Ragashanti ready to host party tonight
There are many sides to the man known throughout the world as Ragashanti.
First, there is the radio talk show host who is considered highly controversial owing to his views on sensitive subjects such as sex and sexuality.
Then there is the Ragashanti who lectured for nearly a decade at the University of the West Indies and remains active on the speaker’s circuit, delivering speeches on a transformation from being self-destructive to successful.
Last but not least is Ragashanti the popular entertainer and MC who will host his world-famous Mix Up Party — being organised by Cowboy Productions along with the local sound Souljah1 — at the Gombeys Bar in Clearwater, St David’s, tonight.
Ragashanti, whose real name is Dr Kingsley Stewart, will be accompanied by DJs Chris Cross and Noah Powa from his Tambourine Radio Squad.
“They are pretty accomplished DJs and they are going to be playing a party mix, all kinds of party music,” Ragashanti, who obtained his doctorate in anthropology at the University of Connecticut, said.
“This is my first time in Bermuda and I am thoroughly excited about it and so are DJ Chris Cross and DJ Noah Powa. I have no idea of what the party climate is like here or anything like that, so it’s going to be pretty new for me. But we want all of the people in Bermuda to come out to party and have fun and laugh and enjoy themselves.”
Ragashanti, who is also regarded as the “King of Mix Up”, resides in the United States and is the host of Ragashanti Live on Tambourine Radio, where the musical talents of DJs Chris Cross and Noah Powa and many others can be heard.
“Tambourine Radio is not really based in one place,” Ragashanti said. “While we have the engineer who is based in New Jersey, the selectors who play on Tambourine Radio are located all over. We have DJs in Baltimore, in Jamaica, in England, in New York and when I play or I am on my talk show I am in Florida. So it’s just taking advantage of the technology that’s out there and utilising the innovation.”
Ragashanti grew up in the tough ghettos in Kingston where the reggae dancehall culture had a profound influence on his development.
“Unfortunately in Jamaica dancehall culture the elite tend to view it primarily in a negative context and like anything else dancehall has its plus and its minus,” he said. “But for me it is loaded with positives and it’s the positives that have interested me and influenced my development in a way that I am very grateful for.
“Dancehall, in my opinion, captures the nuances and the ups and downs and the complexities and the layers of life in ghetto Jamaica so to speak. So for me growing up it was the only medium that was being honest and telling the truth about life — whether you like it or not. Dancehall told a real truth about my life in Jamaica that I wasn’t hearing any place else.
“Dancehall was also very, very inspirational and that is a part that is not articulated as much by the people who control the media traditionally.
“Media has changed now with the social media revolution but back then they weren’t telling the story. The technology is allowing the practitioner to tell their own story and now we are hearing different insights and revelations about the dancehall culture.”
Reggae dancehall culture in Bermuda today pales to what it was in the 1980s and 1990s but is trying to make a comeback through the efforts of local sound systems who have banded together under the banner of ‘Sound Boys for Life’.
“I would love to see dancehall thriving in Bermuda, and not only thriving, but thriving in a positive way where it can entertain people; make them laugh and also inspire and educate them,” said Ragashanti, who is regarded as a dancehall expert. “I would love to see a rejuvenation of that in Bermuda and sustained and supported.”
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