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Support for 'OB' after 'Ivan'
published: Friday | December 3, 2004

By Mel Cooke, Freelance Writer

Beres Hammond, one of the artistes billed to perform at the 'One Love Party'.


THE BREEZE of September's Hurricane Ivan may have blown sand and looters into the home of broadcaster Owen 'OB' Brown and his wife, singer Shirley McLean, but there has been a positive side to the storm for the couple.

"The love that has been coming out has been overwhelming," Brown said, noting that just the words of support from the public have been very comforting.

It is a level of support that has transformed his emotional response to the looting of the family's Caribbean Place, Harbour View, home, the looters doing far more damage than the hurricane itself. "I was very, very angry at first," Brown said.

Two months after the hurricane meandered along Jamaica's southern coast, the sentiment will become something that can be seen and heard in one location, the Ranny Williams Entertainment Centre on Hope Road in St. Andrew, when Entertainers in Support of Owen Brown and Family present an after work jam titled 'One Love Party' tonight, beginning at 7:00 p.m..

The selectors and performers for the party reflect Brown's over 30 years in broadcasting, when he started 'Sound to Sound', the second ever all-Jamaican music show, on the now defunct Jamaica Broadcasting Corporation (JBC). There will be music from Bunny Goodison, Winston 'Merritone' Blake and Wee Pow, as well as the younger spinners of music such as Kurt Riley, Arif Cooper and Marlon Young.

Karen Smith and Beres Hammond are among the more seasoned performers who will take the microphone intermittently over the course of the party, while Chuck Fender, Mr. Perfect, Chezidek and Queen I-Frica will represent the new surge of roots music. Also billed are Hugo Barrington, Professor Nuts, Anthony Cruz, Charlie Chaplin, Captain Barkey and Wickerman.

Richie B, Jenny-Jenny and Tony Young are among the MCs.

Brown explained that the party was not his idea, naming Luciano, Sly and Robbie, Dean Fraser and Jamaica Federation of Musicians (JFM) president Desmond Young among the driving forces. And it was not as if he and Shirley McLean were sitting down and waiting on anyone to get their house, which they will be returning to, back in order. Repairs started two days after the hurricane.

"While my mind was turning around about how to deal with this thing, they just came up with this idea. While things were looking grim, there were people around me planning and that sort of wiped away the anguish," Brown said.


The family evacuated their home ahead of Hurricane Ivan, despite doubting the warnings of the tempest's severity. It was actually a work night for Brown and the rest of the family stayed with other family members. Looting did not cross his mind. "I do not know if it was naiveté or not," Brown said.

The looters struck twice on consecutive nights, the second time worse than the first. Fortunately, the records that are critical to his job were spared both the storm and the looting, the latter taking care of clothing, appliances and jewellery.

Brown emphasised that the 'One Love Party' will not be a matter of charity. "We don't want people to come just through sympathy. We want people to have a good time," the father of four said

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