Yaawd Media – sharing Jamaica’s cultural wealth

Donna Callender and Richard Blackford
Donna Callender, Grace Kennedy USA Marketing Representative and Richard Blackford of Yaawd Media at the Yaawd Media launch (Photo credit: Yaawd Media)

In January of 2020, Sunday Scoops, an internet streaming programme focused entirely on Jamaican music from mento, to ska, to rock steady, to reggae to dancehall, was birthed in South Florida. The programme was developed as a means of addressing several misconceptions surrounding our music and to provide a platform from which Jamaican artistes and musicians would be able to tell their own stories while establishing an archive for these stories for the education and entertainment of lovers of Jamaican music anywhere in the world.  Since its inception, the programme, as often as possible, tells these stories through conversations with the creators of the music, supported by the songs and recorded music of the genre or the period and is presented on its website www.yaawdmedia.com on Sundays from 2:00 pm – 4:00 pm EDT. Of course, the COVID-19 outbreak at the beginning of that year meant that the activities of Yaawd Media were restricted to its online platform where it has developed since.

This past Saturday, 28 May 2022, the Yaawd Media Incorporated team hosted its long-awaited media launch and virtual concert at the Island Space Caribbean Museum located at 8000 W Broward Blvd, Fort Lauderdale, FL33388. Established in April of 2020, Yaawd Media Incorporated is seen as a vehicle through which the directors and leadership will be able to project the best images of Jamaica while creating and maintaining an archive of Jamaican culture similar to the achievements of its Sunday Scoops programme which has to date attracted a number of the big names in Jamaica’s music including Clive Murphy (the Tennors), Pam Hall, AJ Brown, Willie Stewart (Third World), Koffee, Mikey Bennett, Sly Dunbar, Derrick Harriot, Copeland Forbes,  Lloyd Parks, Neville Garrick, Paul Blake, Wayne Armond, Kristine Alicia, and Novel-T.

Speaking via video link at the media launch, Jamaica’s Ambassador to Washington Her Excellency Audrey P. Marks commended Yaawd Media’s founder Richard Hugh Blackford for his vision in establishing the organization and conceptualizing the Sunday Scoops project. Ambassador Marks commended the Yaawd Media team on their efforts at producing a first-class streaming product which not only tells the stories behind Jamaica’s music but also reaches lovers of the island’s music culture around the world.

Jamaica Tourist Board’s (JTB) Regional Director for the United States Market Mr. Phillip Rose recounted that he and his colleagues at the JTB represent the “corn-soup man,” a simile that underscores the factor of the diversity of Jamaica’s tourism product. Mr Rose explained that the JTB welcomes the efforts of other entities assisting in the marketing of Tourism. He singled out Yaawd Media’s Sunday Scoops programme and its efforts to keep the stories behind the music alive as these stories form part of the interest visitors have in Jamaica’s culture.

Riddims Marketing’s CEO Eddy Edwards equally congratulated the entire Yaawd Media team for its foresight as well as its efforts at keeping the music alive. Mr Edwards challenged the team to create other cultural programme options and expressed a willingness to work with the young organization as it carves out its growth path.

Consul General Oliver Mair saluted the Yaawd Media team for its unwavering efforts at producing Sunday Scoops over the last two and a half years, a must-watch programme for lovers of the music and the culture, and wished the organization continued growth and success.

Commissioner Denise Grant from the City of Lauderhill welcomed the efforts of Yaawd Media Inc and at the same time issued a challenge not only to those present but also to the extended community to support the project. Commissioner Grant challenged it is not sufficient to be one’s friend but to examine ourselves as, “we make room at the table for each other as we look at the roles that we will play as a community in developing Yaawd Media. There is power in the voice of one but there is greatness in the voice of many.”

The Yaawd Media team was introduced and presented by compere Sophia Allen-Hendricks including President and CEO Richard H Blackford, Vice President Olivere Brown, directors Garth Hendricks, Judy Brown, and Nicholas Blackford.

Dub Poet Malachi Smith entertained with a few selections from his repertoire before the audience was treated to a streamed concert featuring Wayne Armond and Kristine Alicia. 

Richard Hugh Blackford B.Sc., M.S (Ed).  www.yaawdmedia.com

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