DefJam Singer Chrisette Michele returns to Barbados for HIV Benefit Concert: “Everyone deserves to be loved…”

{EDITOR’S NOTEMany videos were made of the night’s performance about to be reviewed, as they are High Definition footage, they take very long to create and upload to the Internet even with Broadband – therefore? The Videos will appear SEPARATELY to the story}

Chrisette Michele, lady of the moment, sweeping through to her VIP Audition Lounge at Cavans Lane. This is at least her 2nd time in the island, she performed once before at Farley Hill.

Chrisette Michele, lady of the moment, sweeping through to her VIP Audition Lounge at Cavans Lane. This is at least her 2nd time in the island, she performed once before at Farley Hill.

Barbadian Choreographer and Theatre impresario Trevor Pretty has been very busy since last we saw him earlier this year… His Back2Black Foundation is on hiatus since Trevor was raising funds for World AIDS Day and organising a celebration which is not mournful and quiet but recognising Life and the challenges of HIV through beauty and brightness, thus “The Ball Of Life” where the event was a chance for Bajan talent to be under review by DefJam alumnus Chrisette Michele!

Adaeze (specs) held the crowd's attention easily with her confidence - hope Lauren Simm (arms extended) learns from the powerful yet slim rapper?

Adaeze (specs) held the crowd’s attention easily with her confidence – hope Lauren Simm (arms extended) learns from the powerful yet slim rapper?

Trevor was able to make a presentation of a cheque worth $4,000.00 to the Ministry of Health’s AIDS hospice for securing toiletries and foodstuffs for people who live with HIV. The strategy for Trevor’s successful evening is that everyone is invited, but the MINIMUM donation to receive an invitation is fifty dollars, so patrons were left to their consciences to add on appropriate amounts, since the event was a charity. Apart from my ticket and additional funding, I also made sure the show was better for guests by suggesting to the box office that night, rather than tearing people’s “invitations” – why not trim a corner and leave it intact for an autograph?

Trevor in full stylish glory filling in patrons on what's new with Back2Black

Trevor in full stylish glory filling in patrons on what’s new with Back2Black

The Marina on Cavans Lane was the packed venue used to be the Limelight Cafe then Bump & Wine – 2 former projects from a former keyboardist of Spice & Co, this evening had many Barbadians flocking like when Spice played… Only these people came to hear Chrisette Michele – Known for hits like Be Ok or Best Of Me and audio-visual Art projects like “Can the Cool Be Loved?” (an homage to Audrey Hepburn & Sammy Davis Jr), the composer/pianist and vocalist made a brief stint to Cavans Lane for a packed concert that night.

This lady was one of the few who enjoyed Lauren Simm's interpretation of  Jason Mraz' "I'm Yours"

This lady was one of the few who enjoyed Lauren Simm’s interpretation of Jason Mraz’ “I’m Yours

The evening began with acknowledging the ceaseless and passionate counselling of Sade Leon, who pointed out even now there are many Barbadians who view AIDS or HIV as a Divine Punishment for promiscuity or a sexual Lifestyle alien to their own. She then admonished the crowd to look at each other and she declared this was the face of HIV, no spots or lesions – many HIV persons have better health than the average person thanks to breakthroughs in medicine and can be as active in sex as any other person!

This is SNL who did many of Chrisette's hits... years ago I recall how my dad mentioned in 1959 when Brook Benton was coming to Trinidad, Sparrow who was the Opeing Act played many of Brooks' hits; Mr Benton was furious and my father had the devil's own time calming Brook Benton down - yet such did not seem to be the case at The Marina, Cavans Lane in the City...

This is SNL who did many of Chrisette’s hits… years ago I recall how my dad mentioned in 1959 when Brook Benton was coming to Trinidad, Sparrow – who was the Opening Act – played many of Brooks’ hits! Mr Benton was furious and my father had the devil’s own time calming Brook Benton down – yet such did not seem to be the case at The Marina, Cavans Lane in the City…

Former Calypso Monarch and ex-Lead Vocalist of Spice & Co, John King, was also honoured for his music which sought to enlighten Bajans on the plight of those who endure the virus.

Mr Pretty indicated this is the first of many ventures in the pipeline to continue raising funds to assist those who live with HIV

Mr Pretty indicated this is the first of many ventures in the pipeline to continue raising funds to assist those who live with HIV

The event itself was not quite on schedule as they awaited the arrival of the DefJam star (we later learned she hurt her ankle), there was a squeal when she arrived almost an hour after the scheduled 8:00 pm start. Chrisette is the reverse of Tina Turner in this sense… With Tina, she seems larger than life, so when you see how everyone towers over Tina you are amazed. Chrisette seems so proper and delicate, you are surprised to learn she is not petite and in fact quite tall (5’8″-ish)!

This member of the Audience was thrilled at Marwin Bless' version of Bob Marley's "Is This Love?"

This member of the Audience was thrilled at Marwin Bless’ version of Bob Marley’s “Is This Love?”

With tributes established, then singers began to perform for Chrisette to assess, rather like NBC’s The Voice except no open Judgment, while the crowd eagerly awaited for Chrisette’s turn…

Sade reminded of many a Politician, she  pledged to be brief yet her Acceptance Speech was 4 pages long? Don't you wish we did like Grammys & Oscars?

Sade reminded of many a Politician, she pledged to be brief yet her Acceptance Speech was 4 pages long? Don’t you wish we did like Grammys & Oscars?

Local diva Mia Cumberbatch with dreadlocked Marwin Bless from Sweden  tried the late Whitney Houston’s “My Love Is Your Love” for the first tine that night, another crowd favourite was Adaeze Lyric whose energetic gesticulations were just as much fun as the powerful rhyming she delivered to the patrons.

While not bursting at the seams, the venue definitely had its fans - proof how Social Media  can sometimes replace  Advertising (as far as I know, this a strictly Facebook venture)

While not bursting at the seams, the venue definitely had its fans – proof how Social Media can sometimes replace Advertising (as far as I know, this a strictly Facebook venture)

There was a long chunk dedicated to new local talent Lauren Simm, whose voice seemed still stuck in Stage Fright mode as she knew who was there assessing her capability, therefore her main talent for the night was her platform sneakers which fascinated many women of the audience.

Popular entertainer John King was one of the night's recipients for their fight against the scourge of Stigma on those who live with HIV

Popular entertainer John King was one of the night’s recipients for their fight against the scourge of Stigma on those who live with HIV

The very extended period was done where a trio called SNL (not Saturday Night Live, it’s based on their first names) did a whole pile of Chrisette Michele tunes much to the chagrin of the participants, who began to wonder if they’d even hear the daughter of a Deacon now Hip Hop & Jazz entertainer?

The way Chrisette has a vocal range like Billie Holliday or Ella Fitzgerald, I honestly thought she'd be for BlueNote rather than DefJam?

The way Chrisette has a vocal range like Billie Holliday or Ella Fitzgerald, I honestly thought she’d be for BlueNote rather than DefJam?

Some of the crowd even began chanting for Chrisette and she must have heard, as she finally got to the stage and expressed her own concerns for HIV persons – in her view, everyone has a right to be loved, I do not believe she is speaking to be Politically Correct – one does not lightly tattoo “FEED THE HUNGRY” on the inside of your right wrist just to look good… Most Tattoos usually have some aggression or incongruity against established society just to irk them.

Just before she sang,  Chrisette Michele handed out Tee Shirts to the excited participants -  Trevor pretty seen here holding the bag of tees for the DefJam singer

Just before she sang, Chrisette Michele handed out Tee Shirts to the excited participants – Trevor pretty seen here holding the bag of tees for the DefJam singer

She did not perform anything from her new album “Let Freedom Reign” which includes a duet with Rick Ross, but she did hint at her scatting ability and let the audience hear “Epiphany (I’m Leaving)” the video which had Drake as a silent appendage, and she also sang “What You Do.” The Barbadians, while glad to hear her live and in person, nevertheless felt because she sounds better than her recorded works should have given them some more tunes – maybe if she did not have a twisted ankle? Just a thought…

One Response

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  1. Great article! This was an accurate account of that night. SNL are great singers, Adaeze’s stage presence was impressive, however, as great as they were, the patrons were drawn by Chrisette Michele. So people came expecting her to sing more than two songs, but were instead subjected to the seemingly never ending tributes. I believe that the marketing was misleading. Chrisette Michele was being honored, and not featured. Kudos however to Trevor for raising funds for a worthy cause. At the end of the day, my $50 will do some good….

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