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St. Croix Revives Celebrated ‘Made in the USVI’ Pop-Up Shop for Holiday Season, Showcasing Local Talent

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As the festive season draws near, the V.I. Economic Development Authority, in collaboration with the V.I. Council for the Arts, is rekindling the spirit of local entrepreneurship with its highly anticipated ‘Made in the USVI’ Pop-Up Shop. This unique shopping experience, which champions locally-crafted products, will be hosted at the Dorsch Center for the Arts in Frederiksted from November 30 to December 2.

This year’s pop-up shop promises a rich display of exclusively local products, ranging from authentic USVI treats and intricate woodwork to handcrafted candles, beauty essentials, seasonings, bespoke bags, clothing, artwork, and more. It’s an exceptional opportunity for holiday shoppers to discover one-of-a-kind gifts and simultaneously bolster the local economy by supporting our skilled artisans and manufacturers.

Aligning with the American Express Neighborhood Champion for the Shop Small® movement, this event is more than just shopping; it’s a celebration. The pop-up shop will be enlivened with complimentary entertainment, contributing to the joyful holiday atmosphere.

The musical lineup is particularly exciting this year. Deri’andra Tucker is slated to perform on the opening day, November 30. The following day, December 1, will see Stanley and the Ten Sleepless Knights infusing the air with their live musical performances, enhancing the vibrant shopping experience.

Nadine Kean, the managing director of the Enterprise Zone Commission, expressed her enthusiasm for the event. “The Made in the USVI Pop-Up Shop’s return to St. Croix each year is not just an event; it’s a celebration of our local talent and a testament to our ongoing commitment to local manufacturers. These unique products mirror our rich culture and offer shoppers an engaging and community-centric holiday shopping experience,” she said.

Originating on St. Thomas in December 2018, the Made in the USVI initiative has grown to encompass St. Croix and St. John, spreading its reach over the past five years. In a significant development this year, a permanent Made in the USVI kiosk was inaugurated at Vendor’s Plaza in St. Thomas, flanked by branded vendor kiosks, ensuring that these local treasures are accessible to shoppers year-round, beyond the pop-up shop schedules.

The Made in the USVI Pop-Up Shop in St. Croix will welcome shoppers from 11:00 AM to 7:00 PM on November 30 and December 1, and from 9:00 AM to 12:00 noon on December 2, 2023. In a move to extend this unique shopping experience, a similar pop-up event is planned to open on St. Thomas on December 14, 2023.

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The Reggae Community Mourns the Loss of Peter “Peetah” Morgan, Morgan Heritage’s Frontman, at 46

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The reggae world is in mourning after the untimely death of Peter “Peetah” Morgan, the celebrated frontman of the Grammy Award-winning group Morgan Heritage, who has died at the age of 46.

Morgan Heritage, known for their classic hits such as “Don’t Haffi Dread (To Be Rasta),” “Down by the River,” and “She’s Still Loving Me,” announced Peetah’s passing on Sunday. The details surrounding his death have been kept private, but the heartfelt message from his family conveyed their profound loss and love for him.

“Our beloved husband, father, son, brother, and the charismatic lead singer of Morgan Heritage, Peter Anthony Morgan, has sadly left us today,” the Morgan family stated on Instagram. Their message invoked a plea for divine comfort, emphasizing that “love is the only way” through this trying time.

The family’s statement also extended thanks to their fans and community for the outpouring of support and requested prayers during their period of mourning. They further appealed for privacy as they navigate this challenging period of grief.

Morgan Heritage is celebrated for its dynamic contribution to the reggae genre, marked by a rich mix of melodies and thought-provoking lyrics. Formed by the progeny of the legendary reggae artist Denroy Morgan, who passed away in 2022, the band initially featured Peetah alongside Una Morgan, Roy “Gramps” Morgan, Nakhamyah “Lukes” Morgan, and Memmalatel “Mr. Mojo” Morgan.

Their most recent album, “The Homeland,” was unveiled in April 2023, adding to their illustrious discography and continuing their legacy in reggae music.

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Virgin Islander Cathy SitaRam Lights Up Los Angeles with Sci-Fi Spectacle at Pan African Film Festival

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Virgin Islander Cathy SitaRam’s directorial venture, “Gods of the Universe: Rise of the Star Child,” made its grand debut at the prestigious Pan African Film Festival in Los Angeles, instantly mesmerizing viewers with its innovative storyline and dazzling visual effects. The festival, known for showcasing the cinematic talents of African descent, was the perfect stage for the film’s premiere, highlighting its 23-minute journey through fantasy and science fiction.

The narrative unfolds around two orphaned children with advanced DNA, chosen by alien forces as Earth’s last hope against an impending cosmic disaster. This escapist drama is not just a tale of heroism; it’s a visual feast, filmed against the vibrant backdrops of San Fernando and Siparia in Trinidad and Tobago.

Starring the multifaceted Nickolai Salcedo and featuring the visionary Cathy SitaRam, a native of St. Croix with a rich background in entertainment journalism and production, the film also introduces promising talents Zane Foster and Genesis Belgrove. Their portrayals as the young protagonists bring the story’s heart and courage to life.

The film’s visual splendor is the result of a collaborative effort led by Zimbabwe’s Charles Mawungwa as the Visual Effects Supervisor and supported by Hayden Matheson from Trinidad and Tobago. The ethereal sci-fi ambiance is further enhanced by the creative genius of Jason Riley, the lead Editor and Director of Photography, and Set Director Rebecca Foster.

As part of the Pan African Film Festival’s lineup, running from February 6-19, 2024, “Gods of the Universe: Rise of the Star Child” stood out among over 175 films. The festival, an Oscar Qualifying event, is celebrated for its expansive showcase of films from around the globe, making it a landmark platform for filmmakers of African descent.

The film’s creation received notable backing from the Trinidad and Tobago government’s Film TT and promotional support from the V.I. Department of Tourism. Audience reactions have been overwhelmingly positive, drawing comparisons to iconic franchises like “Star Trek” and acclaiming the film’s imaginative narrative and mastery over visual effects.

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Theron Thomas: A Beacon of Inspiration with 2024 Grammy Songwriter of the Year Award

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Theron Thomas, celebrated as the 2024 Songwriter of the Year (Non-Classical) at the 66th annual Grammy Awards, delivered a powerful message on Sunday night, embodying hope and ambition for the youth of the Virgin Islands and the wider Caribbean. “This victory is a testament to the boundless dreams we can aspire to, irrespective of our origins from small islands,” Thomas expressed, following his prestigious win. This year, Thomas distinguished himself with chart-topping hits such as “Pretty Girls Walk” by Big Boss Vette, “Told Ya” featuring Chlöe & Missy Elliot, and “Been Thinking” by Tyla, propelling him ahead of other notable contenders in his category.

Following his significant contribution to Lizzo’s “About Damn Time,” which clinched the Record of the Year in 2023, Thomas’s talent has consistently been recognized among industry elites. “To be mentioned alongside such revered talents is an honor,” Thomas remarked, acknowledging his peers, including nominee Justin Trantor. His remarkable journey is adorned with collaborations with global icons like Rihanna, Beyonce, and K-Pop’s Jung Kook, to name a few, establishing him as a vanguard of musical innovation.

Thomas is a firm believer in the Virgin Islands’ potential to emerge as a powerhouse in the music industry and across the Caribbean. He praised local artists such as Adam O and Pressure Buss Pipe for leading the charge in showcasing the rich musical heritage of the territory.

Reflecting on his journey, Thomas shared his modest beginnings and aspirations with the Consortium, “My initial goal was simple – to provide for my family. Yet, this journey has evolved into a broader mission to inspire the next generation in the Virgin Islands.” He emphasizes the importance of embracing one’s journey, including the setbacks, as a pathway to growth and improvement.

Commissioner Joseph Boschulte of the Department of Tourism commended Thomas for his dedication and discipline, which culminated in this extraordinary achievement. “Theron Thomas exemplifies the essence of Virgin Islands excellence. His accomplishments reflect our cultural mantra, Naturally in Rhythm, and we are immensely proud of his global recognition,” Boschulte stated.

Governor Albert Bryan also extended heartfelt congratulations to Thomas, celebrating his historical achievement as a moment of great pride for the U.S. Virgin Islands. “Theron’s Grammy win is a monumental achievement not just for him, but for our entire community. It underscores the global impact one individual from our territory can have, affirming the Virgin Islands’ place on the world stage,” Governor Bryan remarked.

Through his groundbreaking achievements, Theron Thomas continues to inspire and elevate the profile of the Virgin Islands, proving that talent, resilience, and hard work can transcend geographical boundaries and resonate globally.

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