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Oracabessa Bliss, providing an important Platform for female artistes

Published:Monday | July 2, 2018 | 12:00 AMAnthony Turner/Gleaner Writer
Tanya Stephens

New York:

In a year that has seen reports of sexual harassment against women, and efforts to undermine women's legal and reproductive rights escalate, New York's Irie Jam Radio will provide an important platform for female artistes to shine at the second annual Oracabessa Festival Bliss, the signature event of the station's 25th anniversary celebration.

Confirmed to perform on Sunday, July 8, at the Pennysaver Amphitheatre in Brookhaven, Long Island, New York, are female reggae stalwarts Tanya Stephens and gospel DJ Shelly Thunda, who will perform alongside dancehall icon Yellowman, Agent Sasco, Coco Tea, Mikey Spice and comedian Majah Hype.

"Our music industry has such great talent. The women who have been and continue to hold it down are nothing short of amazing, and we at Irie Jam Radio will always stand with each and every one of them," said Syn Clarke, executive vice-president at Irie Jam Media Group.

"In all industries dominated by men, we women face obstacles, setbacks and have to fight a little harder to prove we belong in the boardroom or on the stage. But the music/entertainment industry has always had female representation that was powerful, and has always made it possible for the next generation to move forward. If we keep doing that, with intention, purpose and some support, the shift will come," she added.

Tanya Stephens, who was born Vivienne Stephenson, is an outspoken artiste who will share a lot at Oracabessa. She was one of the most promising female reggae artistes to emerge in the late '90s, and continues to flourish almost 20 years later. She got her big break in 1996 with her female anthem, Yuh Nuh Ready fi Dis Yet, which caused a stir. Future hits followed, including Draw fi Mi Finger, It's A Pity, Freaky Type, Cry and Bawl, as well as Ruff Rider. Her unique and excellent writing skills is not easily matched in the business.

Aside from Stephenson and Thunda, also slated to perform are soca superstar Denise Belfon - who will make her Oracabessa debut - and legendary DJ Lady G, who will perform as well.

Of the importance of the festival Clarke notes, "Oracabessa Festival Bliss is an important event. Fans can expect a dynamic show for sure. Each female artiste has a story to share and I trust we are going to want to listen!"