On Saturday November 3, I took a two-and-a-half-hour drive to Orlando from south Florida for a party called ‘Blue Rave, Day Rave.’ People to whom I told my plans thought I was loopy. Even my own mother remarked “you really want to drive that far for a party?” However, what they didn’t understand is this: the Rave is not just a party; it’s an experience.
A little backstory. Blue Rave, Day Rave is an all-inclusive Jamaican dance party held annually in Orlando, complete with top-shelf liquor and catered foods and desserts. Can’t beat that for $50.
This year’s venue was odd, to say the least: a junkyard that had been spruced up with neon displays and decorations. But it worked. There’s a saying that Jamaicans can’t arrive anywhere on time. I am here to testify: true. The party started at 6 p.m., yes, but when I arrived at 8 p.m., there was barely any one there! A two-hour drive for a dead party?! But, boy, was I wrong. By about 9:30 p.m., people were pouring in like Red Stripe in a tall glass! Some were dressed in heels and designer clothing, others in active wear. Yet, the vibe was cool. The guest selector, DJ National, knew just what to play to get the crowd singing and dancing, while New York-based comedian and dancehall artist Noah Powa, the MC, kept the energy alive. What added to the night’s hot, hot, hot aura? Free drinks, steadily flowing! I didn’t want to leave! It was a night to remember and worth the drive.
It is confirmed: the locally produced play ‘Black Wall Street’ is a hit! West Palm Beach-based Producer/Director/performer Hallie Balbuena–we call her The Drama Queen–learned last week that the play will perform January 11-12, 2019, at the Black Heritage Festival in Tampa. The statewide draw makes sense. The play sold out each of the three times it played this year in Palm Beach County–in March and in July–and people are still talking about it, Ms. Balbuena says, because the story resonates. “We are so excited,” she says, adding, “I’m also focused on the Kravis Center for 2020 or even 2021 for the 100-year anniversary of the massacre.” The story certainly remains relevant: a white mob destroyed the wealthy black business district in 1921 in Tulsa, Okla., that came to be known as ‘Black Wall Street’ and, just last week, the Tulsa Mayor announced efforts to further unravel the covered history of the attack. Read about that here. The good news: the story is being told. And about that Black Heritage Festival in Tampa Bay? It’ll be held from January 10-20, 2019, and features a wide variety of entertainment, community discussions and, as we now know, at least one hit play. Click here to learn more.
Take one good look at the 24-year-old artist Phantomm, and you will automatically see the passion in his eyes. The same passion that has fueled a very successful career in music.
Phantomm loved music from an early start. He recounts how he would come up with lyrics and melodies even while in school and his friends would push him to eventually take his music seriously. These same friends lovingly gave him the name Phantomm, which originates from the popular cartoon Danny Phantom. They call him this because he was quiet and could disappear and reappear without anyone noticing, similar to a ghost. The name stuck obviously, and to this day, he’s still friends with these young men. You have probably seen them calling themselves #TOPWEST.
Phantomm has produced his own genre of music called Bad Breed. He says “I can’t limit myself to saying I’m only a reggae artist or only a dancehall artist. I have my own style which encompasses many different musical elements. I plan to introduce the world to Bad Breed and show them what I am capable of.” Don’t think music alone he is recognized for; good looks as well. His current hit song ‘Bad Breed Gyal’ stems inspiration from a considerable number of girls fighting over the “Bad Breed General.”
Ask Phantomm what’s next and he remarks “I just want my fans to support me through everything. Be loyal to me and I will be loyal to you. I’m focused on bigger and better things. I’m constantly working to put out music that the world needs.” Welcome to JB Entertainment Phantomm, we look forward to working with you and supporting the stardom that’s due to you!
The list of honorees has not been fully made public, but but we do know who is receiving a Circle of Fathers’ ‘Trailblazer Honors’ award from the Trayvon Martin Foundation: young activist minister Bryce Graham. Prophet Bryce, as he is known, will receive his recognition at the event, which starts at 7 p.m. tonight at the Embassy Suites by Hilton in Fort Lauderdale. The Trailblazer Honors were created by the Foundation to honor men in south Florida for contributions to social justice and minority empowerment. Prophet Bryce, who lives in West Palm Beach, is the central Florida regional director of the National Action Network, founded by the Rev. Al Sharpton. For event tickets and other information, click here. To learn more about the Foundation and its work, here and, to learn more about Prophet Bryce, here. And remember: the six-part documentary created by business mogul Jay Z, titled ‘Rest In Power: The Trayvon Martin Story,’ comes on at 10 p.m. every Monday on the Paramount Network. It premiered July 30.
The provocative news that Tony T. Brown was shot in the head at his Fernandina Beach home last week–allegedly by a wife upset at his tone of voice as he directed her to perform a computer search–has flown across the country from newspapers in New York and Atlanta to even, Fox News. But let’s not forget who Tony Brown is. Though he grew up in the projects in Ohio, he has had an esteemed 30-year career in banking, economic development and finance, including executive roles at the U.S. Department of Treasury, Bank of America and, from 2010 to 2016, the Riviera Beach Community Redevelopment Agency. Under his leadership, the Riviera Beach Marina began its long-awaited $350 million redevelopment; Phase 2 is about to start. Tony Brown is whip smart, fun and hardworking. He is also alive.
There were quite a few Career Days at PBC schools last month–including at Lincoln and Washington elementaries in Riviera Beach. And our elected officials showed up. Riviera Beach City Councilman Terence ‘T.D.’ Davis spoke to fourth and fifth grade classes at Lincoln on May 24, while Riviera Beach Councilwoman Tonya Davis Johnson, PBC Commissioner Mack Bernard and state Senator Bobby Powell visited Washington Elementary on May 23. Washington, by the way, was home to the School District of Palm Beach County’s 2017-18 Principal of the Year, Sandra Edwards. In February, she was appointed to lead Carver Middle School in Delray Beach.
The mother, Terrion Nelson, is an accomplished singer while the father, Ray Nelson, played drums for the FAMU Marching 100; both are also longtime educators. Their three kids are achieving as well: Ray, II, a professional, college-educated drummer who recently returned from an Asian tour with Grammy-nominated singer Kehlani; Reneir is a third-year student at FAMU, studying music, playing in the band and teaching at the drum camp; and Reche’, who studies dance with the Ailey/Fordham BFA Program in New York City and will work in Los Angeles this summer. The family’s nonprofit, week-long Synergy Percussion Drumming Camp, starts today and ends Friday. Even if this camp is missed, the family’s story is compelling and their nonprofit has a simple mission: using music to inspire and teach students ages 8 to 18. Registration ends today at 10 a.m. Classes are from 9 a.m. to 5 p.m. and the fee is $150 per student, which includes daily breakfast and lunch, the camp uniform, classes, instruments and more–such as the rich history of a creative family that achieves and wants to share it with our community.