Stardom winners represent
St. Maarten in Hollywood

PHILIPSBURG--A group of local dancers, singers, rappers and models – winners of the recent Road to Stardom competition held last December – recently returned from its winning trip to Hollywood, California, USA, where members took part in a three-day workshop facilitated by influential individuals in the entertainment industry.

The group consisting of one of the main organizers of the trip “Ku-J;” rapper “Lil Q;” singers Keila Gumbs and Dionne Gumbs; the Revolution models – Cheyenne Barran, Geralda James, Stacey Ann Hodge, Davinia Brooks; choreographer Carlisha Philips; along with rap group Ill Spill accompanied by chaperones Sandra James and Claudette Alexander even had the opportunity to greet and meet with Janet Jackson on the second day of their trip.

On the first day of their trip Wednesday, February 27, group members learnt some hands on choreography from renowned dance choreographer “Chopper,” who was featured in major films including “You Got Served” and “Stomp the Yard” to touring with some of music’s top acts such as Omarion and Ginuwine and who is the creator of Ography Dance Studio in Hollywood.

During the session, the group learnt a dance routine in honour of Michael Jackson, which was later used as a production number on the last day of the workshops, Saturday, March 1, during a dinner showcase, where family and invited guests enjoyed performances by all participants.

On Friday, February 29, group members were critiqued by panellists who were representatives of Island Def Jam, Warner Music, Shirley Faison a Carson Adler Talent Agent, Jenevieve Brewer an Agent, Creator and Director of About Face Models and Phyllis Spencer one of the first Apollo Models.

According to “Ku-J” and chaperone James, the entire group received good reviews from the panel which was very impressed with all performances. The panellists pointed out their strengths and weaknesses and singled out performers “Ku-J” himself “Lil Q,” Evolution Models and Ill Spill to work more closely on their skill. At any moment, these particular individuals and by chance the other performers in the group could be called up for a gig. Therefore they must continue progressing in their craft.

At the end of June, the entire group will travel once again to the US, this time to New York where it will participate in another Road to Stardom conference organized by Entertainment Company Kemet Productions based in New York. There the group will have the opportunity to attend the Grammy Awards.

This time around, “Ku-J” and James said they hope more support will be given to the youngsters who through Kemet Productions are getting an opportunity to fulfil their dreams by establishing contacts and at the same time promote their island St. Maarten. “Ku-J” said influential stakeholders in the community need to encourage the youth and realize that St. Maarten has a lot of potential.

The group had to cover a portion of the cost for the trip, but would like to thank its sponsors for offering as much as they could: Gracita Arrindell, Sky is the Limit Foundation, Island Councilman Edgar Lynch, DP Member of Parliament Erno Labega and Texaco Gas Station.

Taken from:

--==+++==-- --==+++==--

Talented St. Maarteners
set to go to Hollywood

PHILIPSBURG--An eighteen-member group of mainly winners in a recent talent workshop organised by Dow Musical Foundation will be travelling to Hollywood, California, to take part in an entertainment conference organised by Kemet Productions, an entertainment company based in New York.

They will also have an opportunity to attend the National Association for the Advancement of Colored People (NAACP) Awards and visit with the popular American Idol programme.

Dow Musical Foundation director Isidore “The Mighty Dow” York, said winners of the talent workshop held at Raoul Illidge Sports Complex on December 17 last year had been chosen in the categories of rap, group act, dance and comedy.

The rap group Odyssey won the rap category, the Johnson Sisters won the group act category, Jade Lopez and Audie Jansen were the winners of the dance category and Andrew Dick won in the comedy category.

York explained that of the 18 persons set to travel, eight were not winners in the competition, but the judges had been very impressed with their performances and therefore they had been invited to travel along. Judging the competition were representatives of US entertainment companies Universal Motown and Kemet Productions.

Kemet Productions representative Jane Holly, who is organising the activities in which the group will be taking part while in Hollywood, told The Daily Herald Kemet Productions held a mini-conference on entertainment annually to familiarise individuals interested in entering the entertainment industry with what it takes to be at the top.

Holly explained that the conference was usually held in New York, but this year the organisers had decided to host it in Hollywood. Therefore, in collaboration with Dow Musical Foundation’s plan to visit Hollywood, they decided to invite the St. Maarten youngsters to take part in it.

She said the group from St. Maarten would be taking part in training sessions in drama, choreography, singing, etc. They will have to perform for top artists in the entertainment industry during a sit-down dinner and for a panel of seven professionals who will critique them.

At the NAACP Awards, the group will have the chance to witness Denzil Washington being honoured along with actors and producers of the hit movie Dream Girls.

Holly said she was also arranging for the group to take part in the popular American Idols competition, to get an instant glimpse of what actually goes on in the industry. They are also set to appear and perform on the television programme Mad TV. They will be staying in a hotel on Sunset Boulevard, located one block from the famous walk of fame.

Holly said it was anticipated that at the end of the week-long activities the group would have become more familiar with how the industry works, in terms of what it takes to be a real performer and what to be on guard against in the industry, such as signing phoney

contracts. She said it was hoped the youngsters would develop a different attitude toward and perspective of the industry, because it was necessary for proper exposure and for their talents to be measured.

York said he was looking forward to the trip and had received a thumbs-up from the performers with whom he would be travelling. He said that in the middle of February Dow Musical Foundation would be hosting a concert starring the winners and other participants in the entertainment workshop, to raise additional funds for the trip. York is asking the general public to come out and support the concert.

All the winners are being funded for the trip through the foundation and sponsors, but the additional participants will be responsible for their own funding. The Daily Herald understands the government has not provided subsidies for this trip. York and Holly are requesting full support from the general public to help these youngsters in reaching their goals.

taken from The Daily Herald Jan 2007

--==+++==-- --==+++==--