Category Archives: Health & Wellness

A Celebration of Sisterhood at the 2018 Essence Festival

The National Urban League hosted its first “Women in Harmony: A Celebration of Sisterhood” luncheon at the Essence Festival last week, providing attendees with a spirited and empowering experience. The event included an intimate conversation with twelve-time Grammy®-nominated artist Ledisi, moderated by NYC’s 107.5 WBLS radio personality Déjà Vu, an inspirational moment with five-time Grammy® award-winning gospel singer Erica Campbell, and a performance by R&B star Keke Wyatt.

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Actress Kim Fields, 107.5 WBLS radio personality Déjà Vu, r&b songstress Ledisi, and Roc Nation artist Victory Boyd pose for a photo on the red carpet at the National Urban League’s “Women In Harmony: A Celebration of Sisterhood” Luncheon at the 2018 Essence Festival on July 6, 2018.

The luncheon kicked off with NUL executive Rhonda Spears Bell, SVP & Chief Marketing Officer, welcoming the excited crowd. Wanda Jackson, National Urban League SVP & Chief Talent Officer, then took the stage to introduce WBLS radio personality Déjà Vu and twelve time Grammy®-nominated vocal powerhouse Ledisi to a huge round of applause. Moderated by Déjà Vu, the luncheon attendees were then treated to an intimate conversation with Ledisi who talked about some of the prevalent issues professional African American women face today. Speaking to the importance of celebrating sisterhood, Ledisi offered the festivalgoers insight and advice through her own experience as a rising star in the entertainment industry. She then answered a more light-hearted round of personal questions about her day-to-day life, much to the delight of attending fans.

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Actress Kim Fields, 107.5 WBLS radio personality Déjà Vu, r&b songstress Ledisi, and Roc Nation artist Victory Boyd pose for a photo on the red carpet at the National Urban League’s “Women In Harmony: A Celebration of Sisterhood” Luncheon at the 2018 Essence Festival on July 6, 2018.

Photo Credit: Jennifer DeTiege/Red Carpet Images

Following Ledisi, five-time Grammy® award-winning gospel artist Erica Campbell delivered an impassioned speech to the audience about the inherent strength and power that comes through sisterhood. The enthralled crowd listened closely as she spoke about motivation, mentorship and the importance of helping one another succeed. The luncheon then capped off with National Urban League CEO and President Marc H. Morial speaking to the crowd before an exhilarating performance by popular R&B songstress Keke Wyatt, who performed three songs, “If Only You Knew;” “Nothing In The World;” and “Y.O.U.” Other attending celebrities and influencers included actress Kim Fields, BET co-founder and Nopsi Hotel owner Sheila Johnson, supermodel Beverly Johnson, Roc Nation artist Victory Boyd, actor and choreographer Darrin Henson, and fashion stylist Memsor Kamarake.


MIIEGO AL3: The Perfect Fit for a Busy Lifestyle


Today we are reviewing the Miiego AL3+ Freedom for women. First of all the presentation of the box is beautiful, the colours on the box are a true representation of the device contained inside, this is the Rose Gold Edition.

Opening the box we were presented with a really nice and sleek looking headphone, the headphone has smooth rose gold earpieces and a black flex wire that goes around the back of the head. The headphone really easy to set up and use, it fits easily on your head and gives a nice snug feeling which makes moving about very easy and worry-free. We took the headphone into the gym where we had our model go through a workout process with the headphone, it was perfect; through her spin class, outdoor obstacles and even her weightlifting session.

We would definitely give the Miiego AL3+ Freedom for women a 10 out of 10, this genius way of getting headphones to stay firm and comfortably on your head while going through your everyday activities. The battery life is really amazing, now let us talk about sound quality; on par with most of the expensive brands out now, it almost gives you a sense of noise cancelling but it’s not full noise cancelling but that is how good these headphones are. Sweating in your headphones is no longer an issue the covers for your headphones easily absorbs your sweat and give you a dry and comfortable fit for all your sweaty situations.

We would recommend the Miiego AL3+ Freedom to our female readers, so go out and get this headphone as a part of your new gym accessory. A word to Miiego, men are into rose gold too, so you guys could look into a male branded packaging in the future.


If we’re not careful, Damian Marley thinks corporations will ruin cannabis culture

Damian Marley Talks Preserving The Spirit Of Cannabis As It Becomes An Industry
From the moment he walks into a small banquet room in the back of the Sunset Marquis Hotel in West Hollywood, Damian Marley projects a different swag than his brothers Julian and Stephen Marley. With a black-and-red “Zilla” snapback on his head covering his knee-length dreadlocks, a fresh pair of navy Timberland boots and a gleaming gold Rolex, the youngest son of reggae king Bob Marley is just decidedly more hip-hop.

It’s his signature style. After all, Damian was sought out by Jay-Z for a collaboration that landed on the 4:44 album and long before the Afrocentric wave of Black Panther, he and Nas joined together to release an album as Distant Relatives in 2010.

In other words, Damian Marley has chartered new musical territory for his family name, creating an inimitable sound that is equal parts reggae, dancehall and hip-hop. On the cannabis front, Damian has been pretty busy too. He is pushing the culture forward and creating new businesses. But it’s not just about making money for the self-described “young entrepreneur.” As Marley’s youngest son, Damian sees himself as a part of the original cannabis culture, the culture which respects the cannabis plant and the people who grow it. And he’s made it a part of his mission to not only help the cannabis industry grow but to ensure that it does in the right way.

With herb becoming legal, it’s important for us, the original culture of herb smokers and people who sell and grow herb, to be a part of it,” Marley said during an interview with Herb at the Sunset Marquis Hotel in West Hollywood, where his father often stayed.

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Photo by JESSICA CHOU/ Herb

Damian is nothing if not true to his words. In 2016, with longtime manager Dan Dalton and his family members, he bought a California prison and converted it into a pot farm. The transaction provided an instant financial boost to the city of Coalinga, and with around 100 new jobs, looks to be a consistent revenue stream for years to come.

The rest of his family is a part of the movement too. In mid-March, about a week after Herb spoke with Damian, Kaya Farms, co-owned by Damian’s brother Rohan Marley, became “the first legal medical cannabis dispensary in the English-speaking Caribbean.” It already appears the dispensary—located in Ocho Rios, Jamaica along with sister companies Kaya Herbhouse, Kaya Spa, Kaya Cafe and Kaya Tours—will be better received than Marley Natural, another cannabis brand developed by the Marley family.

Marley Natural came to market after a 30-year licensing pact between the Bob Marley estate and Privateer Holdings, the first company to secure many millions of dollars from institutional investors, prompting concerns among longtime cannabis entrepreneurs about the looming threat of corporate competition. Privateer Holdings was also roundly criticized for exploiting Rastafarian culture and lampooned for using Marley Natural to turn anti-capitalist Bob Marley into ‘Marijuana Marlboro Man.’ But Damian insists he wants to champion the people the way his father did.

“I’d really love to see that all of the people who have benefited from the plant and have been able to feed their families because of the plant can continue to do so when it’s legal,” Marley said. “It’s important that they’re not muscled out by corporations.”

DSC6797 If were not careful, Damian Marley thinks corporations will ruin cannabis culture
Photo by JESSICA CHOU/ Herb

Damian is clear about this in his music and his business ventures, which are inextricably tied. In his most recent music video for “Living It Up” from album Stony Hill, Damian celebrates Jamaican culture with his son. Stony Hill, the Jamaican neighborhood where Damian was raised, also shares a name with the singer’s Denver-based dispensary which opened around the same time as the album release. “Medication” was one of the album’s lead singles and further, Stony Hill Corp. has invested in cannabis businesses, including purchasing High Times magazine last year.

Damian says his goal is to inspire those in the cannabis community who may see themselves at a disadvantage as the legalization movement picks up and an influx of well-heeled investors descends on the industry. “It’s easy for capitalists to really take advantage of the fact that it’s now legal,” Marley says.

When asked about what he feels are the next steps in the legalization movement, Damian is clear: criminal justice reform.

“Look, first and foremost, before I can say anything, the greatest aspect should be that people aren’t incarcerated for herb,” Marley said. “It should be free to the level where anyone should be able to grow herb in their home, like they grow tomatoes or rosemary or whatever they want to.”

Damian, along with his brothers Stephen, Julian, Ky-Mani and Ziggy, will be bringing this message to San Bernardino, California this month, where they’ll be performing for the first time together in more than a decade at the Kaya Festival in honor of the 40thanniversary of their father’s Kaya Album.

The fest is being billed as “a socially conscious experience that utilizes the power of music and togetherness” to honor Bob Marley and “his unified way of living.” The word Kaya, like the festival itself, means many things: beauty, home, and, not coincidentally, cannabis.


Kaya & Jamaica’s medical ganja industry

Jamaica’s medical ganja industry takes ‘historic step’ with Kaya

Chairman of Kaya Farms, Balram Vaswani, has said that sister company, Kaya Herbhouse is set to officially open its doors in March to the Jamaican public and visitors to the island, who are interested in sampling its offerings of medical marijuana and related products.


In making the announcement on Tuesday, Vaswani said persons wishing to purchase ganja and ganja products must comply with one of four regulations.

“We remain in compliance with the rules enacted by the Cannabis Licensing Authority (CLA), and persons will be able to legally purchase marijuana for medicinal purposes while also being able to experience the Kaya Herbhouse and Kaya Café,” Vaswani said in a press release.

The development comes as Vaswani’s Kaya Farms – which is home to the country’s first legal medical cannabis dispensary – harvested its first crop.


The first official ‘cut’ and harvest took place on Tuesday in the presence of Augustus Staples, Chief Executive Officer of the CLA, at Kaya Farms in Drax Hall, St Ann.

According to a press release, the plants from the harvest will be cured, trimmed and packaged for sale to Kaya Herbhouse in St Ann for the first sale to medical patients, and ‘Everything Oily’ for processing. This it said satisfies the tripartite agreements signed to ensure a closed loop system for the sale of marijuana as enacted in the Dangerous Drugs (Cannabis Licensing) Regulations.

The press release said the regulations allow for the sale and use of ganja for specific reasons, namely in accordance with the written recommendation or prescription of a registered medical practitioner, for consumption on the premises or for the provision of therapeutic services utilising ganja.


“I am truly honoured as a Jamaican to make the historic step where our country can finally monetise on this industry as Europe, Australia, India, China, and the US have already done,” said Vaswani.

According to the release, Kaya’s goal is to make Jamaica the flagship of the global wellness tourism industry and become the new symbol of the island’s roots and lifestyle.


‘Got To Have Kaya Now’ – Marley Son Advocates With Bob’s Slang

In the 40th year since the release of Bob Marley’s romantic album Kaya, the legend’s slang for cannabis has become a branding tool in the ongoing campaign to legalise the herb. Many of the sons of the global reggae icon have put action to Tuff Gong’s long-standing cannabis advocacy.

Rohan Marley of Marley Coffee (left) and Balram Vaswani, chairman of Kaya Inc, cutting the ribbon to the Kaya Café at the grand opening, recently.

Stephen, Ziggy, Ky-mani, Julian, and Damian Marley will headline the second annual, all-ages Kaya Fest, named after the 1978 album. The music festival relocated from Miami, Florida, to San Bernardino, California, where the festival can benefit from the state’s legalisation of cannabis for recreational use. The two-day concert will also feature guests Toots and the Maytals, Lauryn Hill, Cypress Hill, and Tom Morello.

“He would be at the forefront of this movement for people to know the herb. It’s in his nature, where he come from,” Stephen said in an interview with Rollingstone Magazine. In 2016, the family launched Marley Natural, a name brand for various strains of cannabis, pipes, hempseed body wash, and other products.


“You see marijuana becoming legal. You see his legacy has taken on more importance because of what he has been telling people for years. ‘Hey, I told you so!’ So the legacy has grown another step,” Damian added.


Also making bold moves is the entrepreneurial son, Rohan Marley. As of last weekend, Ocho Rios, St Ann, became home to Kaya Farms, the first legal medical cannabis dispensary in the English-speaking Caribbean. Kaya Farms and sister companies Kaya Herbhouse, Kaya Spa, Kaya CafÈ, and Kaya Tours plan to offer a variety of services for Jamaicans and tourists, including the sale of marijuana for medicinal and therapeutic purposes.

Participating in the grand opening event last weekend was Balram Vaswani, chairman and chief ganja officer at Kaya Farms and his associate Rohan, chairman of Marley Coffee.


“It’s great when what is naturally produced here, the herb, can become a business and drive the economy. So it’s never too late, and that’s why it’s happening right now,” Rohan said during the launch. He accompanied Vaswari in the official ribbon-cutting ritual.

“For me, the journey has been extremely long. This is an economic change for Jamaica. With this product, we have a chance for it to be a product of Jamaica, made in Jamaica, where we can control the start to finish. This could be an export. This can bring in revenue and wealth creation and help small farmers all the way up to large companies – not only farmers but auxiliary businesses, carpenters, plumbers, bartenders, etc,” Vaswani said.

Guests are welcome to tour Kaya Farms and its processing facility and kick back inside Kaya CafÈ, which exclusively carries Marley Coffee.


Guests to Kaya Farms are able to purchase various strains available and legally purchase medicinal marijuana, once proper documentation as required by the Cannabis Licensing Authority (CLA) has been provided. The regulations outlined by the CLA allow for the sale and use of marijuana in limited quantities and for specific reasons, namely, in accordance with the written recommendation or prescription of a registered medical practitioner, for consumption on the premises, or for the provision of therapeutic services utilising ganja.

Kaya Farms’ grand opening closed with a concert featuring Ky-mani Marley, Keznamdi, Jah 9, and Toots and the Maytals.


Ganja Company Kaya To List On Toronto Stock Exchange

Kaya Inc, a licensed ganja business in Jamaica that opened its first ganja cafe in Ocho Rios in March, is going public in Canada and will list on the Toronto Stock Exchange. Under the transaction, Kaya will enact a “reverse takeover” with a listed company called Buzz Capital.

The takeover also comes with a separate plan to raise CAD$8.5 million of which CAD$5.5 million is being sought from institutional investors, while another entity called HIKU Brands has already agreed to provide backing of CAD$3 million, said Kaya Inc CEO and founder Balram Vaswani.

The Kaya brand is framed on a shirt worn by Owen ‘JahJah’ Warren, chief grower at Kaya Farms, during the March 10 opening event for Kaya’s operations in St Ann. Kaya is merging with another company called Buzz Capital and will list on the Toronto Stock Exchange.

The listing is being preceded by a series of transactions, which will see Kaya merging with Buzz. The latter company was formed in 2017 and listed on the TSX Venture Exchange in the same year, with the intent of being utilised as a vehicle for a takeover.

Buzz issued a letter of intent about the transaction earlier this month indicating that the companies would finalise their negotiations and secure a deal by April 15. It will result in Kaya shareholders owning nearly nine-tenths of the amalgamated shares.

Vaswani told the Financial Gleaner that the ganja authority in Jamaica was abreast of the dealings to list overseas.

“All contemplated transactions are subject to oversight and approval of the Cannabis Licensing Authority. This includes both Jamaican ownership and directorship exceeding 50 per cent at all times,” he said.


“We will continue to work with all governing bodies as we continue to build a Jamaican brand that can extend beyond the shores of our island. This will give all Jamaicans access to invest and participate in a transparent regulated industry,” said the ganjapreneur via email.

The structure of the takeover deal involves Buzz enacting a reduction in its ordinary shareholding from 8.2 million to 4.1 million units followed by a name change from Buzz to Kaya Inc; then the exchange of all issued and outstanding shares of Kaya for common shares of the resulting entity; followed by the exchange of all issued and outstanding Kaya options and warrants for shares of the new entity.

The resulting company is expected to have 43 million issued shares “of which approximately 89 per cent will be held by the current shareholders of Kaya, and 11 per cent by the existing shareholders of Buzz”, according to a press release on the transaction.


Kaya reaped the first legal harvest for sale last month in the presence of the Cannabis Licensing Authority. This harvest will feed the stock of the store or herbhouse, the first of which opened in St Ann.

The costs associated with the development of the cafe, dispensary, and farm to date have surpassed J$76 million.

Shaggy & Friends…Making A Difference

In 2001, Shaggy was introduced to the Bustamante Hospital for Children whilst visiting a friend’s son who had been admitted there. He was so moved by what he witnessed, that he vowed to do whatever he could to make things better there for our nation’s children.

Jump ahead to 2018 and Rock music legend Sting and Haitian American musician Wyclef Jean were among the international stars that performed at the 2018 Shaggy and Friends Concert, held January 6 on the lawns of Jamaica House in St Andrew. This benefit concert was hands down one of the best shows in Jamaica and the Caribbean. From the decor to the food and drinks to the overall experience Shaggy & Friends is a must-see event that is in aid of a worthy cause.

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SPECIAL THANKS for the photography by Steve James of Semiyah Photography

Having been a staunch supporter of this charity over the years, it is truly amazing to see how this concert has grown over the years. Nevertheless, the mission to make a difference continues unwavered. As Shaggy shared on the night about the concert, this article too is not about promoting a show. Our goal with our support is to help the foundation raise awareness and get donations in so we can meet or even better surpass the goal of raising $100Million for the Bustamante Hospital for Children.

Also hitting the stage for free were a number of local and Caribbean stars in an effort to help the struggling government-run hospital acquire vital equipment to save the lives of children in the ICU. They were Jodi Rockwell, Romaine, Ity & Fancy Cat, Christopher Martin, Aidonia, Dexta Daps, Junior Reid, Shenseea, Barrington Levy, Third World, Chaka Demus and Pliers, Capleton, Professor Nuts, Wayne Wonder, Bunji Garlin and Fay-Ann Lyons.

The following was republished from
The Shaggy Make A Difference Foundation (SMADF) will once again donate all the proceeds from the concert to the Intensive Care Unit (ICU) at the Bustamante Hospital for Children.

According to co-producer of the show, Rebecca Packer-Burrell, Shaggy’s wife, funds from this show will be used to increase beds in the ICU of the hospital, which is the only full-service children’s hospital in the English-speaking Caribbean.

At the launch on Wednesday, at the Bustamante Hospital for Children, Shaggy appealed for support of the venture, stating that each ticket will save one life.

He said the venture started as a means of him giving back each year until he realised that it was more than he could give personally, after which he was advised to start the SMADF.

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In outlining the needs of the hospital, Dr James, Head of The Department of Anaesthesia and Intensive Care at the hospital, gave an example of the little boy who came in with his organs failing and would have died, if it wasn’t for the equipment that the SMADF donated over the years.

He said the boy can now be a worthwhile member of society and can now in the future “pay his taxes”, which brought laughter to the large gathering at the launch.

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James said, “we admit 150 patients annually to this five-bedded facility, but are beset by the consequences of resource limitations; inadequate physical space, inconsistent supplies of critical items, difficulty with the acquisition of cutting-edge equipment as well as maintenance of the equipment we have.

“We, therefore, feel extraordinarily grateful to the Shaggy and Friends Foundation for their on-going efforts in assisting the hospital and the unit. Please keep it going,” Dr James urged. |P

The MIIEGO Review

The M1 by MIIEGO is one of the best earphones I have ever experienced.


Sleek and modern in its feel and design, it is the perfect pair of earphones for the stylish modern music lover, who does not necessarily want to fit in by using the typical go- to options for an excellent listening experience. The Premium Isolation Eartips of the M1 has customized fit which holds effortlessly, cancelling external noise completely, thus taking the listening experience to another level. Using it is absolute sonic perfection!
The clear sound quality brings to the fore, every instrument, sound and rhythmic variation- and the powerful bass when listening to Dancehall, House or any other genre of music in the gym prompts me to bust a move in the middle of my workouts. The battery is long-lasting and it definitely lives up to expectations, and the battery indicator allows me to keep track of when the M1 needs to be charged.

M1’s Bluetooth v.41 wireless technology works like a dream and has had me leaving my phone behind at reasonable distances without disconnection.

Whether going for a run, weight training in the gym or working on my laptop- the M1 by MIIEGO has become a part of the electronic devices I refuse to leave behind on any given day.

MIIEGO has won a new loyal fan! #TEAMMIIEGO.|P

CanEx Jamaica to host its first cannabis Seminar Series

Globally celebrated speakers and power players within the cannabis industry will come together in Kingston, Jamaica to share knowledge and network with attendees at the CanEx Seminar Series. This CanEx event is the first of its kind in Jamaica and will be held at the Pegasus Hotel on Friday May 5, 2017.

The cannabis industry continues to offer promising opportunities in Jamaica, allowing for advancement in various economic and health sectors. As a multitude of diverse regions throughout the world are acknowledging the many benefits of cannabis, international, local and regional experts and stakeholders will utilize CanEx as a pivotal discussion platform to enhance knowledge and awareness.

Featured in The New York Times, CanEx offers an innovative open forum, setting the stage as the premier B2B Cannabis Conference in Jamaica. Speaking amongst the local and regional experts in the cannabis industry will be Super Bowl-winning NFL veteran Jim McMahon and the acclaimed Dr. Uma Dhanabalan, both outspoken and celebrated cannabis advocates.

Of her numerous accolades and achievements, Dr. Dhanabalan is a Cannabis Therapeutics Specialist, holding her Master’s Degree in Public Health from Harvard University, specializing in Occupational & Environmental Medicine. Dr. Dhanabalan is also Board certified in Occupational Medicine, a Fellow of the American Academy of Family Physicians and a Diplomate Certified in Cannabis Medicine.

Included in the lineup of more than 20 speakers and panelists will be:

  • Delano Seiveright – Special Advisor to Minister of Tourism
  • Hyacinth “Cindy” Lightbourne – Chairperson of the Cannabis Licensing Authority
  • Marlon A. Hill – Attorney
  • Patrick Casserly – Entrepreneur
  • Balram Vaswani – Entrepreneur
  • Scheril Murray Powell – Attorney
  • Orville Powell – Ganja Growers Association
  • Ras Iyah-V – Director Cannabis Licensing Authority

The event will feature a morning session with a keynote address, panel discussion and Q&A. This will be followed by an afternoon of seminars which will focus specifically on:

Seminar I – Medicinal Cannabis, Seminar II – Health & Wellness, Seminar III – Business & Legal, Seminar IV – Processing & Cultivating.

About CanEx

CanEx Jamaica – Seminar Series will facilitate a mix of high level discourse and practical opportunity led by global experts with real-life application in the industry. The conference will also feature presentations by Jamaican experts, policymakers, researchers and business people.

CanEx Jamaica is an event platform started in 2016 to promote networking, collaboration, education and expansion of the legal cannabis market in Jamaica. CanEx is focused on driving high value discussions and connections. The conference is designed for industry stakeholders including farmers, cultivators, medical practitioners, educators, tourism stakeholders and others seeking prime opportunities and relationships in the cannabis industry.