following events in 1987 to celebrate the African Jubilee year. In the UK we have many independent events to celebrate diversity whereas in the USA a theme is set each year. This year Americans are honouring black women whose achievements have helped to shape the United States. I imagine this means that contemporary women like Oprah Winfrey & Maya Angelou should be included as they are history in the making and have had a powerful affect within society as a whole.

What influenced Carter G Woodson & inspired him to put black achievement on the map?

Carter travelled to Chicago specifically to celebrate the 50th anniversary of the end of slavery and was so enthused after enjoying three weeks of festivities, that he co-started an association to study Negro life. It was probably his enthusiasm & charisma that generated so much interest.

It is good to have such a positive slant on these proceedings, showing the world the true meaning of equality, and provide a focal point that educates the rest of society about Black achievement alongside the knowledge of slavery and captivity that we are all familiar with. A great journey... Negro History week ultimately became Black History Month and is now an integral part of our calendars.

Jaz McKenzie