By Chuck Strouse
By Scott Fishman
By Terrence McCoy
By Ryan Yousefi
By Ciara LaVelle, Kat Bein, Carolina Del Busto, and Liz Tracy
By Pepe Billete
By Ryan Yousefi
By Kyle Swenson
It is sadly ironic that New Times music editor John Floyd chose the weekend of the Miami Bob Marley Festival to expose your readership to a poorly researched, out-of-the-loop article and his negative personal opinion of the state of reggae music ("Lively Up Itself," February 8). Sadder still is the fact that many of Marley's family live here in Miami or will be in town for the festival and will see the article, emblazoned with the picture of Ziggy and the Melody Makers. By declaring reggae music to be dead, Mr. Floyd has shown true reggae fans that he has no idea that reggae is more alive than ever.
I say personal opinion, not professional journalistic opinion, because it is obvious that he never bothered to speak with any of the local reggae DJs or promoters, or on a larger scale to check into the Internet, to see if anyone willing to be quoted agreed with his hypothesis.
From the opening paragraph, it was obvious that the last reggae concert Mr. Floyd attended (Toots and the Maytals) was six years ago. Other than some passing references to current reggae dancehall artists such as Shabba Ranks and Shaggy and some reggae musicians, Mr. Floyd seems unaware of the "conscious reggae" that has become very popular in the past few years. This reggae revival, fueled by uplifting lyrics, beautiful voices and harmonies, and a return to the basic tenets of Rastafarianism, fills the airwaves of local reggae radio shows and is constantly discussed on the Internet.
I have more than twenty reggae home pages bookmarked for frequent visits to the Web sites of fans, reggae artists, and recording companies of the new, positive reggae. The fact that crucial new stars such as Luciano, Israel Vibrations, the late Garnett Silk, Mystic Revealers, Yami Bolo, Mikey Spice, Spanner Banner, and Yvad are getting rave reviews, winning over new converts to reggae, and pleasing the long-term reggae fans was ignored. That is astounding. (By the way, many of those artists have performed, often to standing-room-only crowds, in Miami within the last year at venues such as the AT&T Amphitheater, the Cameo Theatre, and the Reggae Cafe in Fort Lauderdale, which shows that Mr. Floyd didn't bother to pick up on the new trend.)
Some parts of his article rang true -- many reggae fans, such as me, feel that reggae went into the doldrums after Marley's death. And, yes, some dancehall can be some of the worst music on the planet. But it is a long leap to state that reggae is dead, especially when the writer didn't take time to check the pulse, or make the distinction between reggae and dancehall.
Mr. Floyd states that "reggae has for years been adrift on a sea of mediocrity." I think perhaps he is describing himself and his career, because the artists I have cited are vibrant, dynamic, spiritual, and have won over many new reggae fans with fabulous rhythm sections, horns, violins, and incredibly creative lyrics.
Third World, Here We Come!
I want to express my admiration and appreciation for Jim DeFede's article "Flying Blind" (February 1). I read the piece quite by accident and was pleased with the writing style, pertinent facts, and the general intent to be informative. Reality -- virtual and other -- should be the required underpinning in communication today, and Mr. DeFede has got it.
I hope New Times will keep on top of this disaster by the county commission as they lead us ever downward into Third World concepts. We need your zeal (that word left the language, did it not?) in communication. At least we'll go out not with a whimper but with a real hue-and-cry bang.
El Jinetero -- the New Album by Willy Chirina
I read Elise Ackerman's article "But Will It Play in Peoria?" (January 18) in relation to the controversy originated by the video "La Jinetera" by Willy Chirino. The only controversial item I can find with respect to this video is its title. If the title were changed from "La Jinetera" to "El Jinetero," there probably would be no more fuss.
Odio and the American Way
In Robert Andrew Powell's conclusively thorough investigative piece probing the Miami city manager's dubious academic credentials ("The Graduate," January 18), it's apparent, way beyond a reasonable doubt, that the only degree Cesar Odio earned was a major in misrepresentation and a minor in white-out forgery.
Let's say adios to Odio; otherwise we send a clear signal to the newest wave of political refugees: "Hey, it's okay, it's the American way," and "If he can get away with it, so can I."
It's time to can the man and donate his pension to form a Cesar Odio Truth in Politics Scholarship Fund at his almost alma mater, St. Thomas University.
Miami Beach Cops: The Force Formerly Known as Fair
I refer to the club raids of the last couple of months ("Swelter," January 11). Could someone please explain to me why, when my bike is stolen (twice), my car is broken into, my friend is run over by a hit-and-run driver, and another's house is burgled, the Miami Beach police do nothing but grudgingly fill out a police report (which is then promptly filed away)? But when a few friends and I went to Glam Slam on a Friday night to dance and have a few drinks, we were rudely confronted by masked police and forced out onto the streets like common criminals.