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VIBE Magazine/Camille Augustin

Barbados: The History Is In The Root

Ninety minutes after the sun clocked in above New York City’s damp sky, passengers aboard a JetBlue flight were relieved to have escaped the forthcoming downpour. On its way to a country with an opposite forecast, the full plane descended from its 30,000+ altitude to land in Grantley Adams International Airport. A rippling wave of claps erupted from JFK commuters anxious to kick off their time away from home or return to their native residence.

Stationed 62 miles outside of the Caribbean Sea, Barbados is still climbing above the massive Atlantic Ocean, reaching 180 to 240 meters above sea level. Affectionately referred to as BIM by natives, the only island in the area not formed by a volcano is also known for utilizing its natural resources to build, sustain, or tell a story behind its infrastructure. Whether it’s the Molasses Bridge, formally known as Blackmans Bridge, which was constructed in the 1600s out of egg whites, egg shells, molasses and limestone (and still stands today in Saint Joseph Parish), or the preservation of mahogany trees which were once used to make furniture, the country not only takes pride in its generational culture, but also in the living organisms that tell their history better than a textbook.

Thanks to an ever-smiling tour guide named Marvin, we became privy to these gems during a trip around the island. Traveling through each of the 11 parishes can easily become a gateway back in time. Gigantic palm trees not only add to the vegetation of certain regions but also serve as markers for where plantations once were. Sugar cane fields are constantly being toiled in order to fulfill Europe’s demand for the sweet additive. Cotton is still in its early stages before being shipped off to Japan, while banana trees undergo their nine-month process of maturation. “The island is actually made up of 80 percent of limestone and coral, 20 percent sand and clay,” Marvin said.

While nature blooms up top, another natural resource sprawls below the island’s surface. Harrison’s Cave, which was discovered in the 19th century, is known as a “stream cave” since it carries water throughout its 2.3 kilometers stretch. Equipped with a hard hat and an eager mindset, ticket-holders were guided throughout the expanse’s curves to witness fountain-of-youth-like bodies of water. Surprise droplets from the cave’s ceiling also blessed the group as a reminder that it is still very active.

Nature’s slow pace and the careful manner in which it preserves its appeal can be translated to the residents’ outlook on their day-day. “Most of them are friendly,” Marvin noted. “As you go along, you’ll see they’re waving at you and you should feel free to wave back at them.”

A fish market by day, fete and filling eats by night, Oistins served as a much-appreciated introduction to Barbados’ version of a laid-back Friday evening. We were treated to hearty food at Pat’s Place with menu items like flying fish or mahi-mahi making it hard to choose the first nighttime meal of the four-day stay. The choices only became tougher as the days progressed—I was almost willing to risk an allergic reaction to try a breadfruit and lobster combination at Cocktail Kitchen (I settled on the country’s staple macaroni pie instead). Marrying flavors like the aforementioned is a technique our driver Shawn says is becoming popular in Bajan cuisine.

“What I’m realizing for here, they’re infusing a lot of different things now,” he says. “But really flavorful, to be honest with you. I think one of the days where you had rice and peas, fried chicken, fried fish, they’re more or less mixing things up now. Mix it up and see how it comes out.” That occasional muddle is always appreciated, but certain dishes still remain a distinct part of Barbados’ diet. From sting flyer fish, cornmeal coucou, or the aforementioned macaroni pie, everything that was cooked was destined for consumption. “Believe me, there are some places that can really blow your head,” Shawn says about macaroni pie. “Some people can really get it done just right,” even with a dash of sugar “to taste.”

While we took in the memorable sites during the greater part of the day, at night the festivities required a fresh batch of senses. Saturday (April 27) launched the country’s annual Reggae Festival. For the first evening, Bajan Buggy Nhakente, Jamaica’s Wayne Wonder, Spragga Benz, and the legendary Buju Banton performed their hits to a packed Kensington Oval. Looking out into the crowd felt like the majority of people in the country were within this space, eager to witness history.

With the lights toned to warm indigo, Banton sent the loud crowd into a trance backed by his angelic “Untold Stories” melody and the resounding “Champion.” Taking his time through the hits, he commanded each corner of the stage to reel fans into his timeless records. As Banton continues his “Long Walk To Freedom Tour” for his reggae fans, the genre also had its own spotlight earlier this year. UNESCO decided to add reggae to its World Cultural Heritage list, a feat Wonder says was “a long time coming.” Taking his time through hits like “Saddest Day” and the everlasting “No Letting Go,” Wonder dished on how he’s been able to preserve his longevity.

“I just live this music, you know? I don't think about the competition,” Wonder says. “I don't think about who is running the place. I just make music. And I don't think about that hate also. I just want to make music that soothes people. I don't think about the glamour and the glitter part of it, I just want to make good music. See, I can sing ‘Saddest Day’ 20 years after, 25 years after, so that's how I want to make music.”

That longevity remains a permanent feat for plenty of reggae artists. The following night, patrons filled Pirate’s Cove to witness headliners Busy Signal and Sizzla perform as if they were new artists. From start to finish, each musician ignited a contagious strain of energy, leaving you to want that continuous feeling of the live music heard at family gatherings growing up.

"I think the whole Caribbean has this musicality in its culture," says Jacqui McDermott, Sales & Marketing Manager at Ocean Hotels Group Barbados, during breakfast at Sea Breeze Beach House, our temporary yet otherworldly residence/oasis located on the country’s southern coastline. "There's such a good live band scene that's really nice." Wonder echoes this sentiment of live instrumentation within the genre. “Nothing beats live music, nothing beats live singing,” he says. “I've been doing it before auto-tune, so I like the original authentic vibe. Love live music.” That authenticity is one of the main ingredients to longevity, and can be said not only when it comes to the music, but living off the land.

One of Marvin’s parting statements summarizes the excursion, noting that whatever one may need, the country can provide. "This is Barbados," Marvin said. "We have everything."

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Spike Lee Pays Tribute To ‘Do The Right Thing’ Actor Danny Aiello

Spike Lee is mourning the death of his Do The Right Thing co-star and friend, Danny Aiello. The 86-year-old actor passed away at a New Jersey hospital on Thursday (Dec. 12) following a brief illness.

“I am heartbroken,” Lee captioned a snapshot with Aiello taken from Do The Right Thing. “Just found out my brother Danny Aiello made his transition last night. Danny, we made cinema history together with Do the Right Thing. May you rest in paradise.”

Lee followed up the touching post with multiple photos of Aiello over the years. Aiello portrayed, Sal, a Brooklyn pizza shop owner and boss of Lee’s character, Mookie. Lee wrote, directed, starred in and produced Do the Right Thing, which earned Aiello an Oscar nomination for Best Supporting actor and a nod for Best Screenplay.

 

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I’m 💜 Broken. Just Found Out My Brother DANNY AIELLO Made His Transition Last Night. Danny,We Made Cinema History Together With DO THE RIGHT THING. May You Rest In PARADISE.🙏🏿🙏🏿🙏🏿🙏🏿🙏🏿🙏🏿🙏🏿🙏🏿🙏🏿🙏🏿🙏🏿🙏🏿🙏🏿🙏🏿🙏🏿🙏🏿🙏🏿🙏🏿🙏🏿🙏🏿🙏🏿🙏🏿🙏🏿🙏🏿🙏🏿🙏🏿🙏🏿🙏🏿🙏🏿🙏🏿🙏🏿🙏🏿🙏🏿🙏🏿🙏🏿🙏🏿🙏🏿🙏🏿🙏🏿🙏🏿🙏🏿🙏🏿🙏🏿🙏🏿🙏🏿🙏🏿🙏🏿🙏🏿🙏🏿🙏🏿🙏🏿🙏🏿🙏🏿🙏🏿🙏🏿🙏🏿🙏🏿🙏🏿🙏🏿🙏🏿🙏🏿🙏🏿🙏🏿🙏🏿🙏🏿🙏🏿🙏🏿🙏🏿🙏🏿🙏🏿🙏🏿🙏🏿🙏🏿🙏🏿🙏🏿🙏🏿🙏🏿🙏🏿🙏🏿🙏🏿🙏🏿🙏🏿

A post shared by Spike Lee (@officialspikelee) on Dec 13, 2019 at 7:02am PST

 

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SAL and MOOKIE.

A post shared by Spike Lee (@officialspikelee) on Dec 13, 2019 at 7:22am PST

 

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This Was The Last Time Danny AIELLO And I We’re Together. Danny Blessed Us With His Presence At The 30th Anniversary DO THE RIGHT THING Block Party -June 30th,20019.

A post shared by Spike Lee (@officialspikelee) on Dec 13, 2019 at 7:55am PST

Aiello, a native New Yorker, broke into the film world in the 1970s. His acting credits include, The Godfather Part II, Harlem Nights, Once Upon a Time in America, Moostruck.

“It is with profound sorrow to report that Danny Aiello, beloved husband, father, grandfather, actor and musician passed away last night after a brief illness. The family asks for privacy at this time read a statement on Aiello's Facebook page. A public memorial service for Aiello will be held next Thursday (Dec. 19) afternoon at The Riverside Memorial Chapel in New York City.

In honor of Aiello’s character, Sal’s Pizzeria in Brooklyn will give out 300 slices of pizza to customers on Friday, so long as they follow a few steps.

Read all the details in Lee’s Instagram post below.

 

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In Honor Of Our Late Brother DANNY AIELLO,Sal’s Pizzeria Is Giving Out 300 Hot And Tasty Slices. You Must Say You Read It On Spike’s Instagram.One 🍕Per Customer. Sal’s Pizzeria Is Open To 11pm Tonight. The Address 305 Court Street At The Corner Of Court And Degraw In Carrol Gardens,In Da People’s Republic Of Brooklyn. ABSOLUTELY NO EXTRA CHEESE.🤪🤪🤪🤪🤪🤪🍕🍕🍕🍕🍕🍕🍕🍕🍕🍕🍕🍕🍕🍕🍕🍕🍕🍕🍕🍕🍕🍕🍕🍕🍕🍕🍕🍕🍕🍕🍕🍕🍕🍕🍕🍕🇮🇹🇮🇹🇮🇹🇮🇹🇮🇹🇮🇹🇮🇹🇮🇹🇮🇹🇮🇹🇮🇹🇮🇹🇮🇹🇮🇹🇮🇹🇮🇹🇮🇹🇮🇹🇮🇹🇮🇹🇮🇹🇮🇹🇮🇹🇮🇹🇮🇹🇮🇹🇮🇹🇮🇹🇮🇹🇮🇹🇮🇹🇮🇹🇮🇹🇮🇹🇮🇹I🇮🇹🇮🇹🇮🇹🇮🇹🇮🇹🇮🇹🇮🇹🇮🇹🇮🇹🇮🇹🇮🇹🇮🇹🇮🇹🇮🇹🇮🇹🇮🇹🇮🇹

A post shared by Spike Lee (@officialspikelee) on Dec 13, 2019 at 12:35pm PST

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50 Cent Blasts Oprah Winfrey Over Russell Simmons Documentary

50 Cent says Oprah Winfrey only targets black male celebrities who have been accused of sexual misconduct and assault, but turns a blind eye to white celebs accused of the same thing.

The Queens native posted a photo of Winfrey and Russell Simmons on Instagram on Thursday (Dec. 12), along with a caption questioning her silence on allegations brought against Harvey Weinstein and convicted pedophile Jeffrey Epstein.

“[I] don’t understand why Oprah is going after black men,” Fif wrote. “No Harvey Weinstein, No [Jeffrey] Epstein, just [Michael] Jackson and Russell Simmons this s**t is sad.”

The G-Unit frontman added that Winfrey’s bestie, journalist Gale King, “hit R. Kelly with a death blow documentary,” although he appears to have confused King’s interview with Lifetime’s Surviving R. Kelly documentary.

“Every time I hear [Michael] Jackson I don’t know whether to dance or think about the little boys butts,” he continued. “These documentary’s are publicly convicting their targets, it makes them guilty till proven innocent.”

50 also shared a meme collage of Bill Cosby, Epstein, Kevin Spacey, Weinstein, Kelly and Donald Trump showcasing who among the bunch went to jail, which he captioned: “You think Oprah don’t notice how this s**t is playing out?”

Ironically enough, the 44-year-old rapper and TV producer settled a beef with Winfrey in 2012. The billionaire former talk show queen, who is executive producing an upcoming documentary on rape allegations against Simmons, has been criticized over her former friendship with Weinstein, and for hosting After Neverland, a TV special featuring the King of Pop’s accusers, Wade Robson and James Safechuck, and Leaving Neverland director, Dan Reed.

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Viola Davis, Jharrel Jerome, Tiffany Haddish Among All-Star Cast For ‘Good Times’ Live

Following the success of live reboots of The Jefferson's and All in the Family, earlier this year, ABC is bringing back another classic sitcom for a special holiday addition of Live in Front of a Studio Audience.

Good Times is the latest Norman Lear sitcom to be rebooted with an all-star cast that includes Viola Davis, Jharrel Jerome, Tiffany Haddish, Brooklyn Nine-Nine‘s Andre Braugher, Saturday Night Live alum Jay Pharaoh.  Additional cast members include Jerome’s When They See Us co-star, Asante Blackk, and Jamie Foxx’s eldest daughter, Corinne.

Davis and Braugher will portray James and Florida Evans, while Haddish will play neighbor, Willona Woods. Pharaoh is set to take on the role of the couple’s eldest son, JJ. Blakk will play JJ's younger brother, Michael Evans, and Corrinne will portray their sister, Thelma.

Patti Labelle and Anthony Anderson are billed to sing the Good Times theme song. Jerome’s role in the production has not yet been revealed.

Oscar winner Marisa Tomei and Oscar nominee Woody Harrelson will reprise their roles as Edith and Archie bunker for the latest live rendition of All in the Family. The weekly sitcom, created by Lear, premiered in 1971 and birthed the spinoffs, Maude and Good Times.

It’s unclear which episodes of the '70s sitcoms will be brought back to life for ABC's holiday special.

Live in Front of a Studio Audience airs on Dec. 18 at 8 P.M. EST.

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