At left is the artwork for the Billboard cover story on the Verzuz series, while at right is the photoshopped version which features dancehall legends Beenie Man and Bounty Killer.

Fans of dancehall legends Beenie Man and Bounty Killer reacted in consternation and dismay Monday when Billboard magazine released the digital cover art for itsstory on the popular Verzuz battle series. The graphic for the cover story, 'The Verzuz Effect', featuresthe likes of Alicia Keys, John Legend, Babyface, Teddy Riley, Snoop Dogg, DMX and other American stars who have participated in the series,but fails to highlight the Jamaicandancehall legends who have been credited with raising the standard of the show. [related node_id='6f81a741-7e8a-4283-b72b-45f048cc5c73'] Amid the backlash against the magazine,Americanproducer Swizz Beatz, who co-founded Verzuz with rapper/producer Timbaland, posted a photoshop ofthe cover which swappedhis and Timbaland's faces with those of Beenie's and Bounty's and acknowledged the contribution of the dancehall icons. The photoshop wasreposted on Timbaland'sInstagram account and that oftheVerzuzseries itself. Beenie and Bounty also reposted thephotoshopped cover, however, both voiced their disappointment in being omitted from the cover art, believingit was a thinly veiled diss of not only them, but of the dancehall genre as a whole. "Big up Swizz and Timz but this is what our genre face! Everybody fwd and tek piece and build up dem ting and then do everything to undermine the genre Dancehall where they got it from," Beenie wrote on Instagram. Added Bounty: "From DJ Kool Herc to Bounty and Beenie hard work it just cyaah work... no more sidestepping dancehall..." The episode has put a bad taste in the mouth of Jamaicans who had salivated over the clash a few months ago. One social media user on Twitter summed it up succintly when he said: "Beenie and Bounty being left off of the Billboard cover is weird, and with all due respect, a photoshop edit (that won’t make the cover) doesn’t make it better. I genuinely think Tim and Swizz mean full well, but to be the second highest streamed Verzuz and be omitted..strange" The two men, who had one of the best clashes in Verzuz history, attracted at least 475,000 viewerswho logged on to watch the perennial-rivals-turned-friends go tune-for-tune in the series of online battles amid the coronavirus crisis which has triggered lockdowns all over the world. Another social media user added that the omission shows scant regard for the genre that originally birthed the Verzuz concept with its annual Sting clashes and sound system clashes. "Some others were higher in viewership but Beenie & Bounty definitely had the greatest impact that reached across genres & the relating fan base including Diasporas. Also the current face to face format was birthed by their edition too. Big up #soundclash culture," the social media user said.

Antonio Banderas arrives at the Oscars in Los Angeles on Feb. 9, 2020. Banderas says he’s tested positive for COVID-19 and is celebrating his 60th birthday in quarantine. The Spanish actor announced his positive test on Instagram on Monday. (Photo by Richard Shotwell/Invision/AP, File)

Antonio Banderas says he's tested positive for COVID-19 and is celebrating his 60th birthday in quarantine. The Spanish actor announced his positive test in a post-Monday on Instagram. Banderas said he would spend his time in isolation reading, writing and “making plans to begin to give meaning to my 60th year to which I arrive full of enthusiasm.” “I would like to add that I am relatively well, just a little more tired than usual and hoping to recover as soon as possible following medical instructions that I hope will allow me to overcome the infection that I and so many people in the world are suffering from,” wrote Banderas. A spokesperson for Banderas didn't immediately respond to messages Monday. Earlier this year, Banderas was nominated for the Academy Award for best actor for his performance in Pedro Almodóvar’s “Pain & Glory."


Eniola Aluko signs for Juventus Women (Source: Juventus YouTube)

The world almost did not have the spectacular football player that is -Eniola Aluko. Hard to believe that the three-time World Cup footballer nearly gave up on her passion and dream at the tender age of 11 years old, right? Aluko talked about this while on vacation in Barbados. [related node_id='edc6984a-73a8-40a2-9afe-182cfca0c56d'] Having met with the Minister of Youth, Sports and Community Development Dwight Sutherland on August 11, she said that she is living proof that children can have the talent, skill, drive and passion but without the right channels, avenues and facilities, those dreams could die. Acknowledging that even still in 2020 all girls are not shoved into football like boys are, she confessed: "That was my experience too.I was the only one, the odd one out." She said she "felt very strange at times growing up, not seeing other girls" kicking around balls and exploring life on the field. "But I think that's changed around the world but there is still a long way to go." However, now that she has the power and chance to be the change she wants to see, she told the Minister that to avoid a repeat of such with other young girls: "You have to be very intentional about the infrastructure you build for young people. You can't assume their talent will just come through. You need talent and opportunity. So in being here and speaking to the Minister of Sports, you have to build Academies. You have to build infrastructures that allow the talent to come through." She urged you must create a pathway for the talent to continue, because "talent can stop at a point." Aluko said: "I stopped [playing football] at 11 because I was fed up" with being sidelined by parents "because I was better than their sons. "I went into tennis and realised, 'No, I don't love tennis as much as I love football,' but my talent, really the opportunity stopped because the pathway wasn't there for enough girls like me." So she encoyraged you gotta create an infrastructure for young people - young boys and girls to play, "but the pathway is just as important." And she urged not just a pathway in Barbados. Chatting with the Sports Minister, she added: "Conversations like this open pathways so that when a player becomes 12 or 13 they have the opportunity to go abroadand play at an Academy, for example, hypothetically Aston Villa Academy or an Academy in Europe that continues that progress of talent. You have to be very deliberate." Now, Aluko overseas the Academy at Aston Villa and she said part of her job is to constantly be aware of the pathway for young players to getto the top, and she has to keep the young players always motivated. Aluko's football journey started at age five, and she was playing for Chelsea Football Club by age16. The Director of Football at Aston Villa Club in Birmingham now, she says that the most amazing highlights over her career was playing inthree World Cups. It was "amazing". And as she works to recruit players from around the globe, she is now really hopeful that she can help other young boys and girls especially reach that pinnacle in their lives too.

Wanna mask in style? This one will cost you US$1.5m

An Israeli jewellery company is working on what it says will be the world’s most expensive coronavirus mask, a gold, diamond-encrusted face covering with a price tag of US$1.5 million. The 18-karat white gold mask will be decorated with 3,600 white and black diamonds and fitted with top-rated N99 filters at the request of the buyer, said designer Isaac Levy. Levy, owner of the Yvel Company, said the buyer had two other demands: that it be completed by the end of the year, and that it would be the priciest in the world. [image_gallery] That last condition, he said, ‘was the easiest to fulfil’. He declined to identify the buyer, but said he was a Chinese businessman living in the United States. The glitzed-up face mask may lend some pizzazz to the protective gear now mandatory in public spaces in many countries. But at 270 grams (over half a pound) — nearly 100 times that of a typical surgical mask — it is not likely to be a practical accessory to wear. In an interview at his factory near Jerusalem, Levy showed off several pieces of the mask, covered in diamonds. One gold plate had a hole for the filter. ‘Money maybe doesn’t buy everything, but if it can buy a very expensive COVID-19 mask and if the guy wants to wear it and walk around and get the attention, he should be happy with that,’ Levy said. Such an ostentatious mask might also rub some the wrong way at a time when millions of people around the world are out of work or suffering economically. Levy said that while he would not wear it himself, he was thankful for the opportunity. ‘I am happy that this mask gave us enough work for our employees to be able to provide their jobs in very challenging times like these times right now,’ he said.


A member of the Digicel Jamaica staff has been confirmed as having tested positive for COVID-19. All the staff members who have been in immediate contact with the affected employee have been tested and placed in self-isolation in line with Jamaica'sMinistry of Health and Wellness’ COVID-19 protocols. Additionally, despite the fact that the employee concerned is not based at the company’s headquarters in downtown Kingston, out of an abundance of caution, the Ocean Boulevard building has been closed and deep cleaning and sanitisation of all physical spaces there will be carried out over the next 24 hours. In addition, the company will be carrying out air purification activities. The headquarters will be open again on Wednesday morning for normal operations.

Appleton Estate Jamaica Rum is in the process of a global brand relaunch, reaffirming its commitment to the highest international standards of rum production. The Caribbean rollout began in May 2020, with the introduction of newly designed packaging, including a reimagined bottle and label, and the release of a new premium blend: The new 8-Year-Old Reserve. A sleek, contemporary version of the iconic bottle shape is accompanied by a sophisticated new cork closure. Beneath the closure, the neck label illustrates Appleton Estate located in Jamaica's Nassau Valley, followed by an embossed “1749” stamp in the glass, marking the date of the Estate’s establishment. The new label tells the story of each rum blend, as well as details on the unique production process. Appleton's proprietary process truly is unique, requiring limestone-filtered water during distillation with no added flavours. Also vital to the rums’ quality and flavour profile is the commitment to minimum ageing (each drop of rum is as old as the age statement on the label), and to ageing all rums entirely in the tropical climate of Jamaica.Appleton Estate rums age nearly three times more quickly than spirits aged in cooler climates, allowing for richer, fuller flavours to develop in a shorter period of time. The centrepiece of this new label is the Appleton Estate Jamaica Insignia, where five iconic Jamaican design emblems unite to tell the story drawn from one inspiring source - Jamaica itself. Master Blender Joy Spence’s signature indicates a badge of credibility. “We’re unveiling a fresh look for both our permanent collection of rums and our limited-edition versions, while maintaining our commitment to exceptional liquid,” says Spence. “With this relaunch, Appleton Estate proudly celebrates our Jamaican heritage in a thoroughly modern way. I'm also excited to introduce the newest member of the range; the 8 Year Old Reserve, as we enter a new era for our brand. We hope that our new look and taste elevates the high end cocktail and the sophisticated sipping experience, while continuing to spread the joy of rum, globally.” The new 8 Year Old Reserve is the most versatile expression of aged rum, revealing aromas of spicy fruit and oak, followed by hints of honey, vanilla and our signature orange peel note. “As a leading supplier of premium Jamaican rums, Campari Group has steadily been leading the charge towards the premiumization of rums on a global scale given growth trends and long-term potential. The global relaunch of Appleton Estate, is how we continue this charge,” explains Marsha Lumley, Marketing Director of Campari’s Caribbean operations. The brand is currently the largest dark spirit in volume sales in the Cayman Islands. Findlay Wilson of Jacques Scott, explained how integral the brand is in the Cayman Islands’ lifestyle and entertainment industry since 1960: “In the Cayman Islands, key accounts for the brand include Backroom Bar, Mango Tree Bar, George Town Yacht Club, Tukka Restaurant, Kaibo Bar& Restaurant, Office Bar & Lounge, among others, in addition to the brand being a longstanding partner of our upcoming Jamaica Independence Celebrations, and several other parties, fetes, and festivals heldannually,” he expressed. The global relaunch has commenced with the introduction of Signature, 8 Year Old Reserve, and 12 Year Old Casks rums and will continue with the redesigned 21-Year-Old Nassau Valley Casks at the start of 2021. For more information, visit the brand on Facebook and Instagram on web.facebook.com/AppletonEstateCI and www.instagram.com/appletonestateci.