Sunday, April 13, 2008

WE Magazine lends its support to the Caribbean community by sponsoring two beauties in the Miss Queen of the Islands Pageant

WE Magazine sponsors Miss Queen of the Islands delegates
From left: Renee Forde (Miss Trinidad/Barbados), Jef Lo (WE Magazine Editor in Chief), Camille Langevine (Miss Guyana)

Monday April 14th, 2008 - Toronto, ON, Canada - Canada's premiere West Indian Entertainment magazine, WE announced today that it will be sponsoring two contestants competing in Jamaal Magloire’s 2nd Annual Miss Queen of the Islands beauty pageant taking place on July 5th.

Camille Langevine (Miss Guyana) is an HR student at Seneca College and Renee Forde (Miss Trinidad/Barbados) is a co-ordinator at OMNI TV. “Both girls are very bright ambitious young individuals and WE is pleased to be a contributor to such aspiring young women who will one day make a difference in our Caribbean community” says Jef Lo, Editor in Chief at WE Magazine. “Our hats off to the committee organizing this event, which not only focuses on the beauty and talent rising from the Caribbean, but it also provides a wonderful networking medium for young people reaching out in our community.”

The Miss Queen of The Islands Pageant takes place on July 5th at the Rembrandt Banquet Hall located at 930 Progress Avenue in Scarborough. For more information on the pageant and to view photos of all the 2008 delegates visit

You can read more about Renee Forde, who is the featured “WE GIRL” in the April issue of WE Magazine available in outlets now. Also look out for more on Camille Langevine in the upcoming June issue of WE.

About WE
WE Magazine is Canada's premiere monthly WEST INDIAN ENTERTAINMENT magazine. It is committed to inspiring readers while celebrating the vibrant arts, culture, history and natural beauty of the Caribbean. WE provides a unique and colourful perspective on West Indian entertainment and life with an emphasis on local West Indian Canadian content. WE Magazine seeks to accurately and creatively reflect the Caribbean community from which it came.WE magazine is available free at all major West Indian outlets throughout the GTA.

For more information visit

Tuesday, April 8, 2008

WE COVER - March 2008

WE COVER STORY - Brick and Lace’s Sexy Roots Music

By Natasha Samuels

I couldn’t help but notice the Internet buzz surrounding Konvict Muzik’s (Akon’s label) latest prodigy’s. But six seconds into my first listen of Brick and Lace’s Love is Wicked, I thought “oh God, not another diwali song”.

However, as soon as Nailah’s husky, sultry serenade began, my eyebrows raised with interest.

Nailah’s raspy voice, the harmonized lyrics, and the introduction of the brass instruments was just pure genius that breathe life into the over done diwali riddim. Not to mention the catchy lyrics had me belting out “your love is wicked” by my third listen of the song.

Curiosity led me to the to the female anthem “Never, Never.” I fell in love with the song, instantly. The beat the lyrics, even the re-mix tracks with Cham and KES the Band were pristine.

I knew then that I had not given the sisters a fair listen of their unique blend of R&B and Reggae, which they call sexy roots music.

A million questions-— who is who, how did they get this far, why didn’t I pay attention before-—, mulled through my head as I dialed their 876 connection sent from their 180 Entertainment manager, Chez.

After 3 rings, Nyanda, the older of the two sisters answers the phone.

Nailah and Nyanda Thorbourne are the drop-dead gorgeous sisters who make up the group, Brick and Lace.
The credit for their good looks goes to their black Jamaican father and white-American mother.

Their talent, well that’s just god given because these sisters didn’t get this far because of their striking faces and chiseled bodies. Yes, I know many would like to believe that they coasted to stardom but trust when I say that these girls can really sing. Check out their Next performance available on Yahoo music and judge for yourself.

Raised in a Christian home, the two sisters come from a family of four girls who are all blessed with beautiful voices.

Their journey in the “worldly” music industry began after Sharon Burke, the Solid Agency front woman, heard the sisters (there were three of them at the time) signing in a church.

After their successful audition, Burke paired the sisters with Reggae music A-listers, which included Marcia Griffiths, Diana King and Beres Hammond as backup singers.

When the sisters opened for the killing me softly songstress, Roberta Flack, in their native Jamaica, they were introduced to the world as Brick and Lace.
It was their mother they say who came up with “Lace” for the group name. Nyanda added, “Brick.”

The sisters with Burke’s guidance recorded tracks with dancehall icon Bounty which was received favorably in Jamaica.

With the group of three became two (older sister Tasha, who now resides in Toronto, decide to take a behind the scenes role with Brick and Lace’s development), people automatically assumed that one was Brick and the other was Lace.
And why not, as Nyanda, the sing-jay with the harder, edgy, look and the one that WE brick city ladies can relate to, would seemingly own the label Brick. Nailah, the R&B crooner, who most women aspire to be would seemingly own the label Lace.
“We are both Brick and Lace. Every woman is Brick and Lace. Every girl has that edgy side and every girl has that feminine side. And that’s what the name is really about.”

The sisters are artists in the truest sense. They wrote or co-wrote the songs on their debut album. Nailah (the blond) also plays the guitar and Nyanda (the brunette) reportedly plays the triangle, a musical instrument belonging to the percussion family.

Besides their passion for music, you can’t deny that the sisters have a lot going for them. Matter of fact, they could probably do whatever they chose to be. With their height (Nailah stands 5’9” and Nyanda stands 5’8”) and photogenic features, they could have easily graced magazine covers, or work the runways. (Did you see Nyanda’s strut and poses in their award nominated Love is Wicked video?)

They are smart too. Nailah is a graduate of St. Andrew High and Nyanda graduated from the prestigious Campion College. They were both doing the college thing, Nyla was pursuing a degree in Marketing at Miami Dade College and Nyanda was pursuing a degree in Advertising and Theater at the University of Miami, when they met Dallas Austin.

“Dallas Austin wanted to sign us to his publishing company. It would mean moving to Atlanta [and] so we ended up going to Atlanta. That’s where we really honed our writing skills.”

Working with the legendary producer proved to be a major stepping-stone for the sisters.

They were the first female Jamaican group to be signed to Jive Records before they departed from the label two months later for Geffen records.
Through Geffen, they met Akon who was slated to produce three songs on their debut album.

On working with Akon the sisters said that “the vibe and the chemistry was automatic. We had so much fun in the studio in terms of being able to relate to each other. I think that relationship just made [Akon] feel more like he wanted to be involved with the whole movement of the group.”

As a result, the sisters were signed to Akon’s Konvict Muzik label where they have been creating their unique sound that they call sexy roots music.

“We feel like [our songs] definitely has the roots vibes as we say in Jamaica. It’s down to earth, it’s approachable and we can hear the sincerity in the vocals. The sexy part is the R&B and the melodies are sweet to the ear. So it’s that vibe of dancehall meet R&B, so we call it sexy roots music,” they said.
They have also created sexy roots music with some of the top producers in the industry including: Cool and Dre, Full Force Productions, Tony Kelly, Will.I.Am, and Raphael Saadiq, just to name a few.

Signed to Sony publishing the girls have penned lyrics for other artists including Nicole Scherzinger of Pussycat doll fame. Along with publishing credits, the sisters can be heard on Scherzinger’s latest “Paukenikini” which Nyanda pronounces with authority as if the Hawaiian dialect is her own native tongue.

Last year they appeared on Akon’s set during his tour with Gwen Stefani.
“It was like 22,000 people every night. It was crazy. I think people were excited to see our set bringing something fresh and bringing that whole Caribbean vibe.”
Perhaps their success has a lot to do with not leaving the marketing of their unique sound solely in the hands of their label professionals.

“No sah, we doing our ting,” said Nyanda.
“No seriously as Jamaican and Caribbean artists you have to do what you have to do. You can’t wait. The record companies, it’s great to have them but you can’t wait on them. You have to do your own grind. We have to show them that there is another world that there is a market other than mainstream. [There] are a lot of Caribbean people in the world who want to connect with you and connect with the music. We have to reach that audience…you just kind of have to lead that way and show them.”
The uptown sisters were recently feted by the Jamaican music industry with multiple category nominations for the Jamaica Reggae Academy Awards and Excellence in Music and Entertainment Awards.

You can’t help but root for them, because deep down you know that they are well on their way of joining the ranks of the two Sean’s (Paul and Kingston) and Rihanna who are Caribbean artists who launched into international success with Caribbean music and heritage as their foundation.


Often called The Caribbean Queen, Sophia who is from the beautiful island of Jamaica is the second youngest of seven children. Her family unit has been a vital part of her existence, serving as the foundation of her perseverance through life’s many challenges.Sophia resided in Queens, NY for approximately ten years. During her time in NY City, she cultivated her craft as an entertainer. She attended numerous Theater Arts programs and pounded the pavement of NYC experiencing all that she could get her hands on. Sophia immediately became known for her versatility.

It all started when she accompanied her cousin to an audition for Parent Magazine when she was eleven years old. Sophia tells the story…

“I didn’t even know what an audition was at that age. I just wanted to hang out with my cousin. I remember standing in the hallway trying to peek through the crack of the door to see what was going on. The photographer saw me and came out and said hello. Long story short, I ended up booking the print job for Parents Magazine. I was so excited about knowing that I was going to be in a magazine, but I didn’t want to rub it in my cousin’ face and so I down played it. I didn’t realize that this was the start of my career, but after doing this shoot, I fell in love with being in front of the camera and couldn’t wait for the next shoot.”

Before Sophia was even a teenager she had already booked roles on Young & The Restless, As the World Turns, Ghost Writer. She said one of her most memorable experiences growing up was working with Lauren Hill and Aretha Franklin. The shoot was for a music video entitled “A Rose is still A Rose.”

Devoted to her aspirations, at the age of seventeen Sophia relocated to Los Angeles. She enrolled in acting school and landed roles on ER, Malcolm & Eddie, Moesha, Felicity and City Guys, just to name a few. Three years later she moved to Atlanta. When asked why she left she smiled and said, “The Hollywood scene was not my cup of tea, if you know what I mean. I have morals and integrity. When I realized that was being compromised it was not a very difficult decision for me to make. I knew that I would be blessed because of my decision regardless of where I decided to move. I wanted to test new waters and I love it here.”

Since her transition, Sophia has been featured on Good Day Atlanta three times. She represented Maybelline Cosmetics, Mac Cosmetics and FUBU. She has also filmed several commercials including Verizon Wireless, Continental Hotels, WBLS, and Greenville Technical Institute. Some of her print campaign jobs include, Oprah Magazine, Essence Magazine, Instyle Magazine, Coors Light, Russell Athletics and many more. She said one of her most interesting shoots was for a cartoon on the Cartoon Network called ‘Frisky Dingo’. “They had to shoot me doing about fifty different facial expressions. Then they transformed my face to make it look animated, creating the character, “Mercy Moreno.”

Despite Sophia’s busy schedule she is also a business woman. She is the owner of a successful Trucking Company in Georgia called Yashar Trucking. She laughs saying, “No, I don’t drive the trucks!” She is involved in a number of different investments and is also owns a Travel Agency. I asked Sophia what she does with the little free time she does have. “Well, I love music, especially reggae of course. I even studied Audio Engineering in school for a while. But no one told me math was involved and I really dislike math and so the rest is history!!! I also love baseball. I enjoy travelling to different games and leagues. I am definitely still on the grind and you will be seeing a lot more of me, but I am also enjoying life with the amazing family that I have been blessed with.

Morena Entertainment, LLC /

WE SPOTLIGHT - Adrian Dutchin: The Humble Pride of Guyana

By Karen L. Richardson

The air was hot and thick in Toronto on the night I met the emerging soca singer Adrian Dutchin in 2006. It was about 2 a.m. when a handsome young man, short in stature with a big personality, walked over to introduce himself to me as the reigning soca monarch of Guyana. I was already a fan. “On Me” had long since made it to the heavy rotation list in my car. Curious about the man behind the music, I had googled the artiste to see what I can learn about him. And there he was before me, humbly blending in to the Caribana masses.

I’ve been watching Adrian Dutchin ever since. The 26-year-old singer/songwriter grew up in Georgetown, Guyana. Without a father to show him the ropes, Dutchin found his own path through childhood. He always loved music, but never dreamed that one day it would become his career.

“I might have said yes to acting, but me singing? Nah!” Adrian said laughing. “My mother would scream at me to stop in the shower, but I went into a studio one day to do a TV show I was a part of, and I never turned back since then.”

“The guy that’s my manager today, turned me back like about five times, but was convinced to give me a chance and I’m thankful for it.” He got his break after finally impressing Burchmoore Simone. Two soca monarch titles later and a hit called “Impossible”, Adrian is gaining visibility like no other Guyanese soca artiste. In 2007, Simone hooked him up with veteran Bajan band Krosfyah. Dutchin currently sings frontline vocals alongside Edwin Yearwood and Khiomal Nurse bringing explosive energy to each live performance.

“I’m very blessed to be working with the band. I’m having a blast. I have learned to control my way of being on the stage, but every day is a learning process,” said Adrian. It’s not known how long his working relationship will continue, so for now he’s just going with the flow. He’s enjoying each new experience while staying close to his Guyanese roots.

“I just want to let go some music and have fun man. I have been performing a lot in different countries. I just want to enjoy my festival,“ said Adrian. Guyana’s Mashramani Carnival just wrapped up at the end of February, and Adrian participated fully. He sang “No Place Like Home”, to win himself the Carib Soca Monarch crown, February 16th. The song was recorded and produced in New York by Shawn “Mastamind” Noel. This is Dutchin’s third Soca Monarch victory.

He’s got big plans for 2008. Adrian Dutchin is still half of the group X2 (Times Two) with longtime friend and colleague Jumo Primo. The duo has an album coming out in 2008. “X2 is something in my heart and would never leave because myself and Jumo love doing what we do. We are like brothers. Our relationship is really down to earth,” said Adrian.

Dutchin is enjoying the ride and trusting God for more blessings in the future. To upcoming artistes he says, “respect your craft, treat it with care. Love it. It’s yours. Always put God first. Always.”

For more information on Adrian Dutchin and X2 visit

WE MUSIC - Dr Jay De Soca Prince asks.....


For as long as I care to recall, I have been flying to Trinidad, the land of Oil and Music, for Carnival each year and for the last thirteen years, I have come back home to host my annual RETURN FETE in Toronto. One of the goals of RETURN FETE is to get the new Soca music to you, the local Toronto Soca lovers. To top that off, this year we presented a live band with two prolific singers performing a full set with two additional guest artistes. Bringing the music to the people, right? Now I don't know about you, but when I hear the songs from this year's Trinidad Carnival, I am transported back to Carnival Tuesday with the blazing sun beating down. I imagine a drink in hand and that I'm surrounded by friends out on de road once again. Soca music can do that - it takes us to another place.

Now this year, I am wondering if other people are noticing what I am noticing? Is it just me or is Toronto lagging in the recognition of the newest Soca selections out there? Allow me let you in on a little something. From where I stand, I can see you. Yes. You. You standing 40 people deep into the crowd. I can see when you sing out and also when you stand with your arms crossed. You to the side of the stage. I can read your lips and I can also tell when you know the dances or when you are just watching the saucy ting beside you and mimicking her moves.
My post-Carnival reflection edition of my Prescription Picks that were overlooked are as follows:
- "Rollin" by Patrice Roberts & Machel Montano...every time these two collaborate on a track, there's a internet buzz that it is supposed to be the next "Band Of The Year", and every time it doesn't live up to the hype (does anyone still play "Light It Up"?)...however, that changed in 2008..."Rollin" is the sleeper hit for the Carnival...if it was only released a few weeks earlier, the whole of Trinidad would have been doing the Rollin dance on Carnival Tuesday.
- "Saddle" by Destra...maybe this one wasn't really overlooked, but it definitely wasn't as big as I find it should be...seeing this song performed live with the dancers made me like it even more...even Destra wine like ah never see she wine before...the best line in the song is, "if yuh cyan do de wuk, yuh betta leave de job site"...ladies, is time to take control!
- "Bumper (Headlights)" by Pelf...some songs grow on you visually, but I personally didn't see this Brooklyn-based entertainer perform this song in Trinidad...however, yuh see when we played this song on Carnival Monday and Tuesday? Geez an ages....just recalling the vision of all dem sexy bumpers shakin' on de road is making me put this big chune by Pelf on de list.
- "Abyss" by Chucky & Choko...okay, so what if I didn't hear this song played once during the Carnival season? This chune has that certain intangibility that stays with you long after it stopped playing...I can still hear the "oooooh gooosh" in my head!
- "Carnival Clap" by KMC...I like this song and I'm not sure if its due to the video or that I don't want my truck keyed (oops, that was a bad joke)...but seriously, there's something about the melody that makes you want to clap along with Ken Marlon Charles.
(all tracks can be heard in the MUSIC section of

Naturally there is an adjustment period with new music. Some people hate a song when it first comes out, but certain tunes grow on you - which comes with time. But seeing as a good number of us have gone to sweet sweet T&T and returned to tell the tales (yes, plural) why are we acting like we are unfamiliar? Based on the feedback and requests I receive during my weekly radio show, I know that our city is knowledgeable with the music from this year so what I want to know is this: what does it take for you to feel "familiar" with a hot soca track?

What are your thoughts on the offerings from our islands for the 2008 Soca selections? Do you love it or hate it? And more importantly - do you "free it up" on the dance floor like Destra and Sean Paul when you hear them played at a fete?

Now THAT is... The Question.

Dr Jay De Soca Prince welcomes your feedback on this issue at (His weekly radio show and your injection of sweet Soca music, can be heard each and every Sunday on FLOW 93.5FM from 6 pm to 9 pm.)

WE ENTERTAINMENT - Live on Stage Rockin’ Sydney’s Island

By Carol A. Allen

Nestled in a quiet strip plaza on Dixie Road in Mississauga, Ontario, the popular eatery, Sydney's Island Restaurant now serves up more than just Caribbean cuisine. With the recent launch of Live on Stage, a new bi-monthly showcase of local entertainers, the west side of the city is becoming a musical escape zone from the regular hustle of Toronto's downtown core.
On January 26th, the first event, "Roots. Rock. Reggae," delivered just that, blending an eclectic mix of musical styles. The talents of Juno-nominated Scottish Canadian roots-reggae artist, Jason Wilson, and soft rock band, In Altum, added a distinct flavour in an environment fully equipped for true stage performers.

Incorporated with the smooth reggae-soul vibe of Montreal-born, Singer, Songwriter, and Musician Tréson, backed by the highly accomplished band, Ibadan, one could easily reminisce back to the days when the old Bamboo on Queen Street West would fill that niche.

Tréson, born Trevor Alman, is a co-creator of the event. He has been generating international buzz since the release of his 2006 singles, 'Jen-Ee-Rocka' (Dubmatix Remix), 'Moments', and 'Dirt, Dust and Sand' all received global airplay. "Coming from the reggae aspect, my template is from Bob (Marley) days--real music dealing with social issues. I write music that can relate to more than one culture, so I want to promote quality music for all cultures.”

Teaming up with Toronto-based Spoken Word Artist Al St. Louis was something that just had to be done, because as Tréson notes, “he’s at the top of his game.” No stranger to producing live shows, St. Louis has been performing across the country at various events over the past eight years. His company, When Words Are Spoken, has provided a platform for himself and other artists to grow and establish themselves through live performances.

St. Louis, whose roots are from Grenada, hosted this event while strategically throwing in a few spoken word pieces throughout the show.

"We feel that there is a lot of great talent in the city. We want to exploit that and give exposure to the various talented individuals to help build Sydney's Island," notes St. Louis. "We're opening the stage to all forms of artistic expression, poetry and musicians."

Over the next year, Live on Stage will promote a different theme for each show with plans to incorporate latin soca, an international artist open mic as well as a continuous blend of various sounds. The shows will be recorded on video to be later edited and distributed for sale.
Tréson emphasizes, “Opportunities are here. Canada is relatively undiscovered. The modern artist has to be committed and independent at the same time."

The next Live on Stage showcase titled, "The Love of Music," takes place on Saturday, March 29 at 9:00pm. Artists performing will include: Noni, Christopher Charles, Toni Anderson, Tréson and Al St. Louis. Comedian Jay Martin will host the show.

Dinner is available and $15 Advance tickets will be on sale the first week of March by calling 416 629 4079 or pay $25 at the door.

For more information you can visit:; and

WE COMMUNITY – ACCHO: Keeping Busy Keeping it Alive

If you’re one of the many fans who tune in on Sunday nights to Global TV’s hit show da Kink in my Hair, you would have seen the African and Caribbean Council on HIV/AIDS in Ontario’s (ACCHO) thought-provoking Keep It Alive series of commercials. Its powerful message is hard to miss.

As the first television show with an all-black cast featured on a private national network in Canada, advertising during da Kink in my Hair is a natural fit for ACCHO. Its acclaimed Keep It Alive commercials feature community members promoting HIV/AIDS prevention among Black Canadians and African and Caribbean communities in Canada.

The campaign encourages Black, African and Caribbean adults and youth to know their HIV status by getting tested, practice safer sex, encourage their loved ones to do the same and to remember that people who are living with AIDS and HIV deserve support.

The Keep It Alive campaign shows people how to start a conversation with a loved one about HIV/AIDS. It’s a conversation that could save lives. “We’re also trying to create the kind of environment that supports HIV prevention, and the care, treatment and support for people already infected,” said Winston Husbands, co-chair of ACCHO. “This is part of an effort to ensure healthy communities.”

“The idea behind the TV campaign was to bring a more tangible and personal approach to the key messages of prevention, testing and stigma,” said Howard Chang, founder and president of Top Drawer Creative, the Toronto-based ad agency that worked with ACCHO to develop the campaign. “We hope that people will see in these ads their own stories and challenges, and with that begin their own conversations about HIV and AIDS.”

ACCHO plans to air the popular ads again this spring and is just one of many ways ACCHO keeps busy growing its Keep It Alive campaign. ACCHO is also a repeat supporter of Sun TV’s broadcast of the NAACP awards through broadcast sponsorship and the airing of the Keep it Alive commercials.

To extend its reach beyond the tube, ACCHO Street Teams were developed to give the third phase of the Keep it Alive campaign a more grassroots social marketing focus. The Street Teams work with local AIDS service organizations in Toronto and Ottawa to get the prevention message out to youth in a language they can relate to.

The amateur teams recruit from youth affiliated with local dance or social groups. Participants are trained in HIV/AIDS education, the effects of stigma and the social responsibility African and Caribbean Canadians have in combating HIV/AIDS in their communities.

To effectively reach their individual communities, the teams develop theatrical performances with unique storylines that incorporate their cultural nuances. Through live performances, the teams address the core issues of HIV/AIDS in the community and get the word out about prevention.

If you want to discuss HIV/AIDS with a friend or family member but are unsure how, the new bilingual ACCHO website is a great place to get the tools necessary to approach this sensitive issue. So, do your part to Keep It Alive, visit and get the message out about HIV/AIDS.

For more information about ACCHO, contact spokespersons Winston Husbands and Wangari Tharao at

WE CARNIVAL - The Greatest Show on Earth!

By Antoinette Ifill

Trinidad’s Carnival is an experience that cannot be encapsulated into words, trying to describe the phenomena to someone does not even come close to the rapture felt over the two days of costumed revelry in the streets. Someone once asked, albeit, for me to tantalize their imagination of what it is really like to “play mas”, the following is my best attempt at a literary description of the greatest show on earth.

Carnival Tuesday as the sun slowly rises in the east, masqueraders journey into Port of Spain to meet their band as today it is an early departure and no one wants to be left wandering the streets looking for a band that has left without you. It is encouraging to see others in costumes, walking the streets as well and the kinship of this love of Carnival fills you with delight. Upon finding the band, this is the moment when you get the first look of everyone in costume, and you cannot help but admire the beauty of diverse faces and ethnicities united by one purpose, under one banner.

The latest soca blasts from music trucks summoning the assemblage to get moving. Finally the band is mobile, thousands of masqueraders with one mission of getting to the first judging point. Spectators have already begun lining the parade route, taking in the spectacle of colour, feathers and beads glittering under the sunlight. Masqueraders dance in the street as the destination looms ahead; the pace slows when navigating the narrow streets with a platoon of trucks that supply the music, drinks and even a cool down zone!

Senses dulled with an intoxicating beverage of choice, adrenaline coursing through the veins, no one cares that it is blisteringly hot. The stage looms ahead, slowly masqueraders get into individual sections, the full impact of the costumes can be seen as hundreds of costumed revelers swaying to the music are illuminated by the sun as it rises in the sky. This is what you have been waiting for, after months of planning and anticipation, at long last the moment is here.

Security links arms, forming a human barrier to keep eager masqueraders from crossing the stage before it is time. Those blessed to be frontline masqueraders grace the stage first in their elaborate costumes, then as the barrier breaks, hundreds of masqueraders descend upon the stage, charging forward with renewed energy. This one instant is when any worry, stress or misery is cast off on the streets, replaced by a feeling of total liberation, bliss and enjoyment.

The exhilaration of music and others sharing this feeling with you, releases a spirit of uncontrollable desertion loosing the last bit of self-control as bacchanalia takes a hold of you. Too soon the revelry is over; as masqueraders are gently ushered off stage you come back down to earth, spent and breathless. However, you must press on as the day is far from over. The dancing in the streets goes on for hours, seemingly driven by the infectious music, which causes even the weariest masquerader to summon that last bit of energy to move their hips as their feet keep moving.

As the suns sets on Tuesday, the day comes to a close. The crowd thins as exhausted masqueraders bow out, leaving behind the die-hard Carnival worshipers still going long after it gets dark. Soon it is time to say goodbye to another Carnival. Leaving the band exhausted and drained from the heat and exertion of the day. Every muscle in the body aches, yet you smile wondering how many days are left until you can do it all over again!

WE SPOTLIGHT - Farmer Nappy – The Family that Plays Together

By Karen L. Richardson

West Indian carnival is lawless, reckless fun. It is a time to become who and what you are not. The peasant masquerades as king. The married masquerade as single. The very meaning of the word 'carnival' is a celebration of the flesh. So, it's no wonder countless soca artistes have made their name singing about marital infidelity. They call it wild meat, gettin' butt, horning, or help, but Trinidad's Darryl Henry a.k.a. Farmer Nappy calls their bluff with Chippin'.

"It's all about reality. Why sing about you huggin' up a woman, and go down de road with this next man’s woman and that sort of thing, when you could go to the real point. The song is a reality check at de end of de day," said Farmer Nappy. As the father of a 16-year-old girl, he feels strongly about creating songs that show respect to women.

"Some people don't have a bother to feel the pain when a woman would feel pain, but I grew up with only women in the house," said Farmer Nappy. It all comes down to family. That's how he approaches both his music and his life.

"I'm an entertainer and I'm a guy out there. I’ve done my things already. I’ve hurt people’s feelings. You know girls, guilt and all that. But I have a girl child and I wouldn't like people to do me that. So, I pray that the father could help me know the way." The prayers began to pay off in 2007 when Nappy's female manager connected him with her cousin Mikey "Red Dawg" Hulsmeier. He's half of Barbados' stellar production duo De Red Boyz. That's the team responsible for producing Peter Ram's Woman By My Side and the tune that won Biggie Irie, the 2007 Trinidad Groovy Soca Monarch title, Nah Goin Home. After working with Trini songwriter Ginger to get the melody just right, Farmer Nappy flew out to Barbados to record Chippin'.

The song was released in June. It became an instant hit. Nappy later returned to Barbados to perform his inaugural Crop Over release at three pre-booked gigs. He would end up performing at 16 different shows before the season came to an end. Of 400 new songs released for Barbados Crop Over Festival, Chippin' finished with an enviable number six position on the charts.
Nappy may be celebrating newfound success as a solo artiste, but he's certainly not a fresh face in the soca industry. He toured with Machel Montano and Xtatik right from the beginning, playing a key role as percussionist and songwriter. If you have ever taken a wine to Big Truck, Music Farm, Big Phat Fish, or Footsteps, then you're already a Farmer Nappy fan.

"That is home sweet home. That is like the lamp. Take business out of it and as they say, blood is thicker than water. Machel’s mom is a mother to me and Machel’s dad is a father to me. They practically raised me. Machel is like my brother," said Farmer Nappy.

He surrounds himself with those who understand true kinship. That's what led to collaborations on Wildness and Capsize with Oungku of Antigua's Red Hot Flames. "I look up to Oungku. Other than being in Xtatik, the only other band I could see myself being around is Red Hot Flames. Because Burning Flames are brothers and a nephew. At the end of the day, I based on family," said Nappy.

Now that the dust has settled on Trinidad Carnival, Farmer Nappy says, he has set his sights on being billed as "The King of Groovy".

"I'm staying in the slow groove, because the slow groove working for me. I want to stay with the woman theme because it's a message I trying to send across too," said Nappy. "You have to have respect for the ladies because at the end of the day, women made us. We as entertainers are the messengers. That is why we sing."

Farmer Nappy is already hard at work increasing his repertoire. He anticipates releasing 4 tracks for next season, beginning at Crop Over. There may even be a collaboration with his mentor Chris "Tambu" Herbert. In the meantime, fans can hug up their own lovers and look forward to more of what Chippin' has to offer.

WE RELATIONSHIPS: Rules of Engagement - Expect the unexpected continued…

By Niama S. Sandy

Ladies and gentlemen, the developments of the Expect the Unexpected installment of The Rules have warranted a continuation!

Cara and Danny continued to date and hang out. He even invited to her to one of his soccer matches. At the match he gave her his coat to hold. Inside of the coat was Danny’s phone; it kept ringing and buzzing and making all manner of noises. Eventually, Cara got tired of hearing the thing go off. She looked at the phone and she noticed it was an unsaved number that kept calling. In glancing at the call history she noticed that her number wasn’t saved in the phone either. Interests peaked; Cara did a little further investigation and looked at Danny’s message inbox. “I can’t wait to see you either baby, I love you too” from Miss Missed Call. Interesting…very interesting…But Cara decided that she wasn’t going to pay it any mind. They hadn’t made any proclamations of undying love and faithfulness so what’s the big deal, right?

Fast forward one week. Danny is taking a shower and Cara happens to be in the bathroom. The shower curtain in the bathroom is clear. She happened to glance in the direction of the shower. She noticed that there seemed to be an extra stream of liquid from the direction opposite the showerhead. Ladies and gentleman, the man was taking a leak in the woman’s shower!

Cara drew back the shower curtain and asked Danny what it is he was doing. He said he was peeing. She looked down and noticed that he had been peeing on her washcloth and told him so. (When I heard this I swear it was some kinna obeah situation!) He did not apologize, or reach for the thing to wash it off. I suppose that would have been too decent a thing for him to do. What he did do was tell her was that it was “all going the same place anyway.” Could you imagine? Had that been me, the hardest, nearest object would have been hitting him in the wettest spots on his body! A stinging for all seasons! But I digress…needless to say that was the last we heard of Danny, both the washcloth and his number were erased from Cara’s world.

So our Rules for the month…
“You can always count on people to be themselves.” A friend of mine once told me that and it is always true. When you think you know someone somewhere along the way they will show you their true face. Don’t turn a blind eye…believe them and let your feet do the talking. Don’t be a fool for anyone who will not be a fool for you.
Only pee in your own shower. If you are one of those people who does that, doh go in nobody house and do it. And okay if you for some reason can’t wait, at least wash de bathtub after!

WE Bacchanal

By Mr PlayHouse

You know you’re a stalker when:

10: You drive pass his/her house to see if their car is there and what other cars are there.

9: You leave flowers on their car when he/she does not even know you.

8: You follow him/her all day, then go back and tell your friends later that evening you were limin (hanging out) with him/her.

7: You go through his/her phone when they are in the shower.

6: You have your significant other’s msn, email, facebook, myspace and hi5 passwords and YOU USE IT.

5: You call them more than three times in a row and they don’t answer, then from a blocked number and they still don’t answer and then from a totally different number.

4: You leave a message for someone asking, “hey, did you call me”, when you well know they don’t call you or answer your calls.

3: You are on someone’s facebook profile day in and day out going through their wall posting conversations and tagging pictures.

2: You show up at his/her job and tell the receptionist you are a client.

1: You make a voodoo doll of him/her.

For more bacchanal or to send comments... contact Mr PlayHouse at or

Listen to Mr PlayHouse LIVE on 'Star Struck' every Tuesday night from 9-11pm on www.KOSradio.NET

* Definition of Bacchanal: Caribbean slang word (noun); Confusion; Causing problems amongst each other.

WE BEAUTY - Taking Your Lashes to the Extreme

By Carol A. Allen

If you’ve ever wondered how some of your favourite models and actresses get their long, beautiful eyelashes, you may be surprised to find out that they are not always their own, nor are they enhanced with volumizing mascara. They are probably sporting a secretly growing trend in the beauty industry--eyelash extensions!

The process involves a trained technician bonding the synthetic lash extension with a medical glue to your own individual eyelash. The application causes minimal discomfort and the results are eye-popping.

Since traditional artificial lashes are only designed for one-day use, lash extensions, which stay on much longer, have become extremely popular in the United States, Asia and Australia and is generating huge interests in Canada. Yvette, who owns Royale Esthetics in Toronto, is an Esthetician and Hairdresser who saw the technology at a tradeshow about three years ago. As a result, she decided to launch Xtremelash Canada as an additional service.

Clients can choose short, medium or long length, in a variety of colours including red, black, brown, blue, green and purple. There are different types of lashes: singles, thick singles, or semi-singles (flares).

For the most natural look, the singles are your best option taking about two hours to apply for up to 60 pieces per eye. The semi-singles, up to 20 pieces per eye, take about one hour.
With lash extensions, you never need to use an eyelash curler or apply any mascara because of the fullness of the lash, the dark tint and their natural curl. And, they’re safe for contact lens wearers.

Caring for the lashes entails minimizing direct contact with water, not using oily cleansers and not rubbing the eye. Lash extensions should last at least two months with touch-ups every two or three weeks to replace fallen lashes. Eyelash growth, daily routine and after care will affect how long your extensions stay on. Removal should only be done by a professional.

One client, Sharon N., has been getting the semi-single lashes for about a year. "It feels natural and light and you don't even know that they're there. I usually fall asleep when I'm getting them applied because it's very relaxing. The compliments are amazing and the eyes really stand out!"
Ranging in price from $80 for semi-singles to $200 for the natural look, Xtremelash Canada's prices are quite reasonable compared to some American salons that charge their celebrity clients much more for similar extensions.

For a little extra, and if you want to get creative, you can add decorations such as artificial diamonds to the lash extensions.

When seeking out a lash extension professional, ensure that that they are certified. Yvette, who is currently training people right across Canada says, "be weary of people who are not trained. Even though you don't need experience, it's a very delicate process and you need to fully understand the application.”

For more information about eyelash extensions, you can visit the website at or call 416-410-8152 or 1-888-410-8152.

Carol Allen is a Skin Care Consultant and Make-Up Artist for Aloette Cosmetics.
You can book a personal consultation by calling (416) 410 7556 or by email to

WE FOOD - Callaloo Nice!

By Natasha Samuels

Callaloo comes in as many varieties as there are islands in the Caribbean. Callaloo, however, has one constant - that it’s a green leafy vegetable, traditionally belonging to the Amaranth, Taro or Xanthosoma family.

In my native Jamaica, callaloo refers to the Amaranth and is typically paired with salted codfish and served with ground provisions as a Saturday or Sunday brunch dish. The leaf can also be served without meat sautéed with oil or butter, tomato and onion.

Disappearing are the days when you would walk the common or the rim of the tropical lush forest to pick wild callaloo leaves. The vegetable is now being farmed and is proving to be an emerging cash crop suitable for export from the Caribbean. In Jamaica, where the callaloo market is valued at $175 million (JMD), the Jamaican Ministry of Agriculture trained and certified farmers and exporters as well as developed traceable programs and mandatory monitoring of callaloo farms and packing houses in order to establish the export market to North America.

According to Jamaica’s Rural Agricultural Development Authority, 30% of the callaloo grown on the island is sold to exporters, which is exported fresh during the high demand season that runs from November through July. 50% of callaloo grown on the island is sold to processors for canning. 95% of the canned products are exported. The remaining is sold to local consumers for consumption on the island.

Here are two recipes that you can try at home using callaloo. The first is callaloo rice and the second is callaloo soup. I was introduced to callaloo rice during one of my pilgrimages home. It’s a delicious and healthy alternative to our rice dishes and can be served with chicken, pork or beef. I’ve never personally tried the callaloo soup recipe, but the reviews all state that this is certainly a dish that man, woman and child will enjoy.

Callaloo Rice

1 cup of chopped callaloo
1 tbsp margarine
1 small finely chopped onion
1 sprig scallion chopped
2 ½ cups of water
1 lb rice
1 clove chopped garlic

Saute onion, scallion and garlic in heated margarine.
Add chopped callaloo and allow to steam until tender.
Add water and bring to a boil
Add rice. Cover and allow to cook for about 20 minutes or until rice is tender.

Callaloo Soup

1 lb callaloo leaves chopped
6 cups chicken stock
1 onion, chopped
½ pound salt beef
½ teaspoon black pepper
1 tsp. garlic (minced)
½ tsp all purpose seasoning
¼ teaspoon thyme
1 green chile pepper, whole
1 cup okra
½ pound crabmeat

Add chicken stock and callaloo leaves to a sauce pan.
Add, onion, salt beef, dried seasoning, chili and crab meat.
Cover, and simmer for 35 minutes, or until meat is tender.
Add the okra and cook for 8 minutes, or until tender
Remove the chili pepper, puree the soup in a blender of food processor.
Reheat and adjust seasonings if necessary.

ASK WE (Dear Sonya)

Dear Sonya,
I was in a relationship, (as far as I knew) for about a month. This guy is a promoter and he has a lot of girlfriends, some of who are models and he even travels with them for certain events. I am 22 and he is 28, he thinks I am immature because of my age, but I cant help but be jealous! I told him what I thought and now he just wants to be friends. The other day we went out and everything was back to normal (boyfriend/girlfriend), but then during the week he doesnt even call me. I’m going nuts and I keep calling him, but I don’t want to look desperate.

Dear getta clue,
If you cant handle the heat, keep out of the kitchen. First of all, one month does not constitute a 'relationship', you are probably scaring the poor guy, first by classifying your relationship as a "relationship". He has friends that are girls, so what?, are you expecting him to change his lifestyle for a girl he met and has only known for one month? Take it easy, it sounds like you cant handle his '''ways', keep it friends and if the friendship turns out to be more to him than that, then he will change his ways on his own and you wont have to say a thing.

Dear Sonya,
I met this girl at work through one of my friends, the girl is absolutely stunning. I get along great with her, it feels like we are the best of friends when we are together. Something about this girl tells me she is the '"one". The other day, one of my buddies came up to me and asked me if I was dating her and I told him YES, and then I got an earful. The girl has dated around with 5-6 guys from work before me, 'she really gets around,' he said. Those words keep haunting me and now when I am with her, I keep thinking she’s a slut and I cant get it out of my head. Should I even bother with her?

Dear, to love or not to love,
This one is a toughie, it depends on YOUR personality. You have to know if you can let this go or if it will eat at you. If not it will only bubble…until you hit your boiling point with it. Some guys wouldn’t mind because it was in the past. A part of finding who you are meant to be with is dating and sifting through the crap to find the right ONE. Some guys on the other hand cannot handle the fact that their girl has been around the block, wondering if that’s her character and how many other guys she has really been with and hasnt mentioned. I say ask the girl, then multiply by 2! just because she dated , doesn’t mean she’s slept with them. .........but if it does mean she slept with them- then
3) DONT TOUCH-- these 3 steps can be easily remembered by the acronym S.T.D.

Need advice? Send your questions to

Thursday, March 27, 2008

Wednesday, March 26, 2008

WE COVER STORY: Exotic Fruit – Jully Black

By Ian Andre Espinet

Julie, the island of Jamaica's favorite mango, is an incredibly sweet, entrancingly coloured fruit that grows best in the rich, deep loam of tropical climates. Jully Black, the last of 9 siblings and the only one born in Canada, shares 2 of the 3 attributes of her exotic counterpart – namely her demeanor and complexion.

Unlike her dwarflike namesake, however, Canada’s Queen of R&B stands at a staggering 5 feet 11 inches - a fact that is evident immediately upon glancing at her leggy album cover – an obvious nod to another queen of Soul, Tina Turner. In further contrast, she was reared a far cry from the lush Jamaican soil of her parentage, in Toronto’s Jane and Finch, an area that she represents to the fullest at every opportunity.

Jully’s story is much the thing of fairy tale lure and begins with the matriarch of the family. Her Mother, as many of Caribbean heritage, left her native land in search of a better life for herself and her children. Jully’s countless stories tell of a strong, prideful, ambitious woman. It is no surprise then that she toiled tirelessly for $1.65 per hour with the goal of immigrating her children, so that they too could experience opportunity - accepting sacrifices and disappointments for the greater good of her family.

Jully, no stranger to disappointment, grew up in a single parent home, in awe of her hard-working mother who was the nucleus that held the family together. Her twin brother died at birth. And her beloved sister Sharon passed away prematurely at the age of 24. In spite of it all - Jully was her mother’s child.

Jully first discovered her voice in church at the age of seven, but as her vocal ability developed so did her self-consciousness about her powerful alto range. Her raspy almost gravel like voice caught the attention of fellow Torontonian’s Choclair and Kardinal Offishall in the much celebrated “Fresh Arts” program which also spawned talents such as video producer Little x, hip hop artist Saukrates and MC Kid Kut from the Baby Blue Soundcrew. She was recruited to sing and write and ultimately became a member of “The Circle”, a Toronto based music family consisting of Choclair, Kardinal, Solitair, Tara Chase, Ro Dolla, Marvel and countless others, who collectively formed a large part of the Toronto Urban sound in the late 90’s. They would frequently appear on each others songs and videos, exercising a collective economics and support that should be not only inspirational, but intrinsic to Canadian artists.

Her association with Canada’s hip hop elite would become a launching point as the ever ambitious Jully started to want more than to sing on hooks (coincidentally, she often become the focal point of the song). Armed with stage, writing skills and freestyling abilities that she had developed, she ventured onto the solo path, shortly thereafter pursuing songwriting. Her talents as a singer, coupled with her magnificent ability to craft beautifully structured songs, melodies and lyrics, led to a publishing deal with Warner/Chappell Music in 1998, at the age of 20.

In addition to the network, comaraderie and skills that would develop with peers in “The Circle”, Fresh Arts, part of the “JOY – Jobs Ontario Youth” program also acted as catalyst. The program, targeted at black youth was built on the mentorship of established artists providing youth with artistic training and encouraging pride in culture and history. “It’s sad that it went away – I took a bus, a train and a streetcar to go downtown to take this program. I don’t think I’d be the woman I am today if it weren’t for it”.

Much like her “Circle fam”, Jully is an avid flag carrier – she decided that she “wanted to have one foot in Canada and one in America”, with her music played worldwide, and her base at home. “I went there, spent some time, and didn’t want to integrate. I really didn’t feel I should be exiled. I was born here – if I ran, my neice who’s coming up – wouldn’t think it possible. Besides, my Mom came here and raised 9 kids by herself – I HAD to stay here and do it too”. Jully sites her dream as coming home to perform at Massey Hall. “I need to be able to come home no matter what - like Alanis Morrissette and play Massey, yet still enjoy the intimacy of venues like Mod Club”.

After a few setbacks, Jully volunteered as part of a Much Music documentary on working conditions in the garment industry in Bangladesh. The experience gave her new insight and “put it ALL in perspective. People are living in substandard conditions, working for wages that are disgraceful – and I’m complaining about a record deal? I was like Jully – get over it”.

And she did – continuing to release her own music, while writing for international superstars such as Esthero, Nas and Destiny's Child. Her hard work resulted in 4 Juno nominations ("Rally'n” w/ Saukrates: 1999; “The Day Before” - Baby Blue: 2001; "You Changed": 2003; Sweat of Your Brow: 2006) and 4 Much Music Video Awards nominations, as well as being named “One of the Most Alluring Canadians” by Fashion Magazine. Ironically, despite her perceived success, she was “signing autographs on withdrawal slips at Royal Bank in my wicket”. She decided that she had to do more.

She redoubled her efforts, releasing “This is Me” on Universal Music Canada in 2005. It included the hits, "Sweat of Your Brow" and "5x Love". Although incredible, the offering sold a heartbreaking 15,000 units. Notably, the album was SO excellent that according to IFPI (The International Federation of the Phonographic Industry), there were a reported 2.8 MILLION illegal swapping requests for it in the first 2 weeks of the album's release.

Never one to give up, Jully put her faith in God, and was rewarded with an offer for position as “celebrity reporter” for CTV’s eTalk Daily after high-jacking an interview being conducted by Ben Mulroney. She continued producing music while traveling worldwide interviewing celebrities, as notable as Oprah, Barbara Walters, Bill Clinton, Aerosmith, Sean Paul and Shakira.

That same year, Jully also joined the cast of the acclaimed Mirvish production of “Da Kink In My Hair” at Toronto's Princess of Wales Theatre for 106 performances. Shortly thereafter, she toured with the Black Eyed Peas after Will I Am remixed “I Know”, a song that Black had co-written for Destiny’s Child. On tour she met Peas' drummer Keith Harris with whom she went on to co-executive produce Revival. The band driven first single "Seven Day Fool" became her first Top 10 hit in Canada, and acted as engine in driving the album to Number 1, and then GOLD status just a day before New Years Eve 2007.

The album could have been called “Transformation”. In 10 years, she has gone from a girl, to a strong, self-assured, confident, humble woman, transforming herself on a multitude of levels. Spiritually and mentally she has remodeled her being - and then there’s the physical renovation: one no less worthy of Debbie Travis. Jully’s body is a temple sculpted from a regiment which includes an hour of cardio 6 days a week and a dizzying 3 days of circuit based, heavy weight training. She jokes that “our mothers, whether by walking up stairs, or walking with groceries, or water, developed strength that we don’t have. “In preparing for my new album, I decided I needed a total lifestyle change”. Her mental regiment is no less rigorous, as Jully finds therapy in blogging on her website.

Jully has transformed misfortunes to triumph, becoming one of the most respected and acclaimed R&B artists in Canada. As the sweet Julie mango is the favorite of her descendant land, Jully has secured her spot as ours. And like the plentiful mango, our never idle Canadian, can be found everywhere: the gold album, “Revival” is in stores now; Jully can be seen on eTalk Daily on CTV, blogging at, on tour, and in countless other places in coming months, as she takes on new challenges in the realm of TV.

Monday, March 24, 2008


Often called The Caribbean Queen, Sophia who is from the beautiful island of Jamaica is the second youngest of seven children. That's right 7! Her family unit has been a vital part of her existence, serving as the foundation of her perseverance through life’s many challenges.Sophia resided in Queens, NY for approximately ten years. During her time in NY City, she cultivated her craft as an entertainer, as that has been her passion for as long as she can remember. She attended numerous Theater Arts programs and pounded the pavement of NYC experiencing all that she could get her hands on. Sophia immediately became known for her versatility. At any instance she is able to look anywhere between the age range of sixteen to thirty and can favour an array of ethnicities.

It all started when she accompanied her cousin to an audition for Parent Magazine when she was eleven years old. Sophia tells the story…

“I didn’t even know what an audition was at that age. I just wanted to hang out with my cousin. I remember standing in the hallway trying to peek through the crack of the door to see what was going on. The photographer saw me and came out and said hello. Long story short, I ended up booking the print job for Parents Magazine. I was so excited about knowing that I was going to be in a magazine, but I didn’t want to rub it in my cousin’ face and so I down played it. I didn’t realize that this was the start of my career, but after doing this shoot, I fell in love with being in front of the camera and couldn’t wait for the next shoot.”

Before Sophia was even a teenager she had already booked roles on, Young & The Restless, As the World Turns, GhostWriter and had shot several print campaigns. She said one of her most memorable experiences growing up was working with Lauren Hill and Aretha Franklin when she was fifteen years old. The shoot was for a music video entitled “A Rose is still A Rose.” She explains, “I adored Lauren Hill and her music and so it was quite an honour to work with her. I remember it was the middle of winter and the scenes that we were shooting were outdoors. It was freezing and Lauren was such a sweetheart that she took off her tights and handed them to me to put on. Kind gestures mean a whole lot to me especially in the entertainment business where you will see most people with their nose in the air.”

Devoted to her aspirations, at the age of seventeen Sophia relocated to Los Angeles. She enrolled in acting school and landed roles on ER, Malcolm & Eddie, Moesha, Felicity and City Guys, just to name a few. She moved away from Los Angeles after only being there for three years. When asked why she left she smiled and said, “The Hollywood scene was not my cup of tea, if you know what I mean. I have morals and integrity. When I realized that was being compromised it was not a very difficult decision for me to make. I love acting and modeling, but I love myself even more. I knew that I would be blessed because of my decision regardless of where I decided to move. I wanted to test new waters and so I moved to Atlanta. I love it here.”

Since her transition, Sophia has been featured on Good Day Atlanta three times. She represented Maybelline Cosmetics, Mac Cosmetics and the third time was for FUBU. She has also filmed several commercials including Verizon Wireless, Continental Hotels, WBLS, Spa Sydell, Foot Joy, and Greenville Technical Institute. She has done countless print campaigns. Some of her print jobs includes, Oprah Magazine, Essence Magazine, Health & living Magazine, Atlanta Magazine, Instyle Magazine, American Heart Association, Cartoon Network, Coors Light, National Vision, Russell Athletics, Home Depot, Rooms To Go, Sally’s, Design Essentials and many more. She said one of her most interested shoots was for a cartoon on the Cartoon Network called “Frisky Dingo.” “They had to shoot me doing about fifty different facial expressions. Then they transformed my face to make it look animated. The charter they used my face for is a woman called “Mercy Moreno.”

Sophia has been quite busy, but what you may not know about her is that she is a business woman. “I love the entertainment industry, but there’s so much more to me.” She is the owner a successful Trucking Company in Georgia called Yashar Trucking. She laughs and says, “No, I don’t drive the trucks!” She is involved in a number of different investments and is also an owner of a Travel Agency. I asked Sophia what she does with the little free time she does have. “Well, I love music, especially reggae of course. I even studied Audio Engineering in school for a while. But no one told me math was involved and I really dislike math and so the rest is history!!! I also love baseball. I enjoy travelling to different games and leagues. I am definitely still on the grind and you will be seeing a lot more of me, but I am also enjoying life with the amazing family that I have been blessed with.

Management: Morena Entertainment, LLC / Bookings:

WE WATCH – What’s new in DVD’s, MUSIC, GAMES & BOOKS


D’Soca Zone – The 8th Fete

The 8th edition of D'Soca Zone hit stores on January 29th. The 2008 compilation offers a mix of Soca music from all the islands; including big hits from Zolah -"Go Down Low" (St Vincent), Lil Rick - "Can't Wait" (Barbados), Berbice - "Water" (Grenada), Taxik - "Don't Mess Wid Me" (Antigua), Peter C Lewis - "Over and Over (Trinidad). Plus more from Edwin Yearwood, Rita Jones, Bomani, Lima Calbio, Adrian Dutchin, Peter Ram and others. The 8th Fete great addition to your Soca collection.

Pirates of the Caribbean: At Worlds End
Captain Jack Sparrow (Johnny Depp) along with Will Turner (Orlando Bloom) and Elizabeth Swann (Keira Knightley) sail into uncharted waters and meet a new rival, Captain Sao Feng (Chow Yun-Fat), on the high seas. Available at


EA Sports NCAA March Madness 08 (Playstation 3 & Xbox 360)
The 2008 version now has a new game play called Dynamic Post Control that enables you to take complete control of your offense in the post, and defending in the paint. There are dozens of new offensive post moves, including finesse ones like an up-and-under, drop step, hook spin, jump hook, and pump fake, and the ability to combine moves together.


Four Taxis Facing North – by Elizabeth Walcott-Hackshaw
The debut collection of short fiction from Elizabeth Walcott-Hackshaw, the Trinidadian daughter of St Lucian Nobel Prize winner Derek Walcott, was released a couple months ago but is already sold out from most book stores. Elizabeth Walcott-Hackshaw takes us inside the lives of Trinidadian families, and the anguish and heartache they endure.

WE SPOTLIGHT - Tarrus Riley

By Cheryl Nneka U. Hazell
The Jamaican sun sits high in the sky as Tarrus Riley shops in a busy Kingston marketplace. Our conversation is focused but from time to time this latest blessing on the reggae scene gets caught up in the hustle and bustle of his surroundings and utters a long drawn out “chaaa”.

Several years after the release of his debut album, “Challenges” in 2002, producer Dean Fraser brought out a 15 track album entitled, “Parables”, (distributed by VP Records,) which has turned this ex-deejay into a highly sought out man. Tracks from “Parables”, such as “She’s Royal” set to Delroy Wilson’s Money Love melody, “Beware” which rides on the rhythm of Half Pint’s Political Friction, the John Legend cover, “Stay With You”, and “Lion Paw”, are top choices on every reggae deejay’s playlist and popular favourites with dancehall patrons.

It’s hard to believe that Tarrus never received formal musical training when you hear his soulful voice but he was saturated in the art via his father, ex-Techniques member, Jimmy Riley, and was gently pushed more towards it by his mother. He reflects on the way things worked out. “Me jus’ tek me likkle time and gwan and gwan until I couldn’t refuse it anymore.” It may have been his calling but his style does remind some folks of musicians that have preceded him.

Being a singer, songwriter and arranger are not the only contributions Tarrus brings to the table. Musicianship is equally important. “I play my likkle keyboard, and play my likkle instruments and I think that is good for your hearing and a professional in any trade should have tools to do his job.” Self-described in a humble manner as a “cool youth man, who mek music wha de people dem groove to, an easy youth who jus’ love music, live up and jus’ go through.” Riley is certainly covered with strength and protection, which according to Rastafari doctrine is symbolized by the lion paw. His latest production was the live video of the song of the same name. Lion Paw LIVE was recently recorded at the historical Ward Theatre and the Courtleigh Auditorium in Kingston and was the first video in recent Jamaican musical history to feature a combination of top instrumentalists and musicians.

Tarrus Riley is a young visionary and bold artist who is naturally plugged into what he feels his people want. “I want to give the people the feeling that I am right there with them in the struggle giving them inspiration.”
For information visit

WE DESTINATION - Things the ads won’t tell you about Barbados

It can be cheaper than you think by Benoit Legault

According to some ads, Barbados is a great tropical patch of sea and sand where flying fish jump over you. These ads describe Barbados as an exclusive, expensive place for the happy few.

Barbados is actually more diverse and interesting than its promotion makes it appear. Thanks to three different coastlines, it’s like three different island destinations in one. And the agricultural island interior, where tourists rarely go, provides slices of genuine ‘Bajan’ life. With 430 square kilometers and 270,000 people, Barbados has a lot to offer.

Tour operators usually promote the posh, exclusive, and expensive foreign-owned and operated resorts on the West Coast (where Rolling Stone, Keith Richards, owns a villa). Yet Bajans and middle-class tourists hang out on the South Coast (where there is a wide range of hotels, including affordable and intimate accommodation.) It’s not as pretty as the West Coast, but the waves are bigger, and the local flavour is abundant.

The adventurous ones go on the East Coast to see its awesome coastline, reminiscent of the wild coastlines of Western Australia. The scene is made up of surfers who have to be excellent swimmers, because the undertow is merciless.

The rural interior of the island is peaceful, although the urban sprawl of the capital, Bridgetown, is spreading like wildfire. Cheap eats and authentic local life can be found a few hundred metres from the main road, which circles around the island. It is here that you may experience a Barbadian mutton recipe, light-years away from what most tourists eat. The interior is also where rum distillers do their magic, Mount Gay being the oldest and most famous of them.

All beaches are public, even the ones in front of the most expensive hotels and resorts. Strolling in tourist-deserted historic Speightstown is free and drinks there are very cheap. Eating in a typical Barbadian snack bar will cost you very little for a substantial meal cooked the local way. Having grilled big-game fish at the famous Oistins Friday Night Fish Fry, held in a fishing village, is an unforgettable and delicious experience that costs just slightly more than a snack bar. By the way, the fish is not generally fried but rather flame-grilled – as if the fish has to pass through hell to pay for some underwater sins.

There is more to Barbados than beaches and packaged attractions. It is also a place where visitors can enjoy an authentic, proud Caribbean culture, in a safe environment.

If you go
Barbados Tourism Authority - Canada office:
Suite 1010, 105 Adelaide Street West
Toronto, Ontario M5H 1P9
Telephone: (416) 214 9880 & 1-888-BARBADOS.
Email: & website:

WE MUSIC – Dr Jay asks the question…

Widely reported in the Trinidad press, there is a proposal put forth by various Carnival stake-holders, including representatives from Pan Trinbago; the National Carnival Bandleaders Association; Trinbago Unified Calypsonians Organization; various event promoters as well as the National Carnival Development Foundation; to create a fixed date for the annual celebration. They propose that instead of basing Carnival Monday and Tuesday by the Roman Catholic Calendar and when Ash Wednesday falls, instead they would prefer a fixed date of the final Monday and Tuesday in April.

Due to the short season in 2008, many have complained that with Carnival being so close to Christmas, many problems arose. Moreover, some say that the change is necessary to make Carnival a viable business. The secretary of the National Carnival Development Foundation, Peter Raynald, stated that there will be a four day symposium held next month which will look at a "Strategic Plan For The Transformation of Carnival As An Industry". He also added that, "the concern is that our Carnival has a constantly changing date but other Carnivals around the world have a fixed date. They can plan better, so why can't we?"

Those sentiments are echoed by Dane Lewis, who is the co-bandleader of ISLANDpeople Mas as well as a promoter who is instrumental behind popular Carnival events such as Girl Power and Insomnia. He has gone on record to say, "Carnival is now an industry and like any other it needs regulating. The truth is every Leap Year, Carnival encroaches Christmas. So while you may have a religious argument against a fixed date, it is an industry. It's not just about celebration."

This celebration Mr. Lewis alludes to is deeply rooted in tradition. Hundreds and hundreds of years ago, followers of the Catholic religion in Italy began the tradition of holding a wild costume festival right before the first day of Lent. Due to the fact that Catholics were not supposed to eat meat during Lent, they named their festival ' carnevale ' which is Italian for "put away the meat". As time passed, and the Italian festival became more and more famous, this costumed practice spread to France, Spain and all the Catholic countries in Europe. In many parts of the world, where Catholic Europeans set up colonies and entered the slave trade, Carnival took root. Brazil, once a Portuguese colony, is famous for its Carnival as is Trinidad.

Carnival was first introduced to Trinidad around 1785, as the French settlers began to arrive. The tradition caught on quickly, and fancy balls were held where the wealthy planters put on masks, wigs, and beautiful dresses and danced long into the night. The use of masks had special meaning for the slaves, because for them, masking is widely used in their rituals for the dead. Obviously banned from the masked balls of the French, the slaves would hold their own little Carnivals in their backyards — using their own rituals and folklore, but also imitating their masters' behavior at the masked balls.

For the slaves, Carnival became a way to express their power as individuals, as well as their rich cultural traditions. After 1838 (when slavery was abolished), the freed Trinidadians began to host their own Carnival celebrations in the streets that grew more and more elaborate, and soon became more popular than the balls.

Do we respect those humble beginnings and keep Trinidad Carnival right where it is? Or do we continue on the commercialization path and create new fixed dates that have the support of those that work tirelessly to put forth the Carnival that we all enjoy immensely? Having fixed dates every year should increase tourism and be easier to market, but is that worth changing the very essence of Carnival?

That is THE QUESTION.Dr Jay de Soca Prince welcomes your feedback on this topic at

WE ENTERTAINMENT - Jokes! Drama! Action!--Comedy Show Prepares Nubian Disciples For the Big Stage!

by Carol A. Allen

In the heart of downtown Toronto's Entertainment District, the last Sunday night of the month at Yuk Yuk's has been the home to the Nubian Disciples of Pryor All-Black Comedy Revue, a popular stomping ground for young, entertaining Black comedians.
The event, founded over 12 years ago by Host, Actor and Comedian, Kenny Robinson, continues to be one of the most popular outings in the city's entertainment scene. It has given many comedians a platform to hone their talents and create an outlet to express themselves in front of a diverse audience.

The Nubian Disciples of Pryor, a name given to the comedians who have performed at the revue, is a dedication to the late Richard Pryor, one of Robinson's major comedic influences. Pryor was well known for his take on racism, issues affecting the Black community and his use of colourful language. He is said to have influenced other internationally known comedians such as Whoopi Goldberg, Chris Rock, Dave Chappelle and Eddie Murphy. Pryor died of cardiac arrest in December, 2005 at the age of 65.

Robinson, who turned 50 in early January, has been active on the North American comedy circuit since moving from his native Winnipeg, Manitoba, to Toronto in 1983. He has spent half of his life in an industry where many entertainers struggle to survive and get noticed and continues to promote opportunities for new and established comedians of colour.
Aside from creating the highly successful Nubian Disciples night, his other major accomplishments include: After Hours with Kenny Robinson on the Comedy Network, which he created, wrote and hosted; Gemini-award nominated, Thick and Thin which he created and co-produced, plus he has done several series, television movies and a variety of comedy festivals
Yuk Yuk's is Canada's largest chain of comedy clubs. Howie Mandel, Jim Carrey and Russell Peters, who recently moved to Hollywood to develop a sit-com, are just a few successful Canadian-born comedians that have graced Yuk Yuk’s stages and continue to expose and influence Toronto’s talent.

Playwright, Producer and Actress, Trey Anthony, who often portrayed one of her Jamaican characters on stage at the revue, used that character as the lead role in her stage play, 'Da Kink in My Hair.' Launched at Toronto's Fringe Festival in 2001, it went on to sell out at Toronto's Harbourfront Centre and became the first Canadian play shown at the historic Princess of Wales Theatre. It’s been adapted for television as a weekly series now airing on Global Television.
Mark Trinidad, who was the first Canadian Comedian to perform on BET's Comic View in 2003 and Jean Paul, whose career began as a Nubian Disciple, have been featured on the Nubian stage on many occasions. Both draw on their Trinidadian culture in their routines. Ugandan-born Arthur Simeon is a regular performer who often jokes about his African roots.
The revue has attracted many American-based comedians and celebrities. And, with a line-up of some of the funniest people in the business, be prepared for an evening of guaranteed laughter.

For more information on the event, visit:

WE ARTS – COBA (Collective of Black Artists) celebrates 15 years with YEBO!

COBA, Collective of Black Artists leaps boldly into its 15th year with YEBO! – a season program that pays homage to African traditions and blazes an exciting trail for the future of contemporary dance.

Following a two-year creative hiatus, COBA’s artistic co-founders BaKari E. Lindsay and Charmaine Headley are gearing up a rejuvenated company to satisfy faithful COBA followers and new audiences alike with the Toronto premiere of two new dance creations: Cross Currents, a highly anticipated African contemporary piece by Lindsay; and Doundoun dance (Hibbert), a recreation of a women’s traditional drumming dance from Guinea.

Both pieces will be unveiled February 29 to March 2 at the Premiere Dance Theatre when COBA takes YEBO! to the stage during Black History Month as part of the Harbourfront Centre’s NextSteps series of globally-inspired dance from Canada’s best.

Also on the program is the return of acclaimed South African dance master Mantsoe’s Bodika / Sessions, an avant-garde fusion of traditional African physicality with Balinese dance and martial arts.

COBA will make its first UK appearance in May with the international premiere of a new co-creation (commissioned by dance Immersion) between the Collective and the London UK-based Tavaziva Dance Company.

An exclusive YEBO! sneak preview concert is set for February 12 at the Richard Bradshaw Amphitheatre in the prestigious Four Seasons Centre for the Performing Arts. (

COBA presents YEBO! at Premiere Dance Theatre, 235 Queens Quay West, Feb 29-Mar 1 at 8pm; Mar 2 at 3pm Tickets: $25-$30 ($20-$25 students & seniors) Box Office: 416-973-4000 or

Founded in 1993, COBA’s mission is to promote the finest traditions of African, Caribbean and contemporary dance through research, education and performance. The company’s critically-acclaimed repertoire of over 25 pieces includes traditional African, Caribbean and contemporary works – some commissioned by renowned Senegalese, Haitian and South African choreographers. Visit to learn more.

WE COMMUNITY - SAPACCY: Saving Toronto's Black Youth

By Krysta Celestine

Back in 1996, a group concerned with the growing number of black youth incarcerated for substance abuse and involvement in the drug trade; approached the Ministry of Health with a proposal for a service that was sensitive to the cultural needs of black youth and their families as it relates to substance abuse. The result was SAPACCY--the Substance Abuse Program for African, Caribbean and Canadian Youth, and for the past 12 years the organization has been making a difference in our community.

SAPACCY provides counseling and early intervention for youths who are at-risk at becoming involved in the dangerous world of substance abuse. The service helps youth and their loved ones make positive choices about substance use and mental issues.
An alarming 40 % of black youth do not finish high school, and turn to the drug trade as a means of survival. This, says Lou Golding (program manager at SAPACCY), creates a vicious cycle: "where there is a drug trade, obviously there are users. [Drug dealers] are selling drugs to other kids, creating a cycle where people are stuck".

An alarming fact is that, despite SAPACCY's efforts, there is still a dangerous amount of black youth who are involved in substance abuse or the drug trade. Goulding warns that the need is outgrowing SAPACCY's capacity to respond. As a community, we need to challenge this problem, says Golding. The community needs to be aware of the increasing numbers of black youth that are smoking weed and are experiencing psychological problems, such as schizophrenia, paranoia and depression.

"One of the things that people do not realize [is], once the psychosis is triggered, it does not go back to what it was before. They (drug users) have to be medicated", he says. "We have a small staff, and an amounting number of referrals that they receive, so people need to be aware of that. One of the things that may be useful is to provide more exposure to young people from the point of view of prevention, so that they have that as a basis to make some decisions."

Golding lists Hip Hop culture as the main culprit of substance abuse among black youth. Teenagers are still young and impressionable, and with one listen to a hip hop record, it's easy to see how drug use, or more specifically, drug dealing, is sensationalized. "I look at how hip hop has had an impact on our young people so much so that more of our youths are exposed to substance abuse (marijuana, ecstasy, and crack) as a result of the social scene. Hip hop culture normalizes these as tools to suppress pain... to create happiness."

Covered by OHIP and free for Ontario residents, SAPACCY offers counseling, assessment, consultation, family support and community-based programs for youth. For more information, visit:, or call 416 535.8501 x 6767.

WE CARNIVAL - Priceless at Trinidad Carnival

By Antoinette Ifill

There is no dollar amount tantamount to the experience of Trinidad and Tobago’s Carnival; and as the Mastercard commercial goes it is indeed “priceless”. You can tally up the total amount of money spent to experience what is dubbed as The Greatest Show on Earth, however, you might be left with a feeling that Trinidad Carnival has now become one of the most expensive vacations ever.

With costumes averaging what some of us pay monthly for rent, fetes adding up to the equivalent of a second costume not to mention the never ending list of Carnival essentials that need to be purchased before getting on that plane some of us dare not do the math as we would then have to ask ourselves is there such a thing as “too much” when it comes to the love of Carnival. In spite of the glaring commercialism of this festival, there are still a few activities that one can enjoy in Trinidad and Tobago that will not break the strains of an already burdened wallet.

With a proliferation of Mas Camps in the Woodbrook area, namely between Rosalino and Gallus Streets, making a tour out of visiting each mas camp is an activity that will cost you nothing. The headquarters of TRIBE, Evolution, Mac Farlane Carnival, Trini Revellers, Pulse 8, Masquerade and Dream Team can all be found within the same block. At the mas camps, costumes are displayed for viewing, and one has a chance to observe these creations at leisure.

Woodford Square is the venue for a series of free mini concerts which take place every day at noon from January 21st to 25th, featuring Soca stars such as Peter C Lewis, Machel Montano, KMC, Bunj, Olatunji and Shurwayne Winchester. This very popular event draws a huge crowd so it is best to get there early and enjoy the same artistes that perform at all the various fetes, only you will not be spending a dime!

If a little bit of history is what you desire, check out the Traditional Street Characters Parade from Memorial Park through the streets of Port of Spain on Carnival Friday (February 1st). Accompanied by music and performers such as Moko Jumbies, this ode to mas of long ago features Dame Lorraine, Sailor, Fancy Indian and Pierrot Grenade among other characters and is an enjoyable and informative look at Carnival of the past.

When it comes to “pretty mas”, nothing is a greater spectacle than Kiddies Carnival where the children parade in costumed splendor. This event takes place on Carnival Saturday. With free spectator stands lining the route from downtown Port of Spain to the Queens Park Savannah, pack a picnic basket, walk with a hat, sit and enjoy the spectacle.

Maracas Beach is Trinidad’s premiere water playground, with a long sandy stretch of coconut lined sea front; this beach attracts locals in droves on the weekends. This is the ideal spot for a respite from the hectic pace of Carnival fetes. Enjoy the scenic drive through the rain forest and sample a culinary delight called “shark and bake” when you get there. If time allows, a quick visit to the sister island can easily be achieved for little expense by taking the 2 hour fast ferry, at just under $20.00 (CAN). The ferry departs Trinidad for Tobago in the early morning and returns in the late afternoon making a day trip possible.

It takes little to enjoy the strains of steel pan music from a Pan Yard, chipping down the road covered in mud at J’ouvert or enjoying an impromptu lime at the home of a friend. Take this advice, embrace all that is Trinidad and Tobago’s Carnival and forge memorable adventures of your own, that are indeed priceless.

WE SPOTLIGHT - Joy Lapps - Princess of Pan

By Monica Joseph-McIntyre

Joy Lapps wants to see the steel pan accepted on the world stage as a legitimate musical instrument and to see it being paid the same kind of respect instruments like the guitar and piano receive. Lapps, who has been playing the steel pan since she was 13, has seen her hard work and love of the pan pay off. Now 23, she is one of Toronto’s top female pannists, and has earned the title “Princess of Pan.”

Born in Canada to Antiguan parents, Lapps began playing the instrument by chance. The church her family attended was offering lessons and her godmother suggested she take lessons, insisting on paying for the first one. That introduction sparked a passion for the instrument that continues to grow to this day. Playing the steel pan “wasn’t something I decided to do on my own,” she says. “It was guided by my godmother and my parents, but I enjoyed playing so much that I stuck with it.”

She credits her teacher, Vince Kato, for making her the pannist she is today. She started on the bass pan, before switching to the tenor pan. She would often take the instrument home to practice. Kato also took her along when he had a gig and they played duets together.

Since then she has made many solo appearances playing at weddings and dinner receptions and other high-profile events, including a service at the Moravian Church in London, England, the Harry Jerome Awards in Toronto, Ryerson University’s convocation ceremony and ‘Autumn Leaves on Steel,’ a celebration of the pan held at the Glen Gould Studio in Toronto.

While an exchange business student in France, Lapps played with the highly respected “Calypsociation Steelband” and at the Carnaval de Paris. In Toronto, she has played with local steelband, “Pan Fantasy,” which won the 2005 and 2006 Pan Alive competition held during Toronto’s Caribana celebrations. This past Christmas season, Lapps has added her tenor pan to the parang group Los Amigos. She is currently practicing for “Snowflakes,” a show celebrating the pan, which takes place in January.

Lapps has so far released three albums: “Praise on Pan: How Great thou Art”; “Make a Joyful Noise”; and her latest, a collection of Christmas carols.

“A lot of my inspiration comes from musicians I meet,” Lapps says. “It’s nice to meet somebody and feel like you can relate to them.”

Lapp now has a business degree from York University, but has returned to York to pursue a degree in music.

For more information visit

WE PEOPLE - Miss Jamaica Universe and her hair

By Natasha G. Samuels

Zahra Redwood, 25, is the first Miss Jamaica to be crowned from the country’s Rastafarian faith and the first contestant to compete in the Miss Universe pageant with dreadlocks. While the University of West Indies graduate certainly met the standards (intelligence, articulate, beauty, cultured), her win symbolized acceptance (finally) of the countries minority religious sect.

Rastafarianism emerged in Jamaica in the 1930’s as a result of an interpretation of a Biblical prophecy based on the coronation of Ethiopia’s former Emperor, Haile Selassie I. Reggae artists such as Bob Marley brought the religion’s message of peaceful coexistence marijuana use and African repatriation to the world in the 70’s. Despite their positive contributions to Jamaican culture, Rastas’ have not always been accepted due to their traditional appearance and marijuana rituals. Zahra’s win was a victory for Rastafarians all over the world. Her crowning and participation in the Miss Universe pageant also brought relief to black women whose subjection to the good hair bad hair debates left psychological scars on their self-esteem.

During the live televised Miss Universe contest, it was amazing to see the “vilified” hair streaming down the shoulders of this confident black sister who embraced her hair not because she was trying to make a statement but because this is who she has been from birth. As a result, Zahra never considered that her hair would hinder or aid her chances in the pageant. In an interview with the Jamaican Observer shortly after her April 2007 win, Zahra said, “I really didn’t think of it at all. I am a package; my hair is not a separate entity…so I entered based on the characteristics that all contestants were asked to have, and I fit those.”

There was a lot of media focus on Zahra’s and Miss Tanzania (Flaviana Matata, who was hairless,) because the two contestants didn’t exactly fit the mold of traditional contestants who compete with coifed and fluffed manes of hair. Regarding comments that hers and Miss Tanzania’s entry changed the face of the pageant---she said “change is inevitable, so naturally something like this would have had to happen.” The questions (much of it from the international media) regarding her hair are not new to her either. In a recent interview with WE Zahra said, “from ever since I’ve been growing up I’ve been getting those kinds of questions. I’m just so used to all of that.” She said the questions regarding her hair started since primary school days and came from teachers, students, or people on the road. “I’ve just become accustomed to responding to those questions politely that right now it’s not a huge difference. To international persons locks is a part of the identity of a Jamaican so it actually never matter whether or not, as a matter of fact when you do have locks as a Jamaican the international forum actually sees you as an authentic Jamaican and that was the feed back I was getting when we first made our presentations of our costumes,” she said.

Despite the media attention, she says she was not disappointed in not reaching the coveted top 15. “In everything you do, there must be something gained from it,” she said. She is however satisfied that she was able to make an impression and that she was able to inspire greater self-esteem and awareness in black people and black women.
Currently, Zahra is juggling her busy schedule as Miss Jamaica with a new position as a Medical Representative for Astra Zeneca Pharmaceuticals in Jamaica. She is planning to publish a book, which will showcase her most glamorous hairstyles, which she styles herself. Her reign as Miss Jamaica ends April 2008.

WE BEAUTY - Foods That Make Your Skin Glow!

by Carol A. Allen

Using an advanced skin care system and drinking water daily will give you a healthy, radiant complexion and minimize the signs of aging. But, the foods that you eat everyday are just as important. You'd probably be surprised to learn that many of your favourite foods can actually help you to achieve a natural glow.

Green and orange fruits and vegetables such as spinach, green beans, broccoli, carrots and sweet potatoes help to prevent premature wrinkling and bumpy skin. Sweet potatoes, spinach, grapefruit, cantaloupe and tomatoes are high in beta-carotene which helps to absorb light and may minimize sunburn. They contain vitamins C and E and the beta-carotene converts to vitamin A once digested, acting as an anti-oxidant and speeding up new skin cell growth.
Milk, liver, eggs, oily fish, some fortified cereals and margarine contain Vitamin A. B vitamins in milk, liver, eggs, cheese, beef, lentils, nuts and whole grains improve poor circulation often associated with itchiness. Soothe flaky, oily, and dry skin with a sprinkling of wheat germ on oatmeal.

Vitamin E, another powerful anti-oxidant, is found in avocados, hazelnuts and pine nuts. Papayas, rich in vitamin B and beta-carotene, help to cleanse the stomach, the starting point for many disorders. Stomach toxins can appear on your skin as a blemish, pigmentation or dullness. Prevent this by drinking a teaspoon of pure honey with half of a lemon squeezed in a glass of warm water daily and avoiding strong laxatives which can dehydrate the system.
Taken internally, the healing properties of the aloe vera gel are very unique as it detoxifies your system and provides vitamins and minerals. Apply it topically to relieve dry, irritated or damaged skin.

To build collagen and improve your skin’s strength, eat Vitamin C-enriched foods such as broccoli, kiwi fruits, oranges, guava, blueberries, and strawberries. Berries and melons are generally low in sugar which keeps skin firm, while soy milk and tofu are high in protein maintaining the skin’s collagen levels.

Skin elasticity is enhanced by drinking at least 1.5 litres of water per day which makes the kidneys and oil glands function better while minimizing dryness. Limit your tea, coffee and alcohol intake to prevent dehydration. Green tea, however, has powerful health benefits, including lowering cholesterol, preventing tooth decay and cavities, and boosting the immune system.

Iron, found in dried apricots and sesame seeds, improves skin tone. Zinc-enriched foods such as oysters, wheat germ, pumpkin seeds, liver, walnuts and sardines, help to soften and repair damaged skin. Onions and garlic contain sulphur which helps to keep your skin smooth.
Cooking with olive oil gives you healthy boost of essential poly and monounsaturated fats including omega-3 fatty acids. It reduces inflammation in the body such as puffy eyes and saggy skin.

A generally healthy diet which includes taking multi-vitamins and minimizing processed and high sugar content foods and saturated fats, can incredibly improve the tone, texture, and brightness of your skin while reducing lines and wrinkles. And, together with a consistent skin care routine, you've got a recipe for glowing success!

Carol Allen is a Skin Care Consultant and Make-Up Artist for Aloette Cosmetics.
You can book a personal consultation by calling (416) 410 7556 or by email to

WE Relationships - Rules of Engagement

By Niama S. Sandy‏

Expect the unexpected?

You're walking out the door and you realize you don't have your keys. You rummage and rummage, creating an even bigger mess than what may have already existed in your house and still after 20 minutes you got NOTHING. You sit down and decide you ain't goin no where again. You feel something poking you yuh look…it's your keys. But you still don't want to go anywhere. What does it all mean?

How many times have you decided that you were going to stop looking for "it," when the universe seems to align perfectly and the ever-elusive "it" finds you? In the quest to quench our thirsts for companionship we are often met with appetizers. How do you tell the difference between the first and third course? And with that I give you our anecdote for the month.

I have a female friend, we'll call her Cara. Cara, like me, often has frustrating (though, again like me, often wildly entertaining) encounters with males. From the man she was with who wasn't trying to move out of his parents' house, to the medical resident fella she met on Yahoo personals, it was one messy situation after another. Fortunately, this woman is one of the strongest and most resilient people I have ever had the pleasure of meeting. With that in mind she decided a break from the disorder and disappointment was in order. Fast forward to two months after that decision; a friend invited her to his house warming. Also invited to this housewarming was a man the host wanted her to meet.

Interestingly and perhaps by providence, this man does not show. While Cara is standing in the doorway of the kitchen talking to the host, another man enters the kitchen. As he walked into the room, they locked eyes – okay maybe his eyes locked on to her behind. The host introduced them. They started to talk. They chatted for the rest of the party, went to an after party after that, exchanged numbers and chatted on the phone for five hours after that. They went out the day after that. For the next week, Danny was calling or trying to hang out with Cara every day. Though she liked him, she began to feel like he was trying to push her into relationship prematurely. As right as it felt, to a degree something just wasn't right. Should she ignore her instincts and go ahead anyway? Time will reveal…to be continued

The rule on engagement for this story…Patience is a virtue. In today's society there are countless ways that we try to expedite the process of finding a mate. From the million and one social networking websites to the ever-popular blind date, we are constantly trying to speed up another one of life's processes that happens in its own time. When it's time for it to happen it will happen. No amount of rushing it - or for some of us fighting it - will make life easier.