Michael Skolnik (born August 15, 1978) is a 21st-century American civil rights activist, writer, motivational speaker, social media strategist and entrepreneur. He is currently serving as the Political Director to hip-hop pioneer Russell Simmons and President of GlobalGrind.com, founded by Simmons in 2007. As Political Director, Michael oversees Simmons’ entire social justice and political activities, including relationships with elected officials.
In his role as president In early 2009, Skolnik was hired by Russell Simmons to serve as the political editor for GlobalGrind.com, an online destination founded by Simmons and Accel Partners. GlobalGrind.com is Hip-Pop, the "hip" side of popular culture. Chronicling celebrities, lifestyle content, entertainment news, fashion, music and politics with an authoritative voice, GlobalGrind reaches over 4.7 million people a month, serving a large multi-racial segment of the 18-34 population.
Michael Ibo Cooper holds the distinction of being a veteran member of two world renown reggae bands, Inner Circle and Third World. Ibo Cooper is from a family of educators and has committed his life to teaching the next generation of Jamaica’s independent music professionals. Ibo Cooper is currently a founding member and the chair of the Jamaica Reggae Industry Association (JaRIA). Ibo Cooper also is a lecturer at Edna Manley College of Visual and performing Arts.
Jasmine Rand, Esq.
Known for her representation of the Trayvon Martin family, Rand excels in the civil rights arena, has posted multimillion dollar recoveries in catastrophic personal injury and wrongful death cases, and is currently involved in police brutality cases throughout the nation from the LAPD to the NYPD. In 2012 Rand received the Lawyers’ Committee For Civil Rights Under Law’s, national Distinguished Civil Rights Advocate Award, “For fulfilling the legal profession’s highest ideal in advancing equal justice for all.”
Most recently, Rand developed curriculum on the Trayvon Martin case and will teach her course at the University of Miami School of Law during the fall 2014 semester, which includes innovative topics such as music as an instrument of social change with an emphasis of Bob Marley’s influence on human rights leaders.
Karen Marie Mason
Karen Marie Mason has worn man hats in the enteratinment industry: Artist Manager; promoter; radio show host. In addition she has served as former director of Marketing at Sony Music and later head of Black music marketing at East/West Elektra. She has worked with such enetertainment companies sucha as NFL Films, MTV and BET.
A Reggae legend, and founding member of the paragons, Bob Andy is responsible for some of Jamaica’s most enduring hits. In 2005, he fulfilled a life long dream and visited Africa for the commemoration of the 60th anniversary of Bob Marley.
Born in Kingston, Jamaica, Delroy ‘Junior’ Reid originally came into prominence around 1984 as part of theWaterhouse crew, and quickly gained fame in Jamaica and dancehalls abroad from such hits as “Original Foreign Mind”, “Reggae Gone Cross the Border” and his take on Michael Jackson’s “Human Nature”.
in 1990 he scored a hit with the song "One Blood" which would go on to be his anthem.
Reid has collaborated with some of the biggest names in hip hop and R&B having recently been featured on tracks with The Game, Wu Tang Clan, Mims, Rick Ross and others. Reid has aldo graced the stage with such luminaries as Alicia Keys.
Reid continues to tour the world and is enjoying a rebirth in the hip-hop world with his catchy yet raw dancehall vocals, remaining relevant in a tough, ever-changing business.
Protoje first mix tape, Lyrical Overdose introduced the world to a unique style like no other. The son of Lorna Bennett, Protoje exploded into the world consciousness with a collaboration with Kymani Marley that led to the hit song, Rasta Love. His latest album, “Ancient Future” features the hit song, “Who Knows” with the artist Chronixx and Protoje was selected by BBC’s 1 Extra, Hot for 2015, Protoje was a panelist on the 2013 Jamaica Music Conference and educated upcoming artists on the ins and outs of touring.
Born in Kingston, Jamaica, Nadine Sutherland began performing in 1979, winning the Tastee Talent Contest that year (beating Paul Blake and Yellowman). She has the distinction of being the first artist signed by Bob Marley to hisTuff Gong label, recording "Starvation on the Land" at age eleven. In 1993 she recroded her hit record "Action" in combination with Terror Fabulous which track was deemed by Vibe Magazine as one of the fifty greatest duets of all time. Ms. Sutherland also appeared on the Buju Banton remix "Wicked Dickie" which topped the charts in Jamaica.
More recently, Sutherland has appeared as a judge on the TV show "Digicel Rising Stars", is a contrbutor to the Jamaica Observer, and has been a committee member for the charity Sisters to Sisters.
In today’s overtly sexual and over-produced music market, Nadine Sutherland makes a deliberate effort to portray a sense of style and sophistication. She is a talented female singer, who has been described as “capable, sexy and hauntingly beautiful, with uncompromising flair and intelligence”. Her roots are embedded in the very heart of Jamaican culture. Although she has already accomplished so much in her life, Nadine has no intention of slowing down.
Michael "Mikey" Bennett
Mickey Bennett is considered one of the top songwriters in contemporary Jamaican music. A former member of the Home T Band, Bennett is best known for such commercial hits as "Mek the Christmas Ketch You In A Good Mood", "House Call", "Mr. Loverman" both featuring Shabba Ranks, "Telephone Love", "Can You", and "If You Want Me". He has also produced projects by such well known recording artists as Dennis Brown, and Cutty Ranks.
Carolyn Cooper is Professor of Literary and Cultural Studies at the UWI’s Mona Campus where she teaches Caribbean, African and African-American literature. She also co-ordinates the University's embryonic Reggae Studies Unit, an academic project she initiated. Professor Cooper is the author of Noises in the Blood: Orality, Gender and the 'Vulgar' Body of Jamaican Popular Culture (1993) and Border Clash: Jamaican Dancehall Culture at Large (forthcoming, 2004).
Barbara Blake Hannah
The Founder of the Reggae Film Festival, Barbara Blake Hannah was always been a trail blazer. Barbara Hannah left her island home of Jamaica and moved to London in 1964, where she gained public attention in 1968 as the first Black journalist on British TV (THAMES, ATV, BBC). Barbara Blake Hannah returned to Jamaica in 1972 she began living according to the Rastafari faith and in 1981 she wrote the first book on the religion written by a practicing member - RASTAFARI - THE NEW CREATION. Barbara has organized several film festivals in Jamaica since 1974, and been a guest of film festivals in the USA, Cuba, Iraq and Leipzig, East Germany. In 2008 she initiated an annual Jamaica Reggae Film Festival screening films that include or document Jamaica's reggae music culture.
Manager of Copyright and Related Rights Directorate at JIPO, Marissa Longsworth has distinguished herself in the area of copyright. A licensed attorney, Marissa Longworth brings a wealth of know of copyright to JIPO. Marissa Longsworth spoke at the JMC 2014 on the protections provided by Jamaica’s copyright.
Rory "Stone Love"
Calabar Alumnus, Rory Stone Love has been a part of the world’s most successful sound system stone love since 1982. Rory has traveled the world and has become synonymous with the with the Stone Love Movements the global brand. Rory has also distinguished himself as a world class producer helping to introduce the artist Jah 9 to the world. In addition, he has worked with Keida, Raging fyah Nadine Sutherland and Roots band, Rootz Underground. Rory has committed himself to only record music with a message and can speak with authority on Jamaica Sound System culture. Rory was a panelist on the 2013 Jamaica Music Conference.
Originally hailing from The Gambia, West Africa, Olimatta Taal is a busy woman. Throughout her career she has worked as an oganizer, publicist, journalist, African dancer, poet, actress, and film maker. She currently serves as the publicist for critically accalaimed recording artist Sizzla Kalonji.
Ms. Taal is dedicated to working towards building a just world for future generations.
Joan is driven by a belief that a concerted focus on developing local creative industries will correct the societal and economic problems plaguing Jamaica. This belief (held some 13 years now) led her to pursue tertiary studies in Australia where the unique course combination of an LLB and Bachelor of Business (Music Industry specialisation) was offered. She completed both degrees and was awarded with Honours for her Research Paper titled “Emancipating ourselves from mental slavery: A socio-legal exploration of Copyright Law in Jamaica.”
After graduating she secured her Articled Clerkship legal training in the Entertainment Law division of Marshall’s & Dent Lawyers in Melbourne Australia. Under the supervision of Bryce Menzies she practiced and assumed responsibility for case management of a variety of music, theatre, video gaming, animation and film related matters. She importantly received in-depth training in film financing, film documentation delivery (Chain of Title), and structuring multinational co-productions.
Marcus Goffe has served as a Trademark attorney with the Jamaica Intellectual Property Office as well as an attorney for Jamaica’s Ras Tafari community. His work has been instrumental in bridging the gap between Jamaica’s Ras Tafari community and institutions such as the World Intellectual Property Organization. Marcus Goffe served as moderator on the JMC’s first panel and as a panelist for the 2013 JMC at Edna Manley College of the Performing Arts.
Thinker, agitator, author and family man, Dutty Bookman is credited with inspiring the term "Reggae Revival" to describe a current movement currently taking Jamiaca and the world by storm. He is also a co-founder of Manifesto|Jamaica, a youth empowerment non-profit organization. In addition, he is a talk show host on national radio (2007-2009); and operates one of Jamaica’s first social websites with thousands in membership.
Donisha Prendergast is the granddaughter of Rita and Bob Marley. She is, at heart, a true artist and activist. Her fresh and vibrant talent spans many disciplines. She a filmmaker and is an accomplished actor who has already had a wide range of starring roles in a number of major Jamaican television productions. She has also enjoyed leading roles in a several live stage productions, which have successfully toured the Eastern Caribbean, The United States and the UK. Donisha spoke at the 2014 JMC on the power of Music and social change.
Rayven Aman former host of the cable broadcast "Yaad Beat"i is the creator of Jamaica's Best School Band, the first inter-high school stage band competition made for television. Her first song “Wanna Be Free” was a local hit receiving favorable rotation from most of the local Jamaican radio and television stations. A rising star on the Jamaican music scene, her newest single “My Darling” is already getting rave reviews.
Born in West Africa to a Jamaican father and a Nigerian mother, Iyah-gift’s love for creating music was first influenced by the artists his parents loved, including Fela Kuti, Bob Marley, and Louis Armstrong. After moving to Jamaica at age 10 and then to the United States at 16, Iyah-Gift’s unique flavour echoes traces of reggae, traditional African rhythms and hip hop, to create a mind blowing synthesis of sound.
The song writer/producer operates his own studio in Kingston, Jamaica as founder and C.E.O. of the One Hart Music. Gift has produced songs for himself and as well as Jamaican and international artist. Iyah Gift spoke at the 2014 JMC on the Music and social change panel on why he chooses to only make music with a message.