Category: 2018


Mastercard Uses Jamaica As Pilot For ‘I Accept’

Published: November 2, 2018 |Carlene Davis/Gleaner Writer
Luis Araujo, Mastercard’s Vice President of Marketing and Communications for the Caribbean

With approximately 11,000 merchant locations accepting Mastercard on the island, the leading technology company in the global payments industry said the decision to use Jamaica as the first Caribbean island to launch its ‘I Accept’ campaign was an excellent idea.

For the first time in Mastercard’s history for the region (Caribbean and Latin America), the new campaign, which started advertising locally and on social media in April this year, had all the content for the commercial shot on the island using local talent.

“This was a chance for us to present the brand to the Jamaican people with Jamaican flavour. It was a lot of learning to develop more intimacy with a lot of customers,” said vice-president of marketing and communications for the Caribbean, Luis Araujo.

In an interview with The Gleaner on Wednesday during Mastercard’s media day in Miami, Florida, Araujo said its ‘I Accept’ campaign is aimed at increasing its presence locally by using a holistic approach. The goal is to extend its reach and be accepted in more places.



“We are seeing an increase in terms of real acceptance as it relates to location growth, which is the primary driver of this. We are measuring impact in terms of brand acceptance perception, so those results are going to come by the end of this year once we close the cycle of the campaign. The idea is to continue repeating these type of activations in 2019, increasing our relevancy and bringing more local content to the market,” said Araujo.

In three years, Mastercard is hoping to double the number of merchants using its service, targeting small and medium-size businesses that do not accept any electronic means of payment in Jamaica. Based on the feedback from the ‘I Accept’ campaign, it will be replicated across the Caribbean.

… Reggae Sumfest went cashless

Another first for Jamaica and Mastercard also occurred this year. The company sponsored its first music festival in the form of Reggae Sumfest and, for the first time in the festival’s 26-year history, assisted it to go cashless.

“That was terrific. You know, you start with a traditional approach and say, ‘Let’s sponsor this event’. Music is super relevant across the Caribbean and, in particular, in Jamaica. You know, reggae is just [a] synonym for Jamaica,” said Mastercard’s vice-president of marketing and communications for the Caribbean, Luis Araujo.

“So, what we identified there was not only an opportunity to connect with a passion point of the Jamaica people, to drive more local relevancy, but also to kind of create controlled ecosystems. It was a chance for us to showcase our technologies, such as contactless payments, the convenience of not carrying cash into this type of event, and that also represents an opportunity for us to educate our cardholders and our partners.”

Mastercard said it is interested in developing more local partnerships and is ready to go above and beyond traditional sponsorship.

“We want to partner more in the gastronomy area with relevant partners in the travel area, in shopping as well, those things that can help us connect more on a day-to-day basis with Jamaicans,” said Araujo.






Everyone Should Experience

Jamaica’s Reggae Sumfest In

Their Lifetime

October 25, 2018

Everyone Should Experience Jamaica's Reggae Sumfest In Their Lifetime

Is there such a thing as a good stereotype?

When it comes to being in Jamaica, I’d say yes. The people are friendly,

they like weed, camaraderie, music — especially reggae music —

and living in low-maintenance harmony.

Such attributes are commonly and universally understood when it comes to

visiting the Carribean countryside but to actually experience it the flesh

resonates so much more real-life emotion.

I was fortunate to not only experience Jamaica’s prized attraction, Montego Bay

but its world-renown Reggae Sumfest — powered by Red Stripe.

This past summer marked the 25-year anniversary of the mega-concert series.

And the semblance resonated with all artists who were present. Whether it was Popcaan

or Spice or I Octane and Agent Sasco f.k.a. Assassin — all the way up to the royal pipeline

of Damian Marley performed with an extra dose of pride, seeing that the event was now a

must-do amongst tourist attractions.

I witnessed Maxi Priest belt out vocals so pristine that you would think he was a new artist.

Cali native J Boog brought a smooth level of G-funk to his performance and arguably the

real winner of the two-day affair was Bounty Killer, who had graced the Reggae Sumfest

stage 24 out of the 25 years it has existed.

But after sitting through an inaugural symposium that covered everything from the country’s

historic roots to the origins of its drum playing, I discovered how much reggae music mirrored

Hip Hop. It was the rebellious voice of the people who fight for freedom at any costs.

To experience the Reggae Sumfest for yourself, visit

Check out more pictures from the dynamite affair down below.

Baby Cham single
beres close up-3


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damian close ups-4
damian wide shots-6
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jesse royal
kabaka pyramid_-5
maxi priest-4
nutz wide shots

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018’s Sumfest’s Reggae Night on Saturday, July 21, 2018 featured a stellar line up of artistes that did not disappoint the thousands of fans present at Catherine Hall, Montego Bay. Among those who graced the stage were Naomi CowanKeznamdi, Hawaiian reggae artiste J BoogFantan MojahJesse Royal and Maxi Priest who graced the stage and brought the audience down memory lane, delivering a full set of his repertoire.

Fresh off his European tour and celebrating his earthstrong, Jr. Gong delivered a solid performance doing several songs of his Stony Hill album before closing with his anthem Welcome to Jamrock. To the delight of the audience, he was joined on stage by his son Elijah who dedicated his version of Stevie Wonder’s I Just Called to Say I Love you to his dad for his birthday. Beres Hammond, who received his Lifetime Award two nights prior was his usual exceptional self-delivering hit at after hit. During his set that lasted over an hour and a half, the crowd could be heard screaming and singing along to the ever popular songs including Full AttentionDouble Trouble and Can You Play Some More. He invited Beenie Man to join him on stage for a cameo appearance during which he the Doctor made up some impromptu lyrics with his usual catchy phrases.

One of the best dancers in the industry; Cham with his all-female band and his lovely dancers gave the audience all the hits he is known for. The show which ended in the wee hours of the morning was closed by the fireman Capleton. Die-hard fans who remained to the end were treated to his lively and energetic performance.


Reggae Sumfest 2018, Naomi Cowan - Reggae Night © Steve James
Reggae Sumfest 2018 - Reggae Night, Naomi Cowan © Steve James
Reggae Sumfest 2018 - Reggae Night, Keznamdi © Steve James
Reggae Sumfest 2018 - Reggae Night, J Boog © Steve James
Reggae Sumfest 2018 - Reggae Night, Fantan Mojah © Steve James
Reggae Sumfest 2018 - Reggae Night © Steve James
Reggae Sumfest 2018 - Reggae Night © Steve James
Reggae Sumfest 2018 - Reggae Night, Maxi Priest © Steve James
Reggae Sumfest 2018 - Reggae Night © Steve James
Reggae Sumfest 2018 - Reggae Night, Damian Marley © Steve James
Reggae Sumfest 2018 - Reggae Night, Damian Marley © Steve James
Reggae Sumfest 2018 - Reggae Night, Kabaka Pyramid © Steve James
Reggae Sumfest 2018 - Reggae Night, Damian Marley © Steve James
Reggae Sumfest 2018 - Reggae Night © Steve James
Reggae Sumfest 2018 - Reggae Night © Steve James
Reggae Sumfest 2018 - Reggae Night, Beres Hammond © Steve James
Reggae Sumfest 2018 - Reggae Night, Beres Hammond © Steve James
Reggae Sumfest 2018 - Reggae Night © Steve James
Reggae Sumfest 2018 - Reggae Night, Cham © Steve James
Reggae Sumfest 2018 - Reggae Night, Damian Marley © Steve James
Reggae Sumfest 2018 - Reggae Night, Damian Marley © Steve James
Reggae Sumfest 2018 - Reggae Night, Beres Hammond © Steve James
Reggae Sumfest 2018 - Reggae Night © Steve James
Reggae Sumfest 2018 - Reggae Night © Steve James
Reggae Sumfest 2018 - Reggae Night, Capleton © Steve James
Reggae Sumfest 2018 - Reggae Night © Steve James
Reggae Sumfest 2018 - Reggae Night © Steve James
Reggae Sumfest 2018 - Reggae Night © Steve James

Reproduction without permission of United Reggae and is prohibited.

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A Huge Success for this Dancehall Night

By Steve James for United Reggae — August 6th, 2018

Some of the biggest dancehall entertainers in the business turned out for this year’s staging of Reggae Sumfest 2018 Dancehall Night which was held at Catherine Hall, Montego Bay on July 20, 2018. The show started promptly at 7pm. The audience were treated to performances by new Ghanaian sensation Stonebwoy. On the heels of his upcoming album Hope River and though he came on early in the lineup, Sasco delivered a commanding performance. Bounty Killer delivered his usual high energy performance with his stinging social commentary. The audience went wild and stayed with him throughout his set. Spice who was fully decked in her Wakanda inspired outfit also delivered a very entertaining perfromance. Great performances were also done by SizzlaI OctaneDing Dong and Ravers ClaversAidonia and Masicka were among the other acts that performed.

There was no question that each artiste who performed came to deliver in their best, and that they did. Popcaan who performed in the early hours of Saturday morning was joined on stage by Dre Island to sing their hit single, We Pray. Dancehall night was fittingly closed with a ‘Mobay Tribute’ which included Rygin KingTeejay & Tommy Lee Sparta.

Check out these photos of the show.Reggae Sumfest 2018 - Dancehall Night © Steve James


Live From JA: Popcaan Sets Tone For Dancehall Now And ‘Forever’

 | July 26, 2018 –

Dressed in a red suit jacket and matching vest with a long gold chain around his neck, Popcaan launched into a few lines from “Gangster City.” The track was recorded back in 2010 when Popcaan was a member of Vybz Kartel’s Portmore Empire and the dress code was tank tops, fitted caps, and bandanas. That same year, his catchy cameo on Kartel’s single “Clarks” helped elevate Popcaan’s profile around the world. Eight years later he’s a top attraction at Jamaica’s biggest music festival, but it’s clear that the Unruly Boss, as he’s now known, will never forget the struggle of his early days. “I’m from a place where dog eat dog,” he sang on the track. “Mi know ’bout living hard.”

The song’s title is a nickname for Three West, the government-subsidized housing scheme in the Jamaican city of Portmore where young Andrae Hugh Sutherland was raised from the age of seven. Popcaan has come a long way since then, a journey recounted on his acclaimed debut album Where We Come From, released on Mixpak Records in 2014. “I’m representing my whole community, people who have been through it with me,” he said of the project back then. “It’s not really my story alone.”

Popcaan’s debut featured a collaboration with Pusha T, and since then the youth from Gangster City has become an in-demand international recording artist, sampled by Kanye West and collaborating on hits with Drake, Jamie XX and Young Thug, Giggs, Gorillaz and Stefflon Don, to name a few. The buzz surrounding his name has built anticipation for his sophomore album, Forever, to a fever pitch.

The night before Popcaan hit the Sumfest stage, he premiered his new album in the streets of Kingston. The free Thursday evening listening session took place in the parking lot of Triple Century Sports Bar and was streamed around the world via Boiler Room TV. “Big dreams weh we have, thank God we still livin’ it,” he sang before his DJ Creep Chromatic pressed play on the album. “Me did broke like dog. Now I am winning it…”

During both the Kingston listening event and his Sumfest set, Popcaan made a point of bigging up Vybz Kartel, who is currently appealing his conviction on murder charges. “All who say Kartel fe free say Free!” Popcaan instructed the crowd. Even after seven years behind bars, Kartel remains a popular figure in Jamaica’s dancehall scene. During his absence Popcaan has elevated from protege to pop star, racking up over a million followers on Instagram, where he can be seen rocking stages around the world or racing his collection of motorcycles through the streets of Jamaica. The inevitable jealousy from his peers in Jamaica is one of the recurring themes of Forever. “This music biz is like a battle to me,” he sings on “Firm & Strong,” one of the early singles from the album. “So much f**king hatred and grudge.”

“I’m sharing my experience with the fans,” Popcaan told us from backstage after the show. “Certain songs on Forever is very personal, like ‘Silence’ and ‘Happy Now.’ And it is coming straight from things weh happen to me in my life. This album is just a continuation of Where We Come From to make them know say Popcaan is here Forever.”

Even as he declares his longevity in the game, Popcaan admits that his success has come at a serious price. “Watch who you tell when you a buy new Bimma, careful who you confide inna,” he sings on the album-opening cut “Silence,” which explores the downside of leveling up. “Ah nuh anybody pour my drink, an nuh anybody buy my dinner / So hard fi trust your enemy, hard fi trust your friend / Me nah lie, mi love me family but mi nuh trust the whole a dem.” As if to drive home this chilling confession, Popcaan follows the line up with, “Might sound f**k up but ah so me feel.” Once a carefree artist known as the Raving King, Popcaan has always used his music to speak truth. The Forever album is no exception.

Popcaan touched on related issues throughout his Sumfest set, from the dreamy “Weed Is my Best Friend” to the harder-edged “Never Fear Them.” Between songs, he addressed a few words to his rivals in the ultra-competitive dancehall industry. “Some artists try to test me and get me mad,” he stated. “But we on a mission to take the music further.” He punctuated these remarks with his latest signature catchphrase, “Dem Dead.”

Along with his gift for crafting infectious melodies, Popcaan is famous for coining popular slang expressions like “TR8” “Wha!” “Killy Killy” and “Kick Out… Far Out!” He now drops “Dem Dead”—sometimes used as a question, sometimes as an exclamation—throughout his live shows, conversation and as a social media hashtag.

“It’s the influence,” he explained backstage. “People enjoy the things them weh me say… Like sometime people say them a foolishness. But as time goes by, even who say that a foolishness join in. Because is something weh them never hear yet. Is something weh make them feel happy when them hear it.” Popcaan considers his gift of gab to be a blessing. “There’s are a lot of artists and not every artist have the same meds or the same power,” he says. “I’m very grateful for being who I am.”

As the sun began to rise over Montego Bay, a city that’s been under a state of emergency since last January when a joint military and police task force was deployed to quell a wave of violence in the island’s leading tourist center, Popcaan delivered two of his more inspirational numbers. First, he called Dre Island onstage to perform “We Pray” and then he delivered his biggest recent hit, a song called “Family.” His lyrics on the track harkened back to his journey to stardom: “Although man make it now, me know how struggle feel, and me know all the p***y them, and me know who f**kin’ real.” As flames shot into the dawn sky, Popcaan delivered the lines with evident passion.

CREDIT: Boomshots

On the new album cut “Deserve It All,” Popcaan reflects on the hard work he put in to reach this level. “Nuh bother ask why mi happy so,” he says. “Without food whole heap a daysmi did haffi go / Some bwoy can’t walk the road them weh Poppy go… Tears of joy me did cry yunno / First time mi bring mommy go a Poppy show.”

“Family is always first to Popcaan,” he explained after the show as his parents and grandparents looked on along with his brothers and sister, as well as childhood friends from Portmore like Grizzle Bear, who’s been shouted out on numerous records. “I don’t care, as long as my family is good.”

In his final words, Popcaan sent a message to his fans in the U.S., a territory he has yet to visit due to visa issues. “Tell them me soon forward,” he said. “Popcaan soon check in America. Big up all Popcaan fans in worldwide. Love and respect forever.”


Inspire Awards of Reggae Sumfest 2018 took place on July 19 in Montego Bay.

The Reggae Sumfest 2018 Inspire Awards was recently held at the IberostarReggae Sumfest 2018 - Inspire Awards © Steve James Hotel on Thursday, July 19, 2018 in Montego Bay.

Among those who were awarded was singer songwriter Bob Andy whose songs have been covered by over sixty different artistes. Copeland Forbes was recognized as the longest serving manager in the music industry and one who has influenced the careers of artiste such as Dennis BrownBlack Uhuru and Peter Tosh during his forty years in the business.

Reggae Sumfest 2018 - Inspire Awards © Steve JamesThe Lifetime Award went to the undisputed king of Lovers RockBeres Hammond for his decades in music and his influence and inspiration to upcoming artistes.

Chronixx was befittingly named Reggae Sumfest’s Rising Star, which is an award bestowed to an artiste under 30 years old who “shows dedication and motivation who has performed at Reggae Sumfest at least once“.

The Golden Pen Award was presented to journalist Pat Meschino of Billboard magazine who has consistently advocated for reggae music for more than 22 years and has written some of the most memorable articles on Jamaican music.

In addition three Jamaican media practitioners, Marlon TinglingAlan Lewin and Winford Williams, were given special awards for their support of the music festival since its inception.

Rhythm twins Sly & Robbie who were unavoidable absent were awarded as two outstanding talent to emerge out of Jamaica during the past forty years.

The Doctor, Beenie Man was awarded as Sumfest legend and Hermine Shaw was also for “putting the food in the festival” for the past twenty five years.

Check these photos of the event.


Reggae Sumfest 2018 - Inspire Awards © Steve James
Reggae Sumfest 2018 - Inspire Awards © Steve James
Reggae Sumfest 2018 - Inspire Awards © Steve James
Reggae Sumfest 2018 - Inspire Awards © Steve James
Reggae Sumfest 2018 - Inspire Awards © Steve James
Reggae Sumfest 2018 - Inspire Awards © Steve James
Reggae Sumfest 2018 - Inspire Awards © Steve James
Reggae Sumfest 2018 - Inspire Awards © Steve James
Reggae Sumfest 2018 - Inspire Awards © Steve James
Reggae Sumfest 2018 - Inspire Awards © Steve James
Reggae Sumfest 2018 - Inspire Awards © Steve James
Reggae Sumfest 2018 - Inspire Awards © Steve James
Reggae Sumfest 2018 - Inspire Awards © Steve James
Reggae Sumfest 2018 - Inspire Awards © Steve James
Reggae Sumfest 2018 - Inspire Awards © Steve James
Reggae Sumfest 2018 - Inspire Awards © Steve James
Reggae Sumfest 2018 - Inspire Awards © Steve James
Reggae Sumfest 2018 - Inspire Awards © Steve James
Reggae Sumfest 2018 - Inspire Awards © Steve James

Reggae Sumfest: Beres the master!

Beres Hammond performs at Sumfest 2018 on Sunday morning. (PHOTOS: Marlon Reid)Beres Hammond performs at Sumfest 2018 on Sunday morning. (PHOTOS: Marlon Reid)

Beresford Hammond, simply called ‘Beres’ by his legion of fans, wowed tens of thousands of Reggae Sumfest patrons at Catherine Hall in Montego Bay Sunday morning with an exhilarating performance.

The veteran crooner had the venue dancing and singing, and he loved every moment of his hour-and-15-minutes set, punctuating each song with smiles and laughter.

Audience members greeted the start of each song with screams and vuvuzelas to signal their approval and, while acknowledging the love, Beres reeled off hits after hits from his extensive catalogue with the process repeating itself until the end of his set.

Not hogging the spotlight, he gave all the members of his band the opportunity to share in the glory, as during his performance of ‘Can You Play Some More’, one after the other they took centre stage for a solo moment.

He also brought on stage another veteranb act, Beenie Man, who he had spotted at the corner of the stage cheering him on. In his brief cameo, ‘The Doctor’ was warmly received as he delivered a couple of his own hit sons, ‘Girls Dem Sugar’ and ‘Who Am I’.

But it was still all about Beres.

Perhaps indicative of his top billing, the rocksteady legend was introduced on stage by Josef Bogdanovich, the CEO of Sumfest organiser Downsounds Records.

He took the stage with ‘No Goodbye’ before smoothly transitioning into ‘Can’t Stop A Man’, ‘Sweet Lies’, ‘Come Back Home’, ‘Step Aside’, ‘One Dance’, ‘She Loves Me Now’ and ‘I Wish’.

Beres would then start ‘Falling In Love All Over Again’ but broke to ask the audience to echo “oh na na na na naa” after which he did the section of the song that was done by incarcerated dancehall act, Buju Banton, igniting a loud cheer.

‘Kids Play’ would follow, then ‘Sweetness’ before he started ‘I Could Beat Myself’ and quickly moved into ‘Full Attention’, ‘Tempted To Touch’, ‘Double Trouble’ and ‘Putting Up A Resistance’.

It was then ‘Can You Play Some More’ and the solo pieces from the band members as well as Beenie Man, before Beres launched into ‘No Disturbed Sign’, ‘Love Means’, ‘I Feel Good’, ‘They Gonna Talk’, ‘Rockaway’, ‘Come Down Father’.

He closed his amazing set with ‘One Step’ and left the stage to loud cheers from a very appreciative audience.

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Grace Kitchens ‘Jerkin Tings’ Up At Reggae Sumfest

Published:Friday | July 27, 2018 | 

 Nadine Sterling, lover of good food and good music, found both at the Grace Kitchens Cafe at Reggae Sumfest 2018.

The Grace Kitchens Cafe jerked ‘tings’ up at the 2018 staging of Reggae Sumfest. The food court, officially sponsored by Grace Foods, brought the perfect mix of delicious food and positive vibes to the festival with their mouth-watering menu offerings at the Grace Kitchens Cafe.

The hardest decision was what to choose with a menu that offered something for everybody and included Grace Foil-roasted Jerk Fish, Grace Jerk BBQ ribs, Grace Jerk Chicken Pasta, Grace Sweet Corn on the Cob with Jerk Butter and for dessert, Grace Buttered Almond Bread Pudding served with caramel and crushed almonds.

Those who visited the Cafe on Dancehall night might have even run into Artiste and Grace Brand Ambassador Ding Dong, who stopped by with his Ravers crew to get enjoy the food and fun during the greatest reggae show on earth.


Damian Marley had the Sumfest crowd hooked with lively performance

Damian Marley performs at Reggae Sumfest 2018 on Sunday morning. (PHOTOS: Marlon Reid)Damian Marley performs at Reggae Sumfest 2018 on Sunday morning. (PHOTOS: Marlon Reid)

Damian ‘Junior Gong’ Marley had the Catherine Hall crowd hooked for just over one hour with a energetic performance at Reggae Sumfest on Sunday morning,

It was Marley at his best as he engaged the crowd constantly and had audience members lapping up every minute of his set which also saw him showing off his fitness with knee lifts as he celebrated his 40th birthday,

Numbering in the tens of thousands, the Catherine Hall crowd sang loudly to almost all of Junior Gong’s presentations that included samples from hits by his father, late reggae legend Bob Marley.

Marley’s son Elijah perfoms ‘I Just Called To Say I Love You’ in tribute to his father who turned 40 on Saturday.

Marley’s performance also included songs from his last album ‘Stony Hill’ which earlier this year beat an illustrious field to cop the Reggae Grammy. It was not limited though, with music from his previous works.

The audience was also treated to a touching moment when Marley’s son Elijah joined him on stage and sang Stevie Wonder’s ‘I Just Called To Say I Love You’, dedicating the song to his father, whose birthday was on Saturday.

Marley had opened his set with ‘Here We Go’ from the Stony Hill album before going into his combination with Skrillex, ‘Make It Bun Dem’, ‘Set Up Shop’, ‘Ghetto Youth’ and another combination, ‘Beautiful’ with Bobby Brown.

Marley would then talk about the healing benefits of ganja before doing ‘Medication’, ‘The Mission’, ‘Police And Thief Inna Shoot’ and ‘Love And Unity’.

Kabaka Pyramid joined Junior Gong on stage.

His father’s ‘War’ and ‘Exodus’ would follow before ‘Everybody Wants To Be Somebody’ and ‘A Man Is Just A Man’ .

Kabaka Pyramid joined Marley on stage for their combination, ‘Kontraband’, after which ‘Junior Gong’ performed ‘Living It Up’, a song celebrating his father’s victory over poverty and inspiring others in similar circumstances to do the same.

He once again had the audience singing along to ‘Road To Zion’ and the ever-popular ‘Welcome To Jamrock’ with which he closed his well-received set.

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