After months of preparation and promotion, the 8th Annual Reggae Culture Salute scheduled for Saturday, November 3rd was forced into postponement by Hurricane Sandy but took place on Sunday November 25 to rave reviews. “Postponements don’t usually work out well,” said Carlyle McKetty, President of the Coalition to Preserve Reggae (CPR), host of the event, as a steady flow of patrons gathered inside the performance space at Nazareth Regional High School. “We are very fortunate to have this robust gathering with such a positive vibe despite the circumstance,” he said.
The family friendly event got started with a libation by MC Sharon Gordon which was followed by Nyabinghi Drumming by Ras Menelik and the Ark Angels before moving to a solo dance routine by 8 year old Douglas Baldeo.
Ossie Dellimore and the Soldiers of Justice anchored the hour long The CPR Showcase which also featured other CPR members including Major Daps, Sis Cindy, Tayazawan, Major One and Prince Aloysius.
Presentation of awards followed, with Luciano the Messenger receiving a Congressional Proclamation from Congresswoman Yvette Clarke, and a New York City Citation from Councilman Juumane Williams presented by Jamaica’s Consul General to New York, Honorable Herman LaMont who also brought greetings on the occasion of Jamaica’s 50th anniversary of Independence. Carlyle McKetty and CPR Board Members, Damani Saunderson, Donna Cyris-Hemans and Sharon Gordon presented Luciano with the CPR Pinnacle Award for Excellence for his years of positive music. Dr. Una Clarke was also on hand and brought greetings to the audience. CPR Chair and co-founder, Sharon Gordon was completely surprised when Congress Woman Clarke presented her with a Congressional Proclamation as well for her many years as a cultural activist.
“Our challenges were tremendous. We had to go from a Saturday to a Sunday and endure the loss of Mr. Vegas due to a previous commitment in Europe…it required a whole re branding effort that had to be done in very little time,” said Sharon Gordon. “We were told it wouldn’t work out and we should just cancel the event for this year. I am so glad that we didn’t,” she added.
Following the award presentations, Luciano took the stage with Anthem Band backing, and for almost two hours kept the audience on their feet singing and dancing to hit after hit. Luciano was in rare form and his exuberance made for a great stage presence. “It was a great show,” says Marvin Skeete, CEO of INTACS the streaming company that facilitated the live internet stream of the event. For the first time, CPR offered the opportunity for reggae lovers the world over to experience Reggae Culture Salute digitally and it worked. “Based on the feedback in the chat room and the emails we received, this was also a success and we thank our members who encouraged us to do this broadcast.” says Carlyle McKetty. “We also thank our sponsors and supporters without whom none of this would be possible,” he added.
Nicole Edwards a long time supporter of CPR expressed her delight in Luciano’s performance. “I am so happy I came out. This was a great show. I hope they will bring Luciano back next year.” Melanie R posted online, “This was so inspiring to watch Luciano and the other positive artists uplift a community. I am happy that me and my family could watch this show right inside our home in Atlanta.”