The Best of Best of the Best

On Sunday, I succumbed completely to reggae fever. My husband and I celebrated our sixth wedding anniversary at Best of the Best, the biggest dancehall reggae festival in America. And as you can see, I went decked out in Rasta colored resplendence.

I’m rockin’ those Reggaelicious hoop earrings, and some big faux designer sunglasses, because I sweated off all my eyeshadow. Oh, and don’t ask me what that pose is — I’ve got my rum and coke in hand and was having a whole lotta fun, so I have no explanation.

Like my shirt? It’s made by G*ology, a fresh teeshirt line out of England designed by Gabrielle Smith. These are men’s tees, so I modified mine using tips from Generation T: 108 Ways to Modify a T-Shirt, a pretty handy book written by Megan Nicolay. G*ology has other afrobella friendly shirts — do you not love the sassy “My Afro Is Too Big For This Tiara” tee? I do. Go ‘head, Gabi!

If you want a lengthy review of the concert, here’s a brilliant and detailed one by Esther Park. I agree with quite a bit of what she said — and as an oft-conflicted fan of dancehall music, I’d like to say that I was really happy that none of the artists used the stage to incite any messages of violence or hate. I’ve seen it happen at past concerts, and it’s made me actually leave a show before. But this year’s Best of the Best had positive vibes. The atmosphere was truly celebratory and lovely. Several of the artists sang about Barack Obama, and the pride his candidacy makes them feel. One of my new favorite artists, Tarrus Riley, did an improvised song about America having its first black president, and it warmed my heart to see so many island people waving their flags and applauding the prospect.

I will say, I’ve seen several of the performers before, and I’ve seen them put on better shows — Buju in particular left me a little disappointed. But I’m just biased, because I was hoping for a more mellow Til Shiloh type of set, and Buju was in a dancehall frame of mind. He opened with Me and Oonu, so if you’re a fan you know the kind of speed his set started off with. He slowed down eventually and did a range of his classic material — from How The World a Run to Driver A (which I adore). Machel Montano made flags fly, and Sizzla Kolanji did a tremendous set, delivering 15 minutes of pure fire. Yes — 15 minutes was all the time he had, because of time constraints and scheduling issues. As much as I agreed with Esther’s review, to me the absolute highlight of the whole show was Barrington Levy. Longtime readers might remember, I’m a big, big fan. I already knew I was in for an experience, and I got what I came for. He holds the audience in the palm of his hand. His voice rings out strong and true, and he’s all about interactivity. He hardly sang a word of Too Experienced — we all sang lustily, word for word. It was a beautiful, blessed moment, with the sun setting in the background. We loved it.

Barrington delivered a barrage of hits, and he granted my husband’s wish — all he wanted was to hear that skiddly-waddily-iddily-diddily-diddily-whoa-oh-oh live and in person. And he got his wish and then some. I wish there was good live footage from the show, but in lieu of that, there’s this. Live Barrington from the Bongidae festival in 2005. This is Murderer.

I hope Barrington comes back for next year’s show!

All in all, it was a great experience, filled with island pride, good food, gorgeous weather, and wicked live music. If you’re a fan of reggae music, definitely make the trek to Miami next year — this show is worth it.

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  1. Bella you look amazing in that pic. Vibrant and happy! Great post!

  2. Mezzo_Soprano says:

    First of all , Congratulations on celebrating 6 years of your marriage. This is an accomplishment in itself and I wish that for more of my sisters. This Reggae event also sounds so exciting. I didn’t know that Miami had such an event. I will see about coming down next year.

    By the way, you look great in the pic!! Love the hair and shades. I can’t see the earrings that good.

  3. Mrs.Mckinzie says:

    Great post Bella,and you look cute.My hair only gets like that after I blow dry which I don’t do often.The concert sounds like it was exciting,and fun too.

  4. edessedesigns says:

    Agreed. Bella, you look radiant! Six years…i’m sure it feels like it all happened 5 minutes ago! Congrats!!!

  5. Happy Anniversary. Your hair looks fab.

  6. Congrats on your Anniversary. I am loving your shirt.


  7. That’s wonderful news, Happy Anniversary! All the best for many years to come. You must have read my mind because I was thinking where you got that t-shirt you’re wearing. Thanks for the tip!

  8. Happy Belated Anniversary! I’m going to have to get a shirt like that.

  9. tycajam says:

    The first thing I saw was the hair (afrolicious indeed!) and the shirt (righteous) – thanks for the UK connect, you always come with the best goodies Bella! Glad you enjoyed your anniversary show. And I’ve got the whole fam turned on to Tarrus Riley. Hubby walks around with She’s Royal stuck inside his head and hence my ears – ‘she’s royal’ over and over again but i have no complaints :)

  10. fresh shirt! you look uber relaxed & chic at the same time

    only 15 mins for sizzla? dag, thats rough

    i’m so mad u wrote out the thing barrington does LOL

    sounds like it was a great concert

    and happy anniversary!

  11. warrior11209 says:

    Luv your hair and the shirt! Happy anniversary to you both!!

  12. HeavenLeiBlu says:

    How cute! I love the hair, shirt, AND earrings!

  13. HeavenLeiBlu says:

    Oh, and congrats on your anniversary! :-)

  14. I echo the sentiments of everyone else. You look simply radiant. LOVING the look. And major congrats on six years of marriage. That’s a lifetime in this day and age.

    I will definitely have to keep that in mind for next year. I should be off my self-imposed reggae fest hiatus by then. I cut up something awful at Sumfest last year. Whew! Buju performed there too and was DEFINITELY in a dancehall mood. Where does he get the energy?! I LOST IT when he did Driver A. LOVE. THAT. SONG. Great way to celebrate :)

  15. You look so happy! Congrats on 6 years. I love your hair, t shirt and shades. You are DEF dessed to party. I miss Raggae so bad and love me some Barrington Levy. I HAVE to get home to NYC and Miami.

  16. Bella!

    Congrats on six years. Ain’t love grand!?! Reading your review reminds me of how much I miss going to live shows, especially Reggae shows. I’m glad you had such a great time & YOU LOOK FABU!!


  17. I love your hair in that pic!!!

  18. I LOVE YOUR LOOK!!!!! LOVE IT, LOVE IT, LOVE IT!!! I’m a huge reggae fan, big Buju fan, big Barrington fan, and I’m really loving Tarrus Riley as well. I’m gonna definitely look out for this festival next year… Thats gotta be a lovely experience underneath that hot Florida sun w/ a rum & coke in hand… sounds like heaven, lol.

  19. Happy Anniversary Afrobella!

    But yes! Those t-shirts are fly….I love the one that says “r is for rice and peas”…lol…

    Also, Mr. Levy’s performance live must have been phenomenal. He has such a unique voice that seems like it carries for miles! Sounded like you two had fun!

  20. Born Jamericuban says:

    Happy 6th Anniversary Bella!
    I no idea Miami had such a festival but I definitely will be making it one of my “must see’s” for next year! It sounds like a nice pre-cursor to Caribana.

  21. You look really cute. I’m inspired. I do have that same tshirt book but I can’t cut or sew very well.

  22. Queen of Sheba says:

    Oh, wow; you look brilliant. Go lady!

  23. Happy Anniversary! Love the Tee & the hair (the bigger the better I say LOL) the line up looked really good, I usually wait for Irie Jamboree during labor day, that ususally a good show too.

  24. Add me to the list of people loving your look in that pic! MUST have the tee AND the earrings…lol. And thanks so much for the link. Best of the best to you!

  25. Hey there Afrobella!

    CONGRATULATIONS on your anniversary!

    I am loooving your look in that photo! Do you have a close-up headshot photo with your banging afro that I can put on my blog?

    If you have ever visited Black Women Blow The Trumpet then you will see that I showcase the intellect, the diversity and the fabulous beauty of the ladies of the African diaspora! I am always seeking more photos of my sistas to keep the blog fresh and new!

    Great work on your blog, girlfriend!

    Peace, blessings and DUNAMIS!

  26. UnalteredBeauty says:

    I concur. Your look is blazing!

  27. Bella….Happy Anniversary! You look fabulous…that rum and coke must have agreed with you :)

  28. Happy Anniversary Bella! You are totally working that outfit to the earrings and stunna shades!
    This festival gives me one more reason to make me want to visit miami next year… :)

  29. excellentia says:

    Happy anniversary!
    I was there too…I couldnt believe I stayed on my feet that long…barrington levy was THE higlight as well,he is my idol…ya see cus last year… man I wanted to go so bad but my bum friend came in town and she wanted to stroll south beach and I took her (I ddnt want to) I forewarned her well in advance that this year was not to be the same and I already bought my ticket and made plans for the best of best…I cant wait till next year’s show and hope tehy start a lil earlier so folks can sing their tunes and not rush through the first 60 seconds of their massive hits!!!!!

  30. Shows like BOB are just part of the reason why I wished I lived in Florida sometimes…not-to-mention Jamaica! LOL! Happy anniversary!

  31. Happy Anniversary Bella!

    You are looking fierce! and you rocking the yahdie music too? go ‘head!

  32. or should i say: gwaan gyal! you a ‘appen

  33. Bella you look too cute in that picture! Looks like you had a fabulous time. I love your hair too.

  34. I was there too! Celebrating year #7 with my wife! Watch the video

  35. Well congrats on your anniversary. Lovin the shirt and the hair too!

  36. Hello, I’m a new t-shirt designer and I love for you to take a look at my designs.
    If you like them, you can pick one out and I’ll send you one. Great blog by the
    way take care.

    Eric S. Deal

  37. great pic and love that t-shirt!

  38. stephanie says:

    you look great!!! we miss you!!!!!!!!

  39. I love browsing the Afrobella Jams category. Pretty cool option to just pull up all the music stuff. I was looking for this post.


  1. […] expressions of that hope have been popping up all over the place — at Best of the Best, Buju Banton and Junior Reid both made references to the democratic nominee, and Tarrus Riley did […]

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