Cassava Piece, Kingston singjay Mavado is set to star in a new movie. According to reports, the artist, who is in the charts this week with his song “Brown Bottle,” will play a sinister character named “Gully God” in Steve McAlpin’s forthcoming film, What Goes Around. No release date has been announced. Last week, the VP recording artist was confirmed for a Nike Olympics promotional campaign. Additionally, gun crime charges that prevented a recent U.S. appearance appear to have been dismissed.

In other Mavado news, the singjay whose music often describes his “gully-side” ghetto neighborhood’s bleak conditions has been tapped by Jamaican government officials to help with an environmental campaign about the dangers of polluting storm gullies.

The Caribbean Federation of Nations (CARICOM) has been responding to news of Barack Obama’s historic Democratic presidential nomination. Trinidad and Tobago’s Prime Minister Patrick Manning commented in the Trinidad Express: “It is a historic development, which demonstrates how the United States is changing… We eagerly await the choice of the people of the United States.” Other nations, including Jamaica, are more skeptical after former U.S. Secretary of State Colin Powell (who has Jamaican lineage) was unable to improve American foreign policy towards the Caribbean during his tenure.

DJ Shaggy will tour Europe this summer to promote his latest album, Intoxication (VP/Big Yard). Shaggy will do multiple dates in France, Germany, the Netherlands, and Spain from late June through August.

Burning Spear’s new album, Jah Is Real, comes out in August on Burning Music. Daseca recording artist Bugle drops The Journey Continues Mixtape, which includes tracks like “Hypocrite,” “Russian Roulette,” and “Nah Sell Out,” as well as guests Junior Reid, Mavado, and Serani.

Selector Richie Feelings is finding success with multiple street dances and club events. Feelings hosts Bembe Thursday’s and Feelings Fridays and helped form the Bembe Squad soundsystem and dance crew that includes Tony Matterhorn, Jigsy, Penny Bling, Rolexx, Razz, and Biggy. “When people hear bout ‘Jungle,’ dem always think say it full a zinc house an ting,” Feelings said, adding that he wants to give the public a better perception of the community.

Ninjaman has been added to the line-up for Roots Reggae Uprising, which is set to take place on July 26 at the world-famous Hammerstein Ballroom in New York. Ninjaman will share the bill with Morgan Heritage, Richie Spice, Gyptian, Tessanne Chin, and Jamelody.

Florida’s Reggae Report magazine celebrates 25 years in business. M. Peggy Quattro’s pioneering publication will continue online as a video webzine called Backstage The first webisode begins with coverage of the inaugural Reggae Academy Awards, held in Kingston, Jamaica, in February 2008

Does Columbia Records have a “love-hate” relationship with reggae music? So says a recent Jamaica Observerarticle that interviews former Head of A&R David Kahne who, along with Maxine Stowe, signed a wave of 1990s dancehall and reggae artists to the major label. Kahne brought in artists like Super Cat, Ini Kamoze, Worl-a-Girl, Tony Rebel, and Diana King, but found that “[there has] always been resistance to reggae at Columbia, as that label has a preference for hip-hop music.” He added that the label’s Urban Music Department wouldn’t work reggae artists has hard as hip-hop.

Jamaica’s Top Ten Albums
1. Morgan Heritage Mission In Progress (VP)
2. Hopeton Lindo Turf (Irie Pen)
3. Elephant Man Let’s Get Physical (Bad Boy/VP)
4. Anthony Cruz Fight With All Your Might (Penthouse/VP)
5. Various Artists Ragga, Ragga, Ragga 2008 (Greensleeves)
6. Little Hero Revelation (Inspire/Diamond Edge)
7. Richie Spice Gideon Boot (VP)
8. Luciano Jah Is My Navigator (VP)
9. I-Wayne Book of Life (VP)
10. AJ Brown Voice of Love (GRC)

Photo by Martei Korley.