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  • Violence Prevention Alliance

Creatives for Peace Competition Culminates With Top Three Talents Emerging

Raymond Gallimore (left, second place winner), Calvin Palmer (centre and first place winner) and Alfred Thompson who placed third show off their trophies.

Calvin Palmer (K-Palmer), Raymond Gallimore (U See It), and Alfred Thompson (Shady Natural), winners in the Creatives for Peace Competition are elated to have emerged the top three winners from a field of 125 contestants who entered the competition.

Creatives for Peace was established in 2022 as an initiative between the Violence Prevention Alliance (VPA), Island Coffees Limited and other community based organisations. The competition which culminated recently sought to enable at-risk youths from inner-city communities to become positive influencers and role models for their peers and the younger generation through creative arts.

For Calvin Palmer, who was placed first in the competition, this is a great accomplishment for him. “When I came first in the competition, I realized that it takes preservation and hard work and I feel good within myself. I feel a level of accomplishment as I can tell my children about it to encourage them,” he said.

The 35 year-old who is from Jones Town said that he hopes that the competition will open more doors of opportunity for him. He is currently in preparation mode to enter the Jamaica Cultural Development Competition this year.

“The outcome of the competition was excellent. I really worked hard and I invested in myself. I would love if they could have the competition again because it helped to motivate young persons in inner-city communities,” he said.

Raymond Gallimore who placed second in the competition was equally happy. “I feel good about it,” he said, noting that he enjoyed performing songs from different genre in the finals. He said his favourite genre was Ska.

Alfred Thompson, third place winner said his lyrical content and strong positive music ave him the edge above his other competitors and aided him in placing third.

“I enjoyed the free spirit of the competition. You got the opportunity to showcase your talent, and express yourself,” said the resident of Jones Town.

For him, the competition is a stepping stone for greater things which he wishes to accomplish in the music industry.

Paula Surtees, Managing Director of Island Coffees Café Ltd, and one of the conceptualizers of the initiative said that the programme has attracted participants from the communities of Parade Gardens, Craig Town, Tower Hill, Jones Town, Trench Town, Tivoli Gardens in Kingston and Spanish Town in St. Catherine.

“This competition was a rewarding one for the contestants as well as the organisers. It shows that the creative arts can be used as a tool to engage young people in a positive way,” she informed.

She said the intention is to put together an album, which will be a compilation of songs from the participants.

Jonelle Llewellyn, Research Associate at the VPA, said her organisation was happy to have coordinated the initiative and is a testament of what can be accomplished when young persons are able to display their talent and use it for the greater good. She also shared that more emphasis should be placed investing in the creative arts as it is through that medium possess the ability to connect with persons and inspire change.

The first place winner received $200,000; second place winner received $100,000 and third place got 50,000.The initiative was funded by the American Friends of Jamaica, and sponsored through Island Coffees Cafe Ltd, JACAP, Andrew Azar, Juice TV, Parents in Action and Smartkid Records.

engaged in workshops at the Edna Manley College of the Visual and Performing Arts, with Grammy nominated, Ibo Cooper of the world-famous Third World Band and musical educator, where they have been taught how to perform, project their voices and how to deliver their songs. The workshops, she said, are on-going and will conclude in February of 2023.

“At the end of the workshops the participants will receive a certificate of participation from Edna Manley College. We have also done a workshop with the Jamaica Association of Composers,

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