She was not nominated for a Grammy Award, but Melissa Dunkley was very much on display at music’s biggest spectacle last Sunday at Staples Center in Los Angeles. Singer Etana wore one of her designs on the red carpet.
Though Etana’s Reggae Forever lost to Sting and Shaggy’s 44/876 in the Best Reggae Album category, Dunkley said her creation being exposed to millions who tuned into the event on television made her MDIZ Fashion House a winner.
“Etana wearing my design at the Grammys has boosted my brand to another level. I have been on the local news in Tampa, Florida, and that has sent more traffic to MDIZ Fashion House and my website,” ..
According to Dunkley, the outfit Etana wore was an “off-the-shoulder silk taffeta fitted, fuchsia pantsuit with a pleated half-skirt that drapes on the ground with rhinestone bodice.” She added that: “it is edgy but still very classy and effortless”.
The self-taught Dunkley is based in South Florida. Originally from Silent Hill in Christiana, Manchester, she has been a designer for over 20 years and has shown at a number of Jamaican fashion events including Saint International Style Week, Touch of France/Expo Fashion and Fashion Block.
She said Etana has been a client for over 10 years. Other well-known personalities who have worn her designs are Queen Ifrica, Lady G, Macka Diamond, Stacious and Tifa.
Dunkley believes MDIZ Fashion House attracts dancehall’s finest because “my style is very chic and classy with lots of details and edginess”.
Fashion has always been a big part of dancehall music. The ghetto tailor kept busy throughout the 1980s for the genre’s biggest stars, but it was not until the early 1990s that dancehall haute couture took off internationally with Shabba Ranks.
The deejay won Grammys for Best Reggae Album in 1992 and 1993. Whenever Shabba Ranks performed live or appeared at high-profile events, he wore the flamboyant creations of Earl “Biggy” Turner, a Kingston-based designer.
Soca star Machel Montano has topped the Billboard Reggae Albums Chart with his latest effort, the 19-song G.O.A.T . , which debuts this week with 419 copies sold.
G.O.A.T. features collaborations with fellow soca artistes Super Blue, Farmer Nappy, Bunji Garlin and Skinny Fabulous. Another, titled So Good, features dancehall artiste Ding Dong.
This is Machel’s first Billboard number one. His Monk Monte peaked at number two in 2015, while Monk Evolution stalled at number five in 2016.
Estelle’s Lovers Rock rebounds to number two from five last week. The set moved 155 copies last week for total sales of 1,581.
Rising from number seven to three is Free Rein by Rebelution, a former number one, which sold 123 copies last week, for to-date sales of 19,774.
Singer Mighty Mystic (real name Kevin Holness), brother of prime minister Andrew Holness, enters the chart at number four with Enter The Mystic, which sold 115 copies in its first week.
Mighty Mystic, who is based in Boston, reached number six in February 2014 with Concrete World while its follow-up, The Art of Balance, stalled at number seven in February 2016. Released on February 1, Enter the Mystic contains 14 songs and has collaborations with Stephen Thunder and Tyler Lloyd.
Last week’s number one, Strictly the Best Volume 58, is down to five with another 111 copies sold. Public Confidential by The Beat featuring Roger Ranking sold 83 copies to move from number nine to six.
With 78 additional copies sold, Grammy-winning 44/876 by Sting and Shaggy is up from number 10 to seven. The set has sold 52,251 copies in the United States.
Back in the chart is Everyday Life, Everyday People by Slightly Stoopid. It jumps from number 13 to number eight with a tally of 15,102 copies.
The waning Never Ending by Beres Hammond falls from number six to nine with sales of 3,634 copies. Strictly The Best Volume 59 tumbles from number three to 10 with 47 copies sold last week, a big drop from the 218 copies it debuted with the previous week.
“We are losing our culture to a foreign invasion. You can see it in how the youths talk and relate to each other, the foreign sports they choose to play, the decline of West Indies cricket, and even on the nation’s airwaves and TV stations with all the foreign content. The invasion is real,” the UK-based singer told Jamaica Observer.
He addresses the issue in Invasion, released July 2018 on his Abba-Taqel label.
“The invasion is subtle. You don’t realise that it is happening until it is too late and the double standards are unmistakeable. Look how it easy for foreigners from almost every land to come here and own property and settle but it is so difficult for us to leave and do the same. Before you realise, we will lose our culture and what makes us uniquely Jamaican,” he said.
The singer said he would be shooting an accompanying video in Jamaica this month.
“This month is Reggae Month and I think it is quite timely to shoot the video in this period,” he said.
Born in Spanish Town, Kananjah fell in love with music at an early age. His passion grew and after graduation, he met Mikey Baskin, the son of Tony Brevett, the singer from the legendary Melodians. Baskin encouraged him to pursue music.