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  • Mr Vegas deserved the boot’: Church defends decision to eject artiste

    Screenshot of a video showing entertainer Mr Vegas (third right) being accosted by security guards while Pastor Gino Jennings (left), who issued the instructions to the officers, looks on.

    Minister Stephen Baker of the First Church of Our Lord Jesus Christ has defended the decision to eject Mr Vegas from the church's mid-year convocation on Sunday at the YMCA of Kingston on Hope Road.

    "The Apostle Gino Jennings was making great points based on scripture, but Mr Vegas was merely speaking his opinion, with no scripture to support his argument. When he was asked to quote a scripture, he wasn't answering, he started acting defiant and standing up and talking, he did not act like he was in debate," Minister Baker told Loop Jamaica reporter Claude Mills.

    "When the Apostle realised that Mr Vegas had no reasonable arguments, he said 'look, it's best we end it here' and that was based on how Mr Vegas was acting. Vegas decided he wasn't sitting down. He wasn't kicked out originally, he could have sat down and listened, instead, he decided he was going to stand up and act (up) and it was then that his mic was turned off," Baker continued.

    Eventually, security personnel were summoned to usher Mr Vegas outside.

    "We tried to escort him out nicely; a security team was asked to usher him out and he started to say 'don't touch me' and said 'you have to get the police to get me out'. It was then that the security team coupled with policemen in the church; they are the ones who got him out. He was grabbed by the arms based on how he was behaving, it was done as decent as it could have been done," Minister Baker said.

    Mr Vegas has since claimed that his shoulder was dislocated but he did not want to sue.

    "In fact, it was Mr Vegas who assaulted a couple of church members, and he pushed at least one of them numerous times; his behaviour was unseemly, and disruptive. He didn't come prepared, that's why the pastor had to end it. He had no strong arguments," Baker concluded.

    The crux of the debate centred around controversial statements made by Pastor Gino Jennings.

    In the controversial speech in a video making rounds on social media, Jennings stated: "You so called Christian looking hoes, jumping in some church, flopping your ankle chains around. On the choir, breasts hanging out, lips all red, nails painted red, purple, blue, green, long like bird claws, all this fake hair, breasts implant, toe nails painted with little fake diamonds in it, your toes ain't richer. You're nothing but a prostitute."

    Members of the congregation cheered.

    He continued: "You're nothing but a singing hoe, a shouting hoe, an organ playing hoe, a choir director hoe. Preacher, if what I just said describes your wife, you are married to a hoe! A man that's a real man don't want his wife out in the street looking like a prostitute and you're a holy woman, or claim you are a Christian. Christian with skin tight pants showing the very shape of your birth canal."

    Minister Baker attempted to clarify the statements.

    "What we believe is the scripture, women must dress in simple apparel as quoted in 1 Timothy chapter 2, verse 9: Women “should adorn themselves in respectable apparel, with modesty and self-control, not with braided hair and fold or pearls or costly attire, but what is proper for women who profess godliness – with good works”," he said.

    In an earlier interview, Mr Vegas claimed that he was escorted out when he attempted to have that video played for the church.

    Minister Baker explained that Mr Vegas was not allowed to play the video because the artiste was using it as a diversionary tactic.

    "Pastor didn't allow him to play it because it is a tactic to divert, he had no scripture to support his argument. When Pastor Jennings preached that message, he did not say that women are whores, he was addressing the whole apparel which he described, is the look of a whore: the ankle chain, lipstick, breasts hanging out. He wasn't broad-brushing women, but one must understand that especially in the church today, fake hair, lipstick, false hair, and overly sexy clothes are making women look like whores," Minister Baker said.

    Minister Stephen Baker is the head of the region three of the First Church of Our Lord Jesus Christ which has been established in Jamaica since the year 2000. Region three consists of  churches located in Portmore, St Mary and Kingston. There are presently 12 branches across Jamaica

    "We stand firm on what we believe and we totally support our pastor and the teachings," Minister Baker said.

     

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  • Jamaica ranked among best destinations by TripAdvisor

    Jamaica is celebrating its number 12 ranking on the TripAdvisor Travelers’ Choice Awards’ “World’s Best Destinations” list.

    The Awards rank Jamaica among destinations such as Bali, London, Paris and Rome.

    Award winners were determined using an algorithm that took into account the quantity and quality of reviews and ratings for hotels, restaurants and attractions in destinations worldwide, gathered over a 12-month period, as well as traveler booking interest on TripAdvisor.

    “Jamaica is honored to have been recognized as one of the top destinations in the world by the TripAdvisor community, not to mention the number one in the Caribbean,” said Jamaica’s Minister of Tourism, Edmund Bartlett. “Our hospitality offerings and especially our warm-hearted people, make each vacation unforgettable. We want to thank all of our visitors for choosing Jamaica and we are ready to welcome them back again and again.”

    Jamaica has a large variety of accommodations for travelers looking for a memorable trip, including boutique hotels, all-inclusive resorts and expansive villas. Some of Jamaica’s top accommodation offerings on TripAdvisor include Geejam, Hermosa Cove, The SPA Retreat Boutique Hotel, and Jamaica Inn. The island has the most attractions of any other English-speaking Caribbean country including natural wonders such as Dunn’s River Falls and Seven Mile Beach, to thrill-worthy adventures like Mystic Mountain’s bobsledding and zip lining experiences.

    "We're excited to reveal our community's favorite travel destinations for 2017 and recognize these iconic places with Travelers' Choice awards," said Barbara Messing, chief marketing officer for TripAdvisor. "Travelers wanting to explore these fabulous destinations can shop for amazing attractions and tours on TripAdvisor and compare hotel prices that are up to 24% less when booking off-peak."

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  • Meet the Gully Queens, the Transgender Women Defying Jamaica’s Culture of Homophobia

    The up-and-coming British R&B singer RAY BLK’s new single, “Chill Out,” is a sexy, mellow exhortation to an overzealous suitor to slow his roll. But the accompanying music video, premiering today on Vogue.com, begins in a manner that’s anything but chill. Director Philippa Price spliced together a 20-second montage of Jamaican news clips, a whirlwind of footage depicting braggadocious men, some menacingly wielding baseball bats, spewing hate and fear at homosexuals. “We don’t want no one, none of them in this town here,” one man rants. “This is our town.”

    Cut to the hem of a gauzy white frock rustling in the breeze. A beat kicks in. Pan out to the woman wearing the dress: Tall, muscular, blonde, and sultry, she stands in a grassy yard, cigarette dangling from her lips, silently hanging laundry on a clothesline.

    The video doesn’t tell you her name, Shadiamond, or her age, only 21, though she seems older. If you look closely, you’ll see a slash of scar tissue across her left cheek, an artifact from an encounter with a knife-brandishing hooligan. But you can’t tell that she’s been shot eight times, nor can you discern that the dreamy, sun-dappled scene she’s acting out for the camera is just the sort of domestic simple pleasure she’s been denied in real life.

    Shadiamond is one of four transgender women—Mindy, Beyonka, and Sasha are the others—who appear in the “Chill Out” video. They were chosen by a Jamaican producer to travel from the gritty capital city of Kingston, where they live, to the northeastern coastal parish of Portland for the two-day shoot. All four women are part of a population known in Jamaica as the Gully Queens, a small band of trans and gay young people who live embattled lives at the outermost margins of a country that Time magazine once called “the most homophobic place on earth.” They are visibly, openly living the truth of their gender and sexual identity in a nation where many choose to stay closeted, and they pay for it with complete alienation and constant abuse.

    That Time quote dates back to 2006, and though strides have been made in the past decade to advance LGBTQ rights (here’s a recent Slate piece chronicling progress), Jamaica remains a place with a strong undercurrent of bigotry: a devoutly Christian nation with sodomy laws still on the books, where influential dancehall stars peddle antigay sentiment, major newspaper cartoonists mock homosexuals, and the national refrain of “One Love” blithely ignores those whose identity exists outside of the heteronormative/cisgender framework. As a 2014 Human Rights Watch report asserted, “Physical and sexual violence, including severe beatings and even murder, are part of the lived reality of many LGBT people in Jamaica. The level of brutality leads many to fear what could happen if their sexual orientation or gender identity is disclosed.”

    In the U.S., the LGBTQ community represents the population most likely to experience hate crimes, but it’s specifically transgender women of color who endure the highest rates of violence, suicide, and poverty. In Jamaica, trans people, particularly those of low socioeconomic status, also count as the most vulnerable of the vulnerable. The Gully Queens—named for the sewers where they find shelter and refuge from police harassment and marauding thugs alike—are unwilling or unable to live in the closet. Both Mindy and Shadiamond, the two women with whom I spoke by phone, were outed against their will as teenagers. They separately told very similar stories of attending a party in drag, and then later discovering that they’d been photographed and those pictures had been disseminated within their communities. “I want to be comfortable and not hide in my life story, but be the person that I am,” Mindy, who is 24 and has been on the streets since she was in her late teens, told me. “I think I have the right to lead a life that I love.”

    Doing so costs them dearly: They live in exile from their families and communities, unable to find work or landlords willing to rent them apartments. It’s likely that some make money through prostitution (HIV infection rates, I’m told, are high); others steal or beg. Homeless, isolated, and faced with the constant threat of violence, they are without recourse to better their circumstances. When I spoke to Mindy, she said of life in the gully: “It’s like being in hell.”

     

     

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  • How to Speak Jamaican

    1. how to speak jamaicanWhat is the Jamaican Language? The Language of Jamaica is called “Patois.” It is officially english, with spanish, African, and french influences. We call it “Jamaican Patois.”
    2. How To speak Jamaican Language – It is very easy to speak Jamaican Patois. Below I have listed a few simple rules to help learn to speak Jamaican.

     Rules for speaking Jamaican.

    • jamaican womenJamaicans do not pronounce their “H.s”
    • Jamaicans do not pronounce “th” sounds
    • Jamaicans drop the “s” if it is followed by a “t”
    • Jamaicans do not pronounce “ss” the way the west does, they often pronounce it as “ash” or “osh”

    Examples of Jamaican Patois Sounds

    • English Word, “Work”- Becomes “Werk” in Jamaican Patois
    • English Word “House” – Becomes “Ouse” in jamaican Patois
    • English Word “Thing” – Becomes “Ting” in Jamaican Patois
    • English Word “Strong” – Becomes “Trong” in Jamaican Patois
    • English Word “String”- Becomes “Tring” in Jamaican Patois
    • English Word “Mattress” – Becomes “Matrash” in Jamaican Patois
    • English Word “Moss” – Becomes “Mosh” in Jamaican Patois

    Not all Jamaicans speak Jamaican Slang/Jamaican Patois

    These examples are not applicable to every Jamaican person. So, they are not absolute every time. When you meet a Jamaican, don’t assume that they will pronounce their words in this way. Some, do and some do not.

    Jamaican Translations of typical Statements in Jamaica

    • You are Fat! – You are Sexy
    • Nice Girl – Sexy girl I would like to speak with you
    • Fat Bumper – Nice bottom (a*s)
    • How you so sweet? – You are very attractive!
    • Fi Real? – really

    Jamaican Rastafari Translations

    • Zion – Heaven
    • Irie _ Feeling Good
    • Rastafari – bless, Well being, God in all things
    • Blessed Love – Love and Blessings
    • Everything is Everything – Everything is alright (because Jah is in Control)

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