Salute my merry smokers and welcome to MERRY JANE’s Jamaica Week!
This celebration of the J-A will delve deep into the culture, music, politics, and food of one of the globe’s most influential cultures – especially when it comes to our favorite green plant, cannabis. Starting Monday, July 31st and concluding on August 6th (Jamaican Independence Day), we'll be delivering the goods with videos, features, and fresh takes on our columns that we hope will give you plenty to ponder about this magical place and its continued role in the evolution of global cannabis culture.
The idea for Jamaica Week started in March of this year when I reconnected with OG NYC superdon, Rockhouse Hotel creative director, and fellow Mass Appeal affiliate Matt Goias. We began building on a few Jamaica related ideas and, before I knew it, Matt flooded my inbox with more angles than a Rubik’s cube. As the convo continued, Matt mentioned that he wanted to work with photographer/director Reid Van Renesse — another NYC legend who had blessed me with some exclusive flicks of Popcaan a couple years back. And, if that wasn't enough, he got aclaimed Jamaican dancehall video director Michael "Biggs" Burbridge in the mix, as well. Between Matt’s deluge of directives and Reid and Biggs' eyes for the authentic, I knew we were cooking with oil.
On their journey, which we captured in a series of short documentaries we’ll be publishing throughout the week, Matt and Reid connected with music legends like Beenie Man and Freddie McGregor. They also sat down to hear the inspirational, transformative tale of health pioneer, fitness thought leader, and all-around beauty queen Kamila McDonald. Plus, the crew took time to talk with former Jamaican Parliament member Raymond Pryce on how history, politics, and religion are all colliding to shape the future of cannabis in Jamaica. And while we always bring that knowledge you need, we also never fail to keep things lit. Peep Cha Ching Ching breaking down his dance moves through a cloud of smoke and watch Mr. Lexx hit the streets of Kingston for the down low on why everyone is sure that Jamaican KFC (as in, Kentucky Fried Chicken) is way better than any other KFC in the world.
"Budman" photo by Chase Hall, taken in Kingston, Jamaica
With Matt and Reid running around Jamaica, MERRY JANE's deputy don and feature finesser Zach Sokol also tapped the team to step their stories up, and boy did they keep the “e-d-u” in edutainment! The wrongfully imprisoned and now free man Seth Ferranti tells a tale from his time in the pen, rolling with some heavy Jamaicans as they held their own in the competitive world of prison soccer. To feed your thirsty eye holes, we also bless you with a Jamaica-focused installment of our travel column “Where You Smoke with @WhereYouSmoke,” as well as a next-level photo essay from the artist Chase Hall. Our legal columnist, Cannabiz Confidante, breaks down the current cannabis laws and regulations of the island nation, and Mike McPadden comes through with guide to the most iconic Jamaican cult films — ones that pair perfectly with a special edition of our Baked to Perfection column, courtesy of Caribbean cuisine expert Andre Fowles. And plenty more! Needless to say it will be one sweet multi-course meal of mind-melting mania.
So that’s about it, ya’ll. Sit back, relax and let our team serve you with this infused summer treat. We’re fresh out of the gate and already on top, so show respect, do your homework, and get ready to roll with us! Big ups!
~ Noah Rubin, Editor-in-Chief
And stay tuned for more Jamaica stuff all week. We'll continue updating the above list, all you have to do is keep reading!