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Bermuda’s sleep walking towards self-destruction

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‘Dear God if I’m dreaming please wake me up, because my Island gone crazy’ say the lyrics to ‘Island Not The Same’ by hip-hop artist Mona Li$a.

The songwriter, whose real name is Simona Eversley, was inspired to write about the gun violence plaguing the Island after her cousin Jahmiko LeShore was shot dead in March 2011.

She will soon release ‘No Days Off’. The album is a mix of reggae, dance hall, hip-hop, R&B and a few techno songs.

The 24-year-old said she has seen a “big difference” between the way Bermudians live now and how they lived ten years ago. One of the noticeable changes is that police need to carry guns, instead of flashlights and batons to combat crime.

“That’s the message I try to bring forth all the time this is not our type of life and lifestyle,” she said.

“This is not in our blood to be out here killing each other and so non-violence is my main focus at this point because at the end of the day all these people that are dying used to be friends and they used to go to school together.”

She said she was “very close” to Mr LeShore; some people even called them twins when they were younger. She described the 26-year-old as a “really sweet gentleman” and said family was extremely important to him.

Ms Eversley told

The Royal Gazette: “He was all about family. The reason he passed was a big shock to our family. He never got to meet his son. His son was born two weeks after he passed.

“We are a small, close-knit family, so when we did lose Jahmiko it was very hard. Even to this day it’s hard, I can’t believe he’s not here.

“He’s the inspiration for everything I do, no matter what it is.”

Two days after her cousin’s death, Ms Eversley penned the lyrics to ‘Island Not The Same’. The tune encourages residents to stop the violence. It became the second most requested song of 2012 on radio station Irie FM.

Her music videos pay homage to murder victims from across the Island.

“If you have seen my videos you see I have Jason [Smith] and Randy [Robinson] in my video,” she stated. “It’s to show Bermudians, as well as [gang members in] Parkside and the 42 area that it’s not about discrimination at this point.

“We are losing people and if we don’t get a hold of it now, then eventually all our black, young men are not going to be here and many children will not have their fathers — as they don’t now.”

Some of the victims’ family members have reached out to thank her on Facebook and Twitter, she said.

“It’s not about [picking sides] at this point. If we want to save our Island and our people we need to put our pride to the side and do what we have to do so we can bring some peace to this place. It’s Bermuda.”

Ms Eversley was born and raised on the Island, but moved with her family to Chicago when she was in middle school.

At age 19, she was part of a female hip-hop group called First Class. They almost got signed by a record label after performing at a music showcase hosted by rap star Nelly. She decided that route wasn’t the best option for her and she branched off on her own.

Her music career took a serious turn after her cousin’s death and she started putting in studio time and working on music video projects every day.

She has found the music industry challenging.

“You have very few females that are doing it and the ones that are, are wearing next to nothing on stage. My biggest challenge at this point is being a female, young, black and coming from an Island that’s very small and not many people know about it, except for [hearing about] the Bermuda Triangle.

“I definitely hope my music is part of that solution and want it to be, but if this music thing doesn’t work out when I get older I want to get into politics.”

‘No Days Off’ is expected to be available on iTunes in March. Visit Mona Li$a Bermuda on Facebook.

Local artist Mona Li$a, aka Simona Eversley, is gearing up to release an album in March, spreading a message of non-violence. Her cousin Jahmiko LeShore was shot dead almost two years ago, bringing home the importance of non-violence for the hiphop artist.
Local artist Mona Li$a, aka Simona Eversley, is gearing up to release an album in March, spreading a message of non-violence. Her cousin Jahmiko LeShore was shot dead almost two years ago, bringing home the importance of non-violence for the hiphop artist.(Photo by Mark Tatem)
It’s not another world, it’s Devil’s Island

Last week’s shooting deaths led –hip hop artist Mona Li$a to ask –residents to do their part to help –combat violence on the Island,

writes Nadia ArandjelovicKnown for spreading the message of non-violence through her music, she said: “At this point we need to stop pointing fingers and come to a –reasonable conclusion on how we can stop gun crime, stop parents from burying their children, and prevent another little girl or boy from growing up –without their father.

“Everyone talks about up and –leaving Bermuda, however [they] fail to realise [that] no matter where you go there is violence and killing [and in some places it is far] worse than what we are experiencing.”

The artist, whose real name is Simona Eversley, said she never had the chance to meet shooting victim Haile Outerbridge, aka Starr Child, but was a fan of his music.

She said his single ‘Concrete Jungle’ inspired her to write ‘Island Not The Same’.

Mr Outerbridge and Ricco Furbert were both killed at Belvin’s Variety in Pembroke last Wednesday.

A total of 23 men have been shot dead in Bermuda because of gang violence since 2009.

Ms Eversley said: “His music was a foundation of peace as he hoped for change, as I and 99.9 percent of this Island does. I’m calling all who are in favour of stopping crime to step up. This is the time for everyone to participate, simply because as of January 2013 everyone has been affected. If the people who love this Island don’t fight for a resolution who will?

“This Island has been corrupted, and is no longer another world. We are –living up to the name Devil’s Island. We are living in a world where there is good and evil and no in between.

“Fathers, black fathers especially, if you lay down and have a child be prepared to love, care and raise him or her so that they don’t grow older with resentment in their hearts because you failed to be a man.

“The problem is deeply rooted and it starts in our homes.

“It starts in our churches and in our schools. Many have lost hope, however I haven’t.

“Hope is a part of faith, and I have faith in not only Bermuda, but in God, that he will see us through.”

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Published January 29, 2013 at 8:00 am (Updated January 28, 2013 at 2:54 pm)

Bermuda’s sleep walking towards self-destruction

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