From Verzuz clashes to YouTube streams, no one can ‘bring down the house’, even virtually, like a Jamaican artist. In 2020, Beenie Man and Bounty Killer gave an unparalleled performance that forever changed the Verzuz format, making it both a memorable and commercial affair. The stage was set for 2021, when Beres Hammond’s Love From A Distance virtual concert proved to be not only a fitting and record-breaking but a “MAGICAL” end to Reggae month. That’s according to author and activist Tarana Burke who placed the Reggae paragon’s show among her top entertainment moments in recent times.
Burke is most famous for her role as the founder of the #MeToo movement, a phrase she’s been using to raise awareness about sexual abuse and assault since 2006. She is also every bit the pop culture pundit, and she shared a few of her faves and recommendations in a recent Entertainment Weekly (EW) interview.
Confessing that she hadn’t “missed many Verzuz during quarantine”, Burke shared her genre-averse performance picks which included the Jamaican legend. When asked what was the last concert she attended, Burke, whose family is from St. Kitts, replied “IRL it was the Global Citizen Festival; I’m not a huge concert person, but I will go out for Mary [J. Blige] and Beyoncé every time. But earlier this year reggae legend Beres Hammond did a virtual concert and it was MAGICAL!!”
The experience was no doubt nostalgic for Burke who, like many adult members of the Diaspora, have been tuned in to the Reggae titan for decades.
Named after one of Hammond’s many hits, the Love From a Distance virtual concert was billed as “a moment in time with a man and his music”, a promise the maestro truly delivered on. Over 105,000 viewers tuned in on February 28 via VP Records’ YouTube channel as he and his superstar friends Buju Banton, Marcia Griffiths, and the Unruly Boss Popcaan brought his vast and diverse catalogue to the world stage.
The Grammy-nominated artist’s set included the hits Can’t Stop A Man, I Wish, Come Back Home, Step Aside, Falling In Love All Over Again and many more, plus the premiere of a new fan favorite, God Is Love featuring Popcaan.
Hammond’s rare musical quality transcends not only generations but geography. He, like Burke, is currently a member of the Caribbean diaspora, but he still spoke highly of the music ‘back home’ at the end of his show-stopping set.
“Honestly, I’m feeling very good about the future, not just about Jamaica, but about the music because I’ve been encountering with a lot of voices, positive people that are coming into the business… it makes me feel good, it makes me feel warm, cause they are the future,” Beres said.
You can watch the full concert below.