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Joined: Oct 1999
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Marty Offline OP
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Whether you call him Jamal Barrow, or Moshe Levy Ben-David, - the man most of us know as Shyne has been an enigma since his return to Belize in October of 2009.

And in those two and a half years, he hasn't earned a lot of fans here in Belize - in fact, it's safe to say, he's lost most of them. We can't say for sure what that is attributable to - but certainly, his dress and religion - which most people would call "strange" - have contributed to it.

And certainly, the concert debacle in March of 2011 - when no guest artist arrived - made a skeptical public downright hostile. Add to that, the fact that he hasn't had any kind of popular success since coming out of jail - and Shyne is in a real doghouse. And you might be surprised to know that no one is more keenly aware of that than Shyne himself. He knows he's got a lot of making up to do with a public that really couldn't care less.

But you should care enough to listen tonight's interview. Shyne agreed to an extended, no holds-barred sit down with Jules Vasquez. He took all questions - and provided an engaging, often compelling, look at an artist trying to bring everything back together - after it all fell apart when he was incarcerated for 9 years.

That's where we start our three part interview series tonight - with the story of what jail did to him when he entered as a 21 year old:..

Moshe Levi Ben-David "Shyne"
"The entire process was devastating. Again ten hours of incarceration is ten hours too much. So, for a human being to be animalized for ten years, there is no quick fix to that. There is no quick remedy to that. It's like being shot by an assailant and you are running away for your life. You didn't even realize you got shot in your leg because you are running on adrenaline."

"It's not until you get to a place of safety that you realized you have a hole in your leg and you collapse, you can't stand up and that was that experience was for me. When I came out I didn't even realized how wounded and devastated I was because I numbed myself to the pain and destruction that I suffered."

"I remember my mother used to come and see me on the visit floor. My mother couldn't look at me, she would start to shake and she would go off the floor and go to the bathroom. I couldn't process that because if I cried in front of her then that would make her life goes to shambles. If I cried in front of the prison guard, they would think that I was weak. So I go back to the yard and lift some weights, smoke a cigar and act like nothing happen."

"When you come out from that, how do you recover Jules? How do you put back your life together? Even if they would have put me back in Brooklyn, I am not sure that would have made a drastic difference because this thing is enough to drive a man insane. People kill themselves in prison. So for me the process was just - I pray all the time and I fast all the time and I ask God for help, but I felt good about coming to Belize because I am a son of Belize."

"Even I may have wanted to walk the asphalt of the place that I know as my second home for all those years and hit the ground running to come back home. I think God knew best what he was doing to come back home."

Jules Vasquez
"At the same time though invariable when one is extracted from a traumatic difficult situation into a liberated environment, you have perhaps you entertained false illusory goals that 'now I can do this, now I can do that.' But the world is still round."

Moshe Levi Ben-David "Shyne"
"I remember you asked me this question when I had the press conference with Professor Charles Ogletree, the Harvard professor. And you asked me, you said 'how am I going to sell records? you are not in New York' I think that was part of that after the surviving what I survive you do have this unstoppable, unbeatable, undeniable attitude that you can do anything."

"If I walked around in shackles and they didn't feed me for 48 hours and I passed that, you watch how I am going to sell records by not being in New York. That was the attitude, but the reality is different Jules. So you have that one, scored one for Jules."

"Because, not being in the United States of America has crippled my career."

Jules Vasquez
"You thought you could work around?"

Moshe Levi Ben-David "Shyne"
"I thought I could work around it Jules but it crippled my career and not being able to Britain as an alternative or to Canada. My foot was crippled and they crippled my hand. So they totally destabilized me and just put me out of the game."

"It's like a soldier coming back from Vietnam or Iraq or Afghanistan, suffering from post-traumatic stress syndrome and re-adjusting and re-aligning myself with mainstream society. So it took me a while to get to the realities of I am not in my professional element. I am not amidst my peers."

Jules Vasquez
"Let me post a scenario. Let's say that things worked out as you hope they do, you get a VISA, you get to America and you find out that Shyne fell off because it's a young man's game."

Moshe Levi Ben-David "Shyne"
"Come on Jules, you heard the music Jules. Let's not deal in hypothetic and speculation. You heard the music. When you heard the music, what was your response Jules?"

Jules Vasquez
"My response is its very spiritual music. It's very deep, but at the same time."

Moshe Levi Ben-David "Shyne"
"Jules, that wasn't your response. Your response was: where did you pull that one from!? You didn't say anything about no spiritual."

Jules Vasquez
"That is true. It's soul music."

Moshe Levi Ben-David "Shyne"
"Soul music, good."

Jules Vasquez
"It's soul music. I can't argue that."

Moshe Levi Ben-David "Shyne"
"The music industry started with soul music. The woman that we just spoke about that sold 15 million records in an industry where they can't sell 15,000 records is making what kind of music Jules?"

Jules Vasquez
"Soul music."

Moshe Levi Ben-David "Shyne"
"Soul music, Jules. That's the bottom line Jules. Jules I have to go everywhere in the world but particularly the place that made me to do what Jules? The same thing I do in front of Brads. The same thing in do on George Street; talk to the people. Shake the man's hand and find out what is going on. Drink a Belikin or a Fanta with the man and look the man in the eye and have the man remembered who is Shyne, right."

"You have man where I am on their wall, who idolized me because of what I stand for and my morals and my integrity and my honour and that is worldwide Jules. From Belize to Jamaica to Paris to Israel to New York to California. So all I have to do is go back and meet with my people."

"One of the problems that I had that I solved and again Jules it's not me saying this. Tell the Belizean people what you say that my voice gone when I first out. That was my problem, my problem wasn't whether I got it or I fell off because if I had fallen off I wouldn't have been on THA CARTER IV."

"THA CARTER IV is the number album as far as hip hop after Adele. That's the number one album. That kid sold 3 million records. I am on that album. So when you talk about a young man's game, Lil Wayne, he calling the shots right now in a young man's game. He found me in Israel, he call me for a week straight to get on that album and giving the man the song for the album don't mean that it's going to make it on the album because there was a lot of other dudes in line to make that cut."

"I made that cut Jules, so that speaks for itself as to where I am at with my ability to still keep up. So after 10 years incarcerated and 10 years off the scene I made the cut on a number one album. So all I am saying is that my chances are great Jules. I ain't Houdini and I am not God. But I am telling you, you get me that VISA, we are going to win Jules."

And tune in tomorrow night for part two when Shyne continues picks up his narrative with his latest quest, and that is to get a US Visa - and why he says the Belizean public should support him in his effort.

Channel 7

Joined: Oct 2003
Posts: 2,461
I spent the day with Shyne yesterday. We kayaked up the Belize River to show him the Jewish Burial Grounds and graves of the Levy family from Germany, who died in the mid 1800's and are buried there. The cemetary is in terrible disrepair and we need the Dept of Archeology and $ to rehabilitate this site. If you think he is kidding or delusional about having Jewish roots, read the book Peopling Belize, which includes names like Barrow, Lindo, Fonseca and Briceno as Jewish families who immigrated to Belize from Spain, probably around the time of the inquisition. It was an interesting day for me; fascinating day for him.

Belize based travel specialist
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Joined: Feb 2004
Posts: 2,208
Katie, that is fascinating. I've heard little snippets about Jewish history in Belize and even heard once that Belize was considered an option as an alternative to Israel at one time. Belize has a really interesting, complex and layered history and I think that is something that contributes to its uniqueness.
Belize Wedding Photography

Joined: Oct 2003
Posts: 2,461
Yeah, The Brits offered David Ben Gurion what is known as Israel today, Uganda or British Honduras for their homeland. The BH House was going to give them the Mtn Pine Ridge, where if that happened, I would drive to right now for a damn good corned beef on rye. Peopling Belize was published by NICH and a good read about all the immigrant populations here. BH offered about 800 visas for Jews stuck in Nazi Europe who would otherwise not have survived the Hilter era. And then there are the stories about some here who helped refuel 3rd Reich ships and subs, which was treason in a British colony. I know them too. And we all pretty much get along.

Belize based travel specialist
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