Friday 22 February, 2019

Star Power for Prime Minister’s Independence Ball 2019

The Celebration of Saint Lucia’s 40th Independence Anniversary is underway, after an exciting calendar of activities for the year-long observance was launched here in December.

One of these activities is the annual Prime Minister’s Independence Ball to be held on Saturday February 23, 2019 at the Sandals Grande Resort. The event, over the past two years raised over EC$150,000 for several worthy charities and causes on island.

The event is usually heavily patronized by the business sector as well as the Diplomatic Corps and Heads of State. 

This year’s Ball, being a part of the milestone celebration for our 40th anniversary, has attracted some star power as the Prime Minister Honourable Allen Chastanet has invited renowned Saint Lucian actor Joseph Marcell to host the event and famed music executive and entrepreneur Steve Stoute to be the keynote speaker. 

There has been much anticipation about homegrown Joseph Marcell, the acclaimed stage and film actor who is best known for his role as Geoffrey on “The Fresh Prince of Bel-Air” which starred Will Smith – hosting the event.

Marcell has gone on to become a renowned force in theatre in Great Britain. He currently serves on the board of Shakespeare's Globe Theatre in London.

He has starred as Leonato in a production of William Shakespeare's “Much Ado about Nothing” at Shakespeare's Globe Theatre, as well as in the lead role of King Lear.

“In addition to Joseph Marcell who is a true son of the soil, we are thrilled at the opportunity to have in our midst this year, one of the defining talents in Hip-Hop and R&B as well as Advertising and Marketing, Mr. Steve Stoute who is also a bestselling author and famed entrepreneur,” a spokesperson for the Prime Minister’s Independence Ball says.

Stoute will be the keynote speaker at the Ball.

“He was that voice, that bridge for Hip Hop and for business where that met. Anyone that brilliant you want to have him around,” Hip Hop artiste and entrepreneur Jay Z says of Stoute.

Described as “a great symbol of the American success story” Stoute became famous as a record executive, moving on to become an innovator in the field of advertising and marketing.

He first made his name in the late 90’s, shaping an Urban and Hip Hop sound with artists such as Mary J Blige, Nas, Foxy Brown and LL Cool. He served as President of Urban Music at Sony, before launching Translation in 2004.

In 2012 Translation made waves by winning the Bud Light account and later became the agency on record for the NBA. Other high profile Translation clients include State Farm, Apple Music and McDonalds.

Stoute also went on to launch UnitedMasters, an “artist services company” with $70 million in funding from Google parent Alphabet as well as 20th Century Fox and venture capital firm Andreessen Horowitz.  He positioned the company as an “alternative to the major-label system” for up-and-coming artists seeking to distribute and monetize their music.

In 2009 the American Advertising Federation inducted Stoute into their Advertising Hall of Achievement, the industry's premier award for outstanding advertising professionals age 40 and under.  In 2010, Stoute was recognized as “Innovator of the Year” at the ADCOLOR awards ceremony, an initiative launched by the ADCOLOR Industry Coalition, to promote increased diversity in the advertising, marketing and media industries. In 2013, he was named "Executive of the Year" by Ad Age, the leading publication for the advertising and marketing industries. Most recently, Fast Company (magazine) named Stoute one of the "Most Creative People in Business."

As an entrepreneur in 2005, Stoute also founded Carol's Daughter, a line of natural hair and body care products created by Lisa Price in Brooklyn, NY. A bevy of spokeswomen for the line, including Mary J. Blige, Solange Knowles, Selita Ebanks and Jada Pinkett Smith.

In 2011 the business mogul published his best-seller, The Tanning of America: How Hip-Hop Created a Culture That Rewrote the Rules of the New Economy.

The entrepreneur extraordinaire is also expected to dialogue with members of the artistic community at a separate engagement.

The Prime Minister’s Independence Ball will feature performances from a number of talented Saint Lucians including the Royal Saint Lucia Police Band, Barbara Cadet, Shannon Pinel and Ronald “Boo” Hinkson.

In the past the Ball, through its auctions of luxury items has benefitted The Saint Lucia Blind Welfare Association, Cornerstone House, The Children’s Home at Ciceron, The Saint Lucia School of Ballet and Modern Dance and the Upton Garden’s Girls Centre.

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