Originally created 10/30/04

Gospel artist to perform at forum



Hip-hop gospel artist Jubba will wrap up a rap session between Augusta-area politicians and youths today at May Park with a benefit concert for Hope Christian School.

Candidates Charles Walker, Don Cheeks, Henry Howard, Davida Johnson, Harold Jones and Ben Swain McElmurray will make their cases in a forum at 5:30 p.m. They will field questions from a youth panel, then take questions from the floor.

"We are making this a family thing. In my household, the election is a hot topic," said the Rev. Sctonda Kelly, an organizer.

She is founder of In My Father's House ministries and is the music and promotions director and an on-air personality at radio station WKZK-AM (1600).

A talk with her 16-year-old son, Offie Trosper IV, after a recent presidential debate sparked the idea for the forum.

Although the teen is too young to vote, he and other students are taking notice of political issues. In a couple of years, their votes will count, the Rev. Kelly said.

Young people want to know what candidates have to say about the Richmond County task force on school discipline, HOPE scholarship funding and job-market prospects, she said.

Jubba, born Bradley Dyer Jr. in Jamaica, began singing with his brother and three sisters in the Dyer 5, a name their uncle gave the group. It was his friends in Portmore, in Jamaica's St. Catherine Parish, who changed "Junior" to "Jubba."

Most of the Dyer 5's songs were covers, but he and his oldest sister, Nyjole, also wrote music.

"We got islandwide in terms of recognition and popularity," Jubba said. "We were nominated for two JAMI awards (by the Jamaica Music Industry)."

About 10 years ago, he came to the United States to join his mother and further his schooling. Eventually, he moved to Augusta, where he met Chaymon James, now his music partner.

He and Mr. James were part of a 10-piece band called Destiny. The band made it to the Bobby Jones New Artist Showcase in Nashville, Tenn., about three years ago. This year Jubba decided it was time to go solo.

"To get 10 people to move can be a task. For just me to get up and move, it is much, much easier. That is the primary reason," he said. "It is going to be easier to create an impact as a solo artist, and then you can bring everybody else along."

He doesn't try to categorize his music, but that doesn't stop other people. Most people identify it as hip-hop, but he also has heard it tagged R&B gospel and contemporary gospel. Ecclesia, from his June CD, Plenty Good, is full-blown reggae, he said.

The CD costs $10 and is available at CDs and More and Pyramid stores in Augusta and Quality Records in Aiken, but no Christian outlets.

It is a major achievement to be accepted on secular radio or places where the Gospel is not easily preached, said Jubba, a youth minister at Greater Apostolic Holy Temple in Hephzibah, where he and his wife, Natasha Dyer, perform with a praise band. On Plenty Good, released on Mr. James' Something Serious Records label, Jubba does a duet with his wife and another with his sister-in-law, Jennifer Sturgis.

"I understand the music industry, and I listen to secular artists and to what is out there. I am concerned about how saturated the market is with so many negative images and negative messages," he said.

His performances provide an alternative - concerts that are fun and energetic yet convey the message of the Gospel, Jubba said.

"God is still there," he said, "and young people can appreciate and understand."