After having their visas revoked by the U.S. Embassy in Jamaica in May 2010, dancehall artists Mavado and Beenie Man will return to the U.S. in the coming weeks with separate appearances in Queens, New York: Beenie Man at a birthday celebration on August 20th at Club Amazura, and Mavado at the first annual Reggae, Rhythm and Blues Festival on September 4th at Roy Wilkins Park.
Beenie Man and Mavado weren’t the only Jamaican entertainers who had their U.S. visas and work permits revoked last year — the others were deejays Bounty Killer and Aidonia and sound system selector Ricky Trooper; fellow artists Vybz Kartel and Sizzla had already lost their visas at earlier dates. The U.S. Embassy in Kingston gave no reason for revoking the visas, nor did they provide a rationale for their sudden reinstatement.
Mavado told Rolling Stone, “I lost some ground by not being able to be in the U.S. but I’m going to make up for lost time in the coming months with a lot of hard work and great music.”
Bobby Clarke, CEO of Irie Jam Media Group, which is putting on the Reggae, Rhythm and Blues Festival, said that the return of Mavado and Beenie Man is “both a joy and a relief,” pointing out that the absence of some of the biggest dancehall stars in the world has forced the Caribbean entertainment industry to scale back its shows. “Promoters, radio stations, and labels have taken a hit. Now that Mavado and Beenie can come here, it brings back some much needed energy into the business.”
Mavado will perform at the festival alongside headliners Kenny “Babyface” Edmonds and soca act Machel Montano. Beenie Man, meanwhile, has received a visitor’s visa and not, as of yet, a work permit, so he will make an appearance at his birthday party but will not perform. He will also receive an achievement award at the Reggae, Rhythm and Blues Festival. Of his performance, Mavado said, “It’s my first big concert accompanied my band in the U.S. in about 18 months, so its going to be so special.”