Excitement fills peaceful Grants Pen
On a daily basis, youngsters play football in the Grants Pen Peace Park or lounge at a nearby chill spot on the main road.
"You will find a lot of young people in the community," said one passerby. The Kingston 8 community usually becomes lively after school, outside of work hours, and during the holiday period.
It is the birthplace of recording artistes and producers like Predator, Gully Bop, Singing Sweet, and Jah Mike.
It is not uncommon to hear of events promoting peace throughout the year, even though according to Kevin Scarlet of Advance Records, the community remains unified.
Scarlet, who is an up-and-coming producer, operates from a 'sidewalk studio' on Grants Pen Avenue, right in the middle of the excitement.
Speaking of excitement, for about five years, most residents have been given the opportunity to participate in the weekly Boom Sundays street dance.
"The vibes starts at 12 a.m. most Sundays; what used to be called Early Sundays transformed into Boom Sundays," Scarlet said.
It is occasionally attended by the dancehall fraternity, but it has garnered the attention of foreigners.
Popular selector Boom Boom, who has been living in Grants Pen since he was three weeks old, is one of the main promoters.
"I grew up around the Grants Pen music fraternity, with Singing Sweet being the person to introduce me to it first. I come up seeing bare artiste, and now more artiste a come from here than then," Boom Boom said.
He said that Boom Sundays operates like a round robin within Grants Pen, where support and togetherness are upheld.
"The community is special and I am glad to be a part of the happenings from inna di 90s. Is from dem time mi have a special love for Grants Pen. The youth that usually deal with crime and violence a deal with straight unity; growing up here I have seen a lot of youth rise above," Boom Boom told THE WEEKEND STAR.
He praised the work of councillor Joy Cotrell and member of parliament Delroy Chuck.
There are messages of peace, unity, and love painted all over the street, which are a part of ongoing beautification projects in Grants Pen.
The selector has even created something of a sanctuary at his home, a 'birdhouse' of sorts.
"I grew up watching my grandmother take care of barble doves and pigeons, so I continue to uplift where I live by carrying on the same tradition. I don't sell them but give them away," he said.
A street football league is another well-endorsed event where players come together to participate in friendly matches for top prizes.
The community has also benefited from the work of the Stella Maris Foundation, which provides skills training programmes, children treats, and healthcare services to the residents.